New Study Fuels Anti Tail Docking and Ear Cropping Standards

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When you think of a Doberman, you imagine a dog with his tail docked and ears cropped. It’s an expected show standard… but is it right?

When you get a Doberman, Boxer, or Miniature Schnauzer, the look of the dog includes tail docking and ear cropping. But did you know that these practices are considered doggy plastic surgery and totally unnecessary?

We tend to believe there’s no reason for plastic surgery unless there’s some disfigurement of some sort – or a way to improve the look of the individual. In the dog world, tail-docking is banned in many countries of Europe and in Australia. Even though the American and Canadian Veterinary Associations oppose these doggy cosmetic surgeries, they are still done.

Related: The Basics About Tail Docking in Dogs

No Benefit From These Ear Cropping and Tail Docking Procedures

The veterinarians report that there’s no benefit of them. They are unnecessary surgical procedures – and all surgeries carry a risk of harm from infection, anesthesia usage and hemorrhaging, not to mention the pain associated with the procedure.

Ear cropping regulations are only seen in nine states of America, and two regulate tail docking. In ear cropping, the part of the ear that flops is surgically cut. Then the ear is taped to a support to that the ear will perpetually stand up.

So why do we keep doing it? Because of the American Kennel Club’s standards for the different breeds. A Boxer puppy doesn’t meet the AKC’s ‘high’ standards until tail docking and ear cropping is undergone, despite the dog’s pedigree lineage.

Does anyone else out there think this type of thinking is a bit crazy? If so, read on.

Related: Interesting Facts about Dog Tails

Tails and Ears are Used for Dog-to-Dog Communication

You see, a dog uses its tail as a communicative instrument to other dogs. Tail raised up and wagging slowly means alarm, high alert, and “I’ll attack any second!” whereas tail down means submission, fearfulness and if the tail is between its legs, this usually means the dog did something wrong and knows he’s in trouble.

Ears also are used for doggy communications. Ears up and forward mean the dog is interested in something that’s going on. If the ears are close to the head though, and either forward or back, this means aggressiveness. When the ears are laying low on the head and back, it means the dog is afraid or submissive.

Plastic Surgery Not Accomplishing Its ‘Beautiful’ Goals

In a study at the University of British Columbia, reported in the medical journal PLoS One, participants were shown two different pictures of four different dog breeds – one that had the dog with tail docking and ear cropping, and one without either of these cosmetic procedures.

They were asked which dog looked more attractive. In every case, there was no difference between the dog without the tail docking and ear cropping and the one without, except for the Brussels Griffon. In this dog, the more natural state of the dog – without the ear cropping and tail docking was chosen.

Interestingly, the participants even stated that the dogs with the tail docking and ear cropping were more aggressive.

Here’s the bottom line: If there’s no real purpose for the procedure and it’s hurting the dogs in several different ways, why are we still allowing the tail docking and ear cropping to be done?

What do you think?

[Source: Plos]

Donna Schwontkowski
Donna Schwontkowski

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