Why people crop dogs’ ears in the 21st century is beyond me. Yet, it still happens. The procedure is performed with anesthetic because, up until recently, it was thought that puppy’s hadn’t fully developed pain receptors. That is not true.
I’m just going to get right to the reasons why people crop dog’s ears. After that, I’ll give some voice to both sides of the equation along with a final summary that reveals the ugly truth as to why people crop dog’s ears.
Try Not to Laugh at Reasons Why People Crop Dogs’ Ears
- To make the dog look more intimidating.
Some people swear that’s just not true, but I know differently. There are people in society who want a mean-looking dog to keep others away or for protection. The reality is, the dog is the same whether his ears are cropped or his tail is docked. The temperament and overall personality of the dog doesn’t change because of those procedures.
- To protect the dog’s ears from being caught and injured while hunting.
Yes, I realize there are still people all over the world who hunt. Some do it to thrive and others for sport. Regardless, there is no proof to support why people crop dogs’ ears or tails for hunting.
- It’s expected that certain breeds have the aesthetic that comes when people crop dogs’ ears.
There are some groups with the American Kennel Club who wholeheartedly believe in continuing the practice of cropping dogs’ ears and docking dogs’ tails. For them, the procedure defines the breed and preserves tradition dating back hundreds of years.
- Some consider it hygienic.
Why do people dock tails? It’s considered a hygienic practice for breeds who may have thicker coats. It almost sounds reasonable, but is it? It’s not that hard to keep the dog brushed and groomed properly. In my opinion, if your dog has bowel movements that get all over his tail, you need to get the dog to a veterinarian for a checkup and consider changing the dog’s diet! But I’m not a veterinarian. If your dog really is having loose bowel movements, you should get in touch with the veterinarian.
- It doesn’t hurt them anyway, so why not crop the ears and tails?
False. I am sure you can find a video or a testimonial somewhere on the web showing someone performing the procedure. It will be quite obvious whether or not the poor animal is suffering. And I know they do. I could have dug out some videos to add to this post, but I couldn’t bring myself to show that kind of thing.
- Many years ago, tail docking was through to prevent rabies.
Presumably, the intention was that dog’s wouldn’t be caught by prey carrying rabies while hunting.
- Tail docking was also thought to strength the back and increase speed
In theory, I suppose you might think that less tail makes for a lighter, more streamlined run. Practically speaking, I don’t think there is any truth to that. So, why do people dock tails to this day? Today, people crop dogs’ ears and dock tails primarily for legit hunting and herding dogs. These dogs spend a lot of time in the fields where their tails are subjected to painful burrs and foxtails.
Breeders have customers who expect the dog will have cropped ears or a docked tail. The perception still remains that certain breeds in particular should have these physical characteristics.
The Aristocrat and the Stiff Upper Lip
Why people crop dogs’ ears seems to remain in the hands of clubs who have show dogs. I believe some people believe that specific dog breeds without docked tails or cropped ears are “lesser” than other dogs of the same breed. Frankly, it’s about looking good, kind of the way society warped women into believing we had to look a certain way to be of value.
You can argue with these people and show them all the gruesome videos you want, but I don’t think it will matter. We are, in many ways, a more enlightened society, and we can only hope that time will correct the mistakes of the past.
Straddling the Fence
The American Kennel Club (AKC) 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, but 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, and they highly discourage the practice of dog ear cropping and dog tail docking. However, the association doesn’t have the authority to outright ban the procedure. What they can do is apply pressure, which is exactly what they’ve been doing.
2. Ear Cropping is Illegal in Many Countries and Some States
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.
- New Hamshire
- New York
The following is a partial list of countries have made the practice of ear cropping dog tail docking illegal:
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. Some breeders feel very strongly about having their dogs’ ears cropped and/or tails docked. For them, it’s a matter of history and lineage. It’s about a certain look that characterizes the breed.
The following breeds most commonly have their ears cropped:
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Boston Terrier
- Bouvier des Flandres
- Brussels Griffon
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Pinscher
- Giant Schnauzer
- Great Dane
- Manchester Terrier
- Miniature Pinscher
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Standard Schnauzer
5. The Blatant Evidence is Everywhere
Drop by your local dog shelter and I guarantee you will see dogs whose owners have seriously botched an ear cropping job. It makes my stomach turn. These dogs have very little ear flap left leaving the ear canal open to debris and infection.
I couldn’t bring myself to publish some of the more offensive and graphic images, but I have added the following Twitter post for you.
At the end of the day, it’s about protecting those who can’t speak for themselves….our dogs. No procedure is worth putting them in pain and at risk of infection. In my opinion, if dogs needed cropped ears and tails, they’d be born that way.
I hope I’ve given you something to think about! I’m very open to your comments and discussion. Please send me a line and tell me what you think of the practice. No graphic images please! My imagination is good enough.
Please don’t forget to share with your friends and family.