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.
Justifications: The character has a docked tail or was born without a tail.
Type 1 Examples:
- An interesting example in Eto Rangers; most of the Eto Rangers don't have tails (except for Drago, Nyorori, Monk and Tart). To make up for this, the tailless Rangers usually have ponytails and rattails shaped like the tails of the animals they represent; in Bakumaru and Pakaracchi's cases, they have a literal rattail and a literal ponytail respectively.
- Arthur's usage of this is noted in Arthur Goes Fourth when D.W. stops believing in her imaginary friend Nadine because she notes that Nadine has a tail.
- Everyone in Pluggers.
- 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 DK: King of Swing onwards. It was also inexplicably MIA for the Donkey Kong Country tv series, even while his minions had theirs. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate gives him a tail again, albeit a ridiculously stubby one.
- Berri from Conker's Bad Fur Day, likely done on purpose.
- None of the bandicoot characters within the Crash Bandicoot series have tails, bar Tawna and the CTR trophy girls, and even then their tails look more like bunny bob tails than the rat-like tails bandicoots normally have. Crash's early concept art was drawn with a long string-like tail with a puff on the end.
- 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.
- 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.
- Goofy, Pete, Clarabelle Cow, and Horace Horsecollar from the Classic Disney Shorts originally had tails, but are nowadays always drawn tailless.
- Clarabelle Cow has a tail in the Minnie n Me line of merchandise and Goofy has a tail in the new Mickey Mouse (2013) cartoons.
- Goofy's son, Max was tailless even in The '50s 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 (1987), Goof Troop, and A Goofy Movie don't have tails at all either. A few dogfaces in DuckTales (2017) have tails, but most still dont.
- Stimpy of The Ren & Stimpy Show 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 episodes. 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.
- Even most of the anthropomorphic characters (including the main cast) in The Mysteries Of Providence have no tails at all.
- Fermin Flaxseed from the Animaniacs episode "The Big Candy Store," is completely tailless.
- The pigs in Olivia do not have tails.
- The pigs in The Raccoons have no tails, neither do the female aardvarks (e.g. Sophia Tutu) or some characters (notably Lady Baden-Baden).
- 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 C.O.W.-Boys 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.
- With the exception of Rothgar, none of the alien dogs in the Oh Yeah! Cartoons short "Planet Kate" have tails.
- Hoze Houndz has both canine and feline characters drawn without tails, even when their naked buttocks show in one episode. The only exceptions are some of the feline characters, like the Space Cats.
- They did have tails occasionally shown in the first season.
- The main character of Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart is a cat without a tail. He had one as a child, but it was crushed under a boulder on one of his early adventures.
- In Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!'s earlier comic book "The Tail of Flopsy, Mopsy, and Ted," Flopsy was drawn with a tailnote . Once the book became a series, Flospy was redesigned into what we know today as Widget, who lacks a tail.
Type 2 Examples:
- 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.
- For some odd reason, WereGarurumon in his Digimon Adventure appearances lack a tail, despite having a tail in the Bandai official art of the virtual pets. Even his later non-anime appearances have a tail.
- The Warners in Animaniacs have tails, but are occasionally drawn tailless as an animation error.
- Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse have tails, but are tailless in some of the Classic Disney Shorts cartoons and in House of Mouse. In general, the rule seems to be this: When they're in their "classic" outfits, they have visible tails, when fully dressed, the tail disappears. Kingdom Hearts is a notable exception to the fully dressed = tailess rule.
- Otis, Bessie, Abby, Peck, Freddie, Pig, 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 of SpongeBob SquarePants Sandy was tail-less, her tail only being visible when she wasn't wearing her space suit. From season two onwards her suit was designed with a hole for it.
- 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.
- The Eager Young Space Cadet (Porky Pig) from Duck Dodgers doesn't have a tail in every outfit he wears, unless he gets a wedgie in a few episodes or when he's showering in one episode.
- 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:
- Not an animal, but Marvel Comics character 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.
- Alvin and the Chipmunks:
- Baloo from TaleSpin, unlike his The Jungle Book (1967) 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 lost it in battle or had it docked. The original ThunderCats didn't have tails.
Inversions and Parodies:
- 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.)
- In Donkey Kong Country, Diddy Kong is a chimpanzee with a tail.
- 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.
- In the media, the famous pterosaur Pteranodon is a frequent victim of an inversion. While the real Pteranodon did have a tail, it was stumpy and short with no obvious purpose to it. But many media depictions give it a long tail anyway for no real reason.
Aversions and Justified Examples:
- The titular character of Peter No Tail is a cat who had his tail bitten off by a rat when he was but a kitten. This makes him an occasional target for bullies.
- Princess Kat in The Fuzzy Princess lost her real tail in an accident. Thus she wears a prosthetic tail that can be easily detached and morph into things.