Why Are Pitbull Ears Cut Off? [Purpose of Ear Cropping]

The Pitbulls have their ear cut off to give them a fierce look. A cut-off ear is referred to as cropped ear, and it is entirely for aesthetic reasons. This look makes them appear more ferocious and dangerous.

Unfortunately, many people think pit bulls are dangerous dogs, and making them look more intimidating is not helping improve their image. Today I am going to help you understand pit bull ear cut-off or simply known as ear cropping.

What is the Purpose of Ear Cropping in Pitbulls?

Ear cropping is thought to have started in ancient Rome when a portion of the dog’s ear was removed so the cartilage could stand erect. This practice was initiated to prevent injury to dogs used for working, fighting, and hunting.

In the case of hunting and fighting dogs, the floppy ears could be bitten off or stuck in a thorny bush. Ear cropping was also believed to make the animal look more ferocious and alert.

The Procedure of Ear Cropping/Cutting

Ear cropping is done on pit bulls when they are young and not in adults. Before surgery, a pitbull is administered sedatives, antibiotics, and even painkillers.

The ear is cleaned well before performing measurements and marking the portion that is to be cut. The portion to be removed is selected according to the style of cut you choose. It could be a:

Long Crop

In this crop, only a small portion is cut, and the ear looks long and pointy afterward.

Show Crop

Show crop leaves only half of the ear, and it is mainly done for dogs that participate in dog shows. It is important to note that no dog show makes it mandatory for dog owners to crop their ears.

Short Crop

This is the shortest crop and leaves only 25% of the ear. In this crop, the ears almost look non-existent on the dog’s head.

Battle Crop

This cut makes the dog look sharp, like a soldier with a fierce look. It is a personal preference to choose the type of crop you want.

After the cut edges are sutured, the ears will be cleaned and disinfected. Some vets tie the ear to stay erect even after removing the bandages. Some vets do it once the wounds heal.

You must continue giving your pitbull antibiotics and painkillers to help you cope with pain and avoid infections. You may keep the puppy at the vet clinic or take him home if you provide the proper after-surgery care.

The surgery takes 10 to 30 minutes and 10 to 14 days to heal. Proper aftercare is critical; however, the results are not guaranteed to be positive. Simply put, the ear can still be floppy after the procedure.

Are There Any Health Benefits of Ear Cropping?

It is claimed by many that ear cropping is the best way to prevent ear infections. However, dogs with ear crops are also known to develop ear infections. The risk of ear infection is the same for both types of ears, so cropping, for this reason, is useless.

Another reason is that this surgical procedure improves hearing by removing the extra skin of the ear canal. Even this claim has not been proven scientifically and doesn’t seem to hold up, and a bigger ear flap means more sound into the ear canal.

Ear cropping is a surgical procedure, but it is merely done for cosmetic reasons, and it has no health benefits.

The Dog’s Ordeal

The procedure is done on puppies younger than twelve months and not full-grown adults. The wound may itch, develop scarring, bleed, or have infections.

In case of any complications, another surgery might become necessary. This surgery could lead to the loss of the whole outer ear.

The puppy may also have a reaction to anesthesia, which could be life-threatening. Ear cropping can also affect the pitbull’s ability to communicate. And the chances of complication are high if an amateur or a breeder does the procedure.

To Crop or Not to Crop

The decision of ear cropping has to be made by the pitbull owner. But they must first understand the advantages and disadvantages of ear cropping. Once decided, the owner must contact an experienced vet who will most likely be hard to find.

Finding a vet who is willing to crop ears off dogs is tricky because, in many states, it is deemed illegal. After finding a vet, a few trips to the vet’s office are necessary along with the puppy.

The pet owner has to bear all the surgery expenses, aftercare, vet visits, and medicines. There is also no guarantee that you will get the desired look, and the ears may not even stand erect.

So it is best to assess these things before even getting your dog an ear crop.

The Legal Aspects of Ear Cropping

Ear cropping is illegal in many countries worldwide, including most of Europe. In the United States of America, it is still legal, though there are strong protests and demands to ban the procedure.

The American Kennel Club and other kennel club organizations still endorse ear cropping. According to them, cropped ears are a distinctive feature of the breed. The American Veterinary Medical Association demoralizes the practice because it is done solely for cosmetic purposes.

According to international animal rights groups, vets, and the general public, subjecting an animal to pain and suffering for you to redefine its looks is unethical. If you still want to get your PitBull’s ears cropped, approach a licensed and experienced vet.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Why is It Cruel to Cut a Dog’s Ears?

It is cruel because there are no medical benefits to cutting off a dog’s ear. A dog goes through a lot of pain and suffering during and after the procedure.

It is cruel to put a dog through such an ordeal just cause you don’t like how its natural ears look.

Why Do People Cut Pit Bull Ears?

In modern times, it is done merely for cosmetic purposes to give the dogs a different look. Many people do it to make the pit bull look more fierce and ready for dog shows.

There are no medical benefits to the procedure, so getting an ear crop is unnecessary.

Why Were Dogs’ Ears Originally Cropped?

Ear cropping was initially started in ancient Rome for dogs used for farm work, hunting, fighting, and guarding. People cropped their dog’s ears to avoid injury from biting or getting stuck during work.


People have different preferences for their Pitbull’s look. The dog being their property in the U.S. gives them complete control over what to do with them.

However, it is important t know the ups and downs of ear cropping that can affect both you and your dog. If things don’t go well, it can lead to pain and suffering for the dog and financial loss for you.

Leave a Comment