Why Are Pitbull Ears Cut Off?

Pitbull ears can vary in appearance as their size and firmness usually depend on the dog’s bloodline.

You might see some dogs with their ears standing up and curling over the top while other dogs will have floppier ears. You might also see some Pitbulls with their ears trimmed or cut off which is usually achieved through a medical procedure.

So, why are pitbull ears cut off? Pitbull’s ears were cut off in the past to prevent them from being bitten off. In the present, the ears are mostly cut off for cosmetic purposes like achieving the raised ear look which is considered part of the official breed standards. It’s also for medical purposes like preventing ear infections.

Keep reading to learn more about what pitbull ears look like, why are ear cropping procedure

What Do Pitbull Ears Look Like?

The shape, size and, firmness of pitbull ears can vary depending on their bloodline.

When Pitbulls are young, they have naturally soft ears with folded flaps that are a little large for their heads. As the Pitbulls grow up, their ears will become more proportionate in size to their heads.

Their ear shape is commonly known as a rosebud as the ears typically stand up and curl over the top. However, there are some Pitbulls who might have floppier ears that fall down on the side of their face.

The flappy part of the dog’s ear is known as the pinna and it’s made of cartilage that’s covered with skin. Lifting the pinna will allow you to see into the dog’s ear canal which is basically a long tube that extends down to the dog’s eardrum.

What Is Ear Cropping?

Ear cropping is a surgical procedure by which a part of the dog’s outer ear or the pinna is removed. This procedure is also known as ear trimming or otoplasty.

It is believed that this procedure started in ancient Rome with the intention of preventing injury to dogs that were raised for hunting or fighting.  That is because floppier ears would easier to bite off, so removing a part of the dog’s ear was meant to make it stand erect.

In the present time, ear copping procedures are mostly done for cosmetics purposes but they can also be done for medical purposes to prevent any health problems the dog might face because of its ears.

How Is the Ear Cropping Procedure Performed?

Ear cropping is only performed on pitbull puppies and not adults. The procedure usually takes from 30 to 45 minutes and the recovery period takes from 10 to 14 days.

Before the procedure, the dog’s ears are thoroughly cleaned then sedatives and antibiotics are administered

The vet will measure and mark the portion of the dog’s ear to be removed using surgical scissors then the cut edges will be sutured and disinfected.

Some vets wrap the dog’s ears tightly using special bandages to ensure they will remain erect after the procedure while other vets do it after the wounds are healed.

During the recovery period, the dog is given painkillers for pain relief as well as antibiotics to prevent infection.

Keep in mind that there’s no guarantee that the results of the procedure will be positive as the dogs might ear remain floppy.

Why Are Pitbull Ears Cropped?

pitbull mix with cropped ears to show why are pitbull ears cut off

As mentioned before, ear copping procedures are now mostly done for cosmetics purposes.

So, pitbull ears are cropped to give them a raised look as it is considered a characteristic feature of the official breed standard which qualifies the dog for shows and competitions.

The procedure is also done for medical purposes like preventing some health problems the dogs might face because of their ears

Pitbulls with floppier ears are more prone to ear infections. This is because floppy ears get dirtier and remain wet longer which can lead to bacteria growth.

Symptoms of ear infections include producing smelly discharge as well as painful itching, redness, and soreness in the ear area.

However, keep in mind that there’s still a risk of developing ear infections in dogs with cropped ears.

Is Ear Cropping Legal?

Ear cropping is legal in the United States except for some states which are:

  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington

Is Ear Cropping Ethical?

Ear cropping is considered unethical by various international groups and veterinarians as well as the general public. That is because this procedure subjects the dog to pain and discomfort only to alter its look.

However, ear cropping is still endorsed by the American Kennel Club and other organizations because cropped ears are a characteristic feature of the official breed standard.

If you want to get your dog’s ears cropped, make sure to consult an experienced vet about the pros and cons of performing the procedure.

By the way, I also have another guide on tail docking in Pitbulls here that is definitely worth checking out as I also go over the legality and consequences of cropping pitbull tails there and whether you (or anyone for that matter) should actually do it.

How to Take Care of Your Pitbull’s Ears?

To take care of your pitbull’s ears and reduce the risk of ear infections, you need to keep the ears as clean and dry as possible.

When bathing your dog, avoid pouring water directly on its head. Instead, it’s recommended to use a washcloth to gently wipe off the dog’s face and around its ears.

It’s also recommended to put a cotton ball in each of your pitbull’s ears to keep them dry. Make sure the cotton balls are large enough not to be stuck or lost inside the dog’s ear canal.

To can clean your pitbull’s ears, it’s recommended to use a special cleaning solution that contains natural ingredients to help remove dirt and break down ear wax.

You need to apply the solution to a cotton ball then gently wipe the inside of your dog’s ear. Make sure to use a different cotton ball for each ear to prevent spreading infections.

If you notice any symptoms of ear infection in your dog, make sure to contact your vet to get the right treatment.

Related Questions

How Much Do Ear Cropping Procedures Cost?

Ear cropping can be expensive as they cost between $150 and $600 on average. There are also additional costs for any necessary medicine and check-ups during the dog’s recovery period. So, It’s highly recommended to consult an experienced vet before performing the procedure.

Are There Different Ear Cropping Styles?

There are different ear cropping styles. These styles are long crop, show crop, short crop, and battle crop. The portion of the ear removed is typically determined according to the style you choose for the dog. The most common style for Pitbulls is the long crop.

Helpful Resources 

Welfare Implications of Ear Cropping-Dogs

Why Crop a Dog’s Ears?

Ear Cropping and Tail Docking

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