Why Does my Golden Retriever Puppy Tail Curl?


The golden retriever is the most popular dog breed in the world for a good reason. They are pleasing family pets, thanks to their friendly, tolerant attitude and capable, intelligent working dogs. A tail can tell much about our dog, and they are an excellent and essential trait of our precious golden retrievers. What is it about the tail that presents it as so unique? How do we know if our golden retriever tail is standard or something may be different?

Curiosity took me, too, so I took some time to find the answers to every question you could have about your golden retriever puppy tail curl. It’s all referenced here in this article in one easy place.


According to Jamie Whittenburg, who is the director of Kingsgate Animal Hospital, those dogs whose tail curl into an upward arch over their backs have a genetic condition.


The upward curling is characterized by the absence of the vertebrae that compose the tail. Fortunately, this genetic condition is benign and has no negative effects on a dog. This type of tail is seen in Basenjis, Alaskan malamutes, Akitas, Chow Chows, and pugs.



Golden retrievers are characterized into two lines. One line is generally known as the Golden Retrievers, while the active line is called Red Tail Golden Retrievers.


The difference between the two lines is based on their tails. Generally, the Golden Retriever’s have a lengthy tail, extended to the point of the hock, just not below. The tail measures 3.5 inches up to 12 inches long.


On the other hand, the active line, Red Tail Golden Retrievers, have less feathery tails than the show-type Golden Retrievers.


A typical Golden Retriever’s tail extends out from the spine in a straight line and slightly arches upward from its back. Its thickest and muscular point is from your dog’s rear, and it should gradually taper to a point.


Golden Retrievers do not have curled tails. Their tails are lengthy and straight and should arc up slightly. If your Golden Retriever has a curl in its tail, it could be seen as a genetic mismatch or an injury. If your Golden Retriever’s tail curls up and over its body or has a curly tail, this could be a sign that your Golden Retriever might not be purebred. A pure golden retriever will have a straight tail extending out from its body and curve upwards a bit.


If you are still determining if your Golden Retriever is a purebred, you can find out by doing a genetic test. Suppose your test returns that your dog is a 100% purebred golden retriever puppy tail curl is still present. In that case, it’s your dog’s likely congenital deformity of the spine’s vertebrae called hemivertebrae. This condition is inherited and causes the vertebrae in the spine to fuse, causing an abnormal twisting wedge that will drive your dog’s tail to curve. If your dog has this condition, you must approach the breeder from whom you got your dog, letting them know. A responsible breeder will not breed dogs carrying this gene to help prevent it from appearing in future litters.

A golden retriever puppy has a curly tail, which may straighten out as it ages.

Golden Retriever Puppies sometimes hold their tail up over their backs (what looks like a curled position) when they are happy, playful, or excited. If your puppy’s tail is down when resting, there is no need to worry.

Golden Retriever Puppy Tail Wagging and Communication

Puppy golden retrievers wag their tails for many reasons. It’s part of how they communicate with their pet parent.

Wagging their tail doesn’t normally mean they are excited. They could be showing other emotions like nervousness.

Here are some things your Puppy Golden Retriever could communicate with you with the tail.

  • Calm – The tail is in a natural resting position.
  • Greeting – A big carefree wag.
  • Curious – Backwards and gentle wagging.
  • I’m nervous – The tail between their legs and possibly slightly moving.
  • Aggression – Tail high and rigid, poised, and stiff.
  • Happy and Excited – Fast, carefree wagging.

The tail wagging examples given above do not normally happen on their own. They are accompanied by other body language movements, facial expressions, and sounds. For example, while “Happy and Excited” involves “Fast and Carefree Wagging”, it may further be accompanied by wiggling body, jumping, running around you and happy facial expressions.

According to studies, the direction that a dog wags its tail may express negative or position emotions. For instance, right-side wagging may indicate positive emotions including relaxation and excitement, while left side wagging may indicate negative emotions such as nervousness or fear.

If your Golden Retriever has recently stopped wagging its tail, you should consider some other things. If you have just moved or are new to your home, this could mean they are nervous and need time to get acclimated to their new environment.

Some dogs are bigger tail-waggers than others. If your Golden Retriever doesn’t wag its tail, you will have to learn to identify other body language cues to help you understand what they are trying to tell you.


In conclusion, a golden retriever puppy’s tail can curl for various reasons, but it is generally not a cause for concern. The tail’s curling can occur due to genetic factors, the puppy’s age, or a reaction to stimuli. It is a common trait among golden retrievers, and it can be an adorable feature that adds to their charm.

Overall, a golden retriever’s tail curling is a natural occurrence that should not cause alarm. It is a unique trait that adds to their individuality and should be celebrated. Your golden retriever puppy can grow into a happy, healthy, and lovable companion with proper care and attention.







Q1. Is it normal for golden retriever puppies’ tails to curl?

Yes, it’s normal for golden retriever puppies’ tails to curl. It is a common trait among golden retrievers, and it is usually a result of genetics.

Q2.Can a golden retriever puppy’s tail uncurl as they grow older?

Yes, a golden retriever puppy’s tail may uncurl or become less curly as they grow older. However, this is not normally the issue, and the tail’s curl may become more pronounced.

Q3.Can a golden retriever puppy’s tail curl due to health issues?

In rare cases, a golden retriever puppy’s tail may curl due to underlying health issues. If you notice any other symptoms or changes in your puppy’s behavior, it is best to consult a veterinarian.

Q4.Can a golden retriever have a docked tail?

Yes, some golden retriever may have straight tails or tails that only slightly curl.


Leave a Comment