Performing of these modifications such as ear cropping is purely done for cosmetic reasons, serves no purpose, and causes the animals a lot of pain and anguish throughout their entire lives. Dogs use their ears to communicate emotions to other dogs and humans.
For these reasons, ads with dogs that have their ears cropped / modified will not be accepted. Ads from sellers who post these ads will also be reported to the ISPCA and / or relevant authorities.
In 2007, the UK Kennel Club and in 2014 the Irish Kennel Club, banned dogs with cropped ears from participating in dog shows.
Legal Status of ear cropping
It is against the law to perform this surgery in Ireland and Europe. It’s important to note, it does not necessarily mean that all dogs you see on the streets with cropped ears have been done illegally, it is possible and legal, to import dogs into Ireland where these procedure was preformed legally abroad.
Since September 2023 a new law “Ear-Cropping of Dogs Regulations 2023”, S.I. No. 412/2023, has been enacted. This clarified that you need to be in possession of evidence that your dogs’ ears have been cropped in accordance of the laws and you need to apply for permission to bring such a dog into the country.
How to spot cropped ears
Certain breeds tend to more frequently have their ears cropped, these include Doberman Pinschers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Boxers, even Great Danes, Boston Terrier and Schnauzers are sometimes cropped.
Examples of dogs with cropped ears
Dogs’ ears and emotions
Dogs’ ears can communicate whether they are relaxed, anxious, afraid. Here is a quick summary of possible positions and emotions that go along with them
|No.||Dog Ear Position||Meaning|
|1||Neutral Position||A relaxed & happy dog|
|2||Pricked/Attentive Ears||An attentive or focused dog|
|3||Pricked/Alert Ears||A dog on high alert|
|4||Dropped Back/Pinned Ears||A dog is both happy and nervous at the same time, maybe anxious|
|5||Extremely Pinned Ears||A fearful dog, cowering, very afraid|
|6||Ears Changing Positions||A concerned or confused dog|
How ear cropping is done
A licensed vet or a back yard vet will usually perform the surgery when the puppy is between 8 to 12 weeks old.
The barbaric procedure involves removing a portion of the ear’s outer edge using a scalpel or surgical scissors. It is generally done while under general anaesthesia. The remaining part of the ear is then sutured, and the wound is dressed. There are even different cropping styles, such as battle crop (shortest), short crop, show crop, and long crop, depending on the owner’s preference and the dog’s intended purpose (e.g., show dog or companion).
Some breeds, such Doberman Pinchers will have their ears taped. After the surgery, the ears are taped and placed in a supportive rack or cup to hold them in the desired upright position. The taping process typically involves wrapping the ears with a soft, hypoallergenic tape and attaching them to a foam support or brace.
Taping and re-taping may continue for several weeks or months, depending on the puppy’s healing progress and ear cartilage strength. It is essential to monitor the ears closely during this period to avoid infection or other complications. Needless to say such a procedure is very painful to a young puppy.
Ear cropping in the media
- 2023: Plans to update the laws around Ear Cropping [source]
- 2022: An Oireachtas Committee recommends ban on owning dogs with cropped ears [source].
- 2020: Roscommon man convicted of ear cropping with the ISPCA [source].
Dew claw remove
One other possible modification to dogs is the removal of dew claws.
- Prohibition on Tail Docking (Dogs) Regulations 2014 – S.I. No. 125/2014 – http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2014/si/125/made/en/print
- Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 Section 16
- Ear-Cropping of Dogs Regulations 2023 – S.I. No. 412/2023 – https://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2023/si/412/made/en/print