Daily Archives: November 1, 2012

Crop, Dock or Not!!

Americans of the canine show circuit and other people who are dog “savvy” probably know that most European nations do not crop their dogs ears or dock the tail.  England and most European countries have banned ear cropping and tail docking and view these procedures as unnecessary and inhumane.  Some docking of the tail is permitted in countries that have partial bans. If tail docking is done, surgery must be performed by a veterinarian.  And tail docking is only done in working and hunting/retrieving breeds. On the other hand in the USA, the American Kennel Club specifies that certain breeds are not eligible for showing unless ears are cropped and the tail  docked. Some well versed authorities who work with, treat, or show certain dog breeds claim that it is in the best interest of the dog to either crop the ears or the dock the tail or both depending on the standards for a particular breed. The reason or excuse given is that the dog actually benefits from its ears standing up, but in my biased and humble opinion the dog looks as if it is on permanent alert.  An outdated belief  is that a dog is more aggressive and threatening if the ears stand up.

Does this improve the dog’s hearing and appearance? Some breeds (according to AKC standards) must have a docked tail. Cutting off the tail is usually done when the puppy is only a few days old. Breeders of the unfortunate puppy believe that the pain receptors are not as developed, thus docking is done when the pup is very young. Perhaps all of this is true but, is it possible to determine the degree of pain in an animal ? A few unlucky dog breeds must have ears cropped and the tail docked.  To  name a few: Great Dane, Boxer, Standard and Miniature Schnauzer, Pit Bull Terrier, Doberman Picher, and Miniature Pinscher.  The Jack Russell Terrier, Wire Haired Fox Terrier, Smooth Haired Fox Terrier, German Short Haired Pointer, Hungarian Visla, Weimaraner, and Brittany Spaniel are subjected to only tail docking, which is in my opinion barbaric, as well. The breeds listed here, are but a sampling of dog breeds that have cropped and/or docked so that the dog conforms to breed standards.

Many veterinarians in the USA no longer crop ears and some also refuse to dock tails. It appears these vets are listening to the other side of the pond where bans now protect the victims that can not speak for themselves.  The fact remains that owners want their dog to conform to the standards of the breed even though their dog is not and never will be a show dog. Researchers say that a dog needs its tail for balance and as a means of communicating to other dogs and humans. The tail tells it all sometimes.

Remember that old saying that if a dog wags its tail it will not bite?  It is sad to say but  a dog with a wagging tail does bite people who are unfamiliar. It isn’t about the wag but the carriage of the tail that tells it all. Some dogs wag their tail and if you make eye contact then you are really in a fix. The placement of the tail; high, low, straight out or tucked between the legs all denote a particular mood and  intended action of the dog. And just how do dogs communicate that have no tail or a docked tail? So my argument is if the ears are cropped and the tail docked, does this really improve the dog’s ability to perform his job and does it improve the dogs appearance? Could these surgeries be called inhumane? Will American dog breeders ever follow the actions of the English and the Europeans and ban ear cropping of all breeds and limit tail docking for certain breeds?

Please comment and add your opinion.

Post by:  Yvonne