TAILS: What is a “twizzle” at the end of my Labrador’s tail?? And why should I care?

The very beginning of the “AKC standard for the Labrador Retriever” begins: “About the Labrador Retriever

“The sturdy, well-balanced Labrador Retriever can, depending on the sex, stand from 21.5 to 24.5 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 55 to 80 pounds. The dense, hard coat comes in yellow, black, and a luscious chocolate. The head is wide, the eyes glimmer with kindliness, and the thick, tapering “otter tail” seems to be forever signaling the breed’s innate eagerness.” (https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/labrador-retriever/)

More examples of tail wrap or “twizzle” on the Labrador Retriever

Basically, the hair on your Lab’s tail should be swirled around itself “wrapping” the hair around the tail. The hair should be thick, and not “fox-tailed” ideally. It should be held straight out from the body—straight off the topline– and not  held too “gaily” or high (remember, we are talking the ideal here, don’t stare at your ‘labby love’ right now and start judging their poor tail! Love them no matter what!!!) With pets it does not matter and will not hurt them. But the “form” of an animal should meet its “function”, therefore when choosing pups from a litter I look at the standard and compare them to it, including their tail. That tail is also used as they turn (if your Lab has a thick tail—watch it! Its amazing!) It also acts as a rudder when they are swimming. If you want your Lab to do a lot of swimming—be sure he has the form to meet that function. If you are a runner—be sure your breed of dog and its form are taken into consideration for whatever your hobby or exercise routine.

Our “Mackie” had one of the best top line’s and tail-set’s of any Lab I’ve known

The tail is allowed to be held a bit gaily at a gait in the ring and not be disqualified. Especially if they hold it straight out when standing (or “stacking” as we call it in the dog show world)

I can even predict “tail sets” and thickness with a little litter of labs just starting to eat. You put that bowl down and they all put those tails straight out! I remember Scotch’s tail from day # 1 when he was born!

Sterling’s is amazing too:

Some people are tempted to snip that little end of the “twizzle” but dog show people say “keep it!” Show it off!!!


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