5 Emotional Conversations About Dog Ear Cropping in 2018

I’m going to say something that might raise a brow or two….I like the look of dog ear cropping in certain breeds. I know I’m not alone either. That said, now that I know the truth about ear cropping and the risks it poses to the dogs, I would never have it done.

I’m not here to speak for everybody. I am, however, going to give you an idea of how the most influential groups and organizations feel about the topic. At the end of the day, the decision to crop will depend on:

  • the current law of your state/province
  • whether you can find a veterinarian to do it

Kiki Polglase on Twitter

We urge the public not to buy dogs with cropped ears – RSPCA https://t.co/2irMcecYAd

  1. It’s the Breeder’s Right to Choose Dog Ear Cropping!

The American Kennel Club is a complex organization serving the needs of all-breed clubs in America. The AKC believes in the humane, ethical approach to dog handling and care, and they also believe in the rights of club members to decide whether ear cropping is the thing to do.

This is where the American Veterinarian Medical Association joins the mix. They too are concerned with the health and welfare of our dogs, but they highly discourage the practice of dog ear cropping.  The association doesn’t have the clout to ban the procedure, but they can apply pressure, and that’s what they have been doing.

Unfortunately, there is a striking difference in opinion between the AKC and the AMVA. Primarily, the AKC feels it is respecting the individual rights of each breed club to decide what’s in the best interest of their dogs.  The veterinarian association, however, sees the procedure as being purely cosmetic, making it an easier to decision to stop the practice.d

2. We can’t say dog ear cropping is illegal, but…

Various states have been pressured over the years to apply limitations on the practice of ear cropping.  It doesn’t appear there are any U.S. states with a distinct law against it. The onus has been put on the veterinarians to decide if they will or won’t do the procedure. From what I understand, a lot of veterinarians are simply refusing to do it.

Today, the following states do not allow ear cropping unless it is done by a veterinarian and the procedure is performed under anesthesia.

  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • New Hamshire
  • New York
  • Pennyslvania
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Washington
And speaking of how dog ear cropping is performed…

Did you know that ears are cropped on puppies at a very early age? Because the puppies are so young, it would be dangerous to use anesthetic. The claim is that the dog feels little pain when it happens.


3. Sometimes a belief in something requires ignorance of the facts.

The fact is, it’s not only licensed veterinarians performing ear crops, it’s owners themselves.  Remember, just because someone says they’re a breeder doesn’t mean they’re ethical. At least a licensed veterinarian has the dog’s interest at heart and the procedure is performed in a sterile environment by experienced professionals.

Some breeders feel very strongly about having their dogs’ ears cropped. For them, it’s a matter of history and lineage. It’s about a certain look that characterizes the breed. Ask proponents of dog ear cropping what it means to them, and they will probably tell you that it’s been that way for hundreds of years and that ear cropping changes the physicality of the dog. The truth is, there’s no proof to support that claim and the surgery is considered medically unnecessary.  The little information out there comes from surveys performed by veterinarians on small-scale studies.

The following breeds most commonly have their ears cropped:

  • Affenpinscher
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Boston Terrie
  • Bouvier des Flandres
  • Boxer
  • Briard
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Pinscher
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Great Dane
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Standard Schnauzer

4. Public Outcry in a World of Hypersensitivity

When I was a little girl, my parents didn’t have much money. We weren’t poor, but nothing was wasted. My father grew a vegetable and fruit garden, and we were able to live on that year-round.  My father, with the help of our dog, hunted for our meat. We ate rabbit and deer mostly. The only reason I bring this up is because it paints a picture of different times. When you have to survive on the land, you’ll do whatever it takes to be successful. If folklore has been passed from generation to generation about the virility of cropped dogs, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to have it done to your dog.

I believe there’s a big difference in cropping a dog’s ears to (however misguidedly) make him a better hunter when you have to hunt for your own food. What I don’t understand is the desire to have the procedure done purely for cosmetic reasons. And remember, I’ve already said that I like the look. At least…I used to like the look.  That was before I knew that the procedure was done without the use of anesthetic, and that it’s commonly done on very young puppies. 

5. What Do We Know And When Did We Figure it Out?

I’m being honest with you when I say that I used to believe certain dogs were born with cropped ears (and docked tails).  I was totally ignorant, and even when I did discover the truth, I still couldn’t imagine that anybody except a veterinarian would perform the procedure.

Now, it’s easy to find images of dogs with botched ear jobs. It turns my stomach to think what people will do to their dogs. This is what started to change my mind about the procedure, and about how I felt about a certain canine aesthetic.

The proliferation of these worst-case-scenarios are enraging dog lovers around the world. Pressure has to be mounting against those who still approve the procedure.  Keep adding pressure and soon no licensed veterinarian will approve the procedure. It sounds great, but will breeders resort to less ethical practices or self applied ear cropping? That’s what worries me.

The following Twitter post illustrates a disgust for the procedure. Normally, I like to use a variety of images and videos to tell the story, but the things I’ve come across sickened me too much to want to publish them on my blog.

Amy De-Keyzer on Twitter

This is a truly barbaric practice which has no place in modern day society – please do your bit to crackdown on this by not buying dogs with cropped ears and by reporting concerns to @RSPCA_official https://t.co/P1zFJrogb8

The point of this article is to illustrate both sides of the story, not to determine who’s right and who’s wrong. Having factual information is necessary for people to make sound decisions. Education prompts change, although it can take a long time. In the meantime, is it that far of a stretch to see the damage being done to innocent dogs at the hands of their owners?

Some might argue that it’s okay to have them cropped when the dog is older, and placed under anesthesia. The problem with that is the risk of infection from the procedure along with the inherent risk that comes with being put under.

In my opinion, if dogs were meant to have cropped ears, they would have been born like that in the first place