Stop the Crops



The Problem


Schnauzer PuppyIn 2008, a total of 88,770 purebred dogs were registered with the AKC that might have had their ears cropped. Additionally, there are all the mixed breeds that some think look "macho" with their cropped ears. Also there are those breeds, not yet accepted by the AKC, that usually have their ears cropped.

From the above statistical data and from 2008 registration stats, the magnanimity of permanent mutilation through cosmetic alteration is sizeable.

The Problem is now of epidemic proportions!

It seems okay for the United States Congress to concern themselves with the plights of 200 circus elephants, (who certainly do deserve assistance), but why has the USA forgotten the plight of over 100,000 puppies, particularly since the number is certain to grow?

It is against the law to crop ears on dogs in so many large and civilized countries like the UK, Scandinavia, Austria, Germany, Israel, Singapore, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and is not sanctioned in other places. Why are the veterinarians and kennel club representatives in the United States so hesitant to act? They continue to permit ear cropping and tail docking from so many purebred dogs!

Why have there not been more strict state and local laws to protest this continuing inhumane animal cruelty? What can we all do, as individuals, pet owners, dog breeders and exhibitors, professional dog handlers, judges and all those connected with the business of working with dogs, to come to the assistance of all of our canine friends, not ONE of whom would ELECT (If they had free choice) to have their ears chopped in half?


or This

The purpose of this web site is to bring ear cropping to the attention of all those interested in dog welfare and to provide information about possible contacts that might assist with getting this procedure stopped in the U.S.A.

Many of us have owned, raised and shown pure bred dogs and have our own opinions about what is considered to be acceptable. Many people seem determined that what we do to our own dogs is a matter of choice (just as killing an unborn baby seems to be a matter of choice.) However, we would hope to create a bit more of a humane attitude among our dog-breeding colleagues so that they could admit that the forced 21st century mutilation of any animal is no longer necessary and is now a matter of human ego status seeking! It provides no comfort nor is it now needed to prevent ears being torn apart by boar hunts or ripped into by a lion!

American Veterinarian Medical Association Position Statement AVMA policy
Ear Cropping and Tail Docking of Dogs
(Oversight: AWC; HOD 07/1999, EB revised 11/2008)
"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."

Cropped Eared Miniature PinscherWe are providing information from the American Kennel Club, the American Veterinary Medical Association, other canine related organizations, the various breed clubs in the USA, and also excerpts from published articles and books on this subject.

There are thousands of U.S. veterinarians making a substantial living through cropping ears? Some clients will travel across state lines in order to have this procedure done by 'expert' hands. Can those who govern individual breed clubs dictate? Vets already know the policies from breed clubs and what taking a firm stand on this issue would cause. It would bring the practice of cropping ears to a STOP. If the AVMA says they now oppose further ear crops by licensed veterinarians, will the American Kennel Club now STOP allowing any dogs to be in any of their dog shows or exibitions if their ears have been cropped?

It would no longer matter what individuals thought or what is in the written policies of the breed clubs. Unless, of course, breeders wanted to continue to do illegal ear crops, puppy mill owners want to keep on cropping ears when puppies are still babies (with fingernail scissors and without any anesthetics), and others want to continue plying the illegal drug trade by bringing anesthetics into this country from outside sources (easily available from Vet supply shops in Mexican border towns), or obtaining it from vets or doctors, to perform crops, the inhumane practice could be stopped.

The Humane Society of the United States could put a stop to this practice by stating a firm policy that the organization is opposed to their members performing ear cropping and to all other forms of cosmetic surgery if senseless, inhumane and cruel! We could see it all stopped! A copy of a letter from Mr. Caras, deceased President of the ASPCA, is included on this Web site. This organization has been challenged to exert influence to adhere to what the AKC says in its own policies: "dogs that have been cosmetically altered may not be shown or exhibited in AKC sanctioned events". The ASPCA tells us to "get the attention of the ear croppers and the AKC." However, the AKC ignores ear cropping by telling us to revert back to the breed club individual standards, and some breed clubs refuse to alter their standards, at least to provide options, so that cropped or upright ears are not essential. There are no breed disqualifications regarding showing cropped ears! (see Breed Disqualifications click here)

In 2004, former California Sen. Liz Figueroa introduced a much-publicized amendment to S.B. 1548 of the California Civil Code. The proposed amendment would have made it a “misdemeanor for any person to crop the ears of any dog, or to procure the cropping of a dog's ears within the state of California, except for the treatment of disease or injury of the dog.” The measure was defeated when anti-ban dog breeders (many of whom reportedly did not even reside in California) objected violently. On the Take Action site there is a letter you can send to legislators in your state. You can send Governor Schwarzenegger a message at: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA 95814, Phone: 916-445-2841, Fax: 916-558-3160

Austrian Newsclip
May 28, 2004

Governor Schwarzenegger's native Austria has passed an anti-cruelty law, one of Europe's harshest, that bans pet owners from cropping their dogs' ears or tails, forces farmers to uncage their chickens, and ensures that puppies and kittens no longer swelter in pet shop windows. Violators are subject to fines of $2,420, and in cases of extreme cruelty can be fined up to $18,160 and have their animals seized by the authorities. Austria's new law also outlaws the use of lions and other wild animals in circuses and makes it illegal to restrain dogs with chains, choke collars or "invisible fences" that administer mild electric shocks to confine animals.

In the US, unless and until it becomes illegal to crop ears and dock tails, with the continued 'sanctioning' from the AKC, the practices will continue. Perhaps it is time to act on the suggestion from the former President of the ASPCA to "strike effectively!" While ear cropping is considered to be, by far, the more cruel of the mutilation/amputation processes, if it takes legislation to stop tail docking in order to put a stop to ear cropping, then so be it! The challenge for all of us is to contact our federal legislators, state and local elected officials, and canine related groups to set an example and let them know that we consider this to be a cruel procedure that has to be stopped!

Those of you living in countries where these practices are already illegal could help via e-mails, faxes, letters and phone calls. Letters to the editors, to the media, to the daily columnists and to canine publications would help. Included on this site is a complete list of breed data from breed clubs, recognized by the American Kennel Club, that crop dogs' ears. (A list is provided for breeds that dock tails and those marked with an (*) are subjected to surgery at both ends...ears and tails!) We have included addresses of organizations and individuals that merit being contacted with the expectation that some action be taken.

Some dogs that normally would have been subjected to having their ears cropped are now being shown with natural ears. If their ears have to stand on their own for AKC, they still can be shown under CFI or FCI breed standards in international shows, now being held in America (see IABCA). In the past several years, a natural eared Boxer has been shown to BIS, a Great Dane was in the top 10 with natural ears, several Miniature Pinschers have obtained their championships, and more Boston Terriers are going into the Non- Sporting Group without having their whole ears chopped in half because someone thought their heads looked more slim and trim with cropped ears! With the popularity of the Brussels "Jill" in the film As Good As It Gets and her natural ears, some breeders of that toy variety are now refusing to crop. There's an exceptional breeder exhibitor and judge who has quit ear cropping, and tail docking, with all of her Affenpinschers. They are also being shown... and winning...with FULL TAILS.

Jill from As Good As It Gets
natural-eared Brussels Griffon
from the movie
As Good As It Gets

We need to compliment and encourage judges who recognize and give wins to dogs before them with natural ears, or with full tails, or both! Obviously, we do not want the overall quality of the whole dog to be compromised, but we also do not need to continue to try to make a champion out of a 'pet' that could not get an AKC point until its ears got cropped. If ears are too large, too heavy, too poorly placed on a head, or a whole lot of other problems, it should not suffice to be able to just cut ears half off and then state, "Now we have a show dog. Oh, how elegant!"

Collie with Weighted EarsHere are Collies with ears weighted, to help them fold.

Dog owners, it seems, aren't content to leave natural ears alone. This photo of a collie with manipulated ears shows weighted ear results. When will we decide not to make dogs into our ego-centric, aesthetic ideals of what looks good? Watch Dog Getting Ear Cropped click here!

Veterinarians need to stop greeting new puppy owners with the words "You better be getting those ears cropped! It will be too late if you put it off much longer!" Here is a new owner, with their prized addition to the family, being told they HAVE to have the ears cropped because that's the way it's done with that breed! Too many puppy owners come back crying when they see the effects of what they have paid high prices to have done to their young puppies. Many dogs have gone head crazy, had ear infections, developed lifelong seizures, and also appear to be aware that you really do not love them. Cropping ears is not an act of love! *AKC and/or AVMA need to make available a video on cosmetic alterations, procedures and results.

Breeds That Crop


Breed Breed Group 2008 Rank 2008 Registrations 2007 Rank
Boxer  Working        6        29,705       6
Miniature Schnauzer  Terrier      11        17,040     11
Boston Terrier  Non-
     17        10,930     16 
Doberman Pinscher  Working      18        10,547     21
Great Dane  Working      22          8,994     23
Miniature Pinscher  Toy      32          5,648     26
Brussels Griffon  Toy      67          1,320     60
American Staffordshire Terrier  Terrier      71          1,236     68
Bouvier des Flandres  Herding      83              821     84
Giant Schnauzer  Working      87             751     83
Standard Schnauzer  Working      99              552   102
Manchester Terrier  Terrier    107             407   113
Neapolitan Mastiff  Working    112             357   115
Briard  Herding    123             237   118
Affenpinscher  Toy    132             171   125
Beaucerons  Herding    139             117     76
German Pinscher  Working    141             108   135
Where Breed Standard Allows Cropped Ears: 88,770


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Natural-Eared Great Danes

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1. Affenpinscher: 12 weeks
2. American Staffordshire Terrier:
    9 weeks
3. Beauceron: 8weeks
4. Boston Terrier: 16 weeks
5. Bouvier des Flandres: 7 weeks
6. Boxer: 9 weeks
7. Briard: 9 weeks
8. Brussels Griffon: 16 weeks
9. Doberman Pinscher: 9 weeks
10. German Pinscher: 10 weeks
11. Giant Schnauzer: 7 weeks
12. Great Dane: 7 weeks
13. Manchester Terrier (Standard):
      16 weeks
14. Miniature Pinscher: 16 weeks
15. Miniature Schnauzer: 16 weeks
16. Neapolitan Mastiff: 7 weeks
17. Standard Schnauzer: 9 weeks

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Boxer with Cropped EarsDoberman Pinscher with Natural Ears

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German Shorthaired Pointer
German Wirehaired Pointer
Clumber Spaniel
Cocker Spaniel
English Cocker Spaniel
Field Spaniels
Spinone Italiano
Sussex Spaniel
Welsh Springer Spaniel
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon


*Designates Breeds That customarily have EARS CROPPED AND TAILS DOCKED in the USA.
*Doberman Pinscher
*Giant Schnauzer
*Neapolitan Mastiff
*Standard Schnauzer

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Giant Schnauzer with Cropped Ears

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  Australian Terrier
  Fox Terrier
  Irish Terrier
  Jack Russell
  Kerry Blue
*Miniature Schnauzer
  Norfolk Terrier
  Norwich Terrier
  Sealyham Terrier
  Soft Coated Wheaten
  Welsh Terrier
*Brussels Griffon
  Cavalier King Charles Spaniel(optional)
  English Toy Spaniel
*Miniature Pinscher
  Poodle (Toy)
  Silky Terrier
  Yorkshire Terrier
  Miniature Poodle
  Standard Poodle
  Australian Shepherd (often bobtailed)
*Bouvier des Flandres
  Old English Sheepdog (often bobtailed)
  Pembroke Welsh Corgi (often bobtailed)
    "Bobtailed" Born with natural short tail

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