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March 12, 2012 at 12:47 PMComments: 8 Faves: 0

The Whole Truth About Ear Cropping

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

As a trainer, I have the joy of working with a wide variety of dog breeds. With this, I have also learned much about the different purebred show standards - some of which include tail docking. Others include ear cropping.

This practice, controversial to say the least, is a left-over from a time when some dogs were used exclusively for sport or work. Because their tails and ears were especially vulnerable, cropping or docking was viewed as a preventative measure.

Today of course, the dog's place in society is very different. "Sports" like dog fighting are illegal and working dogs aren't just working dogs, they're companions too. There are now laws to protect dogs from cruelty and abuse. Accordingly, MANY countries (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Virgin Islands, Wales) have banned the practice of ear cropping, which is now done purely for aesthetic reasons.

Unfortunately, the US has yet to join the ranks of countries which recognize the practice for what it is - cruel and unnecessary - probably because there are so many falsehoods on the subject floating around.

Here are just a few I'd like to dispel!

Question: Is ear cropping actually painful for a dog?

Answer: YES! Though the dog is anesthetized at the time of the operation, the ears are cut, stitches are required, bandages and change of bandages are necessary and the ears bleed easily. Puppies have awoken from the anesthesia screaming even though pain medication is prescribed and administered. Recovery time is weeks and it can sometimes take up to 6 months to get the full results.

Question: Does ear cropping actually prevent ear infections or enhance hearing in dogs?

Answer: While this is a typical justification of the procedure, there is no medical reason or proof of this.

Question: They've been cropping dogs ears for a long time. There must be a good reason for ear cropping, right?

Answer: A hundred years ago, ear cropping was done for sports such as dog-fighting, bear-baiting and hunting animals that might fight back, and for work such as defending livestock from predators. Yet, statistics on dog ear injuries show the practice was unnecessary then and even more unnecessary if it is done for purely cosmetic purposes.

Unfortunately the AKC (American Kennel Club) still seems to be stuck in the olden days. It has only been under enormous pressure that they even accept "Show Ring" dogs without ear cropping, and those they do accept receive a steep penalty for that. Despite the fact that the procedure actually hinders the dog's abilities, they persist in advocating the practice.

Question: People spay and neuter their dogs. How is ear cropping any different?

Answer: UGGGHHH! If you have been reading my blogs, you will know that I am pro spay and neuter! Every year millions of pets are put to sleep simply because they have no where to go. This procedure is extremely important to approaching this problem. Spaying and neutering also prevents major diseases like cancer and pyometra. Ear cropping is purely cosmetic.

Question: Okay. Maybe people shouldn't try it at home, but what about having a veterinarian do it? Veterinarians must understand the benefits of ear cropping.

Answer: American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) views ear cropping as a cosmetic procedure only, and is opposed to the practice. More veterinarians are refusing to crop ears due to their understanding and knowledge of the procedure being extremely painful and unnecessary.


Myths about Dog Ear Cropping

Pet Place - Ear Cropping

More from Health Coach Victoria Swanson Others Are Reading


  • Could you please explain how ear cropping directly effects the olfactory senses in a canine?

  • Good Day E.M. Wollof~

    We apologize but the word was suppose to be "hearing", not "smells", the ear cropping does not effect a dogs olfactory senses. We again apologize for our typo, but also appreciate your good eye in catching that (I have corrected it).

    Have a great day!

    Victoria :)

  • Maybe this isn't true of all breeds, but...

    "From a morphological standpoint, scent hounds appear to be specifically designed to be sniffing machines. Their noses are equipped with larger cavities compared to other types of dogs, so they can process smells better...their droopy ears are thought to further help capture and collect scents from the ground keeping them at nose level." -

    "One of the most negative points about a Bloodhound as a pet is his tendency to become single-minded when he catches an interesting scent. And with the incredible nose and the floppy ears that help bring odors to the nose, these dogs can often catch an interesting scent." -

  • Thanks Erin~

    However, scent hounds are not breeds that get their ears cropped. Breed standards according to the AKC understand the purpose of a scent hounds ears, they drag against the ground as the dog is sniffing picking up scents. The Scent Hound Group is not a group that gets their ears cropped nor have they ever.

  • The two mentioned here ARE scenthounds, but it stands to reason that if THEY use their ears this way, having floppier ears rather than pointier ears could help other breeds smell, if even to a lesser extent.

  • I didn't see anywhere in either article where it says their ears were cropped? So I am confused...I am not arguing that ears are used for olfactory senses, just not in these particular breeds that ear cropping is performed on. So I should have reworded it different. It does reference it is thought that a Blood Hound contributed to the gene lines of a Boxer (which a Boxer does endure this horrific procedure of ear cropping), however the Boxer is not in the category of a Scent Hound.

    Sorry E.M. Wollof~ Let me correct myself, olfactory senses plays a huge role in the Scent Hound Category, but not with the breeds that endure this awful procedure of ear cropping, as the breeds that have ear cropping done are not Scent Hounds. I hope this explains what you were asking about.

  • This article is at risk for being reported to DMCA because you have copied most of my ideas arrgghhh! Please remove the article or at least have the decency of re-writing the whole article using your thoughts and not somebody else's. Below is my original article. YOUR ARTICLE WAS BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION AND TRACKED DOWN by my publishing site which REPORTS plagiarism. Please remove your article ASAP, THANK YOU.

  • Is it really that surprising that two articles on the same topic would touch on the same issues? I see no evidence of plagiarism whatsoever.

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