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This trope is about animal species that are supposed to have tails, but are drawn without them for some reason.
Type 1: The character is supposed to be drawn without a tail, despite the fact that his or her species is supposed to have a tail. In some cases, the character originally had a tail, but is nowadays tailless. In other cases, the character is always tailless. Yet in other cases, some cartoons or some scenes within cartoons show the otherwise tailless character with a tail. Sometimes, they alternate between being tailless and having a tail within a cartoon. Sometimes animal characters that don't have tails in their original work are portrayed with them in some adaptations.
Type 2: The character is supposed to be drawn with a tail, but in some cartoons or episodes or in some scenes within cartoons or episodes, is drawn tailless. Sometimes, an otherwise tailed character is drawn tailless out of animation error or out of budget. Sometimes, they alternate between being tailless and having a tail within a cartoon. Sometimes animal characters that have tails in their original work are portrayed without them in some adaptations.
Type 3: The character could either be tailless or have a tail, depending on the work, film, or series.
Type 4: These are characters that belong to typically tailed animal species, but are supposed to be tailless themselves in the Canon. However, they are often or usually drawn with a tail in fanart.
Inversions: The character belongs to a species of animal that is not supposed to have a tail, but is drawn with one anyway.
Type 1 Examples:
- The anthro characters from Usagi Yojimbo don't have tails. The author feels that it would too animalish.
- During a team-up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, one of the turtles asked about tails. Gen responded, "Hey! Don't get personal!"
- Pooh and Piglet from Winnie the Pooh (both original books and Disney adaptation) are tailless, unlike the other animal and stuffed animal characters.
- Curious George, although a monkey, is drawn tailless, leading some readers to speculate that he is actually a juvenile chimpanzee.
- Boot the sheepdog in The Perishers was originally drawn with a tail (which he named "Fred" after mishearing the phrase "bob-tailed sheepdog"). Later on the writer discovered that old English sheepdogs (at the time) always had their tails docked, so he instructed the artist to make the tail smaller over a long period until it disappeared completely. (Modern docking laws mean Old English Sheepdogs with undocked tails are now much more common than they used to be.)
- Nei and Rika of Phantasy Star are based on cats, but lack tails. Nei was originally designed with a tail, but it was dropped because they thought it'd be too hard to animate, and Rika didn't have a tail because it was by then established by Nei that they don't.
- Some Pokémon that are based on tailed animals, such as Numel and Hippowdon, for some reason are tailless.
- King K. Rool, a crocodile, had a tail in the Donkey Kong Country trilogy and DK64. It disappeared from King of Swing onwards.
- Berri from Conkers Bad Fur Day, likely done on purpose.
- Giggles the chipmunk, from Happy Tree Friends, doesn't have a tail.
- Goofy, Pete, Clarabelle Cow, and Horace Horsecollar from the Classic Disney Shorts originally had tails, but are nowadays always drawn tailless.
- But Clarabelle Cow has a tail in the Minnie n Me line of merchandise.
- Goofy's son, Max was tailless even in The Fifties Goofy cartoons when he was just Goofy, jr.
- Pete's sons, Junior (from "Bellboy Donald") and PJ (from Goof Troop) never had tails.
- The Dogfaces of DuckTales, Goof Troop, and A Goofy Movie don't have tails at all either.
- Stimpy of Ren and Stimpy is always tailless and Ren is always tailless except during the Theme Song.
- Supposedly, according to John K., the ratlike tail was a pain in the ass (no pun intended) to animate, so it was dropped after two or three episooes. George Liquor/George American personally docked it--with a rubber band, no less--in "Dog Show".
- Most of the female cats in Tom and Jerry and Tom and Jerry Tales are tailless, unlike Tom himself.
- Pig from Back at the Barnyard is tailless, unlike the other main animal characters in the show.
- Pig from Super Why! is tailless.
- Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, and Cindy Bear are tailless.
- All the anthropomorphic characters in Arthur (not counting the ape ones (like Francine and Muffy) as apes are supposed to be tailless) don't have tails except D.W.'s imaginary friend, Nadine.
- Fermin Flaxseed from the Animaniacs episode "The Big Candy Store," is completely tailless.
- The pigs in Olivia do not have tails.
- Dr. Delbert Doppler and Captain Amelia from Treasure Planet, despite being an anthropomorphic dog and cat, respectively, actually do not have tails. Justified, however, by the fact that they are actually both aliens.
- Underdog, a.k.a. Shoeshine, and Sweet Polly Purebred are completely tailless. However they both have tails in the Disney adaptation.
- Shoeshine Boy does have a tail in the cartoon. He just doesn't show it when he's Underdog.
- Danger Mouse.
- Snake Jafar from Aladdin, for some reason actually doesn't have a lower body. Either it's hidden by the flames Jafar used to turn into a snake, or the flames are his lower body.
- The Tex Avery wolf had a tail in the Wartime Cartoon that he debuted in and played as Adolf Hitler, but he is completely tailless in subsequent appearances.
Type 2 Examples:
- Played straight with everyone in Meitantei Holmes, and then again with Montana Jones. So that's two series with completely tailless dogs and cats respectively.
- There's a flashback filler scene in Dragonball Z where Vegeta is drawn without a tail. The animators apparently forgot that he hadn't lost it yet at the time the scene was supposed to take place.
- The original The Wind in the Willows book and most of its adaptations show Rat, Mole, Badger, and the Weasels with tails, but the Disney adaptation shows those same characters as being tailless.
- Mickey Mouse has a tail, but is tailess in some of the Classic Disney Shorts cartoons and in House of Mouse.
- Otis, Bessie, Abby, Peck, Freddie, and Pip from Back at the Barnyard have tails, but when wearing disguises, they do not have tails.
- Tom and Butch from Tom and Jerry have tails, but a few scenes in a few cartoons show them without a tail.
- In the animation The Cat Concerto, Tom (who normally has a tail) is always portrayed as being tailless, but for some reason, he gains a tail about halfway through the short when Jerry flips Tom's piano bench over, only to lose said tail when he gets back up and continues to play the piano.
- In the first season episode of SpongeBob SquarePants "Karate Choppers," Sandy is missing her tail. However, this is a case of Off-Model, since she has her tail in all the other episodes she appears in.
- Actually, Sandy was tailless in all of the Season 1 episodes, her tail only being visible when she wasn't wearing her space suit.
- Both Prince John and Maid Marian from Disney's Robin Hood. The former, due to the fact that he is wearing a royal robe, occasionally gains and loses a tail whenever he is flipped over; while the latter actually loses her tail when she is dancing.
- Wile E. Coyote from Looney Tunes is supposed to have a tail, but whenever he puts on costumes in his All CGI Cartoon segments of The Looney Tunes Show, he doesn't have a tail at all.
Type 3 Examples:
- Not an animal, but Marvel Comics chacter Nocturne sometimes has a tail and sometimes doesn't. She's the daughter of Nightcrawler (who has a tail - which artists have forgotten to draw on more than one occasion, but he's definitely supposed to have it) from an alternate reality, and artists can never decide how much of her father's mutant anatomy she inherited.
- Alvin and The Chipmunks are drawn with tails on the original album illustrations and in the two live action movies, but are tailless in the cartoons.
- Also, The Chippettes are tailless in the cartoons, but have tails in Alvin and the Chipmunks The Squeakquel
- Baloo from Tale Spin, unlike his The Jungle Book counterpart.
- In Ralph Bakshi's take on Mighty Mouse, the hero has a tail up to the episode "This Island Mouseville." From then on, he is drawn with no tail.
- The feline cast of ThunderCats (2011), unlike in Thundercats, though Wilykit and Wilykat still have tails. The presence or lack of tails is actually an indicator of social class in Thundera, with those with tails marked as lowerclass. Interestingly, Panthro is shown with a tail in flashbacks, but has no tail in the present, suggesting that he may have had it docked.
Type 4 Examples:
- Ortensia is tailless in both the old Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons (Except in her first and other really early appearances) and Epic Mickey, but she is usually drawn with a tail in fanart.
Inversions and Parodies:
Anime and Manga
- Inverted: Young Goku from Dragon Ball has a tail
- That's easily explained: he was originally a Expy/parody of the Monkey King from Journey to the West. Later on? Turns out he's just an alien.
- Inverted: Diddy Kong is a chimpanzee with a tail.
- Vulpix, a fox Pokémon, has six tails. Its evolution Ninetales has... oh, guess. This goes for most Kitsune, in fact.
- Parodied: David Morgan Mar refuses to cut the tails off his LEGO chimps.
- The constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor- better known to some as the Big Dipper and Little Dipper -are drawn with very long tails despite being representations of bears, which are known for having very short tails.