Cane Corso ear Crop: Why do they do it?

cane corso ears

Although the Cane Corso’s ears are naturally floppy, many owners across the world engage in the Cane Corso ear crop because they believe it helps fight against injury and infection in the event of bites from other animals, either when playing or in other activities such as guarding or managing livestock.

Historically, the Cane Corso would be used to protect premises, livestock and land. This meant that they would occasionally encounter other animals such as wild dogs, wolves or even bears. If fighting ensued, then it was fairly common for bites to the ears to occur. (For more information on dog bites, please consult our Dog Bite Statistics guide which discusses the risks in depth). In this case, it could lead to infection which could prove traumatic to the dog. 

That said, in modern times this is obviously way less likely to occur. Today, the common reason behind the Cane Corso ear crop is likely due to the aesthetic and breed standard which is more commonplace in the USA. It is a practice that divides opinion, but is still popular in many parts of the world. However, here in the UK, cropping of ears is seen as unnecessary trauma and also illegal.   

We think that future owners should not choose their dog based only on looks. This is unfortunately one of the leading causes for why so many breeds end up in dog shelters. If open and pointed ears are important to you and you’re looking for a guardian or worker dog breed then you should consider other breeds such as German Shepherds, which do not require ear cropping. 

Are there health concerns with cropping Cane Corso ears?

Some owners would argue that there are still functional and practical reasons for cutting ears, especially if the owners have multiple dogs and frequent play fighting occurs. However, owners must be aware of some health concerns that can occur with ear cropping. Such as: 

  1. It may induce physical and mental trauma both short and long term which can negatively impact the dogs behaviour.
  2. The risk of infection post surgery. 
  3. Communication can suffer. Dogs use their ears to help us understand how they’re feeling. Without ears, they have fewer ways of communicating.

You can read more about Cane Corso health issues here.

Are there health benefits with ear cropping A Cane Corso?

For those that are pro-cropping, the argument is that by removing their naturally floppy ears, the Cane Corso can avoid infection, infestation and injury. This is because the ears are typically bitten when playing or fighting with other dogs. 

The argument is that floppy ears on a Cane Corso are not necessarily healthy. This is because they close the inner ear from airflow and sunshine, keep it moist and therefore become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria build-up. Therefore, having clipped ears protects them from disease and promotes better overall health for the dog.

What is the procedure for cropping Cane Corso ears?

In terms of how old the Cane Corso has to be before its ears are cropped, this is usually carried out on puppies in the age range of 8 to 12 weeks old. The procedure for cropping Cane Corso ears is fairly straightforward for a well practised vet. The procedure starts with a pre-anaesthesia, sedative and analgesic meds to relax your puppy. The anaesthetic will be administered through gas or intravenously. From there, your puppy is likely to quickly fall to sleep. 

The puppy’s ears will then be fitted with clamps, which will determine the shape of the ear (more on that later). The clamps are used not only for precision, but to make the cut look as natural as possible. Some vets will use a Co2 laser machine to make the cut. This causes the blood vessels and nerve endings to be sealed and can help reduce trauma and bleeding. 

After the ears have been cut, the vet should remove any excess bleeding, ensure the cut is clean and from there add stitches to the dog’s ears. 

Typically the whole procedure should take around 45 minutes to an hour. After which time, the dog should wake up, the ears should be covered in a balm for over a week. And an appointment will be made for 1–2 weeks to remove the stitches (depending on healing progress).

Cane Corso Ear Cropping Styles

Breeders and enthusiasts of the Cane Corso throughout the world shape the ears of their dogs in a handful of different styles. These are: 

  • Show crop – Typically used for show dogs, the breed standard. This is fairly common, along with short crops. It is more pointed and concise. 
  • Short crop – The short crop is exactly what you would expect from the name. It’s fairly common along with the show crop. 
  • Tall crop – This cut leaves about 35% left of the ear. It is more slender and has a sharp tip.
  • Battle crop – This isn’t overly common, but it’s the shortest crop of all, leaving around 30% of the ear remaining. Unfortunately, this ear cropping style is often synonymous with fighting dogs.
Cane corso ear crop
credit – Instagram @centralalbertadogrehab

What is The healing process for cropped ears on A cane Corso?

All in all the Cane Corso ear crop general healing process should take up 2 weeks. Your puppy will likely feel a bit drowsy post operation. It’s likely that they will be given a cone to place over their head in order to stop them scratching their ears. The cone can likely be removed after 5 days. 

You should also administer vet recommended solve or balm to place over the cuts in this period. This helps the scabbing process to heal properly. Keep any tape dry and clean, if it becomes wet then you should replace it. We also recommend separating them from other dogs and animals in the house throughout this period. 

During this period you may notice mood changes in your pet. That may be a reaction to the physical trauma induced as part of the ear cropping process. On the other hand, many puppies deal with this process fine and are back to themselves in a relatively short period of time. 

Between 1 and 2 weeks should pass, and if healing is satisfactory, the stitches can be removed. However, during this process we advise you to listen carefully to the instructions of your reputable vet.

The Cane Corso ear Crop – Is it legal?

As mentioned above It is illegal in the UK to ears and dock tails. The practice is seen by many as dated, cruel and unnecessary. In fact the RSPCA has seen a huge increase in reported issues over the recent years since this became illegal. With that said, it is not illegal to own a dog with cropped ears and docked tail if the surgery was done outside of the UK. 

Ear cropping for Cane Corsos still exists in many parts of the world including the USA where it is still popular and entirely up to the owner. If you choose to go down this path, we hope you visit a highly qualified and ethical vet if ear cropping is a path that you go down.

frequently Asked Questions About The Cane Corso Ear Crop

Question: Should Cane Corso ears be cropped?

Answer: Much of this decision is up to the owner. As mentioned, the cropping practice is illegal in some places outside of the USA. The Cane Corso breed naturally has floppy ears and although they may sometimes become infected, this is entirely treatable. Cropping ears on the other hand may lead to trauma.

Question: Is dog ear cropping illegal in the UK?

Answer: Yes, dog ear cropping is illegal in the UK. This is also the case for tail docking which was a fairly common practice until fairly recently.

Question: Are Cane Corso’s ears better cropped or un-cropped?

Answer: Our opinion is that Cane Corso ears are better left un-cropped. Their floppy ears are more endearing and natural. However, many owners of Cane Corso’s with cropped ears admire the “alert” look that ear cropping gives.

Question: What are the negative effects of ear cropping?

Answer: Any incision based surgery may go wrong and cause infection. There is also the risk that the ears won’t stand or will lose shape over time. On top of this, although the puppy is young, the procedure itself may cause unnecessary trauma.

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