This question has caused more arguments over the years than any other question in the canine world… It’s a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it. Everyone seems to have their own opinion, with some having very strong views on the matter that prevents them from being able to have a constructive debate on the topic.
I must admit, I think ear cropping is vital for most working dogs, there are many benefits to ear cropping to ignore it. I think some people fail to look at this question logically and don’t take into account all of the positives. Instead, all they think of is a butcher chopping up a piece of meat when they think of ear cropping.
I remember that the dogs on my grandfathers farm that worked cattle/fighting bulls and hunted big game all had the old school round crop. It’s a very old traditional crop that has been done in Portugal and in some parts of Spain for many centuries. It was later also done in South America due to the Portuguese and Spanish influence in the area. It’s dog breeds like the Fila de Sao Miguel, Barbado da Terceira, Spanish Alano and Cimarron Uruguayo who are well known for having such a crop.
It’s interesting that when you watch any kind of wild life documentary that animals like cheetahs, lions, tigers, hyenas and African wild dogs to only name a few, all have round ears. This type of ear shape clearly has its benefits not only in dogs but also in the wild as mother nature has created several formidable wild animals with round ears. I remember my grandfather and his friends telling me how such a crop not only helped the dog hear better out in the field but it also prevented the dogs from getting injured and picking up nasty infections from the elements due to working and living out in the wild.
I’ve seen and heard of many dogs getting torn ears during their working duty, these kinds of injuries not only hurt the dog a considerable amount but they bleed like hell. I know… I’ve seen them!!! It’s frustrating because such scenes could be easily prevented by solely using a bit of common sense, as prevention is always better than cure. I think if it prevents one dog from getting injured in a farmers or hunters lifetime then that’s good enough for me in my view.
One of the other positive reasons for cropping is it helps prevent hematomas which can be caused by excessive head shaking and ear scratching. A dog constantly living and working in the field, covered in dust, rain, flys, pollen and mud will be doing the above a lot more than a pet dog therefore it has a much higher chance of getting it. Again, this is something that can be extremely discomforting for a dog and the only way to fix it is to drain them or surgical intervention.
I have only covered a few points in a subject that is a mine field. I am not trying to change anyone’s opinion on the subject weather your against it or not, I’m simply saying that in my experience ear cropping serves a purpose, especially for dogs who live a certain life style and do certain functions. However, what I don’t like to see is all of these modern exotic dog breeds with their ears cropped. It’s these kinds of owners and breeds that increase the anti cropping wave as the crop in this instance serves no purpose or need, it’s nothing more than most owners trying to act/look hard with their dogs.
These dogs and owners don’t know what a hard days work is out in the field if it hit them in the side of the head, they will never live in the elements, they will never face animals who will hurt a dog and cause serious damage if given half a chance and above all they will never know what that mythical creature is that’s called a real working dog.