The strong evidence is that Pitbull ear cropping is a purely cosmetic procedure that can make these dogs appear more ferocious. Unfortunately, many people already think that Pitbulls are dangerous dogs, and causing them to look more intimidating does nothing to improve their public image. Today we are going to help you to understand Pitbull ear cropping. The practice of surgically cutting a puppy’s ears to give them an erect appearance. Looking at the reasons behind it, methods, and potential problems it can cause.
Natural Pitbull Puppy Ears
Pitbull puppies have drop ears that look similar to those of a Greyhound or Labrador puppy. They are naturally soft folded flaps that appear a little large for their head. This ear shape is known as rosebud. The name indicates an upward curl in the cartilage that slightly lifts the folded flap and gives them an adorable enquiring countenance. As a Pitbull puppy grows into their oversized ear flaps, their ears appear more in proportion to the size of their head.
Adult Pitbull Ears
As an adult, Pitbull ears typically stand up and curl over the top. Some have floppier ears than others, and the size and firmness can vary somewhat among the breeds. All dogs have a part of the ear known as the pinna. This is the ear flap which is made of cartilage and covered with velvety skin. Lifting the pinna allows you to see into the dog’s ear canal. This is a long, tube-like structure that extends down to the eardrum, of which only a small part can be seen.
Cropping Pitbull Ears
Pitbull ear cropping modifies the natural shape of the Pitbull’s ears by removing part of the pinna so that the cartilage stands erect. This surgical procedure is only done on puppies, never on adult dogs. Puppies are typically between 9 and 12 weeks old when the procedure is performed. This is because, as puppies grow, the ear cartilage becomes thicker and would make the operation extremely painful for the dog. There’s also a possibility that after 12 weeks, the operation won’t keep the ears upright and give them the desired prick-eared look.
How Is It Done?
Ear cropping should always be carried out under full anesthesia and must be performed by a licensed veterinarian with experience doing this procedure, which lasts about 30 to 45 minutes. The pinnas are cut to a certain length, and the edges are sutured.
After surgery, bandages will be wrapped around the ears so that they heal in an erect position. This bandaging can last for days or months. The dog’s ears will be sensitive and painful for at least several weeks following the procedure. Medicines are administered to help reduce soreness and prevent infection.
Why Crop a Pitbull’s Ears?
Dog ear cropping is a centuries-old practice. The original reason for cropping a Pitbull’s ears was probably to protect them from being bitten during dog fights. Today, many places have banned ear cropping. This includes the UK, Australia, New Zealand, nearly all European countries, and most Canadian provinces. However, in many parts of the US, ear cropping is still legal.
The American Kennel Club endorses the practice to maintain standards on certain breeds, including the Pitbull breeds. Therefore, some people want their Pitbull to have a specific ear shape to compete in shows. There are also claims that cropped ears improve a dog’s hearing or help prevent ear infections, but there’s no scientific evidence that supports either of these theories. Ultimately, cropped ears are purely for cosmetic reasons.
It affects the dog’s appearance and makes him look tough and fierce, propagating a misleading stereotype about Pitbulls. As this study found, dogs with modified ears were perceived as being more aggressive, more dominant, and less playful than dogs with natural ears.
Why You Should Never Crop a Pitbull’s Ears
Pitbull ear cropping is a needless, painful medical procedure. Not only are there no benefits for the dog, it can actually be harmful for them. As with any surgery, there are risks associated with complications from anesthesia or infection afterwards. If the operation isn’t done properly, it can mean the dog is scarred for life or may require additional surgery, causing the dog to lose even more of the outer ear.
There’s also the possibility of traumatizing the dog from having surgery at such a young age. Dogs also use their ears to communicate with their owners and with other dogs. Losing parts of their ears can lead to misunderstandings and even fights with other canines.
Pitbulls are prone to several aural issues. Chronic ear infections can be very painful and have been known to damage hearing function. Ear infections are linked to skin allergies, to which the breed is also susceptible.
Aural hematoma is often associated with ear mites and infections. If your dog shakes their head or scratches their ears too much, it can result in burst blood vessels in the ear flap, leading to a blood bruise. This causes swelling and can be quite painful for the dog.
Ear mites can get in the dog’s ear canal and cause them extreme distress. These tiny bugs are highly infectious. If there’s more than one pet in the home, ear mites will be freely passed among them. Luckily, this common parasitic infection is usually easily treatable with modern products requiring only a single dose.