Should You Have Your Dog’s Ears Cropped?

There are several dog breeds that regularly are seen with cropped ears; including Boxers, Schnauzers, Great Danes, and others. Thousands of young puppies are forced to endure surgery which is expensive, uncomfortable, relatively dangerous, and can be painful in the recovery phases. The amazing part is this surgery is totally unnecessary.

This practice was started centuries ago when dog fighting sports were legal and popular. The idea was that it was more humane to crop the dogs’ ears rather than have them shredded during a battle, which of course, would be more painful and have potentially worse complications. But the point is that because we no longer allow our dogs to fight for sport there is no humane and practical purpose of cropping ears. But the expensive and needless surgery continues.

We have become accustomed to seeing certain breeds with cropped ears and if we saw one with natural ears he would stand out. Even though AKC does not require cropped ears, a dog with natural ears in a ring full of crop-eared animals would most likely not stand a chance of winning. We simply expect a breed to look a certain way and when a dog doesn’t we question his bloodline and basically think he looks funny or out of place. Breeders and dog owners alike have complied with this expectation of society and therefore it is perpetuated – the cycle continues.

There are obviously numerous reasons not to crop a dog’s ears. Please see the list below:

• The surgery is unnecessary and all surgeries come with a certain amount of risk. Ear cropping is no exception to that. It simply is not justifiable.

• The surgery is usually done when the puppy is between six and ten weeks old. This is a time when the pup is emotionally fragile. Permanent damage to the puppy’s disposition can result as a reaction to the trauma of the surgery, the pain and frustration of post-operative bandaging, racking and taping.

• There can be quite a loss of blood during this surgery. The physical effect on the puppy can be very damaging.

• Ear-cropping happens about the same time that the puppy is ready to be sold. In many states the surgery must be performed by a veterinarian. This adds to the cost the breeder must incur which means he/she will take a large cut from the profits or have to pass the cropping costs along to the buyer. And most buyers do not find puppies with bandaged heads as attractive as those without.

It’s your decision in the end. If you want your dog to look like all the others then ear cropping is probably the way to go. But please keep in mind that ear cropping is a choice, not a requirement.

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