Pitbull with cropped ears – Is it safe and healthy?

Pitbull’s ears are initially erect and then flaps down as the skin folds because of the end part of the pinna falling over to the side. These type of ears are called Rosebud as the ear resembles to the Petal of the rose.

What is the cropping of Pitbull’s ears? Cropping pitbull ears is the practice of surgically removing part of his ear to look erect. This is done for purely cosmetic reasons with no health benefits.

This is also known as Pitbull ear trimming or Pitbull ear cutting.

Why Pitbull ears are cropped?

Ear cropping in dogs started in ancient Roman times. This was done to prevent ear damage during dog fighting and hunting which was quite popular then.

The tail and ear of dogs are quite sensitive places and they get an excruciating pain if they get hurt there.

In modern days, dogfighting is not practiced and mostly illegal except in some countries like Japan.

Ears are nowadays cropped just for the looks to make the Pitbull look more ferocious and aggressive.

pitbull with cropped ears

When ear cropping is done?

This surgical procedure is done only in puppies when they are 6 to 12 weeks old.

This is never done on an adult dog. Pitbull puppies cartilage is soft. As they grow, their cartilage becomes thicker. This makes the procedure quite painful for an adult dog.

Further, if this procedure is done after the third month, there is a chance that it doesn’t keep the ears erect which was the primary reason for doing.

How ear cropping is done?

Cropping is trimming the floppy part of a dog’s ear. This is performed on an anesthetized dog when he is in between 6 to 12 weeks old.

This is done by a licensed veterinarian and the procedure may take 30 to 45 minutes.

Once the procedure is done, the ears are then taped to a hard surface for a few weeks. The surgery will cause the ears to be tender and painful for many days. Medicines are recommended to subdue the pain and prevent infection.

When the surgical wound heals, bandages are removed and the cropped ear stands erect.

Pitbull with cropped ear

Tips to care for puppy after the procedure

You should definitely follow all the advice given by the vet.

  1. You should be on the lookout for any ear infections like redness, swelling, etc and immediately reach out to your vet.
  2. The Puppy would be in trauma and pain. Make sure you give him the medications as recommended as they would help.
  3. Ensure the puppy is eating well and getting all the nourishment needed to recover.

Myth about ear cropping

In modern days, there is a myth that

“Cropping of Pitbull’s ears makes him healthy and it helps in reducing the chances of ear infection.”

While this is quite publicized, but it is just a hypothesis. No studies have confirmed the same and dogs having their ears cropped are likely to have the same chances of ear infection as the ones who don’t.

Reasons why pitbull ears should not be cropped

Let us look at the reasons why Pitbull ears should not be cropped.

  1. Cropping a Pitbull’s ear is not healthy as few may believe. It is a false claim that cropping ears can make the dog healthy by lowering the risks of ear infection.
  2. It was a good reason when Pits were used in dogfighting. They were saved of their pain in a sensitive area like ear making them a better fighter. But nowadays dog fighting is banned in most countries except for a few like Japan.
  3. Though it is a small surgical procedure, there are risks associated with the same.
    • There are chances of infection at the surgical wound.
    • This procedure is painful to the puppy for several days and medicines would have to be given to subdue it.
    • It causes psychological trauma to the puppy which is not necessary.
    • There are chances that the procedure may not be successful and the dog is left with surgical scars for the whole life without having erect ears (the primary reason).

Is ear cropping legal?

In USA there is no law about banning ear cropping.

There are many countries in the world where ear cropping is banned. Australia, New Zealand, many countries in Europe like the UK, France, Sweden, and Netherland have banned cropping of ears unless needed for any medical reasons.

Caring for Pitbull ears

Dogs build up the wax faster than us as they have long ear canals. Pitbulls also have part floppy rosebud type of ears.

Caring for Pitbull’s ear would mean removing dirt, debris, excess wax from the same. Because of his ears being floppy, dirt and moisture may remain trapped.

What you can see inside the ear is the dog ear’s external canal that leads till the eardrum. After the ear drum are the sensitive areas. Any damage to that may be very harmful to dogs’s hearing and balance.

Here are simple tips that you can follow so your Pitbull’s ear remains healthy and you don’t need to do a cruel procedure like cropping his ears.

  1. It is best if you do the cleaning just before the bath
  2. Before starting to clean, have a good look for any infections. This may include signs of redness or swelling. If found, it is best to take the Vet’s advice.
  3. For cleaning, use an ear cleaner that is recommended by your vet.
  4. Use a cotton ball or cloth to clean the parts of the ear that are visible.
  5. Do not force your way down, as it could be harmful.

About Pitbull

White Pitbull

Pitbulls are medium-sized dogs having a strong and muscular body. Pitbull was a term used for a variety of dog breeds known as bullies. Though nowadays, it is used for referring to American Pit Bull Terrier.

This dog breed is not approved by AKC though approved by UKC (similar dog kennel club in England).

Their coat is short and shiny and comes in a variety of colors like red, blue, brown, grey, black and white (read more), and brindle.

Because of their association in the dog fighting, Pitbulls are feared for their aggressive behavior. But they actually are wonderful loyal companion dogs with the right training and socialization.

Final Thoughts

Though some may love Pitbulls with cropped ears, this is a cruel thought and action with no actual benefits. This has many cons like pain and trauma for the puppy.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4922641/
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288836514_A_review_of_medically_unnecessary_surgeries_in_dogs_and_cats