3 Things You May Not Know About Ear Cropping

The original shape of a purebred dog’s ears may not be what you see in the adult dog. The owners of some dogs of certain breeds choose for their pet to undergo a procedure called “ear cropping” in order to shape the ears of their pet to look more like those traditionally associated with their breed.

What is ear cropping?

Ear cropping is the practice of reshaping a dog’s ears by removing the pinna or ‘floppy part’ of the ear. Approximately one half of the ear is removed during this procedure. If a puppy’s ears are going to be cropped, this typically takes place when the puppy is between nine and twelve weeks old.

After the pinna has been removed, the veterinarian posts the ears, which means that he or she tapes the dog’s ears in an erect position to a splint or bracket. The pet-owner must apply ointment to the wounds for 7 to 10 days before the stitches may be removed by the veterinarian. Typically, to keep the wound clean and to achieve a strong standing crop, a pet-owner will repost and redress their puppy’s ears after a few days. 

3 things you may not know about ear cropping:

Ear cropping is reserved for purebreds.

  • Some breeds of dogs have traditionally been recognized in part by the distinctive look of their heads and cropped ears have become a part of their trademark. Some examples would be Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, and Miniature Schnauzers.
  • Veterinarians and breeders are unlikely to crop the ears of a puppy that is not a certified purebred of a breed of dog that traditionally has had cropped ears, because this procedure may not work as well on mixed bred dogs and it is not a trademark of any mixed breed.

Ear cropping is banned in some countries

  1. Since there is no medical, physical, environmental, or cosmetic advantage to the dog for its ears to be surgically altered, this procedure is considered animal cruelty in some places.
  2. In the United States, ear cropping is banned in Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, and Washington except if it’s performed by a licensed veterinarian at a location such as Animal Clinic of Bensonhurst
  3. Internationally, ear cropping is banned in the UK, Scandinavia, Austria, Germany, Israel, Singapore, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Sometimes ear cropping fails

  • Ear cropping may fail for several reasons including but not limited to:
    1. The cartilage of the pinna being too thin to support the weight of the ear
    2. Scar tissue forming along the ear margin, preventing the ears from standing
    3. The ears being set too low on the dog’s head
    4. The ear crop being too long for the size of the ear
  • When ear cropping fails, some pet owners may choose to have corrective surgery or implants surgically added to perfect the shape of their pet’s ears. 

Ultimately, the decision of whether to crop is left to the owner of a purebred puppy. This procedure is painful for the animal but is necessary to achieve the aesthetic of the traditional breed in some instances. For some pet owners, beauty simply is pain. 

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