Some people know pit bulls as cute dogs with small floppy ears that sit awkwardly on their heads. Others know them for their alert, pointy ears that make them appear intimidating.
These two looks are very different, but in a way they are the same breed of dog!
Drop ears and pointy ears are not genetic. A pit bull with pointy ears is the result of a medical procedure known as ear cropping or ear amputation. In this operation, most of the outer ear is cut off for aesthetic reasons.
This is a painful procedure that can lead to many health and behavioral problems. So why do so many dog owners pay money to have their pit bull ears cropped?
There are many myths surrounding the "benefits" of pit bull ear trimming. In this article, we debunk these myths and discuss whether this procedure is unnecessary and cruel.
Table of Contents
- The history of ear cutting
- Why do people harvest?
- Mythen hinter Pitbull Ear Cropping
- Trim pit bull ears
- Why you shouldn't crop their ears
- Places where it is illegal or prohibited
- Summary: Cut or not
When pit bulls are born, they have what are known as rosebud ears. This is the same ear shape that Labrador puppies have. They have soft, folded ears that are slightly raised, making them appear curious.
These puppies have the look of Dumbo, with ears too big for their tiny heads! That makes her absolutely adorable.
As they age and grow, their heads become large and blocky, which helps them accommodate their large ears much better. Some adult pit bulls can have heads so large that their ears appear tiny on their heads.
Adult pit bull ears are no longer as floppy as they were when puppies, which is why they are no longer considered rosebud-shaped. They're slightly raised, but the bottom half of the ear still folds over the top.
The laxity of the ear depends on whether it is apurebred pit bullor mongrel.
For example, if your pit bull is mixed with a German shepherd, he'll likely have the erect, pointy ears that are so typical of German shepherds. Or, if your pup is a Basset Hound mix, their ears could be so much longer and floppy that they drag on the ground when they walk!
The outer ear that we like to scratch and rub on a dog is known as the pinna.
This part of the ear is important for keeping dirt or water out of a dog's inner ear and also helps them communicate with people and other dogs.
During the procedure, the lovable flexible pinna that Pitties are famous for is trimmed off. The goal of this surgical alteration is to create a sharp, pointed shape that keeps these dogs looking constantly alert.
The history of ear cutting
Ear cropping originated in ancient Rome when dog and bullfights were popular forms of entertainment.
Lop ears posed a threat to attack dogs because another animal could grab their ear and rip it off. To prevent this, the Romans began cutting off most of the pinna. The pinna is the flexible part of the ear that we see on the outside of a dog's head.
Trimming also gave your dogs a "feral" appearance that made them more intimidating. This helped make bull baiting more exciting for viewers.
Many dog owners still crop pit bull ears today, but not for dogfighting purposes.
People who support and advocate this practice have many "justifications" to defend their decision to crop their dog's ears.
Why do people harvest?
One of the most common reasons dog owners advocate clipping Pitbulls' ears is because they like the look. Many owners adopt this breed for their strong, muscular build, despite their cute personalities.
This breed is misperceived as a "manly" dog that can intimidate intruders and ward off danger. Even,they are not watchdogs.
Owners seem to like it as it makes them even more intimidating.
While changing the shape of a pit bull's ear doesn't actually change their behavior, it does change this dog's perception. Dogs with pointy ears are often labeled "aggressive" or "dangerous."
This reasoning further underscores the negative stereotypes that have been wrongly labeled pit bulls. Making these dogs appear more aggressive will further reinforce the belief that they are "dangerous" dogs.
If pit bull owners want to change the public's negative perception of these wonderful dogs, they should not opt for practices that make their dog appear more frightening.
Another common reason people choose to crop pit bull ears is for show purposes.
Hanging and floppy ears are undesirable in the show ring. Most owners wishing to show this breed in a conformation show will likely have their dog's ears cropped.
Surprisingly theBreed standard for the American Pitbull TerrierIt includes erect erect ears cropped.
Many kennel clubs such as the United Kennel Club and the British Kennel Club do not support this painful procedure.
Myths Behind Pitbull Ear Cropping
Many owners claim that cutting off a pit bull's ears has several health benefits.
They believe that because dogs with floppy ears often develop ear infections, cutting off the flexible part (i.e. the pinna) will stop your dog from getting infections! That sounds like a valid point; However, it is not true. It iswas shownthat cutting off a dog's ears does not reduce its risk of infection.
Pitbulls are prone to chronic ear infections because of their allergies, not the shape of their ears.
Cutting off pit bull ears can make infections worse, not better.
The pinna is important in keeping dirt/water out of a dog's inner ear. Your dog doesn't have a protection in its ear canal to keep out dirt, bugs, and water.
There are also owners who claim that removing this floppy part of the ear improves their dog's hearing! But again,That's wrong.
Trimming will not improve your dog's hearing in any way.
The general message is that none of these benefits have any scientific evidence or support.
There is no benefit to your dog in having their ears cropped. This surgical modification is purely cosmetic and is only done because the owners like the look. The vast majority of veterinarians will not perform this procedure.
Trim pit bull ears
Pit bull ear cropping is more likely to be done on puppies than adults.
Vets who perform ear cropping recommend that your pup be between 9 and 12 weeks old when they are brought in for this procedure. At this point, your cartilage is thinner and less developed, making it "less painful."
Clipping after 12 weeks of age can often result in non-erect ears as their ears are more developed and stronger. Because of this, there is an age limit for clipping pit bulls' ears.
Most vets will reject puppies older than 16 weeks or over 20 pounds.
Vets can cut different amounts to achieve different clip styles. The four styles are:
- Battle Crop - The shortest style and removes most of the ear, making your dog more vulnerable to bugs and debris getting in.
- Short Crop - Most reliable when it comes to ensuring ears stay erect.
- Show Crop: The most common and leaves 2/3 of the original ear. It is selected for dogs that will perform in morphological shows.
- Long Goiter - Leaves ¾ of the original ear and is the longest option, resulting in a high ear that looks like a Doberman.
Before the operation begins, the vet will mark where the dog's ear will be cut. Once the outline is drawn, the puppy will be anesthetized and given antibiotics and painkillers to reduce pain and the risk of infection. The ears are thoroughly cleaned and then the veterinarian trims along the drawn lines to achieve the style of ear trimming desired by the owner.
The edges of the ears, which are now open, are closed with sutures and the ears are disinfected.
Their ears are usually bandaged to keep them upright.
The entire procedure takes between 30 and 45 minutes.
Although the ears are carefully disinfected and antibiotics are administered, infections can still occur. In addition, young puppies may respond poorly to the anesthetic administered; a complication that could be fatal.
Pitbull Ear Cropping is a cosmetic procedure that can cost anywhere from $150 to $600 but averages around $250. Lower prices can be found when an owner goes through a breeder. However, this is much more risky and is not recommended.
Owners must find certified veterinarians willing to perform this procedure; Many will not do it for ethical reasons. In some states it is illegal to hire anyone other than a veterinarian.
Cutting off their ears causes unnecessary pain to your pup and can lead to many other health complications. Infections are the biggest concern. Complications like these can happen to any puppy, no matter how qualified the veterinarian is.
Aftercare is complicated and involves cleaning your dog's ears frequently, removing scabs, and fighting infection.
The recovery period after this procedure is about 14 days. This may not seem like a long time, but for a young pup, this is a long time to endure constant pain.
because your puppywill have open woundsyour ears may bleed, itch, scar or become inflamed. This can be extremely irritating. They may need to wear a cone during this time to prevent scratching and further worsening of the pain.
The pain worsens when crusts form, which the owner must remove individually.
When he's in pain and trying to heal, your pit bull puppy is missing out on critical momentstime for socializing.
It will take time for your puppy to socialize with other dogs and learn about play behavior as he recovers from this process.
In addition to the pain and side effects, clipping also affects your dog's ability to communicate with other canines. Dogs use many aspects of body language, including the position of their ears, to "talk" to other dogs.
Why you shouldn't crop their ears
Cropping pit bull ears causes unnecessary pain and suffering. This is a surgical modification with the sole purpose of satisfying the owner's desired look. A responsible owner should not subject a puppy to this procedure.
There are no real health benefits associated with the Pitbull ear cropping process.
Owners have claimed that it reduces ear infections and improves hearing, but there's no evidence to support these claims.
There are no health benefits and many health risks associated with ear cropping.(Video) Is ear cropping GOOD or BAD for your dog? Should it be banned? VOTE NOW🗳 🤏
Failed surgeries can lead to life-threatening infections or further surgeries resulting in the complete loss of your dog's outer ear. These complications can be extremely painful for your dog.
The trauma of major surgery at such a young age can scar a puppy. They can become overly fearful of their owners and develop behavior problems.
Finally, prick ears also contribute to the negative stigma attached to pit bull-like breeds.
With all the downsides of ear cropping, it's hard to believe it's still compatible.
The American Kennel Club states that cropped ears are part of the breed standard. Unfortunately, conformation judges use breed standards to adhere to. This can lead to peopleCut tails or cut ears to win.
Places where it is illegal or prohibited
Cutting off pit bull ears is considered an inhumane practice and is illegal in many countries around the world.Almost all European countriesThe UK, New Zealand, Australia and most of Canada prohibit this practice.
With all the reasons not to crop a pit bull's ears, it's unclear why the practice is still legal in the United States. Ear cropping is still legal in the United States and is even encouraged by some kennel clubs.
within the US,only 9 statesThey have ear-cutting regulations.
Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts and Washington have all officially stated that ear clipping is legal only when performed by a licensed veterinarian.
41 states have no law.
In unregulated states, breeders sometimes crop their puppies' ears. There is a much higher risk of infection and if done incorrectly, more extensive surgery may be required. They also don't have access to painkillers or antibiotics, which vets have access to.
Summary: Cut or not
Ear plucking is a medical procedure with deep historical roots. This operation has been performed since ancient Roman times. It shows the cruel and cruel past of pit bull dog fights.
Many owners claim that the crop has several health benefits.
There are no health benefits associated with this procedure. It does not reduce ear infections or improve hearing. In fact, this is a very inhumane practice, illegal in most European countries, UK, New Zealand and Australia. Surprisingly, it's still legal in the US.
Owners seem to like cropped ears as this makes this breed more intimidating. Unfortunately, this further perpetuates negative stereotypes against these gentle and loving dogs.
Ear cropping damages the breed's reputation and causes pain.
|Allows a pit bull to participate in conformation shows; only applies to show cultures. Battle fruit or long fruit are undesirable.||Extremely painful and can lead to complications such as ear infections and even complete hearing loss.|
|Gives the dog a desired intimidating appearance with alert ears.||It forces the wrong belief that pit bulls are dangerous dogs.|
|It can affect a dog's ability to communicate with other dogs.|
|Surgery is traumatic for a young puppy. Wounds take 10-14 days to heal and can be uncomfortable and itchy.|
Would you cut off your pit bull's ears? Let us know in the comment section below.
More information about pit bulls
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Why do people cut pitbulls ears? ›
In modern times, cropping is mainly performed for purely cosmetic reasons. Many people like the look, believing it makes the dog look fierce, or more natural (like wolves that have upright ears).What are the cons of cutting dog ears? ›
Ear cropping is considered mutilation, purely to make a dog look a certain way. It has no benefit to dogs and causes them nothing but pain and trauma. It also robs the dog of the ability to use their ears in communication, and can negatively impact their hearing.What are the pros to cropping dogs ears? ›
These days, ear cropping is done for cosmetic reasons. However, the procedure used to be done for practical reasons. For example, Boxers were often used as guard dogs. Cropping their ears actually improved their hearing, which therefore enhanced their job performance.What age can you crop a pitbull ear? ›
Ideally, puppies should be between 11 and 15 weeks of age for ear cropping in most breeds. There is some breed variation and flexibility in this, so please consult with our veterinarian if you wish to have an ear crop performed on a puppy not in this age range.What are the negative effects of ear cropping? ›
Potential Complications—As for any incision, cropped ears may become infected. Cropped ears may also fail to stand or have a distorted shape or position potentially leading to subsequent operations.How much does it cost to crop a pitbull's ears? ›
Ear Cropping starts at $450 - Good Care Animal Clinic.Do dogs feel pain when you cut their ears? ›
Ear cropping is painful and completely unnecessary. Despite what some breeders will claim, cropping a dog's ears does not benefit them in any way. It can be detrimental to their health, behaviour and welfare in the short-term and in the long-term.Do dogs feel it when they get their ears clipped? ›
Veterinarians Who Offer Ear Cropping Services
These veterinarians desire to see ear croppings done correctly and with as little pain and distress to the animal as possible. Any surgery is painful, and proper veterinary care can help mitigate this and the risk for infection.
First, ripping this hair out of the ear HURTS the dog. Most will fight, wiggle and try to get the person pulling the hair to stop. Some will scream and try to bite. You, as the pet owner, probably don't want your groomer to inflict pain on your dog, you want your dog to be happy to go to their groomer!Do vets recommend ear cropping? ›
But the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) opposes docking and cropping. “The most common reason for cropping and docking is to give a dog a certain look. That means it poses unnecessary risks,” Patterson-Kane says. Docked tails can also develop a neuroma, or nerve tumor.
What was the original purpose of ear cropping in dogs? ›
Ear cropping was originally performed on certain breeds of dogs that were considered working dogs. The idea was that if a dog might need to fight or hunt as part of his 'job,' then floppy or droopy ears could be a liability. Those ears are an easy target for another animal to grab and tear.How long does dog ear cropping take to heal? ›
In order for the ears to heal in the desired upright precision after surgery, they must be “posted” to a hard surface and taped until completely healed. Bandages need to be changed weekly, typically. The entire process can last from 4-8 weeks.Do pitbulls need their ears cropped? ›
There is no recognized benefit to cropping a dog's ears. It is seen as an elective, aesthetic surgery with no medical benefits. Although this is the case, it is believed by many breeders and owners that it has benefits like better hearing for hunting.How do you take care of a pit bull with cropped ears? ›
It is very important to keep the incisions clean and dry. No bathing or swimming for at least two weeks. Activity restriction is recommended during the next 7-14 days. - You will needto bring your dog/puppy back for suture removal in 14 days following the procedure.Why do American bullies need ear crops? ›
Many also believe that cropping the ears of certain breeds like the American bully can aid in circulation and make it harder for ear infections to set in by decreasing trapped moisture in the ear canal.What is the best age for ear cropping? ›
The best age for ear cropping is between 8 and 12 weeks of age, you should plan to contact our office a few weeks prior to this age window to schedule your consultation as we typically book out approximately four weeks for both consultations and surgeries.Does AKC require ear cropping? ›
AKC's policy on the issue, which remains unchanged, states: The American Kennel Club recognizes that ear cropping, tail docking, and dewclaw removal, as described in certain breed standards, are acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed character and/or enhancing good health.Are puppies in pain after ear cropping? ›
Commonly the ear is then temporarily 'splinted', meaning it is pulled up and secured to something like cardboard to encourage it to stay upright permanently. During the healing process, which will take several weeks, the bandages of the ears will need to be changed multiple times which will also be very painful.Is it illegal to crop dogs ears in us? ›
There are currently nine states that specifically regulate ear cropping of dogs. Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania all prohibit ear cropping except by a licensed veterinarian while the dog is under an anesthetic.How much do vets charge to crop ears? ›
It costs an average of $631 for a Doberman ear cropping procedure at a veterinarian inside the United States. Many owners will pay an average of $107 additional for recommended blood work prior to the procedure.
Is laser ear cropping better? ›
By undergoing laser surgery, your pup will experience far less pain & swelling than traditional surgery and even recover faster. We are committed to creating a positive experience for you and your pet, from start to finish. Our trusted surgeons have been doing laser ear cropping for years.Do dogs like the inside of their ears rubbed? ›
So, next to a good belly rub, why do all dogs love having their ears massaged? Nerves — a whole branch of them — release endorphins that make your dog feel downright relaxed.Do dogs like the inside of their ears touched? ›
Besides the fact that they're getting our undivided attention, there are certain nerve endings in your dog's ears that are quite sensitive. Whenever these nerves are stimulated by touch, they send a signal through their body. This releases endorphins that are the “feel good” hormones.How long do you have to keep your dog's ears taped? ›
Postings should NEVER exceed 7 days for any reason! recommend that you leave them off for 24 hours, even if they have not been on the full three days. This is because the process of the tape peeling off the ear irritates the skin and can predispose your puppy to skin infections.Why do groomers pull ears? ›
Plucking a dog's ear is when we gently pull or tweeze the hair from the inside of a dog's ear. The theory is that removing the hair will keep it from blocking the canal, allowing more air to circulate, which helps prevent ear infections and moisture build-up.What dog breeds need ear plucking? ›
The breeds that need hair plucking because the hair tends to be rooted deep in the ear canal, are Maltese, Poodles, Terriers and Labradoodles, to name just a few. As long as the ear has no extreme build up of wax or smell, we will pull this hair up and pluck it.Do dogs get depressed when you cut their hair? ›
Grooming sessions can make them very uncomfortable and even sad! In fact, it's not at all unusual to see your pup cowering from you or just looking very sad each time you bring him back from a grooming session.How do groomers remove hair from dogs ears? ›
Professional groomers never use alcohol or Q-Tips (cotton swabs) and often begin by lifting the dog's ear and exposing the inside flap so that it faces him. Any hair that is in the way is removed around the opening of the external ear canal and a small amount of medicated ear powder is placed in each ear.Will my dogs ears stand up after cropping? ›
Other breeds like Dobermans, Danes, and Boxers may require 4-6 months of proper taping after surgery until the ears will stand. The length of the time for ear posting varies based on breed, ear crop length, and genetics (which can influence ear leather and shape on individual dogs.)Does ear cropping actually prevent ear infections? ›
There's also a risk of the puppy catching an infection during the process. Some people claim there are health benefits to ear cropping, but these are simply not true. Ear cropping does not improve a dog's hearing or prevent ear infections.
Do dogs with floppy ears hear worse? ›
And contrary to popular belief, ears that droop downwards actually don't have any impact on the dogs hearing, even though it may seem like the sound would be muffled. So your droopy eared dog can hear just as well as dogs with pointy ears.Do dogs need a cone after ear cropping? ›
2) Use the Cone. You can remove the cone from your dog as long as you are supervising them, but put the cone back on whenever you're not watching. The cone is there to prevent your pup from ripping their stitches, which is very important to the proper healing process.
Little has been doing ear crops for over 30 years. Once the procedure is done the owner takes responsibility of caring for the ears. Care is fairly simple after surgery, the puppy will go home with an elizabethan collar(e-collar) and it will have to stay on for 2 weeks or until the sutures are removed.Is Pig Ears good for pitbulls? ›
Yes, Pig ears are good for dogs. They can help remove plaque & tartar, provide mental stimulation and are a great source of protein.Why do pitbulls put their ears back? ›
As a general rule, a dog's level of attention can be determined by watching their ears: Erect ears facing forward indicate that they're engaged, and slightly pulled-back ears signal that they're feeling friendly; but dog ears laid tightly back against the head suggest a fearful or timid reaction.Do pitbulls like their ears rubbed? ›
Although the way to a dog's heart is through their stomach most of the time, they also really enjoy any kind of pleasurable attention from their human. Most dogs thoroughly enjoy a good ear rub!How long do stitches stay in cropped ears? ›
The first set of sutures from the mid-ear to tip are removed 7 days after surgery. The second set of sutures at the base of the ears will need to be removed 10 days post-op. None of the sutures will dissolve on their own!What does it mean to crop a Pitbulls ears? ›
Dog ear cropping. Ear cropping (or docking) is an entirely unnecessary surgical procedure in which a dog's ears are removed or altered. It has no benefits for the dog and can cause permanent damage.Is it good to crop bully ears? ›
Not only does ear cropping create unnecessary physical pain and discomfort for dogs, but it can also leave them with lasting psychological trauma. Pups also use their ears to communicate, and chopping off parts of them can hinder an owner's ability to understand what their dog is telling them.What is the best age to ear crop an American Bully? ›
It usually takes place when a puppy is between six and 12 weeks old. Ear cropping or ear docking serves no purpose for the dog and is purely about looks! It's particularly popular in breeds such as dobermans, cane corsos and the American bully.
Is it good to cut off pit bulls ears? ›
Despite what some breeders will claim, cropping a dog's ears does not benefit them in any way. It can be detrimental to their health, behaviour and welfare in the short-term and in the long-term. Dogs have their ears cropped for one reason and one reason only; to achieve a certain 'look'.Why do you crop a street dog's ears? ›
In dogs, ear-notching (cutting a chunk out of the ear and then sealing the wound with heat cautery) is the most common way of identifying stray and feral animals that have been vaccinated and surgically sterilized.What do ears back on a pitbull mean? ›
As a general rule, a dog's level of attention can be determined by watching their ears: Erect ears facing forward indicate that they're engaged, and slightly pulled-back ears signal that they're feeling friendly; but dog ears laid tightly back against the head suggest a fearful or timid reaction.Do people dock pitbull ears? ›
Why do people crop Pitbull's ears? Breeders only crop Pitbull's ears to make them look more intimidating and threatening. It's an aesthetic and buyers want their dogs to look a certain way.How long does it take for a Pitbulls ears to heal after cropping? ›
Once the procedure is performed, the dog will have bandaged and taped ears until they have fully healed. The recovery process varies in length, ranging from less than a week to a few months.How much does it cost to clip a dog's ears? ›
The price of cropping dog ears ranges from $150 to over $600. The factors that influence the price include the quality of vet, rent, staff and equipment, and the location. Some vets also charge additional costs for post-surgery medications and offer to admit the dog a day or two after the surgery.When pitbulls put their ears back? ›
Ears tilted back is often a sign of stress or fear and possibly a submissive state. But – caution here – a dog holding its ears back could also become fear aggressive.What do vets say about ear cropping? ›
But the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) opposes docking and cropping. “The most common reason for cropping and docking is to give a dog a certain look. That means it poses unnecessary risks,” Patterson-Kane says. Docked tails can also develop a neuroma, or nerve tumor.Do dogs feel ear cropping? ›
Veterinarians Who Offer Ear Cropping Services
These veterinarians desire to see ear croppings done correctly and with as little pain and distress to the animal as possible. Any surgery is painful, and proper veterinary care can help mitigate this and the risk for infection.
Ear cropping is a surgical procedure requiring general anesthesia. This is a purely cosmetic procedure and in no way necessary for the general welfare of your dog. As this is a cosmetic surgery, there is no guarantee on the procedure. This includes the shape, and if the ears will stand.
Why does my dog follow me everywhere? ›
If your dog follows you everywhere then it's a sign that they trust and love you and that you make them feel safe. Following you very closely can be a sign that they're bored, they want something, they're feeling scared or are just being nosy.What does it mean when a dog licks you? ›
Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it's a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!What is the best ear crop for American bully? ›
The best ear crop for an American bully is shorter crops. The styles include: Battle Crop: the shortest crop which takes most of the ear and leaves the dog vulnerable to debris entering the ear canal. It got its name back in the days when dog fighting was a very popular sport.Why do Pitbulls get docked? ›
Why Dock a Dog's Tail? Tail docking has some interesting roots. Historically, it was thought to decrease the risk of rabies and strengthen a dog's back. The most common reason to dock in recent history is to decrease injury risk to working dogs—dogs who hunt, herd, or otherwise work in the field.