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Cane Corso Ear Cropping: Everything You Need to Know

Cane Corso ear cropping

While many kennel clubs are opposed to Cane Corso ear cropping surgery or otoplasty, some dog lovers argue that it’s necessary and beneficial for the canine’s well-being.

For starters, this well-known cosmetic procedure involves cutting off a portion of the dog’s ear, which causes it to stand upright and look more aggressive. Other owners also state that it minimizes the risk of chronic ear infections.

If you’re a Cane Corso parent, you’ve probably wondered whether you should get your fur baby’s ears cropped.

Fortunately, this article will help answer any questions you may have about this controversial practice! So, let’s get started!

What Is Ear Cropping in Cane Corsos?

Ear cropping in Cane Corsos

Ear cropping in Cane Corsos is a surgical procedure that removes the floppy part of the ear called the pinna to form upright ears. Preferably, this procedure should be performed on Cane Corso puppies between 8 and 12 weeks old. Choosing an expert vet is crucial in getting the correct Corso crop.

Due to the popularity of ear cropping among many dog breeds, some aspiring fur parents mistakenly believe that some canines are born with an upright ear structure.

However, the Cane Corso breed actually has naturally floppy ears, just like the Boxer, Pitbull, Miniature Pinscher, and other dogs that have cropped ears.

Cane Corso owners have their own justifications for getting this surgery done on their pets. Some reasons include aesthetics, avoiding dealing with a sudden stinging ear cut, and preventing infections.

We’ll explore these possible reasons thoroughly in the following section!

Meanwhile, watch the video below to see the difference between cropped ears and uncropped ears in Cane Corso dogs:

Cane Corso - Cropped v. Uncropped Ears

Ear Cropping in Cane Corsos

Cane Corso with cropped ears in the park on the green lawn

Now that you have a basic understanding of ear cropping in Cane Corsos, let’s talk about some of its deeper aspects.

In this part, I’ll discuss the history of this controversial practice, examine some reasons for its increasing popularity, and explain when to crop the Cane Corso ears. If you’re curious to learn more, keep reading!

History of Ear Cropping in Cane Corsos

As with tail docking, ear cropping in Cane Corsos is an ancient practice, dating back to Roman times. Primarily, these pooches were bred as pit-fighting and hunting dogs, which required them to have cropped ears.

Furthermore, some records also indicate that their big, floppy ears made them susceptible to injury during fights.

Opponents and preys effortlessly grabbed and bit off the dog’s ears, causing severe pain and physical damage.

For safety reasons and to lessen the risk of ear wounds, the Romans eventually decided to have the Cane Corso’s ears cropped for them to function better in combat or hunting.

Why Do People Crop Cane Corso’s Ears?

Many people crop the natural ears of the Cane Corso breed for various reasons.

Although most will subtly say that it’s because of personal preference, there are other owners with reasonable explanations for cropping their dogs’ ears.

To be specific, I’ve listed below the top causes why some dog breeders and fur parents choose to trim the floppy ears of a Cane Corso:

  • For aesthetic and cosmetic reasons: Because Cane Corsos are used as guard dogs today, most pooch owners want their pets’ ears cropped to make them look more fierce. In addition, they consider that cropped ears enhance the breed’s beauty by giving it a more balanced and symmetrical appearance.
  • To improve their hearing: Even though there are no studies to verify this claim, some canine parents assume that cropped ears will improve the hearing of the Cane Corso breed. Moreover, they believe that this will make their furry companions more vigilant and better protectors for their families.
  • To prevent or reduce chronic ear infections: Another common cause why dog owners opt for Cane Corso ear cropping is to prevent ear infections. They conclude that if an ear canal is covered with long, floppy ears, an ear infection remains hidden. But just like hearing enhancement, no scientific evidence can support this claim. A chronic ear infection, ear wound, or even tick infestation can happen at any time, regardless of whether or not your Cane Corso has its ears cropped.
  • For functional reasons: Compared with their ancestors, Cane Corso dogs have been bred to now act as livestock protectors and police dogs. However, this breed’s floppy hanging ear often gets caught on fences and other obstacles during the course of a day’s work. Also, there’s a chance that it might get its ears torn while playing with other animals. As such, most people recommend cropped ears for a Cane Corso dog.

Fortunately, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes a cropped Cane Corso.

According to its breed standard, though, they will only accept ears that are equilateral triangles in shape. Similarly, tail docking is permitted as well.

When Ear Cropping Is Performed?

As mentioned earlier, ear cropping should be performed on a Cane Corso puppy when it’s between 8 and 12 weeks old. However, a fully-grown Cane Corso can still undergo otoplasty if necessary.

So, you may be wondering: why not just have my dog’s ears cropped later in life?

Well, the answer is simple! Since adult Cane Corso dogs already have heavy, hanging ears, it can be challenging to keep them up after the surgical process.

Furthermore, most vets refuse to crop ears on adults because the cartilage is thick and hard to re-shape. Besides being risky, they can’t also guarantee that your fur baby will get the desired ear crop style.

On the flip side, a Cane Corso pup’s ears are more malleable and easy to mold than those of older pooches.

Plus, cropping ears is reportedly less traumatic for them than other procedures such as tail docking and declawing.

Is It Cruel to Crop a Cane Corso’s Ears?

Red Cane Corso puppy with cropped ears lying down outdoors

Although some acceptable reasons were given in the previous section, the Cane Corso ear cropping procedure is still considered cruel by most canine enthusiasts.

Aside from barking and wagging their tails, they believe that dogs communicate with their owners through their natural ears.

On top of that, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has not recognized cropping Cane Corso ears as a medically essential procedure.

They view it as an unnecessary surgery that could cause pain and suffering on a Cane Corso, especially if done for aesthetic purposes only.

Will My Cane Corso Feel Pain?

Your Cane Corso won’t feel any pain during the ear cropping procedure. That said, there are concerns about post-operative distress and complications related to anesthesia.

Nevertheless, many ear-cropping vets justify that modifying is harmless for your furry friend. Similar to Cane Corso tail docking, ear cropping is not a painful process compared to other surgeries like spaying or neutering.

Still, deciding whether to get your Cane Corso’s uncropped ears altered depends on you. Nonetheless, bear in mind that any surgery performed on our pets may result in pain and discomfort.

What Is the Ear Cropping Surgery Like?

Cane Corso ear cropping is a surgical procedure in which some parts of the dog’s outer ears are removed and then stitched back together.

Typically, this operation takes about 45 minutes and is done under general anesthesia.

Afterward, a Cane Corso dog’s ears will be taped up so that the cartilages can heal over time.

During the recovery phase, you should follow your veterinarian’s instructions on how to care for your dog’s ears. Furthermore, the stitches will usually be removed about a week after the surgery.

The Downside to Ear Cropping in Cane Corsos

Cane Corso puppy with cropped ears and docked tail in summer park

There are some downsides to ear cropping surgery that your Cane Corso may experience if you decide to push through.

In this section, I’ll talk about the drawbacks of cropping the floppy ears of Cane Corsos and whether or not it’s worth the risk.

1. Ear cropping has no proven health benefits.

Though I don’t want to spoil the fun, there’s no scientific evidence that cropping a dog’s ears will improve its overall health.

Contrary to popular belief, ear cropping can actually cause severe problems for all dog breeds.

If the surgery goes wrong, your Cane Corso may suffer from middle ear infections that can eventually lead to permanent hearing loss.

On the other hand, an ear canal covered with floppy ears doesn’t necessarily mean a dog is at risk of ear wounds or infections.

In fact, as a responsible Cane Corso owner, you must inspect and clean your dog’s ear canals daily.

2. General anesthesia has side effects.

Before the ear cropping surgery begins, your Cane Corso will receive an anesthetic medication. This means it will be unconscious and unable to feel pain or discomfort during the procedure.

While this may be the best way to get through the process of ear trimming, general anesthesia has its side effects. These include cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, coma, and even death.

3. Recovery can take a long time.

Regardless of which ear crop style you choose for your Cane Corso, it’ll take a long time for the dog’s ears to fully recover.

Cartilages usually take at least six months to harden and about a year to reach their full upright position.

Along with that, it’s your responsibility to keep its ears clean and free from any external irritants.

Although this seems relatively straightforward, many owners neglect this task and end up with infected dog ears that require frequent vet check-ups.

4. There are no guarantees that it will work.

Despite careful taping or bandaging and lengthy recovery time of ear cropping, there are no guarantees that this surgery will work for your Cane Corso.

But to help you make your decision, here are a few reasons why cropping your dog’s floppy ears won’t always deliver the desired result:

  • Your adult Cane Corso’s hanging ear begins to droop.
  • The chosen style of ear crop is too long.
  • The pinna cartilage is very fragile.

Overall, ear cropping is still an experimental procedure. The chances of success will depend on many factors, including the vet’s expertise and your furry companion’s age.

Is It Legal to Crop Your Cane Corso’s Ears?

Black cropped Cane Corso sitting in the park

In the United States, cropping the floppy ears of a Cane Corso is legal. However, it’s worth noting that a few states have imposed strict regulations on this popular surgical procedure.

According to AVMA, ear cropping is prohibited in New York unless done by a licensed veterinarian. The same goes for Pennsylvania, Maryland, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.

On the other hand, in Western Canada, Australia, and some European countries that have signed the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, otoplasty is entirely restricted.

To make it easier, here’s a partial list of nations that have outlawed the practice of ear cropping in Cane Corso and other breeds:

  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • Wales
  • Austria
  • Switzerland
  • Netherlands
  • Finland
  • Belgium
  • Poland

Thus, if you reside in a country or state where cropping ears is illegal, never do it. You could get in trouble and lose your Cane Corso permanently.

Ethics of Ear Cropping in Cane Corsos

While the United Kennel Club of America (UKC) and American Kennel Club (AKC) allow cropped ears on Cane Corsos, the AVMA has released the following policy statement on this controversial cosmetic surgery:

“The AVMA opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes. The AVMA encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards.”

Many veterinary institutions believe that ear cropping and tail docking are forms of animal cruelty performed for the sake of human vanity.

Apart from that, many animal rights organizations have also voiced their opposition to this practice.

Based on the previous section, many countries have banned ear cropping altogether to protect dogs from unnecessary pain.

Should You Crop a Cane Corso’s Ears?

Cane Corso with cropped ears in the park

After weighing the pros, cons, and legalities of ear cropping, the next important question is: should you crop a Cane Corso’s ears?

Of course, the final decision is yours to make. But if you still have doubts about the surgery, here are some additional factors to consider before taking your Cane Corso to the vet for ear cropping:

Ask Yourself Why

To begin with, ask yourself why you want to crop your Cane Corso’s floppy ears.

Are you trying to make your canine look like an intimidating guard dog? Do you feel that a Cane Corso’s own ears might hinder it from protecting your herds? Or do you worry about your dog’s ear canals closing up due to ear wounds?

I suggest you take a step back, reexamine your reasoning, and see if ear cropping is worth it. Moreover, weigh all the dangers associated with such a drastic procedure before making any decisions.

Identify Potential Risks

Up next is identifying the potential risks of cropping the hanging ears of your Cane Corso.

In most cases, cropping a dog’s ears can cause complications such as severe infection, bleeding, and scarring if done incorrectly.

These problems could lead to further medical issues that would require additional surgery.

Another thing that you need to keep in mind is aftercare. During this sensitive period, your Cane Corso’s inner and outer ear canal needs extra care to avoid infection or irritation. Plus, constant veterinary check-ups are necessary.

On top of that, there are some instances where ear cropping won’t work at all.

Check Your Local Laws

Lastly, check your local laws regarding ear cropping. As discussed in the previous sections, many states and countries have strict regulations on this surgical procedure. In fact, some nations have banned it altogether.

However, if you plan on bringing your Cane Corso puppy for a consultation, ask your local vet about these requirements beforehand.

Not only will this allow you to prepare, but this will also help you avoid any legal troubles later on.

In the end, if otoplasty is considered a serious offense in your area, there’s no telling what kind of consequences you might face!

Cane Corso Ear Cropping Styles

It’s no surprise that the Cane Corso breed possesses majestic colors and markings, but which among the popular ear cropping styles is appropriate for your dog?

For your convenience, we’ll discuss in this section the four types of Cane Corso crops: the short crop, battle crop, show crop, and long crop. This way, you can determine what ear crop style suits your canine best.

Without further ado, here’s an analysis of the different ear crop styles for your Cane Corso:

  • Battle Crop: As the shortest and most widely-known type of ear crop style, the battle crop leaves your dog’s ear open to take in sounds from all directions. Also, if you want your Cane Corso to appear as fierce as possible, this is the cropped style that most vets recommend.
  • Short Crop: Another ear crop style that’s popular among owners of Cane Corso dogs is the short crop. Compared to the battle crop, this style is a little longer and has more of an outline around the tip of the ear.
  • Show Crop: If you want to showcase your Cane Corso in the most standard way, the show crop is your best option. This style comes with a full set of ears that are neatly trimmed on top so that they look like perfect equilateral triangles from a distance.
  • Long Crop: The long crop is another common ear crop style for Cane Corsos. Furthermore, this particular style is considered more conservative and classic than other options—but it’s also one of the trickiest to execute accurately.

By understanding the different ear crops above, you can choose the style that nicely fits your pooch’s personality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Red Cane Corso puppy cropped ears on a beach

Do Cane Corsos Have Naturally Cropped Ears?

No, Cane Corsos don’t bear naturally cropped ears. In fact, they are known for their long, droopy ears that hang down over the sides of their heads. 

Many people assume that Cane Corsos have naturally cropped ears because it’s rare to see Cane Corsos with long intact ears nowadays.

How Much Does It Cost to Crop a Cane Corso’s Ears?

In general, cropping a Cane Corso’s ears can cost anywhere between $150 and $800.

This should include the initial consultation, anesthesia, surgery, and aftercare medication. Still, do your thorough research and pick an expert vet.

Can I Crop My Cane Corso’s Ears at Home?

No, cropping your Cane Corso’s ears at home can be dangerous. Primarily, the procedure involves cutting the cartilage in the ear and tying off blood vessels.

If the surgery is done poorly, the blood flow to your dog’s inner and outer ear canal could be cut off completely, causing permanent damage.

How Long Does It Take for Cropped Ears to Heal?

Typically, it takes about two weeks for cropped ears to heal. However, some canines may have a longer healing time than others, so it’s crucial to monitor your Cane Corso’s ears during this period.

In addition, your furry companion must wear bandages or tape on its ears to keep them in an upright position.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, whether or not you decide to crop your Cane Corso’s ears is up to you. But if you’re on the fence about it, you can always consult a reputable breeder or an experienced vet to help you out.

Aside from that, doing in-depth research about ear cropping and its possible risks is highly recommended. After all, your beloved fur baby’s health is on the line.

Hopefully, this complete guide has helped you see the good and bad sides of this wildly controversial elective surgery.

So, have you made up your mind? Share your thoughts about Cane Corso ear cropping in the comments below!