Updated Aug 24, 2022
Cane Corso Ear Cropping
I looked into the subject of Cane Corso ear cropping, because there are so many photos of Cane Corsos with cropped ears, and so few with uncropped ears. I'm sharing the research because I think this is something every Cane Corso owner should know about.
Ear cropping is the practice of removing parts of the dog's ear. It is closely connected with tail docking, and the two are often considered together.
This is a highly contentious subject. Unfortunately, the Cane Corso breed is one of the breeds where ear cropping is still carried out.
Some people claim that Cane Corsos have their ears docked for the benefit of the dog — to reduce the chance of injury and ear infection. In fact, the professional animal medical associations agree that there is no medical benefit from the ear crop. The main reason for Cane Corso ears being cropped appears to be because the owner wants that look. Cropped ears enhance the imposing appearance of the breed. They make the Cane Corso look more intimidating.
There are facts that should not be ignored by Cane Corso owners. Let's take a closer look
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The Case For Ear Cropping
Those in favor of ear cropping say that cropping a floppy ear reduces the chance of infection, and it reduces the risk of a working dog being dragged down by its ears, or grabbed by the ears.
I don't know about you, but I don't see my Cane Corsos as being in any significant danger of being dragged down by their ears or grabbed by their ears. The only thing which has any application at all to the typical everyday Cane Corso is the question of infection.
Do dogs with erect ears really have fewer ear infections? If so does that constitute a valid reason for cutting off parts of other dogs ears?
A little common sense gives us the answers. Offhand, I can only think of two dogs with naturally erect ears. They are the German Shepherd, and the Corgi. There are others, of course, but the point is there are far more breeds with floppy ears, and not so many with erect ears.
On the other hand, you could probably rattle off 20 breeds which have floppy ears. Even in just the mastiff classification, I can immediately think of several. The Boerbel, the Dogue De Bordeaux, the English mastiff, Tibetan mastiff, the Kangol, Spanish mastiff — all have floppy ears.
Other big dogs with floppy ears — the Rhodesian Ridge Back, the Saint Bernard, the Newfoundland, even the Great Dane, which is the German contender in the mastiff category has naturally floppy ears.
The only difference between these breeds and the Cane Corso, is that these breeds do not have their ears cropped. With the possible exception of the great Dane, where this still sometimes occurs.
Do all these dogs have ear canal infections because they have floppy ears? Of course not. How many Labradors are there in homes around the world? Do they all suffer from chronic ear infection because of floppy ears? Obviously not.
The simple fact is that some dogs are more prone to ear infections and some are less prone.
None of our dogs have ever had cropped ears. And in all the floppy eared dogs we have owned, some have tended towards infections others have gone through their entire life without a single infection.
It's down to the whole physiology of the individual animal, not whether or not it has floppy ears.
The Case Against Ear Cropping
The fact is that the major animal medical associations have all stated that there is no medical advantage to an animal from the ear crop. They all recommend that breed associations remove cropped ears from breed standards. They all recommend that vets educate the public as to the pain and suffering that is caused by an unnecessary practice
Ear cropping — and the tail docking which frequently occurs in the same animals — is banned in the UK and across all Europe.
Prominent veterinarian Bruce Fogle was an early and outspoken advocate for preventing these practices. Fogle has been Veterinary Consultant to Microsoft Encarta, and Veterinary Advisor to the Encyclopædia Britannica.
On a side note, Bruce treated one of our dogs, many years ago — a more knowledgeable and compassionate vet would be hard to find. In 2000, he wrote:
"Dogs have their ears partly amputated — 'cropped' is the benign word people like to use - for no other reason than to make them look fierce. This is primarily a German tradition, born out of the military origins and uses of breeds like Great Danes, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, and Schnauzers. This mutilation — I am sorry to be so blunt, but that is what cropping is — is banned in its country of origin, and in most other FCI countries. North America remains the only significant region in the world where ear and tail amputations are still routinely performed. There is no medical or work-related justification for these procedures to be performed on pet dogs. Many dedicated, dog-loving veterinarians will no longer carry out these alterations."
In the years since Fogle's statement, the major animal medical associations have made their positions clear. The American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association have condemned ear cropping, and they have also called on breed organizations to remove cropping from all breed standards.
American Veterinary Medical Association
"The AVMA opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes. The AVMA encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards."
American Animal Hospital Association
"The American Animal Hospital Association is opposed to ear cropping and/or tail docking in pets for cosmetic reasons.
Veterinarians should counsel and educate pet owners that these procedures should not be performed unless medically necessary. AAHA also encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards."
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
tail docking in the canine or equine (2) - ear cropping in canines. The CVMA strongly encourages breed associations to change their breed standards so that cosmetic surgeries are not required and to assist the veterinary community in educating the public that these procedures cause unnecessary pain and suffering.
Examples of cosmetic surgical procedures include: - tail docking in the canine or equine (2) - ear cropping in canines.
The CVMA strongly encourages breed associations to change their breed standards so that cosmetic surgeries are not required and to assist the veterinary community in educating the public that these procedures cause unnecessary pain and suffering."
The UK -- the PDSA and the RSPCA
In the UK the PDSA issued this statement:
"Unfortunately because of their imposing, handsome good looks some Cane Corso have fallen victim to tail docking and ear cropping. Tail docking in the Cane Corso breed is illegal in the UK and must be reported to RSPCA. Ear cropping is also illegal in the UK and needs to be reported to RSPCA if discovered."
"Today, many countries ban cropping and docking because they consider the practices unnecessary, painful, cruel or mutilation. In Europe, the cropping of ears is prohibited in all countries that have ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals."
The legal position obviously depends on where you are located. According to the AVMA, there are currently only nine states in the USA that specifically regulate ear cropping of dogs. And not all of those make it illegal. In several cases, the only limitation is that the procedure must be carried out by a vet.
So, I think the position adopted by medical professionals around the world is clear. And, obviously, these people are taking this position for the benefit of the animal.
Nevertheless, the practice of cropping ears has not gone away. And for those who support this practice, the benefit is more likely to be for the owner.
Not for the faint-hearted
In the course of researching this article, I was astonished to find a website publishing an article on how to crop your dog's ears at home.
They provided a bullet list of steps to take. Implements required included a sharp kitchen knife and/or sterilized scissors.
Further instructions said that when you were satisfied with the results you could stitch up your dog's ears. In other words, you cut and chop away until you get the outline just how you'd like it. Using your kitchen knife or scissors.
I can't imagine why any website would publish information like this.
And why do we do this? So that we can make our dogs more pleasing to look at?
If a person feels that owning a dog gives them the right to cut parts of their ears off, in some areas, that is legally their decision.
I would personally suggest that anybody who thinks this way should reconsider.
But for anyone who feels they must proceed, at least be aware of what you are putting your dog through and be sure to do it the right way. Which would be by a medical professional, a vet who will at least properly anesthetize the dog, perform the procedure correctly, and provide medical aftercare.
For the rest of us, there is no valid reason to be cropping the ears of our Cane Corsos.
The breed standard allows for uncropped ears. The professional associations all agree there is no medical benefit. The only remaining reason is some kind of vanity on behalf of the owner, who wants the dog to look tough, mean, or intimidating, for some reason.
Cane Corsos With Natural Ears
Cane Corsos with floppy ears are beautiful — they look just great. If anyone thinks this guy is any less imposing or intimidating because his ears aren't cropped they're in for a rude awakening.
He's a beautiful dog — gentle and affectionate with his family. But he's a family protector, as well. He has the speed and agility of a dog half his size, but he's 130lbs of pure muscle, with a bite force of 700lbs psi. Cropped ears don't come into it — nobody is approaching the house without our say-so.
Information About Cane Corso Cropped Ears
For those who are considering cropping their Cane Corso’s ears, let’s make sure you have the information you need.
How Much Does It Cost To Crop A Cane Corsos Ears?
Cane Corsos Ear Cropping is not a cheap procedure, but it's not mega-expensive either. The cost of this service can vary depending on the location, but typically ranges from $200-$600.
Choosing a veterinary surgeon to perform your dog's ear cropping is important. Most importantly, your dog’s health and well-being is at stake. But also, how well this procedure is performed will have an effect on how your dog looks for the rest of his life.
So don't just go with the cheapest option. Make sure you go to a reputable clinic for best results, and make sure the vet you choose has experience with this procedure and this breed.
Types Of Ear Cropping For Cane Corso
The Battle Crop
The Battle Crop most is the most popular style of ear crop for the Cane Corso, by far. This style is popular because it leaves the shortest remaining ear and thus makes the Cane Corso look more intimidating.
The Long Crop
At the other end of the spectrum is the Long Crop, which removes the least material and leaves the longest remaining ear. Because the ear remains longer, dogs with this style of crop will probably require taping after the procedure, to keep the ear upright while it heals. The other styles will probably not require taping
The Show Crop
Next is the Show Crop, which leaves the ear a little shorter than the Long Crop.
The Short Crop
The Short Crop is shorter than the Show Crop, but not as short as the Battle Crop. Like the Battle Crop, It’s short enough to also appeal to those who want a scary-looking dog.
My favorite would of course be the No Crop!
How To Care For Cropped Ears On Cane Corsos
Cane Corso ear cropping aftercare is a bit like aftercare for a human procedure involving stitches — mostly common sense. Most important is to keep the wound clean.
Next is to keep it dry. You should keep the dog away from water for a minimum of 10 days and preferably 14. This means no bathing or swimming, or washing around the head area, during that time.
You should also keep your cane Corso quiet after the procedure. You should restrict boisterous activity for a week but, again 14 days is better.
14 days will probably be the time you are given to take your Cane Corso back to have his stitches removed. So you can’t go wrong if you keep him away from water until then, and get the vet’s OK to return to normal life.
If your Cane Corso is pawing and scratching at his ears after the cropping procedure, you may need a cone or similar to prevent him doing himself damage.
One of our Cane Corsos had a near operation (not cropping), and we found a good solution to stop him getting at the ears. We bought a pool noodle, and cut it into 3 lengths to fit round his neck. We threaded a piece of cord through the pool noodle pieces and tied the whole thing round his neck.
He was far more comfortable and less immobilized than he would have been with a huge Cane Corso-sized cone, and the pool noodle construction completely prevented him from getting at his ears
At What Age Do You Crop Cane Corso Ears
Cane Corso puppies usually have their ears cropped at between 8-12 weeks of age. It is possible to have the procedure carried out later, but it is not ideal. Some vets will refuse to perform the procedure any later. As the dog grows bigger, the increasing size and weight of the ear can make the procedure more difficult.
So there you have the lowdown on Cane Corso ear cropping — facts and figures, pros and cons, and even opinions.
It is, of course, your decision whether you have your Cane Corso's ears cropped or not. If you decide to proceed, do make sure your dog has the best possible treatment and the least possible suffering.