Ear cropping is a strictly cosmetic procedure performed on approximately 20 dog breeds, including Dobermans, Great Danes, and Boxers. The surgical removal of most or all of the flappy portion of the ear is involved in this procedure. While ear cropping is still legal in most of North America, there are a few things to think about before subjecting your puppy to ear cropping.

What is Ear Cropping?

Ear cropping is the removal of part (or all) of a dog's ears, which is often followed by taping the remaining ear upright so that it heals vertically. Ear cropping is commonly performed on Dobermanns, American bullies, Pitbulls, and other similar breeds. It should be noted that some breeds, such as huskies, German shepherds, Westies, and Corgis, have naturally upright ears.

Why do people crop a dog's ears?

There are a few reasons why someone might choose to crop a dog's ears. These reasons, however, have been proven false.

False: To Improve Hearing

Some herding and livestock guardian breeds had their ears cropped to improve their hearing, but this is not always the case.

False: To Prevent Ear Infections

There was a time when people believe cropping a dog's ears would reduce infections. Dogs get ear infections for a variety of reasons, including genetic, environmental, dietary, and anatomical factors. There is no link between cropped ears and a reduction in the frequency or severity of ear infections in dogs, according to research.

The Controversy Surrounding Ear Cropping

Most of these historical reasons have been proven false or are no longer relevant today. Dogfighting is prohibited, and the most common dogs used for hunting and chasing down prey are hounds, whose long ears aid in scent trailing. It's also debatable whether certain breeds look more intimidating with cropped ears. Consider Rottweilers. They are not cropped and are unmistakably intimidating.

Although some dogs have parts of their ears removed later in life, this is usually in response to injury or repeat trauma and is reactionary rather than elective.

The surgery is prohibited in many countries and breed associations. Even in Germany, where several of the most popular cropped breeds and the practice are likely to have originated, it is illegal. Despite legal battles in several states to outlaw the practice, it remains legal in the United States and the majority of Canada. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) also opposes the practice when it is pursued solely for cosmetic reasons.

Should I crop my dog's ears?

If you are considering ear cropping for your puppy, most states still have veterinarians who offer this service. Do your homework, consult with your veterinarian, or get a few opinions first. Any surgery is painful, and proper veterinary care can help to reduce this pain as well as the risk of infection. Pico Rivera Animal Hospital is happy to discuss the risks and aftercare with you. We, however, do not perform ear cropping for dogs.

Have questions about ear cropping for dogs? Contact our Pico Rivera vets and we'll discuss everything you should know.