If you are a Boxer lover, you have likely noticed a difference in ear appearance from pup to pup. While some Boxers will have adorable floppy ears, others will have distinguished ears that stand upright.
Boxers are born with naturally floppy ears, meaning those with erect ears have all undergone ear cropping. So why do some Boxers have their ears cropped anyways?
In this article, we will dive into the details of ear cropping in Boxers, and help you better understand the potential reasons behind performing this cosmetic procedure.
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Do All Boxers Have Their Ears Cropped?
Not all Boxers will have their ears cropped. Ear cropping in Boxers is actually on the decline, as many owners no longer think it’s necessary. However, there are still breeders and show dog owners that believe in ear cropping to meet the breed standard.
Ear cropping is considered elective and cosmetic surgery, and there are not any medical benefits that make this procedure essential. If you see a Boxer pup with cropped ears, it is always due to the personal choice of the owner or breeder.
Cropped Ears vs Non Cropped Ears
When Did Ear Cropping Begin In Boxers?
So when did we start cropping Boxer ears anyway? Though there is not a set date recorded, many believe the first ear cropping in Boxers began in Germany in the early 1900s. This seems to be where the breed standard was developed, leading to the practice of ear cropping in other parts of the world.
Some say the Boxer’s ears were originally cropped to avoid injury when they accompanied their owners on hunts, but this is not the case at all. German organizations state that ear clipping in Boxers is performed to eliminate a dog’s ‘sleepy expression’, which is seen to be objectionable to some.
While there will always be a debate, most have come to the conclusion that ear cropping in Boxers was always done for cosmetic purposes.
Why Do Boxers Have Their Ears Cropped Now?
If you see a Boxer with cropped ears, it is usually due to the owner or breeder’s interest in meeting a breed standard. Some simply like the look of upright ears in our Boxer friends and want to adhere to these traditional characteristics.
Some believe cropped ears prevent ear infections in our canine friends, but the majority of dog owners simply like the look. At the end of the day, it just comes down to owner preference.
At What Age Is Cropping Performed In Boxers?
If you choose to crop your Boxer’s ears, your vet will suggest having the procedure between 7 to 10 weeks of age. Waiting too long can increase the risk of complications, often due to an increased risk of pain and difficulty keeping your pup calm.
Not only will your Boxer puppy have to undergo the ear cropping procedure itself, but they will also have their ears taped for an extended period of time. The surgery is not an overnight fix, so most professionals suggest starting this process as early as possible.
Another reason many people choose to have their Boxer’s ears cropped early is due to the price increase that occurs as a Boxer grows. The more the Boxer weighs, the more their anesthesia and medication costs will rise.
What Happens During An Ear Crop Procedure In Boxers?
If you are interested in cropping your Boxer’s ears, you may be curious as to what this procedure entails. To help you better understand the process from start to finish, let’s discuss the details of the ear cropping procedure below.
Your Boxer’s ear cropping will be performed by a veterinarian under general anesthesia. A portion of their ears will be removed based on your preference once they are sedated, giving the ear the shape you are looking for.
The ears will be stitched before your Boxer wakes up, and your vet will likely place a temporary bandage around the ears. Every clinic will vary in their preference, but they may have you return anywhere from 72 hours to a week later to have the bandage removed. Your pup will be asked to return to your vet again in 14 days to have the sutures removed.
Once the sutures are removed and the incision areas have healed, your vet will begin the ear taping process. Ear posting will train the ears to stand upright, and the process will vary based on how quickly your Boxer’s ears respond. Though every vet follows a different procedure, most will inform you on the details of a 3 day on, 1 day off ear training schedule.
Are There Benefits Of Ear Cropping In Boxers?
This is where things get a little complicated when discussing ear cropping in Boxers. Those who advocate for ear cropping in Boxers claim that there are a few benefits to the procedure, but this is highly debated in the veterinary realm.
First, some in favor of ear cropping state that dogs with cropped ears are less prone to developing ear infections. Though some dogs with floppy ears do struggle with chronic ear infections, there is no proof that ear cropping actually decreases this risk.
The next potential benefit thrown around is that ear cropping in Boxers can save them from future ear injuries. This may have been the case when Boxers used to accompany their owner’s on hunts, but this is not a common threat today. Ear cropping has not been proven to protect a Boxer’s ears in any way.
Are There Risks Involved With Ear Cropping In Boxers?
Ear cropping in dogs comes with a list of risks that far outweigh any potential benefits. This is what makes the procedure so controversial, as many experts don’t believe the end result is worth putting your Boxer through the potential complications.
First, it’s important to realize that anesthesia is a risk in itself. We should always try to avoid putting our dogs under anesthesia when it’s not needed, and this includes unnecessary cosmetic procedures. No matter how healthy your pup is and how skilled your veterinary team is, there are always risks associated with anesthesia.
Next, it’s important to realize how common postoperative infections are in ear cropping patients. Dogs can experience irritation from tape on the pinna, damage due to scratching their ears, and exposure to bacteria throughout the healing process. Though most infections can be resolved, it is still an uncomfortable process for a dog to endure.
Though this is not considered a risk, it’s important to acknowledge the pain your dog will endure throughout the ear cropping process. Discomfort is guaranteed at some point throughout your dog’s recovery.
Should You Crop Your Boxer’s Ears?
At the end of the day, choosing to crop your Boxer’s ears is a personal decision that you will need to make with your veterinarian. If you do choose to go forward with the procedure, we simply ask that you find a vet in your area that is known for offering quality service.
Personally, I would not crop my own dog’s ears due to the many risks that come along with the procedure. The AVMA has also listed ear cropping and tail docking as unnecessary cosmetic procedures, and this is one of the most respected veterinary organizations out there.
The best way to make this decision for your pup is by speaking with your veterinarian. They can offer you their opinion on the procedure for your pup, and help you choose the safest route for your canine friend.
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