Anatomy of a Dog’s Tail

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Dog's TailI have long wondered how a dog’s tail wags tail. Clearly the process involves bones [and/or cartilage] and muscles. I was pleased to find, when Googling on the subject, that Highlights for Children put the same question out there – for children.

Dog’s Tail – A Kid’s Perspective

What is the anatomy of a dog’s tail? Highlights suggested a tail is a string of bones [vertebrae] like a string of beads, and that there are muscles attached to the bones. That’s a nice generalization suitable for kids, but let’s try to go just a little past that.

An Adult Point of View

Pet Place says that tail vertebrae are highly mobile. They are “enclosed” in muscles that enable delicate tail movements, including lifting, dropping, and left and right movement, plus the curling of the tail between the legs, often associated with submission.

Muscles attach to bone segments as far back as the tip via inelastic collagen cords called tendons. So does a dog’s tail wag voluntarily or involuntarily? That is, is wagging brought about as a biochemical response to a general state of mind or through some deliberate thought process?

I guess we’ll just have to ask Fido.

Note: You might also enjoy Why Dogs Pee on Tires


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