This section is from the book "Sporting Dogs. Their Points And Management In Health, And Disease", by Frank Townend Barton. Also available from Amazon: Sporting Dogs; Their Points and Management in Health and Disease.
Such varieties as Fox, Airedale, Irish Terriers, Spaniels, etc., require to have their tails shortened, and this should be done when the puppies are, say, a couple or three weeks old. An old, but rather revolting custom is that of biting off the requisite portion.
A sharp pair of serrated scissors, or a chisel, will do the work satisfactorily, and nothing should be done to the cut end, beyond allowing the healing to follow its natural course.