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  An outdated belief  is that a dog is more aggressive and threatening if the ears stand up.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


23 thoughts on “Crop, Dock or Not!!

  1. Andrew says:

    Interesting. We have a 3.5 year old Pom and I would hate to have her unnaturally altered. She’s not a show dog, she’s a family companion. She dotes on my wife. I’m afraid I don’t find anything to enjoy in interfering with her natural appearance. Our biggest regret is following the vet’s advice to have her spayed young. We were told to do it at 6 months but we waited until she was 8 months. She has never been 100% right since. Her temperament changed for the worse after spaying. Docking for cosmetic reasons is not fair on the dog as it doesn’t have a say in the matter. It’s a sad reflection on society that we feel compelled to do such things. Dogs are dogs and not fashion accessories.

    • Andrew, thank you for the comment and opinions. I agreee with you as have all that read the post. Americans are far behind in the etical and moral treatment of its pets.

      I will offer you my unsolicited opinion of what might have happened with your dog after she was spayed. But first: the reason for spaying by 6 months of age is to greatly reduce the incidence of mammary tumors (cancer) in females. (dogs and cats get breast cancer) I don’t know your dog so remember this is only my opinion. Every dog, no matter the size MUST KNOW THAT THE HUMAN/S are the boss. (Just like children who must have parents that are in charge- not the kids). Little dogs and large dogs- it does not matter. Sometimes with little dogs they easily succumb to what I call “tiny dog syndrome.” If they are hurt or become sick or have some type of surgery- we humans feel sorry for little precious and if little precious is coddled and spolied and allowed to have its way- then you will have a problem on your hands. This little dog also must get daily exercise and that should be out in the garden or where ever and walked for at least 30 minutes or played with so that the dog gets some form of exercise. Maybe you and Ms Ha know this but your dog is highly intelligent and Pom crosses and just Poms are used as trick dogs. They used to perform in the circus- don’t know what dogs they use now. But if you get a handle in gradually teaching her who is the leader/s in your house- perhaps the temperament problem will not be a problem anymore. She should easily obey with no growling. I should have asked what her behavior is like before I went off on this long piece of advice.

      I want to add that I am old and I have always had dogs. Not any of my dogs were changed by being spayed. They only get better and easier to control. Same for male dogs. Vets will tell you that removal of the sex organs does not affect temperament. Please go back and re-examine how you and Mrs Ha handled your little girl after she returned home from surgery. The key might be there. I am not going to say that that is what happened, just perhaps that is a possibility.

      Good luck with your little girl. I think Poms are some of the prettiest of all dogs. Do you have pictures to post of her?

      Looking forward to pics of the vacation in Korea.


      • Andrew says:

        Dear Yvonne, you have I am sure hit the nail on the head. Lulu is the archetypal pampered pooch. She is in a word, spoilt. Her predecessor, Mui Chu, lived to be 16 and we hope that Lulu lives a similarly long life. We try to be strict with her but I am afraid she is very hard to scold. As you can see from the photos I posted, butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. We are not good dog owners 😦

        She is so pretty and she and Shirley dote on one another. We plead guilty.

        • Andrew, I totally understand how you and Ms Ha feel about your dog. I would find it difficult not to spoil a little dog that is so pretty. If you can tolerate her diva attitude then I don’t see anything too bad that you can not put up with. But remember, if you decide to reel in some of that behavior you will need to prepare for her to resist at first and pout as well. I will have a look at the photos probably in a couple of hours. Must make a fast run to vet for special Hills Science Diet AD that is fed as a supplement to 4 cats- they are older and need some extra calories. Then on to the grocery store.

          PS: You should get some really good portrait type photos in black and white of Ms Ha and her little pom. I think those would be stunning and some in color as well.
          Thanks for the reply. I am smiling as I write this. I can just picture Mrs Ha with LuLu and the interaction between them. I am sure it is cute as can be.

          Regards, Yvonne

  2. I think it’s terrible to crop ears and dock tails, only for look’s sake. For me it’s like if people would be forced to certain plastic surgery to enter beauty contests. But then again, I’m European and it might be a cultural difference in ways of looking at this issue..

    • You are correct in your analogy of people and plastic surgery and dogs Here in the US certain breeds must look a certain way before that are eligible to compete in a dog show. Europeans have progressed to a dignified civility and I think overall they are more humane about their treatment of show animals and I hope other animals as well. Thanks for commenting, Calee

  3. Thanks Rexlin for liking this post.

  4. I think if the procedure is done by a vet, then the surgical conditions should be the best possible and an owner should have the choice. But for me personally, I would not. Thanks for your kind comments and recent visit at my place…. Happy Halloween!

    • Thank you Madge for looking over at my blog and for commenting. I appreciate this very much. I take it that you are a very busy lady and I did not even expect a reply form you. And, I was more than happy to comment after I finally learned where the place was for me to make a comment. I am sorry but I am always in a hurry and I am not the brightest ornament on the tree. However, I seriously admire your photography and I have been looking at your blog off and on for probably 2 months, perhaps longer. I can not even remember how I discovered you. Maybe from Flickr? Probably not! Anyway, thank you again.


  5. Northern Narratives says:

    I think both are terrible.

    • NO! No! No! This one of the trees and the field is pretty and gives the viewer something to look at. The leaves where essentially a blank slate. I’m sorry. It was pretty but this scene gives the viewer more than one thing to look at. I will not give you a false compliment if I do not mean it. Did you take this photo? I really DO THINK it is an improvement. Now, I must find time to do something ABOUT MINE and I do not, anywhere, in all of the thousands of photos that I have taken, not one that even matches yours. (I mean in quality) I have one nature scene that is posted in a post about a ranch and I will direct you to it sometime. Don’t have time tonight. Still have to feed my dogs. I just got back from Texas A & M veterinary school (100 miles away) where I had my most favorite cat since yesterday 12 noon. I will write about it at some point.

      Take care,

      • Northern Narratives says:

        I’m sorry for the confusion. In my comment, I mean that it is terrible to crop ears and dock tails.

        • I was so ashamed after I read my reply and then I was too tired to explain that I did not get what you meant and then made a fool of myself by going on and on about your new blog header. That is comment number 2 that I got wrong. I was stressed to the max yesterday, since I was about to leave for trip number 2 to Texas A & M vet school to pick up my cat.

          Thank you for the tip. I promptly put it over in trash (not intentional) and now must dig it back out. I tell you I have too many irons in the fire and too much that I wnat to get accomplished today. Finally getting rid of lots of junk and clothing- waiting on one more helper. I will look into the site you sent to me.

          Please excuse typos, etc. correct them please if you see any. You can edit comments- just in case you are not aware but you probably know.

  6. your bass akards phrase – you wondered if I would understand it and I did because my dad used it – maybe I misunderstood you

    • Louann,

      You understood correctly. I am the one who had things so mixed up. By the way, I just learned that if you hit the return key too hard if will knock everything bye-bye. I had a great reply to you and I thought it was kind of funny but now- well I am tired. This is what happened. I am about 2 bricks short of a load sometimes and I have been stressed to the max over one favorite cat. I will write about it later. The final verdict was a good one,etc. But back to the post about the crop, dock, or not. In my little ole warped mind I thought you meant that your dad cropped ears and docked tails. I am giggling to myself as I write this. How I so misread what you wrote is beyond me. But what you meant was that he used the slang bass akards. I am still laughing at myself. Really I am not a total nut case yet! But I think that I am fast working on it.

      I loooved your word play ( what is it called- I do not really know) about the peace and piece and tale and tails. I smiled when I read it- thought it was so funny and you are good at wry humor.


      • I hate when I lose my replies – they are little pieces of literature (lol)–then what the person really gets is so disappointing–that did not happen at all with this re-reply. Glad your cat and you got through it – LouAnn

        • Thank you. I am still tired and my brain feels warped- from old age? Anyway, your comment was not the only one that I totally read in the wrong context. Now I have to send a note to Northern Narratives and explain to her. I was in such a rush yesterday, (Wednesday) that I was all but standing on my head. You don’t have to reply to my reply unless you feel utterly compelled. (smile) I need to find the little icon dodads and use those.


  7. exiledprospero says:

    This is a subject (among many) that I know nothing about. It does, at first blush, seem unnecessary, and I will defer to your opinion; although, I am also likely to be biased (or, at the very least, find myself easily swayed by your argument) since the ears and the tail are among the best features of a papillon, and I say ‘among’ because there are so many,not that anyone would ever consider doing such a thing–crop! dock!– to that most regal breed.

    • Prospero,
      Thank you for the nice comment. As A rule it seems that breeders here in the states have left most of the long haired or all of the long haired breeds alone- that is tail and ears. Only in a wild dream could I imagine anyone cutting the tail of of the papillon for that is one of that breeds assets as well as those beautiful ears. The crop, dock thing is that the the creators of certain breeds set a standard of how the dog should look therefore the imbicels decided that some of the dogs looked much better either with a a short tail or cropped ears. What amazes me is the fact that the english, europeans, and some other countries no longer allow most of these barbaric procedures and if it is allowed the procedure must be done by a vet and only on certain breeds. Why must the US be so behind in everything that we do. It is pathetic!

      JUst a few more days- but then maybe you have to wait now since the storm in New York. Wonder when the planes can fly out again. And will the gas for the planes be uncontaminated? Hopefully water did not get into the gas and oil at the airports.


  8. poor dogs – leave their ears and tails in peace not pieces-and let their tails tell their tale–what is wrong with these people?

    • Thanks for reading that little post. You have been looking around and I had better get busy and FIX all those posts that have messed up photos. You see- when I moved all my posts from my daughter’s website the posts moved over with no problem- but the photos did not. I have worked on some of them but I have quite a few more to go.

      I am with you about cutting tails and butchering ears. This is the crazy world of americans thinking “bass ackards”. I hope that came across as funny and not anything else but maybe since you are Canadian you have not heard that expression and that is probably a good thing.


Comments are closed.