Huskies are gorgeous dogs with distinctive markings on their fluffy coats, pointed ears, piercing eyes, and curled tail. That’s the most common image most people have when they think of a husky. However, it may interest you to know that a Husky should have a sickle tail, which means that the tail should have a gentle curve and not all of the time. The gentle curve allows the tail to be flexible.
Huskies are northern dogs from the Spitz family. They have almond-shaped eyes and fluffy fox-brush-type tails held in a gentle curve, like a sickle when the dog is happy and alert. But just like us humans, every Husky is different. Some Huskies have noticeably curled tails, and some have trailing tails. A trailing tail is when the tail rests downwards. My own Husky has a very expressive tail which can go from trailing tail to sickle tail and everything in-between.
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The AKC say for a Husky Showdog, “Tail: The well furred tail of fox-brush shape is set on just below the level of the topline, and is usually carried over the back in a graceful sickle curve when the dog is at attention. When carried up, the tail does not curl to either side of the body, nor does it snap flat against the back. A trailing tail is normal for the dog when in repose. Hair on the tail is of medium length and approximately the same length on top, sides and bottom, giving the appearance of a round brush. Faults – A snapped or tightly curled tail; highly plumed tail; tail set too low or too high”.
Do all huskies have a curly tail
Not all Huskies have a curly tail or, more accurately, a sickle tail. A curly tail is more of a deformity than a breed trait. For example, Pugs, Bulldogs, and Shiba Inu have a permanently curly tail, a corkscrew shape. Their tails are less maneuverable than other breeds’ tails. A Husky tail should be soft and flexible, showing what the dog is feeling.
A curly tail can also be an indicator that there is a health issue with your Husky, especially if their tail is permanently curled, such as:
- Hip problems
- Hemivertebrae – this is a fusion of vertebrae in the spine
- Incontinence – this is linked to the hemivertebrae
- Neurological Disorder
A curly tail is not always an indication of a health-associated problem with your Husky. Sometimes they have a curly tail. Take your Husky to the vet for a complete check-up if you are concerned.
The Husky has a sickle tail because it was originally bred in Siberia in arctic conditions. The tail is used to wrap around the Husky to keep it warm. The curved shape means that it can easily cover the face. The Husky will also lift the tail into the sickle position to keep it from the snow and ice and stop it from being caught in the sledding equipment.
Different tail positions for a husky
Like most other breeds of dogs, Huskies use their tails to let us know how they feel. It is an indicator of physical and emotional health when observed with the rest of their body language.
Curved, Sickle Tail
Tail up in a gentle sickle shape means that your Husky feels happy and alert. They will also wag their tail in this position to indicate happiness. Body language can be relaxed but active with a relaxed, happy face.
Tail hanging down with a relaxed body and face means your Husky is comfortable and happy. For example, if your Husky is walking towards you with the tail hanging down and looking at you, they are relaxed and focused on you. My Husky will also assume this position while she decides to listen to me or not!
Horizontal/downward Sickle Tail
The tail is not pointing up or directly down and has a curve, the body is relaxed, but the face shows focus. Happy and alert and focusing on something. My own Husky does this when she is following a trail. She is happy and concentrates on the scent.
The tail is straight out behind the dog. This indicates your Husky has found prey, especially if they go into a stalking movement.
However, if the Huskies’ ears have gone forward, the body and face are tense, and the tail is straight out behind them, the Husky is ready to attack. Do not approach a Husky like this.
I have only seen my girl do this once. I was alone in a hotel room with her, just settling down to sleep, and I heard her growling fiercely, the only time I have heard her growl like that. She was facing the hotel door in this stance, growling. I think that someone had tried the door. It took a little while to calm her down, but she slept on the foot of the bed facing the door that night. She wasn’t letting anyone in my room.
Tail Between the Legs
When a dog puts its tail between its back legs, it clearly indicates that it isn’t happy. There is something wrong. It may be scared or in pain. The way the dog moves or whines will help you know what it is.
A wagging tail doesn’t always indicate that a dog is happy. However, if the face and body are relaxed and the tail is wagging, there is a high probability that the Husky is happy.
If the tail is straight out and is wagging or swishing from side to side like a cat’s tail, their head is probably buried in a bush or a rabbit hole. This indicates that they are hunting. It also suggests that they are close to their prey.
A wagging tail with a tense body and rigid face means they feel nervous, unsure. This is often directed at another dog that they aren’t sure about. You should move your Husky away as it isn’t comfortable in the situation. If ignored, it could result in a fight.
Do only pure-bred huskies have a sickle tail
The shape of a Huskies tail is not an indicator of it being pure-bred. The only way to determine if a Husky is pure-bred is to have the KC papers or a DNA test. Husky show dogs have trailing tails, which the AKC encourages for dog shows. Although many people believe it is, sickle tails are not a breed trait.
Many Husky cross-breeds have the sickle tail, further confirming that the sickle tail is not a pure-bred Husky trait. In addition, many people confuse the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute, probably because of the similar markings and the fluffy fur. Malamutes have a curly tails.
What does it mean if my huskies tail doesn’t curl
If you have a Husky with a straight tail, it doesn’t have a sickle tail. It is still a Husky. So you will still have a mischievous dog to walk and play with. Lack of a curl in the tail doesn’t make any difference to your Husky. If it is a show dog, it’s a bonus.
If your Husky shows positive body language and moves around and behaves like a happy dog, then you have nothing to worry about. It just has a trailing tail.
If your Husky seems lethargic and doesn’t want to play, it may be depressed or ill. This isn’t normal Husky behavior. However, if you are worried, a vet check can confirm if there are underlying health problems. A vet is the best person to consult if you have any concerns about your pet.
My Huskies tail is permanently curled
A constantly curled tail could indicate a crossing with another breed, such as a Malamute. These mixes are pretty common. However, if your Huskies tail is still pretty relaxed and can move freely, it shouldn’t be an issue. Especially if your Huskies body language is positive and your dog behaves normally and is happy.
A curled tail that is more rigid and not freely moving could indicate a spinal or hip problem, as mentioned earlier in the article. But, again, any concerns should be highlighted with your vet. They can do scans and pick up any health issues and offer treatments.
A permanently curled tail will disqualify your Husky from taking part in dog shows. However, a reputable breeder for Husky show dogs will already know this, so buyers beware.
My personal opinion is that if your Husky is healthy and happy, then the tail doesn’t detract from their Huskiness. A wonderful breed, is full of fun and energy, great with kids, and total goofballs to share your life with. What more could you ask for?
I hope that you have found this article helpful.