The most popular dog breeds with curly tails have one thing in common: cuteness! But a dog’s tail is more than just an ornament, whether it’s curled into a cute curve or groomed into a poodle pompom. Biologically speaking, dogs have tails to help them balance, and in some cases help them keep warm. (If you’ve ever seen a dog sleeping with its tail curled over its nose, you know how that works). The canine tail is also a means of communication, signaling anything from excitement to dominance to curiosity to aggression.
What Makes Curly Tails Curly?
A tail’s curl is more than skin deep. The bones inside it determine the curl of a dog’s tail. Since tails are extensions of the spine, those bones are vertebrae. And in some dog breeds, the vertebrae in the tail develop into shapes that form the tail into a bend or curve.
Are Curly-Tailed Dogs Popular?
There’s no denying that a dog’s curly tail is cute, that’s just a scientific fact. But if we look at the most popular dog breeds of 2022, as reported by the American Kennel Club, we’ll see that none of the top ten breeds have curly tails. In fact, curly-tailed canines don’t break the top twenty. That’s not to say that an individual dog of a particular breed won’t have an arched or curving tail. But as recognized breed characteristics go, a curly tail doesn’t seem to move the popularity needle. Which is fine; who wants to judge a dog by their tail? It’s more about the wag, after all.
Let’s take a look at the most popular dog breeds that do have curly tails, from an elegant swoop to a cute corkscrew. And keep in mind that a mixed-breed dog can inherit a curly tail from its ancestors, so don’t rule them out if you’ll looking to add a curly-tailed canine to your household.
Popularity rank: 23
The most popular curly-tailed breed on the AKC’s 2022 list, the Pomeranian is a toy breed with an outgoing personality. They’re smart and playful and make great companions. Their heavily plumed tails require regular grooming along with the rest of their coat.
Popularity rank: 34
Weighting less than six pounds, the Chihuahua is a tiny dog with big dog energy. They’re clever and adaptable, affectionate with their family, and respond well to training. Their tails are not super curly but carried in a loop or sickle shape. Long-haired varieties will have a floofy plumed tail.
Popularity ranking: 35
Famously bred to be the companions of Chinese emperors, Pugs are happy in almost any household. Their expressive faces and affectionate nature make them favored pets the world over. Along with their pushed-in muzzles, this breed’s corkscrew curly tail is one of its most definitive features.
4. Shiba Inu
Popularity rank: 43
These small and spirited dogs have roots in Japan, where the Shiba Inu breed was developed over two thousand years ago for hunting small game. They love the outdoors and cold weather but are adaptable enough to live in a city or country setting. Their thick, powerful tails might be carried in a single or double curl.
Popularity rank: 51
The French word for “butterfly” gives this breed its name, a reference to the wing-like ears that frame this little dog’s alert, adorable face. Between those distinctive ears and the Papillon’s long, silky coat, you might not even notice the single, graceful arc of a pap’s plumed curly tail.
Popularity rank: 53
From its cute nose to the furry tale that curves over its back or side, the Samoyed is a breed suited for cold weather. Its thick white fur keeps this dog cozy in frigid temps, and its social demeanor enabled its ancestors to work with humans and other canines as herding and sledding dogs.
Popularity rank: 55
Powerful and loyal, the Akita was originally bred for hunting large game, including bear and elk. Because of their origins in snowy, mountainous terrain, they have webbed toes, the better to distribute their weight on snowdrifts. The Akita’s trademark curly tail might have a three-quarter, full, or doubled curl, and can curve over the back or hand to the side. It’s said that a few Akita tails look exactly the same.
8. Alaskan Malamute
Popularity rank: 67
The quintessential sled dog, an Alaskan Malamute is powerfully built, with a weatherproof coat and a curled, plumed tail that won’t drag in the snow. They’re athletic dogs who thrive on exercise, preferably with their owners.
9. Chinese Shar-Pei
Popularity rank: 68
With their broad snout, small ears, wrinkly coat, and blue-black tongue, Shar-Peis aren’t likely to be mistaken for any other popular dog breed. They’re very intelligent and loyal dogs but can be suspicious of strangers. Early socialization is important for these dogs to become comfortable around people and other animals. A Shar-Pei’s tail is thick at the base, tapers to a point, and can curl loosely over the back or to the side.
10. Anatolian Shepherd
popularity rank: 79
As their name suggests, these dogs are protective, territorial, intelligent, and nimble-footed, characteristics befitting the breed’s shepherding origins. Their curled tail is especially noticeable when the dog is alert, curling the tail into a wheel-like whorl.
Summary of The 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds With Curly Tails
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