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Dog Ear and Tail Docking

Dog ear and tail docking is a widely debated issue in the dog world. There are some who are totally against and then there are those who absolutely prefer it for their breed of dog. Docking or cropping is defined as a removal of part of an animal’s ears or tails. This procedure is basically cosmetic surgery for your dog and is a decision that is totally left up to the dog owner, at least in the United States.

Traditionally, dog ear and tail cropping was performed for helpful and practical reasons. It kept working animals, such as field dogs or hunting dogs from getting their tails or ears entangled. It also kept their tails from catching on bushes or in fences. It was also used as a means of making a protective dog appear fiercer in order to ward of intruders or attackers. Today, dog ear and tail docking is done strictly for cosmetic reasons or for show.

There are definitely two sides of the fence when it comes to dog ear and tail docking. On the one side you have the people who believe that this practice is cruel and inhumane. Therefore, they believe it should be obsolete or outlawed. Interestingly, the American Association of Veterinarians has recently noted that they would prefer this treatment to be done away with if it is strictly for cosmetic reasons.

Then you have the breeder’s side of the dog ear and tail docking. These people tend to think of it as required for specific breeds. In fact, the AKC, better known as the American Kennel Club, deemed certain breeds ineligible for show unless they are docked or cropped.

Some of the common breeds involved in dog ear docking are Boxers, Great Danes, Doberman Pincers, Miniature Pincers, Schnauzers and American Pit Bull Terriers, just to name the main ones. The breeds that are involved with tail docking are Rottweiler, Doberman pincer, Boxer, Schnauzer, Miniature pincer, certain Terriers, Corgi and Poodles.

Dog ear and tail cropping is usually performed around the age of 10 to14 weeks old. The procedure is always done with total anesthesia. The dog’s ears are cut away and taped to stand erect. You should plan on your puppies ears being sensitive to the touch for at least a couple of weeks after the surgery. A splint is normally used to train the ears to stand erect.

Keep in mind that the decision to perform this procedure is totally up to you. But, other than cosmetic reasons, most of the time there is no need to have this procedure performed. Dog ear and tail cropping is a widely addressed issue and it will be interesting to see which side of the fence the decision falls.