Inexplicably Tailless

This trope is about animal species that are supposed to have tails, but are drawn without them for some reason.

Type 1: Supposed to be Tailless: 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. Some characters that are supposed to be tailless themselves in the Canon are often or usually drawn with a tail in fanart.

Type 2: Supposed to Have a Tail: 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: Either/Or: The character could either be tailless or have a tail, depending on the work, film, series or artist.

Inversions and Parodies: The character belongs to a species of animal that is not supposed to have a tail, but is drawn with one anyway.

Aversions: The character belongs to a species that are supposed to have tails, but the character is tailless. Unlike Type 1 examples, the tailless character's lack of a tail is explained. For domestic animals, like dogs and cats, one explanation can be that the character belongs to a breed that is supposed to be tailless.

Subtrope of Artistic License and Funny Animal Anatomy. See also Off Model.


Type 1 Examples:

Comic Books
  • The anthro characters from Usagi Yojimbo don't have tails. The author feels that it would be too animalish.

Literature
  • 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.

Newspaper Comics

Video Games
  • 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, 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. It was also inexplicably MIA for the Donkey Kong Country tv series, even while his minions had theirs.
  • Berri from Conker's Bad Fur Day, likely done on purpose.
    • Similarly, no female bandicoot characters within the Crash Bandicoot universe have tails though the males do.
  • Worgen in World of Warcraft are often draws by fanartists with tails because, well, wolves. Really, Worgen have never at any point had tails, it's one of the slight "offs" about the Worgen, who are failed druidic shapeshifts.

Web Animation
  • Giggles, the chipmunk from Happy Tree Friends, doesn't have a tail.
    • Considering the series she's in, though, there may be a very valid reason for that.

Western Animation
  • 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, despite being designed with one, is rarely animated with it outside of the pilot, only reappearing for the sake of Rule of Funny.
    • 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 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.
  • Many of the girl mice Mighty Mouse has rescued have no tails. Pearl Pureheart, the series' token damsel in distress, is seen at the start of "The Perils Of Pearl Pureheart" being hung upside down over a den of lions, and her tipped-over dress and petticoats show ankle-length pantaloons. Her back is to the camera and no tail is seen protruding through. In the Bakshi series, she is normally seen wearing slacks, and again no tail is seen.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Wild West Cowboys of Moo Mesa None of the Bovine characters have tails though other species from Scorpions to Armadillos do have tails.
  • Bojack Horseman has a large variety of anthropomorphic characters, but none have tails. Reportedly, this was to humanize them a bit more as well as reducing headaches for the artists, deftly avoiding the whole 'how do you put on clothing over a tail' issue altogether.


Type 2 Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Played straight with everyone in Sherlock Hound, 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 Dragon Ball 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.

Film
  • Foxy Loxy from Chicken Little is supposed to have a tail. When her brainwaves got scrambled and she is wearing a dress, she is rendered without a tail.

Literature
  • 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.

Western Animation
  • The Warners in Animaniacs have tails, but are occasionally drawn tailless as an animation error.
  • 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.
    • Whenever Tom, Jerry, or Nibbles/Tuffy are wearing pants, shorts, swim trunks, or full outfits, their tails don't show.
  • 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.
  • In Dinosaur Train, the dinosaur's tails are sometimes not rendered in at all when they are sitting on the seats in the train cars. This is jarring as dinosaurs' tails are long, thick, and in many species stiff.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • Gumball and Nicole are both cats with visible tails that are occasionally omitted by animations errors.
    • Richard and Anais are rabbits with very short tails only visible from certain angles, but sometimes two shots from the same angle will show them with and without their tail. However, their tails are short enough that they could just be wearing them under their clothing sometimes.


Type 3 Examples:

Comic Books
  • 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. Nocturne herself canonically revealed on-panel that unlike her father, her own tail is retractable. Kudos to the writer-artist of that particular issue, Jim Calafiore, (who was the original creator of the character for a Marvel What-If special) for that Author's Saving Throw.

Western Animation
  • 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.
  • Baloo from TaleSpin, 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), Wilykit and Wilykat 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. The original ThunderCats didn't have tails.


Inversions and Parodies:

Video Games

Webcomics

Real Life
  • 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. Some versions of the myth explain that when Zeus threw the bears into the sky to become constellations, he grabbed them by their stumpy little tails, and the tails were stretched when they were thrown.
    • Unless, as is sometimes and more sensibly the case, the furthest tip of the big dipper's handle (Alkaid) is drawn as the bear's nose: as it is here.
  • Occasionally, people. Because why not? Chandre Oram is probably the most well-known instance, but is actually a Subversion because his tail is actually a case of Spina Bifida, or split spine, unlike other instances of human tails.

Aversions:

Film

Newspaper Comics
  • 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.)