Choosing an Ear Crop Style & a Vet That Will Crop

There are so many technical and historical reasons for why we did, and often times still do choose to crop puppies ears. The style one chooses really comes down to one thing-- preference. Do you like the "Bell Crop" or are you more of a "Battle Crop" kind of person?

With all of this being said, let's take a look at WHY, historically and currently, one might choose to crop a puppy's ears. Historically, ears were cropped because there was an inherent risk of the dog bleeding profusely in the event of a damage or tear to the ear. Some may argue that those risks were due to the fact that people were using such dogs as fighting dogs. Others may present the fact the when you use the dog for big game hunting or protection against big game, they run the risk of having their ears torn and the the amount of bleeding could cause death. Another reason that many people choose to crop was due to health risks that didn't relate to fighting or protecting. In freezing regions, the tips of the ears could become frost bitten if there is not enough fur to protect them. Ear infections were another main reasons for cropping ears. It's believed that if the ear is cropped, there is less chance for bacteria to grow. 

Currently, ears are cropped for a variety of reasons. While the above reasons still hold true, there is much more controversy over WHY a puppy would need their ears cropped since fighting dogs for sport is no longer legal or acceptable. Most people who live in a region where there is a serious threat to family, livestock or dog, due to wild game such as bear or mountain cats, will agree that ear cropping can STILL be useful to protect the dog from hemorrhaging. Other reasons people will crop today is due to breed standards (in the example of Doberman Pinschers, Cane Corsos, Great Danes, etc), looks an a certain perception one wants others to see in their dog. Cropping ears is not for everyone but it's wise no to judge those that choose to crop as their reasons might certainly be valid. 

One thing is for sure, there is much controversy over this topic. Most everyone will agree, the best method for cropping is done ethically and only at an experienced veterinarian's office. That brings up the next question-- how do you choose a vet for this procedure, what are the general costs, the after care, and how in the world do you decide which type of crop will be suit your pet or working dog?

There are a few way to decide which crop fits your style and breed. First, you might want to look at many pictures online, either on Google or Pinterest. When searching, type in the breed you have and add "ear crop" and then click on the images. Search around through the images until you find the look you like best. There are a few things to keep in mind. Will your puppy likely have a wide or tall crown (top of the head? or will your puppy have a long snout? You might think ears on one dog will look great on your dog, but that's like saying skinny jeans will look good on everyone just because the model looks great in them. Another direction to go is to ask your breeder which style THEY usually choose when cropping their kennel's ears. Like Grizzly Mountain Cane Corso, they might say they NEVER choose "Battle Crop" or possibly ever ALLOW their client to "Battle Crop" any of the pups out of their kennel. It's always a fair question to ask, "Why?". Once you've decided which style you like, the next step is to print or bookmark a few pictures of the same style you like to show your vet who will be doing the procedure. This helps the vet get a look at what you're thinking the dog might look like when it's older. Many vets, if experienced, might recommend a slightly longer or shorter crop after they see your pup in person if they're familiar with the breed as they may be able to tell you if the dog will likely be larger or smaller than you think it will be. 

How do you choose a vet to perform an ear crop? That's the tricky part. Many vets won't perform the procedure or won't perform certain crops like the "Battle Crop." Each office has their own reason why they will or won't do the procedure. There are a few good links as to which vets in each state will do the procedure, but check with the vet's office before you assume they're still doing it. You might want to start here: or look on to find local vets in your area and simply call them and ask if they do ear crops. You'll want to ask the following questions:

  1. What is the cost and what that included (medications, tape and gauze to tape at home or re-tape visits and if so, is there a limit to how many times you can come in for a re-rapt, etc)?
  2. If re-tape visits aren't included, what is the cost for each re-tape?
  3. What ages will they do the ear crop at? Most vets say between 9-11 weeks, but that is up to each vet.
  4. Will the puppy need to stay overnight?
  5. Should you feed the puppy before the procedure?
  6. Is there a satisfaction guarantee?

Hopefully this article was helpful and clear. One thing is for sure, no one has the right to make you feel as though your choice in cropping is bad or evil, whether it be your friends of a vet.