Courageous, vigilant, and massive, the Rottweiler has an impressive and easily recognizable appearance. Black with well-defined tan markings on the cheeks, eyes, muzzle, neck, and legs, he is a purebred dog much coveted by lovers of large and powerful breeds of canines. And speaking of the breed standard, do Rottweilers get their ears cropped as other purebred dogs do?
The simple answer is no, as cropped ears have never been part of the breed standard for Rottweilers.
Why Aren’t Rottweiler’s Ears Cropped?
Over time, cropped ears have become the trademark of some purebred dogs, such as Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes. Nowadays, however, this controversial practice raises questions among dog owners as well as veterinarians and other canine experts.
Regarding Rottweilers, cropped ears have never been part of the breed standard. Indeed, their floppy ears may have been more functional in helping Rottweilers smell and track cattle. Communication with cattle and people has always been essential for Rottweilers to do their jobs well; this is probably why it was important to keep the ears in their original shape to not interfere with their hearing.
Historically, Rottweilers weren’t used for dogfighting or battling against large animals as much as many other bully-type dogs. Dogs like Pit Bulls and American Bulldogs had their ears cropped to prevent their ears from being torn apart by other dogs in a fight.
The ears and tail were considered a weak spot that was best removed to avoid injuring them in the ring. Since Rottweilers were generally not used to fighting in this manner, there would have been no motivation to cut off their ears.
Why Do Some Dogs Have Their Ears Cropped?
When it comes to cropping dogs’ ears, it should be noted that this practice is only widespread in certain areas and for certain breeds of dogs only. Indeed, it was customary to cut off the ears of dogs intended for combat, guard dogs, or so-called utility dogs.
This practice is explained by the fact that the ears are one of the weak points of the dog. Animals fighting tended to be regularly bitten or injured in the ears; sensitive and painful, they bled a lot and took a long time to heal. Trimming dogs’ ears reduced this risk of injury and made them less vulnerable to attack. Therefore, the owners of these dogs justified the operation because they wanted to protect the safety of their animals.
Today, ear cropping is banned in many countries, but not in the United States (although some states have laws that regulate this practice).
However, even in countries where ear cropping is banned, some owners still do it despite the fact that this operation is strongly criticized.
What Breeds of Dogs Have Cropped Ears?
It is easy to recognize a dog with cropped ears; these are permanently erect on its head and cannot fall again. However, as this practice is primarily intended for utility and guard dogs, only certain breeds were concerned.
Traditionally, the following breeds have cropped ears:
How Are a Dog’s Ears Cropped?
Cropping the ears means cutting off the dog’s outer ear, that is, the pinna. This is the floppy part of the ear. This operation is done under anesthesia by a veterinarian on puppies between 1.5–3 months old. Then, the ears are taped to a hard surface while they heal, the goal being to keep them straight after the healing period.
Is It Cruel to Trim a Dog’s Ears?
According to many veterinarians, canine experts, breeders, and dog owners, yes, this practice is cruel since it would bring absolutely no benefits for the dog other than aesthetic reasons. It is not for nothing that this practice is banned in many countries, including Australia, Europe, and several provinces of Canada. Moreover, although the United States has still not followed suit, the Banfield Pet Hospital, the largest network of animal hospitals in the U.S., no longer performs docking or cropping. Plus the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) also encourages the elimination of ear cropping from breed standards.
And for those who will say that the American Kennel Club (AKC) still endorses the cropping of the ears of certain breeds for competitions, know that the Association itself says dogs without docks or crops are just as likely to win at dog shows:
“While it is true that some breeds are shown with their ears cropped, there is nothing in AKC rules and, in fact, nothing in any breed standard that compels an owner to have this procedure performed as a prerequisite to entry at a dog show. Even if it is traditional in a particular breed that the dog has one of these alterations, it has the same potential to win as any other dog of the breed and will only be judged based on the compliance of that dog to the breed standard.”
If you wish to buy or adopt a Rottweiler, rest assured that its ears will not have to be cropped, as this is not part of the breed standard. Obviously, this does not detract from the beauty of these colossi, nor all the qualities inherent in the breed. Either way, the practice of cropping ears is becoming less and less common in American dog culture, which portends more Dobermans and Great Danes with natural ears in the near future.
Next on your reading list:
- Pitbull Ear Cropping: Why Is It Done and Is It Cruel?
- Doberman Ear Cropping: Is It Necessary? (Here Are the Facts)
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels