Ear Cropping: Animal Cruelty or Beauty Standard

dog ear cropping Doberman dog

This practice of dog ear cropping is a painful procedure in which the dog’s ear is surgically removed to make the dog appear more aggressive or for aesthetic purposes. 

Someone call PETA, cause this definitely counts as animal cruelty!

A dog’s ears contain many muscles that enable them to detect and retain sounds, which is an essential aspect of their senses.

So, mutilating a body part of the dog can cause an extreme effect on their social life in the future. And because their ear is still soft, ear cropping on it is normally done when the dog is still a puppy.

Repeat that again! A Puppy!!

Dog ears are subjected to “barbaric mutilation.”

It is a medical procedure in which the dog’s ear is surgically removed using surgical scissors.

When such procedures are carried out, it leads to several difficulties, including infections and communication issues in the future.

The barbaric act of ear cropping is primarily done to improve the appearance of a dog and some of the dog breeds most susceptible to ear croppings are Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Boston Terriers, or Great Danes. 

Another reason why ear cropping is said to have been done largely is to improve the look of the dog and to keep them more lively.

Now isn’t that just CRUEL? 

Such acts of cruelty can cause the dog unnecessary and unwelcome long-term chronic agony, therefore it should be prohibited.

The Emergence Of Ear Cropping

black and white sketch of dogs

Ear cropping is reported to have started as a German tradition for no other purpose than to make the dog appear fierce.

Ear cropping was practiced on German breeds such as Great Danes, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, and Schnauzers due to military history– and is still performed on these breeds.

Historically, pet owners began practicing ear cropping on working dogs in order to reduce ear infections since these working dogs were also prone to rat attacks.

In the case of working dogs, their ears were usually cropped because they were vulnerable to attacks from wolves while protecting the flock. 

Ear cropping was also done on fighting dogs who participated in bullfighting or bear fighting.

This was due to the ear being a sensitive, susceptible, and easy target for the opposing animal to bite, grip, and tear.

The first accounted and written record of ear cropping dates back more than 300 years and it was performed as a defense against wolf attacks.

In guardian dog breeds, ear cropping was often carried out due to the belief that an erect ear was better capable of detecting sounds compared to a floppy ear. 

This practice has persisted to the present day, with most ear cropping performed on specific dog breeds for cosmetic reasons rather than “bullfighting” or defense against wolves.

Because let’s face it, reasons like bullfighting, bear fighting, and having to defend against rats and wolves are no longer relevant in this day and age.

There have been reports of an increase in ear cropping over the last year.

Although it is prohibited in the United Kingdom and other European countries; ear cropping is still legal in North America, with the exception of a few states such as New York.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) reported that there has been a 600% increase in ear cropping.  

The Painful Truth Behind Ear Cropping Procedure

Dog with bandaged ear

The unnecessary “mutilation” of a crucial part of the dog’s anatomy is the most distressing aspect of ear cropping.

This ear cropping surgery is now performed exclusively for cosmetic purposes, and the procedure is extremely painful for the dog.

Furthermore, ear cropping is only done on pups; it is never done on adults. This is owing to the fact that while they are pups, their ears are still soft.

The dog’s ear is cleaned and disinfected before any surgical procedure. And the cut chosen by the pet parents determines the amount of ears trimmed.

After the mutilation, sutures are used to close the cropped portion of the ear.

Some veterinarians who perform ear cropping on dogs also administer sedatives and pain relievers.

Too often, some breeders take the situation into their own hands and use blades or scissors to undertake the “ear cropping” themselves.

Another method for cropping the ears was to cut off the blood supply with a ring or rope, causing the ear to fall off on its own; this method is too often performed for Tail cropping.

And there’s always the risk of catching an infection.

Since their immune system is still weak, the puppy whose ear was just cropped is more susceptible to infection.

Like the dog tail, the ear is an important part of a dog’s communication system.

This surgery can result in significant post-operative pain for the pet as well as psychological trauma for the doggo.

Both the pet parents and other canines, including the dog whose ears were cropped, face long-term and short-term problems as a result of the removal of such an important part of the body.

Ear Cropping Healing Time

two Doberman with their ears cropped and bandage

The cropped ear takes 3 to 4 weeks to heal completely.

If the puppy was put under anesthesia during the ear cropping procedure, it will recover in 2 or 3 days.

The dog must also wear a bandage in his ear at all times during the healing process to maintain the upright “aesthetic” ear position when the bandage is removed.

Since their immune system is still weak, there is always the risk of infection during the healing process, and the pooch whose ear was just cropped is more vulnerable to infection.

Aside from the infection, there are other potential complications, such as the desired cropped ear not being in the right position and the ear being distorted, which can lead to more ear cropping. 

The real question I’d like to pose here is whether you, as a pet parent, would allow your dog to undergo such procedures simply to look better, even if the procedure does nothing to improve the dog’s overall health and serves only the “beauty purpose”?

Ear Cropping Types

Before getting into the “aesthetic” look of the ear croppings, listed below are the breeds that are most likely to fall victim to ear croppings: 

  • American Bully and Terrier 
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Briard
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Cane Corso
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Pinscher
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Great Dane
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Standard Schnauzer

There are four main crop styles, and most breeders will make their pets get one of them. The only difference between the various ear cropping styles is the amount of ear that is cropped

1. Short Crop 

This type of ear cropping dog involves removing two-thirds of the dog’s ear and leaving only one-third.

The flat-headed dog is the most common victim of this ear cropping. Staffordshire, for example.

2. Medium Crop 

The Show crop, also known as the medium crop, is the most common ear cropping style among breeders and pet owners because it gives a more alert look to the dog. 

This crop is also the hardest style to achieve but looks best with pits that have a rounded head and a muzzled face. 

3. Tall Crop 

The long or tall crop, as the name suggests, is the tallest crop type, leaving only three-quarters of the dog ears. This style also has a narrowing effect on the ear.

4. Battle Crop

The battle crop is the smallest of the ear crop style. It also results in the dog’s ears being excessively low, making it difficult for the dog to shield them from insects and dirt.

Implications Of Ear Cropping 

A dog getting his ear checked by the vet

When a dog’s ear is cropped, a variety of problems can arise, ranging from communication to infection, all of which can lead to an ear cropping gone wrong.


Along with the tail, the ear is an important element of a dog’s anatomy. They have an important role in communication.

Dogs communicate with one another by wagging their tails and wiggling their ears.

The ears of a dog also communicate the dog’s feelings and mood, therefore mutilating such an essential part of the body can cause challenges for the pet parent in interpreting the dog’s emotion.


The ear muscles of dogs are structured in such a manner that when the ear moves in the direction of the sound, the outer ear catches sound waves and funnels them into the eardrum.

The dog’s hearing will be affected if an ear is cropped.

Ear cropping dogs can cause psychological stress and PTSD in dogs, in addition to communication and hearing issues.

The tale of Otis is evidence of this.

Otis, a Cane Corso, had his ear and tail trimmed shortly after his pet parents got him.

Following the procedure, Otis was scared of both his parents and strangers.

Otis is now three years old, but he still does not get along with strangers and even his pet parents sometimes, especially if they approach him with an object.

Such a traumatic experience sticks with him for the rest of his life.

This is just one example, but it highlights the consequences of such cruel acts perpetrated on dogs for the sake of aesthetics.

“How would you respond if your parents forced you to get an ear chopped merely because it looks good?” is a question I’d like to ask here.

Are There Any Ear Cropping Benefits? 

Two Doberman dogs, one with cropped ear and the other with no crop ear

Ear cropping is a painful procedure that benefits the dog in no way.

The ear cropping benefits are little to none, while the consequences of cropping the ear and tail have long-term impacts.

PTSD, infection, social phobia, and intense fear are all possibilities for the dog.

According to research, some dogs who had their ears cropped have exhibited behavioral problems as a result of their inability to understand or communicate effectively.

Ear croppings are not beneficial, contrary to popular belief. The practice of ear cropping dogs was conducted only as a preventive against wolves in the case of shepherd dogs and rodents in the case of farm dogs, according to the history of ear croppings. 

They were also cropped for fighting dog breeds since it was a target of attack for the opposing animal. Ear cropping was done for these reasons.

Why has ear cropping increased so dramatically?

Dogs go for a walk with their pet parent. One has cropped ear and the other doesn't

Over the last year, there have been reports of a huge increase in the ear cropping of dogs. 

It has increased by 600 percent, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

Celebrities are mostly responsible for the dramatic spike in-ear cropping.

Along with the desire “to own” designer dogs, dogs with cropped tails, and dogs with cropped ears are all popular on social media these days.

It’s exclusively a social media trend.

Is it compassionate to advocate animal rights when your dog’s ears are cropped?

Social media has a significant role in the trends we follow.

The majority of celebrities will “purchase” pets from breeders who are illegally cropping the dogs’ ears and tails.

And they’ll post it on social media sites like Instagram, which contributes to the public’s perception that such behavior is normal.

Ear cropping and tail docking are prohibited in most European countries, as well as the United Kingdom and Australia.

Ear cropping of dogs is common in the United States, and there are currently no laws against it.

Celebrities like Leigh-Anne from Little Mix and Kendall Jenner were the first to boldly create social media graphics of their pets with cropped ears on all the platforms.

The practice of ear cropping should be stopped and rules regulating such barbaric practices should be implemented 

The most upsetting impact of ear-cropping of dogs for the sake of “appearing better” is the unneeded “mutilation” of a vital part of the body.

The ear is an important part of a dog’s communication system, and removing it has long and short-term consequences for the animal.

The operation is extremely painful and uncomfortable for the dog since he or she may endure significant post-operative discomfort as well as psychological distress as a result of the surgery.

Too often, irresponsible breeders take this matter into their own hands and use razors or scissors to perform “ear cropping.”

Then there is the chance of infection since a puppy whose ear has just been cropped has a weak immune system and is more vulnerable to infection.


 Ear cropping is a painful treatment. It is frequently performed on dogs while they are still puppies (8 weeks), and the recovery period is severe. Any dog with cropped ears has gone through pain and distress, as well as a possibly unpleasant recuperation process.

In the United States, no state has officially prohibited ear cropping. Cropping has only been controlled in eight states, according to the AVMA. The eight states with controlled ear cropping laws include Pennsylvania, Washington, New York, Virginia, and Massachusetts  Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

Ear cropping is illegal in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Slovak Republic, and parts of Europe.

Numerous research has shown that there are no benefits to ear cropping. Because dogs use their ears to communicate, ear cropping can lead to communication and social problem

Woof Woof 

Greetings, dog lovers and pet parents!

The topic of this article was ear cropping dogs and their consequences.

What are your thoughts on ear cropping?

Do you agree or disagree that these practices should be regulated by law?

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