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Discussion Starter #1
My 2-year old has always had a spot of hair on his tail that is coarser, shorter and differently patterned than the rest. Do any of your dogs have this? And is it something that can be improved topically/nutritionally/etc?

 

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Yes, my Sting does. I use a comb when I get to the spot. I am glad it is only that spot.
 

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Yes, my Sting does. I use a comb when I get to the spot. I am glad it is only that spot.
If I comb the spot enough it'll look almost blended in, but still noticeable. The rest of his coat looks great so it's a little puzzling! Trying to figure out if there's anything I can do to improve it.
 

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Fascinating. And it is the part of the tail where the adult coat seems to come in first (a patch, right there)
 

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Thanks for the replies! This is really interesting - someone needs to update the research on, because it's definitely active in more than just wolves.
 

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http://ezinearticles.com/?Why-Does-a-Frightened-Dog-Put-Its-Tail-Between-Its-Legs?&id=4344725
Now I know this is just internet search, but I find it very interesting!
There is an intriguing difference between domestic dogs and their wild ancestors in connection with these tail displays. On the tails of all wolves (but no dogs) there is a special pre-caudal gland, which can be observed as a dark spot about three inches from the base of the tail.

Surrounded by black-tipped stiffened hairs, this small skin gland is made up of a group of modified sebaceous glands which exude a fatty secretion. Like the anal glands, it is solely concerned with scent-signalling and its positioning on the outside of the tail is significant. Being placed where it is, it provides a scent-sniffing location that acts like amimic anal zone.

If a wolf approaches a companion to sniff its rump, it will find one kind of scent gland if the tail is up (the anal gland) and another, in the same position, if the tail is down (the pre-caudal tail gland). This means that the scent-signalling of the wolf is more complex than that of the domestic dog.

Why the dog has abandoned this tail-gland signal is not at all clear. All of the other changes that have taken place during the development of the dog from the wolf have been deliberately selected by human dog-breeders to improve this or that quality in their animals, ending up with the many distinctive breeds we have today.

But the function of the tail gland of the wolf has only been discussed in very recent times, so it is hard to see how it could have become the focus of breeding trends in previous centuries. Yet it must have been eliminated at a very early stage because loss appears to be complete in all dog breeds.

It is the one difference between wolves and dogs that remains a complete mystery at the present time.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4344725
 

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Cats have it too, in fact it can be quite active. All cats have it but it is particularly active in intact toms, which led to its common name "stud tail". It tends to secrete this waxy, sticky stuff which is nearly impossible to remove by normal means, even the best de-greasing shampoos have a tough time getting rid of it.
 

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What I understand, is the gland is present, but not active in domestic canines. Though I believe it is active in certain breeds and not in others.
 

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The precaudal gland is present in all canines, from chihuahuas to Poodles to Irish Wolfhounds. You can only really see it on some dogs, it's most noticeable in short double-coated dogs. On dogs with long, silky, or curly hair, it's almost invisible. But as a groomer, I can always tell where it is and I've never met a dog that didn't have one (unless the tail has been docked).
 
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