Let’s Talk About Ears and Tails.

To crop or not to crop? That is the question!

Ear cropping and tail docking are very controversial subjects! The ones who are against it oppose it strongly as being against nature. Then there are some who are for it, stating that it “upholds the breed customs”. Whether you are for it or against it, we thought we should share the facts with you and let you decide for yourself. There are several countries who have banned ear cropping and or tail docking, however, the United States allows both.

So, what is Ear Cropping exactly? It is cosmetic surgery. There is no known medical reason for a dog to have their ears cropped. It is generally done when a Boxer pup is 8-10 weeks old, however, it can be done at any age. It is thought to be easier for a puppy to recover from the surgery though, because their ears are still soft and small, making the healing process easier. The puppy is sedated, and the surgeon marks the areas to be cut. He then snips the area off and stitches in a way that does not allow for the ear to fold back over, giving them the “straight standing boxer ears”. Because of the sedation, the boxer does not feel any pain during the procedure, however, in the 2-3 weeks of healing that follow there will be discomfort. Often they place small paper cones over the ears as they heal and the owner is given an antibiotic gel to apply to the ears twice a day as the puppy heals. It is important that if you decide to have this done that you:

  1. Choose a veterinary professional with a good amount of experience.
  2. Commit to following a very precise aftercare routine.

A couple of issues can occur as a result of poor ear cropping or poor aftercare. It can lead to a bad infection or a poor aesthetic appearance which is a lifelong issue. If you are considering having this done because you are going to be “showing” your dog, keep in mind that boxer’s without cropped ears have obtained the “Best in Show” title with uncropped ears! It is not a requirement of the AKC.

What about Tail Docking? This too is a highly debated topic among boxer owners. It is typically done for “show” reasons, although it is not required. Docking is a process in which the natural long tail of the dog is cut to produce a small erect tail. It is done one of two ways, either by placing an extremely tight band on the tail (cutting off the blood circulation) until the end of the tail drops off. Or the tail is cut off. Although it is technically a surgery, the pup is not given any sedation and most times a loud yelp is given, indicating the pain is being felt by the animal. They do, however, seem to recover quickly. Customarily this procedure is done when the pup is about 3 days old. Typically, they cut the tail to about ¾ of an inch, this will give the boxer a 3-inch-long tail when they are full grown. Which is appropriate for most boxers.  

A long time ago it was believed that docking the tail prevented rabies and increased their running speed. However, this has proven to be false. Some people will argue that if the tail goes undocked that it will be too heavy for the dog to carry and cause issues with the dog’s balance, and even impedes their ability to reproduce. This too has been proven wrong by studying all the dogs in countries where docking is illegal. Studies also show that dogs communicate with their tails, so docking is thought by many veterinarians to interfere with the dog’s ability to interact with other dogs as well their humans.

Now that you know the facts and the history you can make an informed decision.