Skip to Content

Bully Ear Cropping: A Barbaric Method Or A Bare Necessity?

Bully Ear Cropping: A Barbaric Method Or A Bare Necessity?

Sharing is caring!

Bully ear cropping or any ear cropping is a topic that makes a lot of fuss between advocates and the opponents of the procedure.

Some say that it is a necessity that needs to be done for the benefit of the dog, while others think that the dog is already equipped with everything he needs by mother nature, and that it is barbaric to remove these parts of the body.

Accessibility of this service depends on the country, and there are places where it is illegal to do it. But, we will get to that.

Before we make a decision, let’s take a look at some facts, pros, and cons to see what it is really all about.

What Is Bully Ear Cropping?

american staffordshire terrier with cropped ears

Ear cropping has a harsh sound to it, and it is harsh in some way. It is a procedure that is done mostly on American Bullies, if we are talking about Bulldog breeds.

But, ear cropping can be done on many other dog breeds such as Pitbulls, Cane Corsos, Rottweilers, Boxers, Schnauzers, Staffordshire Terriers, and Great Danes.

It seems like it is a regular procedure for Doberman Pinschers since it is not a common sight to find a Doberman with floppy ears. But, there are Dobermans with uncropped ears.

So, when we turn back to our Bully breed, we can conclude that cropping is a procedure that breeders often do for several reasons that will be explained in the rest of this text. But, we can conclude that it is not a necessary procedure.

It means actual cropping of the ears in order to make them look sharper. It includes removing the floppy part surgically (while the dog is asleep, of course, in order to make this process more humane).

There are great dilemmas about ear cropping, and different people will take different sides.

If you are still not sure which side you should take, here is more information that will help you decide. Let’s see what it is all about.

Bully Ear Cropping – Do You See That Often?

white american bully puppy with cropped ears

The answer to this question depends on where you ask it. If you ask this question in England or in Wales, there is a small chance you will see a Bully with cropped ears.

Why is that so? Well, it is because animal ear cropping is banned in the UK by the Animal Welfare Act of 2006. The same law rules out tail docking.

But, if you ask this question in the USA, then you won’t get the same effect at all.

Ear cropping is a procedure that is almost a regular form of medical care for Bullies in America. We can claim that it is some sort of a distinctive trait of the American Bully that is kind of a hallmark to them.

Ear cropping, tail docking, and removal of dewclaws are even in the breed standard sometimes, so the American Kennel Club recognizes these procedures as acceptable.

They even emphasize some benefits that will be discussed later.

All in all, you will see far more dogs with cropped ears in America than in Europe, for example.

Why Do Bullies Get Their Ears Cropped?

When you get yourself a dog, the first thing on your mind is his wellbeing. But, not all owners are like you and me. There are some people who have bad intentions, and put their dogs through some illegal activities, such as dog fighting.

That is why we connect some other dog traits with these undesirable activities. Part of the reason why some people don’t want to do the cropping procedure is that they connect it with some nasty behavior.

But, people who put their dogs through it are aware of the benefits that it brings, which are mostly fewer ear infections and better performance.

So, let’s dig in more on the benefits of such a surgical procedure. There must be something in it.

What Are The Benefits Of Bully Ear Cropping?

pit bull terrier mixed breed dog with cripped ears

There are always two sides to every story, and the same case is here.

Here, we have supporters and opponents of the idea of ear cropping of the American Bully breed.

Let’s check out reasons that take the side of pro cropping. They involve arguments of good looks, better hearing, and better health.

So The Bully Can Look Better

Bullies are already perceived as an aggressive dog breed or a dangerous dog breed, to be honest. Adding more fierce looks to them doesn’t seem necessary, but still, some owners crop for the looks.

But, why?

Part of it is a cosmetic reason to make your dog look more fierce and sleek, but it is not only that.

Cropping ears makes Bully dogs closer to the standard of the breed. This makes a dog more suitable for conformation shows.

So The Bully Can Feel Better

Taking your dog to the vet is stressful by itself, and it is an event many of us want to avoid. So, if there is a way to prevent some issues, then why not take it.

Besides stress, there is the factor of medical procedure costs. Many dog owners are aware of the American Bully cost before they get one, so they already know some potential problems that could occur.

One of them is possible complications with infections. A puppy’s ears are a sensitive part of their body, and they are prone to injuries.

That is why some American Bully breeders choose to take a step that has shown to be efficient in the battle against these problems.

The thing is that floppy ears make the perfect surrounding for bacteria that like to spend their time in the warm, dark surrounding where they can easily spread and cause harm.

And, the perfect spot for such a “way of life” is an ear canal covered with the whole ear.

Sometimes, a dog can pick up some mites or ticks that can make the dog very sick, but it just so happens that there is no help in some cases.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states differently in their document, but we will explain it later.

So The Bully Can Hear Better

There is a theory that American Bully ear cropping helps them to hear better, but then there are other opinions on the same matter.

The supporters of this theory claim that cutting the pinna off helps to clear the path to the hearing part of the ear so the dog has even better hearing.

Then, there is an objection to this, where some people say that it doesn’t make any change because these ears were designed a certain way by evolutionary processes.

And, since they are the gift of mother nature, they should remain the way they are.

Whichever side you take, consider all the pros and cons before making a judgment.

What Are The Negative Sides Of Bully Ear Cropping?

puppy of american staffordshire terrier with cropped ears

The back side of the coin seems to have more arguments to it. We have collected five reasonable results.

They include pain, bleeding, infections, loss of trust, and cost of the procedure.

Let’s check out these arguments.

The Bully Is In Pain

When we talk about ear cropping, we talk about an invasive procedure that involves cutting of soft tissue. Practically, we are cutting part of the body.

This part of the body is extremely soft and sensitive. It has a lot of nerve endings, and that is why the dog feels pain.

But, today, those procedures are done under anesthetics so the dog shouldn’t feel any pain during the process.

Pain medication won’t last forever. After a few hours, it loses its effect, and now the dog can feel sensations in that part of the body.

The feeling of pain remains even after the procedure has been done.

It is certain that pain exists after the surgery, but it is not known how bad it is or precisely how long it lasts because dogs can not say what they experience.

The Bully Bleeds

Dog’s ears differ from humans. We don’t have many blood vessels in our ears, so when we pierce them, there is not much blood loss.

But, mother nature made it different for dogs, and their carotid arteries allow branches to the dogs ears so the floppy part is full of small blood vessels.

This soft tissue is warm from the blood that circulates through it.

So, there is a possibility of huge amounts of blood lost during the procedure.

But, it doesn’t end there… bleeding can continue even after everything is done, so when we put it all together, that is quite an amount of blood that should be replaced.

The Bully Is Prone To Infections

You might ask about this now, when we said earlier that by Bully ear cropping, the chances for infections should be lower.

Well, there is another opinion on this matter, and there is a theory by which dog’s ears are more prone to infections after cropping.

Why is that so?

The ear tunnel is now directly exposed to the impacts from the outside, and there is no longer a barrier between the outside world and the inner ear.

Bacteria can now get inside easier, but it is less likely to stay longer because the conditions are not that good as when the ears were covered by their floppy part.

The Bully Can Lose Trust

Bullies have a reputation of being an unpleasant dog breed when it comes to certain behavior. Sometimes, they can get aggressive, and they can manifest some intimidating behaviors, such as nipping and biting.

Part of the reason might be in their breed nature, part can be in their character, and part can be in some unpleasant moments they have experienced.

That kind of experience can be ear cropping, even though it is not common.

Age is the biggest factor that plays a part in the process of developing trauma here.

If ear cropping is done on a young dog (a puppy), then most likely he will recover in a short time. But, if ear cropping is done on an adult dog, then there is a slightly bigger chance that he will develop some sort of distrust towards certain people.

He can start being suspicious towards anyone who has been involved in the procedure or anyone who touches his ears.

He could even develop suspicion towards vets in general.

Bully Ear Cropping Is Expensive

Bully ear cropping definitely shouldn’t be your DIY project because it is serious surgery that needs to be done in sterile conditions, executed by a professional.

But, every medical procedure costs some money, and so does ear cropping.

You will pay between 150 dollars and 600 dollars for this service.

Unlike food, which is something that you have to buy constantly (you can check out in the American Bully feeding chart for how much a Bully can eat), ear cropping is something you should pay for only once.

Still, it is quite an expensive procedure because it concerns the amount of money that you need for annual food supplies.

When Should You Crop A Bully’s Ear?

blue american staffordshire terrier puppy with cropped ears

If you decide on Bully ear cropping, then the right timing is everything.

You should do it at a young age, but the dog shouldn’t be too young. This means that the optimal time is older than six weeks, but yet he hasn’t passed twelve weeks of age (you can check out this American Bully growth chart).

Why this early?

It is important to do this at an early age because the dog will still have time to forget about the unpleasantness of the process, and his wounds will heal faster.

A young dog is still not aware of the process, and he will not protest as much as an older dog would. That is how things will be more under control, and there will be less complications later.

Bully Ear Cropping In Adulthood

This is definitely something that most vets avoid, and you won’t easily reassure your vet to go through the procedure.

This is because cropping the ears of an adult dog is considered to be animal cruelty unless there is an emergency to act.

Such an emergency might only be some medical reason that would save the dog’s life.

Bully Ear Cropping Styles

white american bully puppy dog with cropped ears

While you can choose American Bully hairstyles, there are a few other things you can choose.

You can choose American Bully colors, for example. There is a blue American Bully, as well as blue fawn, brindle, the red nose family, striped, merle, and others.

You can also choose American Bully cropping styles. These styles would even suit American Bully mixes.

So, let’s see what kinds of cropping styles we have here.

The Long Crop

We will start off with the least popular style. It is not common to see an American Bully with ears cropped like this, and it is not the style that many owners choose.

As the name suggests, the ears are left long. This means that only one fourth of the ear is cut off, so more than a half of the ear is left.

That is why it is called the long crop.

The Show Crop

Many dog owners and breeders choose to crop the ears of their dogs for the purposes of shows. But, we must bust that myth because it is not an obligatory procedure for participants.

The American Kennel Club wrote their opinion on this matter, and explained what is necessary and what is not.

All in all, many owners still choose cropped ears over uncropped.

The Battle Crop

The battle crop got its name after the purpose it was designed for – dog fighting. Today, this activity is forbidden, but in the past, it was a very popular form of entertainment.

Large amounts of money were in this gambling game so the steaks were high. For that matter, owners of the battle dogs were trying to find as many ways as they could to make their dog a winner.

They would crop their dog’s ears very short (near the head) so the opponent dog couldn’t catch them in a fight.

The Short Crop

This is the optimal crop because it is a combination of the short and the long, and it is the most recommended crop.

It is a little bit longer than the battle, and a little bit shorter than the show.

How To Take Care Of A Bully Puppy With Cropped Ears

red cane corso puppy with cropped ears

If you have decided on Bully ear cropping, then you should give that task to a professional because that way, you lower the risks of possible issues that might develop.

Then, you need to do all the steps that your vet tells you so the process of recuperation will flow.

Your dog might need a little bit more comfort so it is important to be there for him in those moments.

Hygiene is number one so read on to find out how to take proper care of your dog’s ears.

Bully Ear Hygiene And Health

You have many different types of Bullies, but whether we talk about the Johnson American Bully or the Exotic Bully, the Pocket Bully, or some other variation, they all have a stubborn nature in common, and they are sometimes unwilling to cooperate.

That is why even bathing can sometimes be a real adventure. This process can take some time and a lot of patience from you.

It is well known how Bullies are not very thrilled when it is time to do some hygiene, but it is a must.

Bathing, nail clipping, brushing, teeth cleaning, and ear cleaning has many benefits besides good smells.

What a new owner should do is try to make it a habit to do these things on a regular basis while the dog is still small so he will be more likely to cooperate when he turns into an adult.

This all applies for ear cleaning.

Ear Hygiene

To make the process as easy and as gentle as possible, the most important part is good preparation.

This means buying all the necessary cleaning supplies, including ear cleaning products that are gentle enough and that can disinfect the ear.

Besides regular cleaning with a cleaning solution, you should do gentle scrubbing from time to time. This shouldn’t be frequent – you can do it once a month.

Let’s get back to the ear solution. You should apply it in a way as to fill the whole ear with it, all the way into the ear canal.

After you have done so, it is time for a pleasant activity – an ear massage. Do that for half a minute, and then remove the fluid.

Try to make your dog tilt its head on one side, then on the other, and then wipe out the rest of the liquid.

How Long Do Cropped Ears Take To Heal?

Right after the surgery, the ears must be stuck to something firm for a while. This is done in order to make the ears take the upright form.

The full aftercare process often takes somewhere between a month and two months, which is four to eight weeks.

The first part of the process involves wearing the bandages and sutures for a minimum of seven days, but the whole process can last for fourteen days (two weeks).

After the bandages are removed, there is another period of a couple weeks where the dog has to have some kind of ear treatment.

In this period, the dog’s ears are stuck to a firm surface in order to take the upright shape.

That is what makes these kinds of breeds look so fierce and intimidating.

What Is The Difference Between Cropped Ears And Natural Ears?

two brindle boxer dogs, one with normal ears and one with cropped ears

The first difference, and the easiest trait that can be noticed, is that cropped ears look sharp, and they are much smaller than uncropped.

Many breeds that are considered to be dangerous or aggressive got even more fierce looks with their ears cropped.

When it comes to Bully breeding, ear cropping is certainly one of the topics that needs to be considered.

It is a procedure that has a long tradition. Some reasons for it were very practical, and it was mostly for the ease of hunting, working, or fighting.

Conclusion

Many owners would claim that the American Bully is the best dog out there, and they wouldn’t be far from the truth. These dogs have some amazing traits.

But, there are many controversies around them, and one of them is Bully ear cropping.

I have exposed some facts and some arguments here, and now it is up to you to decide what you want for your dog.

Tell me what your opinion on this matter is?

Read More:

9 Signs Your Dog Needs To Be Neutered

When Do You Take The Cone Off Of A Dog After Neutering? Tips To Make Your Dog Comfortable

How Long Will My Dog Be In Pain After Neutering? Pain Management Tips