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Ear Cropping and Tail Docking Dogs

By Graham Harper, Journalist specialized in animal welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Ear Cropping and Tail Docking Dogs

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Ear cropping and tail docking dogs has been losing popularity more and more over time. However, unfortunately there are still people who prefer to have their pet's ears cropped and tail docked for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons.

It should be known by everyone that animals, dogs in this case, should never be considered a garment for your use. They are living beings, so we must be aware of the disadvantages that this practice brings for the welfare of the dog and health risks, in addition to the legal consequences that could arise.

Because some people are still uncertain, AnimalWised want to stress that ear cropping and tail docking dogs is indeed bad. Keep reading to discover why.

1. Because it is unnecessary

We must emphasize that we are not referring to amputations that must be performed for medical reasons, such as tumors in these areas. In this case, the need to perform these interventions should be determined by a veterinarian.

In this article we are referring to cutting the ears and tail of a dog solely for aesthetic or cosmetic reasons, and obviously this is not necessary for life, neither for the health nor for the welfare of the animal.

In many cases, the dog owner prefers their dogs with their tails and their ears cut because they have become accustomed to seeing specimens of certain breeds like this. In fact, even today it is "rare" for many to see a Doberman with their ears naturally fallen and a long tail.

Others like it more because they appear to be "more dangerous" because they are reminiscent of fighting dogs. These fighting dogs had their ears and tail cropped and docked, respectively, so they could not be easily grasped by the jaws of their opponent. This is why some dangerous dog owners are in favor of pitbull ear cropping, because they are preparing their pet for possible fights with other dogs.

In any case, dog fights, in addition to being completely cruel, are illegal in most civilized countries.

It has been said that for some hunting dogs, tail docking is beneficial for their work and their health, because it would facilitate their passage through burrows and prevent being entangled in brambles. But this is a debatable argument.

In addition, the majority of dogs usually seen with a docked tail belong to breeds that are not used for hunting, such as the boxer, the American Staffordshire Terrier or the Doberman (Doberman ear cropping being highly common and frowned upon). So, this statement has not been proven correct.

Ear Cropping and Tail Docking Dogs - 1. Because it is unnecessary

2. Because it is painful

Some people say that if you dock a dog's tail at a very early age, i.e. newborns, animals do not show pain. This is not true at all!

In the case of ear cropping, which is usually done in more mature animals where there is no doubt about their ability to feel pain, it should not be forgotten that, even if anesthesia and painkillers are used, pain is not avoidable, especially in the post-operative stage.

Source: youtube.com

Ear Cropping and Tail Docking Dogs - 2. Because it is painful

3. Because it is dangerous

Like any surgical procedure in which anesthesia is used, there are certain risks associated with it, which may even result in the death of the animal. Although this is infrequent, it is by no means impossible to occur, so it does not seem fair nor ethical to carry out these operations when the sole purpose is aesthetics.

In addition, whether or not anesthesia is used, there is a risk of wound infection, with consequences that may be more or less serious. On the other hand, it is not the only possible complication, since they can miss out parts, which may mean the animal has to be sedated again to solve it. There may have been errors during the procedures or the desired result of the owner was not achieved, so surgeons may intervene again...

Ear Cropping and Tail Docking Dogs - 3. Because it is dangerous

4. Because it is illegal (in some places)

In many countries mutilations are prohibited, whose sole purpose is aesthetics, which includes both ear cropping and tail docking.

Today, many countries ban cropping and docking because they consider the practices unnecessary, painful, cruel or mutilation. In Europe, the cropping of ears is prohibited in all countries that have ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals. Some countries that ratified the convention made exceptions for tail docking.

Specifically in the UK, The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes the docking of dogs' tails a criminal offence, except for working dogs such as those used by the police force, the military, rescue services, pest control, and those used in connection with lawful animal shooting.

In the United States it is unrestricted. Some states, including New York, and Vermont have considered bills to make the practice illegal.

Ear Cropping and Tail Docking Dogs - 4. Because it is illegal (in some places)

5. Because it is inconvenient

We hope the aforementioned reasons are enough to deter you from the process. If not, perhaps the fact it costs money will impact you.And secondly, especially when ear cropping or tail docking adult dogs, you well spend a lot of time cleaning wounds and facilitating the healing process...

This is time that could be spent on something more positive like playing with the animal, or walking with them, for example.

Ear Cropping and Tail Docking Dogs - 5. Because it is inconvenient

6. Because it damages their relationship with other dogs

A dog's tail and ears are fundamental components of the canine language. Therefore, cropping or docking them can seriously damage the socialization and relationships of a dog with other animals. It may lead to misinterpretations that lead to aggression or fear.

Ear Cropping and Tail Docking Dogs - 6. Because it damages their relationship with other dogs

The majority of veterinarians condemn these cosmetic procedures of ear cropping and tail docking and refuse to perform such painful procedures. We hope we fulfilled our aim to show you why ear cropping and tail docking is bad and have convinced you to decide against it.

If you want to read similar articles to Ear Cropping and Tail Docking Dogs, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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Brett Harrington
Tail docking, in gun dogs/pointers/setters/spaniels, is typically the far more humane thing to do, than allowing them to be long. It is very common for such dogs, that are very active dogs, to severely damage their tails, breaking them, shattering the bones, breaking through the skin, and causing great pain and suffering.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Brett,

It is certainly possible for a dog to get their tail caught or injured, but this doesn't mean we should injure them preemptively. With ear docking, the excuse is even lesser and it seriously hinders their communication abilities. If the dogs are working dogs, then there are exceptions (as noted above), but even some of these cases implement it unnecessarily. Generally, it is unnecessary and cruel.
Wayne Ashley
I have owned 2 female boxers. Both purebreds and both were docked and cropped... because they just seemed to look best that way.
The procedures were done by licensed veterinarians and I was given (and followed) their specific instructions. I think holding both of them and applying prescribed medications made a certain bond between them and me.
My children both learned to walk holding on to the scruff of the first one's neck.
I had to put Duchess down because she developed cancer. I can't tell you how hard that was to do, but it had to be done. I held her in my arms when the vet put her down.
What was even harder was explaining to my children why I "killed their best friend."
I immediately bought another "best friend" for them and had her ears cropped and her tail docked because... that's the way she "should have looked" to them.
Boxers are among the most loyal, loving, and protective breeds. I am a Viet Nam era veteran. While I was in the military, our Boxer slept at the foot of my wife's bed as if to "protect" here when I wasn't there.
When I came home on leave, she slept downstairs in her bed as she was taught to.
Wow... is that smart.. or what?
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