Dog Ear Cropping Styles, After Care, Cost

Dog ear cropping

While cropped ears may give your puppy the look you desire on them, the procedure is painful and complex on a puppy. It is therefore important to have it done safely and properly for desired results to be attained. Also important is the dog ear cropping aftercare as it will determine if your dog gets secondary infections. We explore more on this procedure below.

Dog Ear Cropping

Also referred to as docking, ear trimming or otoplasty, ear cropping involves removal of part of a dog’s ear. The process results in the left cartilage standing erect. Dog ear cropping is popular in specific breeds such as Pitbulls, Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Schnauzers, Great Danes and Boston Terriers.

The practice of ear cropping was established centuries ago. Traditionally, pit bulls were used for bull baiting. They were therefore historically cropped to avoid getting hurt during fights. With time, this became known as their signature look. Currently, people mostly crop their dog’s ears for cosmetic reasons especially for dogs participating in shows.

Dog Ear Cropping Procedure

When you take your pup to the vet for the operation, they may allow you to watch it or not. Generally, here is what to expect when undertaking the dog ear cropping procedure:

  1. When a dog is taken in for ear cropping, it will have the initial general examination done after which it is put under an anesthesia.
  2. Once done, the surgeon trims off any unwanted ear tissue depending on the owner’s chosen cropping style.
  3. The incisions done on the ears are then closed with sutures.
  4. To keep the ears upright, a special paper or metal rack is used.
  5. After about two or three weeks, the sutures are removed and wrapping tape and splints used to keep the ears upright to avoid flopping. If this is not done right, the cropping results could be undesirable.

Dog Ear Cropping Styles

There are various dog ear cropping styles available to choose from as seen in the photo below. These are:

Dog ear cropping styles
Dog ear cropping styles

Battle Crop

This is the shortest of all cropping styles. Since it gets the ears cut so low, the style leaves the dog’s ears vulnerable to debris and insect bites.

Short Crop

With this style, the cropping leaves the ears a little bit longer than with the battle crop. Only about a third of the ear is removed leaving at least two-thirds of the original ear.

Show Crop

This style is the most requested in show dogs. It is a medium crop style which gives the dog an always alert look.

Long Crop

The longest one of all the styles, this style only gets rid of about a quarter of the original ear.

Dog Ear Cropping Age Limit – Recommended Age for Ear Cropping

When should dog ear cropping be done? The recommended age limit to have the ears cropped is when your dog is between eight and sixteen weeks old. This is because by this time the cartilage is not too developed and can be manipulated so it keeps standing after healing.

Waiting too long makes it hard because the ear cartilage will be too challenging to treat. Doing it too early, on the other hand, may require a longer ear bracing period since the cartilage will not have developed enough to handle the procedure as it should be.

Dog Ear Cropping Aftercare Tips

Where no further injuries occur on the dog’s ears, they should be healed in about six to eight weeks after the surgery. To facilitate quick recovery, here are various aftercare tips for dog cropping.

  • Keep your dog’s ears as clean as possible. Use peroxide or Neosporin to clean it up to three times a day.
  • Where you notice some scabs forming around the wound, it is advisable to eliminate them immediately. This is because scabs could prevent the ears from standing properly once healed. Let the scabs soak in some warm water to make removal painless and easy.
  • Follow the veterinarian’s instructions to the letter. Observe any appointments issued. This will give room for timely removal of the stitches as well as prevent infections. This way the ears have a high likelihood of healing fast and properly.
  • To speed up the healing process and boost their immune system, add appropriate supplements to their meals.
  • In case of infections, treat them immediately. Seek your veterinarian’s attention as soon as you can so they can undergo a thorough examination and prescribe antibiotics.

Dog Ear Cropping Kit and Tools

Watching a dog ear cropping video may give the illusion of the procedure is simple, it is best done by a professional. While the idea of getting a dog ear cropping kit to do the procedure on your own at home may appear appealing due to the cost cutting benefits, it is not recommended. Getting the ear cropping tools may be easy but what about the regular medical exams done before any procedure? You may not get that right leaving your dog vulnerable.

It is best to have your dog’s ears cropped at the vets. This will not only ensure the procedure is carried out safely but also ensure proper aftercare and follow up is done to avoid secondary infections and other complications.

Dog Ear Cropping Prices and Cost

The cost of dog ear cropping can vary from place to place as well as from one veterinarian to another in the same place. Some of the factors determining the prices include the experience of the veterinarian and their location.

On the lower end, some veterinarians will have the crop done at $100-$200 while the same could be done for $500-$800 on the upper limit. A fair cost for the process would be around $250 on average. For the best quotes and most appropriate dog ear cropping prices, it is best to compare costs locally.

Dog Ear Cropping Near Me

Ear cropping services are available everywhere. However, not all service providers are worth settling for. Fortunately, the internet provides online reviews for service providers. Before settling for ear cropping near you, it is best to check out reviews online.

For cropping of dogs in the UK, Australia, Dallas TX, Las Vegas, San Diego, in Los Angeles or Phoenix AZ, check out listings on veterinarian associations websites. These are likely to give light to registered professionals. Once you get some, check out reviews on their services. Seeking referrals from family and friends could also help in settling for the best.

To Crop or Not to Crop Your Dog’s Ears

While ear cropping has been associated with specific breeds, it is important to know that this kind of alteration is optional. Dog owners are not obliged to have the ears trimmed. They will still remain healthy even with the ears not cropped. The final decision on dog ear cropping lies with the owner.

Sources and References


  1. Are you crazy? How would you like surgery while you are awake? This is a vet procedure that requires anesthetic and sutures.

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