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One of the most noticeable features of Pit Bulls is their distinctive ears, which can vary greatly in appearance from one dog to another. Some Pit Bulls have naturally erect, triangular ears, while others have floppy, rounded ears.
This variation in ear shape and structure can lead many dog owners to wonder why their Pit Bull’s ears look different and why some people choose to cut their dog’s ears.
So, why are Pitbull ears cut off?
Pitbulls’ ears are cut off or cropped for cosmetic reasons, to give the dog a certain appearance that is considered more desirable or intimidating, or for medical reasons, to prevent ear infections. Historically, ear cropping was done to prevent them from being bitten off.
Keep reading to learn more about what Pit Bull ears naturally look like, what the ear cropping procedure involves, and how to take care of your Pit Bull’s ears.
What Do Pit Bull Ears Look Like?
The shape, size, and firmness of a Pit Bull’s ears can vary depending on their bloodline.
When Pit Bulls are young, they have naturally soft ears with folded flaps that are a little large for their heads. As Pit Bulls grow up, their ears will become more proportionate in size to their heads.
Their ear shape is commonly known as a rosebud shape, as the ears typically stand up and curl over at the top. However, there are some Pit Bulls 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 be 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 cosmetic 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 Pit Bull 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.
Are There Different Ear Cropping Styles?
There are different ear-cropping styles in dogs, including various shapes, lengths, and angles of the cropped ear. The specific style of ear cropping is often influenced by the dog’s breed, intended purpose (e.g., show dog, working dog), and personal preference of the owner or breeder.
Some common ear-cropping styles for Pit Bulls include the short crop, the medium crop, the long crop, the battle crop, and the show crop. Each style results in a different appearance for the dog, but all require cutting and reshaping the natural ear, which can result in long-term health problems and ethical concerns.
How Much Do Ear Cropping Procedures Cost?
Ear cropping procedures can be expensive as they cost between $150 and $600 on average.
The cost can vary widely, depending on several factors such as the location, the veterinarian’s experience, and the specific ear cropping style desired. 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 to ensure that it’s worth doing.
Why Are Pit Bull Ears Cropped?
As mentioned before, ear-copping procedures are now mostly done for cosmetic purposes.
So, Pit Bull 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.
For instance, Pit Bulls 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?
The legality of ear cropping varies by country and region.
In some countries, ear cropping is illegal or strictly regulated, and veterinarians are prohibited from performing the procedure. In other countries, ear cropping is still allowed but may be subject to certain restrictions or guidelines.
For example, in the United States, ear cropping is not illegal but is regulated by individual states. Some states have banned the practice altogether, while others have placed restrictions on the age at which dogs can be cropped, the conditions under which the procedure can be performed, and the qualifications of the individuals who can perform the procedure.
In the European Union, ear cropping is illegal in several countries and is strictly regulated in others. The practice is also banned in some countries outside the EU, such as Australia.
Is Ear Cropping Ethical?
Ear cropping is considered unethical by various animal welfare organizations and veterinarians, as well as the general public, because this procedure subjects the dog to pain and discomfort only to alter its look.
Instead, they encourage dog owners to appreciate and love their dogs for their unique and natural appearance without resorting to cosmetic procedures.
However, ear cropping is still endorsed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) 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 have another guide on tail docking in Pit Bulls that is definitely worth checking out as I also go over the legality and consequences of cropping Pit Bull tails there and whether you (or anyone for that matter) should actually do it.
How to Take Care of Your Pit Bull’s Ears?
To take care of your Pit Bull’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, 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 Pit Bull’s ears to keep them dry and make sure the cotton balls are large enough not to be stuck or lost inside the dog’s ear canal.
To can clean your Pit Bull’s ears, you can 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 and 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.
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