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Archived Message

tail set important?

by Ross

I have 2 questions I hope someone can answer.
1)How important is the tail set in the show ring?
2)Is this trait hereditary ie: If the sires is incorrect will it usually pass on to its offspring?


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

For some reason tail set is VERY IMPORTANT. As far as I know it has nothing to do with the function or the health of the Maltese, but esthetically will ruin the total dog if it is not correct. If it is tight and flat to the back it gives the illusion of the rear slipping away. If it is too loose it is called a gay tail and is severely punished in the show ring. The tail that forms a graceful plume is correct and finishes off and balances the Maltese. I would not be inclined to breed to a dog with a gay tail as I have seen it passed on in pedigrees. The tail should come off the spine in a right angle forming a plume with the tip of the tail going to the loin. At least this is what I like to see because it finishes off the side angle of the Maltese which is very important.
-Beverly B. Passe Myi Maltese

I usually do not simply post to ditto another person's remarks, but in this case I feel it is appropriate. a tail set is, as Beverly said, critical to the "balanced appearance" of the outline on the dog. A graceful plume up over the back with tip lying to the side gives a shorter appearance to the overall length of the dog and emphasizes the somewhat cobby shape that I personally, find extremely important. A loose (gay) tail will also take away from the appearance of a proud, erect, head carriage as the tail will seem to be almost on the same plane with the head and make a dog look "dumpy" even when it is not. Because tail-set is a highly hereditary characteristic breeding to an animal with incorrect tail set AND/OR carriage will often become firmly implanted into the offspring's genetic make-up and be very difficult to eliminate in successive breedings.
Larry Stanberry - Divine Maltese
-Larry Stanberry

As long as we're on the subject of tails, would you please elaborate as to what is correct? I know that Herald is no show dog but I think his tail is very peculiar. It comes up over his back and then near the tip it almost hairpin turns back down and continues , almost like a curly pig tail!. It looks lovely with his long coat but I am curious as to if the hairpin curve at the end is normal. Does anyone know? Does anybody else's dog's tail do this? Thanks, Ruth

In regards to Ruth's question on 9-19 concerning the hairpin curve at tip of tail....I was relieved to know this had happened to someone else. My 6-mo old pup has a very tight u-shaped curve at end of tail...but "Mom" has a gorgeous tail, as well as the sire...have really been feeling guilty by thinking that I did something wrong, but there has not been an injury like a door shutting on her, etc. Furthermore, her litter mates do not have the curved tail....so can anyone shed some light on this? Additionally, does this eliminate her from the show ring????

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