Dogs are naturally expressive creatures, and that’s partly why they make such wonderful companions. From the way they bark, growl or hold their heads, you can pretty much judge how they are feeling or even sometimes, what mood they are in. Often, we can learn even more about our dogs just from the state of their tails.
Interestingly, a dog will not wag his/her tail when it is alone. Tail wagging, according to researchers, is a behavior that takes place exclusively when around others.
A dog’s tail is an appendage of the vertebral column, and they typically contain between six and 23 mobile vertebrae. The direction in which they wag their tail is directed by either side of the brain, and depends on the dominant side of the brain in each individual dog. Moreover, how they move and hold their tails says a lot.
Keep in mind that herding dogs move their tails less when working. As a whole, herding dogs also hold their tails lower than other groups of dogs. The reasoning behind this is so wagging tails will not become a distraction for the sheep or cattle that the dog is herding. So while their tails still do exhibit informative information, their movement may be subtler.
Here are some common canine emotions (complete with tail wags) and what they mean for their owners: