Pit Bulls

Why do They Cut Pitbulls ears?

All dogs have different sizes and shapes of ears, so many dog owners want to crop the ears to get a more desirable look. Pitbull ear cropping is considered a very hurtful and inhumane procedure.

Still, many people use this practice on their dogs. The ear cropping process is usually done in 6 to 12 weeks.

Dogs usually communicate with their ears, after cropping their ears, it is difficult for them to follow their owner’s command. To make Pitbull’s appearance more aggressive and fiercer, most of the owners prefer to crop their ears.

How do Pitbull ears look like?

Pitbull has a soft folded flap or floppy ears that look a little larger than as compared with dog’s head. Pitbull’s ears become curly and larger with age. The natural ears of Pitbull are drooped that similar to Greyhound, Doberman pinschers, and Labradors. The outer side of the dog’s ear is called “Pinna” which is made of cartilage. When you see inside the ear, there is an ear canal and an eardrum.

Also, the shape of ears differs from one Pitbull to another. Some Pitbulls have floppy ears while others have erect ears. During ear cropping, the pinna of these floppy-eared dogs is removed to make them more erect.

Photo by Anastasiya Vragova from Pexels – why do they cut Pitbulls ears?

The main purpose of ear cropping in dogs:

The main purpose of ear cropping is to remove some of the outer parts of the dog’s ears surgically. It helps to prevent the dog from different injuries that can occur during the fighting, working, or an accident. In the case of fighting, there is a chance of biting off the ears of dogs from other ones.

Since ears are considered as the easy target for Pitbull due to his large ears, this is the main reason why do people cut Pitbull’s ears. Moreover, cropping of ears is common practice in Pitbull to reduce the risk the injury in fighting dogs.

The procedure of Pitbull ear cropping:

An ear cropping procedure is a proper surgery that is performed by a veterinarian. This surgical procedure is known as “cosmetic otoplasty”. Anesthesia is given to the Pitbull at the start of the procedure. The ears cropping procedure takes 40 minutes, then cover their ears with tape and bandages for recovery.

After the surgery, medicines are used to relieve the pain and also prevent the cut part of the dog’s ears from infections. Normally, 14 days are required to properly heal the surgery area. Some vet tightly covers the ears with tape after surgery to make them erect. But there is no guarantee of erect ears in every Pitbull. It means that there is a chance of floppy ears even after the surgery procedure.

Photo by Angela Cavina from Pexels – American pit bull get ear cropped.

Health benefits of ears cropping in Pitbull:

There are many reasons due to which people cut off their dog’s ears. Many people thought that it has many health benefits to crop the ears of Pitbull. But there are also some misconceptions related to the health benefits.

Avoid ear infection:

One of the big misconceptions is that cropping ears can avoid ear infection. But some of the pitbull with cropped ears may also develop ear infections. But there are 80% of dogs do not develop ear infections. So, you can say that ears cropping prevents ear infections in a dog’s ear canal to some extent. Thus, this is an unnecessary pain that just changes their appearance.

Also check this out: Why do pitbulls get hiccups?

Improve dog’s hearing capability:

The droopy ears of Pitbull may reduce the sound to reach the eardrums. Therefore, cropping the dog ears may help to improve the hearing capability of Pitbull. But the improvement in hearing is very minimum.

Pitbull puppy get his ear cropped. Photo by BullyMax.com

Risks of cropping dog’s ears:

In contrast with benefits, the disadvantages of ear cropping are higher. So, if you’re going to crop your dog’s ears, you need to understand the risks of this procedure.

Long term trauma:

Pitbull experiences pains for several weeks that will lead to long-term trauma. They act differently in the trauma phase, just like humans. For instance, they become more aggressive and violent after the ear cropping.

Enhance sensitivity:

Since many nerves are present in the cartilage of the outer part of Pitbull’s ears. Once, dog’s ears cropped, the nerve endings become more sensitive. Many painkillers are recommended to dogs after the surgery. A slight touch on the ear may initiate pain in these nerve endings. In some cases, the ear pain may never heal and the dog has to face the discomfort throughout his life.

Communication issue:

As dogs use their ears for communication with others, so cropping ears can cause difficulty to communicate with other dogs and people. For example, Pitbull moves their ears upward that is a sign of alert. When they move their ears down, it is a sign of submission.

When you crop pitbull ears, dogs lose the ability to show the signal regarding their moods. So, it can problematic situation for dogs to crop their ears.

Style of American pit bull terrier ear cropping style. Photo found on BullyMax

Is ear cutting in dogs legal?

Ear cropping is legal in the United States and it is approved by American Kennel Club. They state that the cropping of ears is the characteristic of the dogs. On the other hand, ear cropping is banned in different countries of the world including Europe.

Moreover, the American Veterinary Medical Association disapproved of this procedure. They ban ear cropping and demonstrate that it is immoral to cause a lot of pain just to make the dog’s appearance better.


This article informs you that there is a little benefit and more risks of cropping the Pitbull’s ears. The surgery is very painful and can mentally disturb the dogs. It is a cruel thing to hurt the animal just for looks. There is no better evidence of the benefits of cropping the dog’s ears.

You have to consider all the risk factors before planning the ear cropping surgery for your Pit bull. Moreover, you have to perform the surgery in the early weeks of their life. Otherwise, in adult dogs, the cartilage in the ears becomes thicker and causes more pain during surgery. If you still want to cut your Pitbull’s ears, you have to approach an experienced veterinarian for this purpose.

Photo credit on Flickr.

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About the author

Walter Perez

My name is Walter, and I'm a huge dog lover, I have made this blog to share my experience and help dog owners make better decisions in term of improving the quality of their pet's life. I have shared my life with pets since childhood, and I currently own a golden retriever named Bailey.


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