American Bully ear cropping is a hotly contested subject, but something that bully owners will have to make a choice about.
American Bully puppies commonly have their ears cropped at an early age, keeping in line with the cosmetic expectation of the breed.
If you are wondering whether you should crop your dog’s ears and what is involved in the process, we have everything that you need to know right here.
We have broken down what can influence your choice to have your American Bully’s ears cropped and what risks are involved with opting to go with the procedure.
At What Age Can You Crop Your American Bully’s Ears?
Looking at the best age to have the ear cropping procedure done, the surgery should happen between 8 and 16 weeks old.
The idea is that the ears are easier to be shaped and to stand how you want them to be if you do it while the dog is still a baby.
In truth, a dog’s ears will stand up at any age; so really, you could have it done later if you wanted to. But it is a lot harder to manage the healing and treat the wounds the older the dog is.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you crop the ears too young, you will also have a hard time with the healing process. There isn’t enough developed cartilage to have the procedure done prior to 8 weeks of age.
The healing time varies from dog to dog, but you will need to care for the healing ears regardless.
What Do American Bully’s Ears Look Like?
American Bully ears will look differently depending on whether the ears have been cropped or not. An American Bully puppy’s ears are naturally soft with folded flaps.
The ears will look a little large on their head until they grow into them. The shape of the ear itself is referred to as a rosebud.
An American Bully puppy will grow into their ears, unless the ears have been cropped. A dog’s ears that have been cropped will then be specifically shaped to meet the desired look of the owner.
The Reasons Why People Crop American Bully’s Ears
If you are unclear as to why people crop American Bully’s ears, we have the explanations for you.
There are a few reasons that the practice was started and why it continues to be done. The American Kennel Club has stated that if cropping is done for the health of the breed, it is allowable.
The explanation as to why this practice was started was with the intention of preventing a worse injury from dogs. Since the American Bully breed naturally has more floppy ears, there was the risk that the ears could have been bitten off during a fight or while on a hunt.
There has also been the argument that cropping can improve a dog’s hearing or prevent ear infections. Neither claim has been scientifically proven.
Sometimes ear dropping is done so that the American Bully can compete in dog shows. There is a specific type of cropping that is done for this.
Additionally, there is a common belief that ear cropping makes a dog look a lot more ferocious and alert. Since the cropping makes their ears stand up or point up, dogs get the appearance of listening more intently.
Regardless of the justification, really ear cropping is done for cosmetic purposes, solely for the reason of achieving a certain look for the dog.
It does affect how the dog looks and how they are perceived, which some owners really do aim for.
Is It Cruel To Crop American Bully’s Ears?
The practice may be done, but the question of whether it is cruel does come up.
Officially, the American Veterinary Medical Association opposes ear cropping of any dog, when it is solely done for cosmetic purposes.
The practice of cropping just for the look of it can be dangerous for several reasons.
To begin with, the damage caused to ears during ear cropping is permanent. The ears are undergoing a type of trauma and removing skin and cartilage that should naturally be there.
As a result, their ears will be more sensitive to temperature and touch, maybe to the point that the dog does not want his head petted.
Infection from the surgery is also a real possibility, especially if the care instructions are not diligently followed.
Finally, dogs that have had their ears cropped are thought of as more aggressive to other humans. Humans will exhibit fear around these dogs which in turn may make your dog more defensive.
Dogs usually use their ears as a form of communication and expression, so they could communicate with a human their emotions, but without them, a dog cannot show how he feels, putting him in danger of humans who are scared of him.
The Ear Cropping Procedure
It is also important that you understand what happens during the cropping procedure.
This procedure must happen under general anaesthesia. It is not safe to just use a local anaesthetic as your dog could not stay still enough to have this done.
The procedure must happen with a licensed and experienced veterinarian as well.
During the procedure, the pinnas are cut to reach the desired length and shape. As we will list next, there are a few different options for cropping styles.
The vet will then suture up the cut edges and apply bandages over the top. The surgery itself takes between 30 to 45 minutes normally.
The bandages will help ensure that the ears heal in an upright position. The bandages can stay on for up to 4 weeks as well and you will want to keep your dog comfortable as well by using the proper medications and care.
American Bully Ear Crop Styles
There is the more than one way to crop an American Bully’s ears. The results alter the appearance of the dog completely and will change how he is perceived by others, so make sure that you are really sure of your choice before you make this decision
The first American Bully ear crop type is the show crop. It is the longest of the four common methods and results in the appearance of alertness.
The second type of ear cropping is the short crop. This is the ideal cropping style for American Bullies. It is shorter than the show crop, but not as short as the battle crop. This is the most common crop that is done on American Bulldogs.
The third standard ear cropping style is the battle crop. This is the shortest of the three types of ear cropping that is used on American Bullies.
This is a trendy style, but it will result in more ear infections for your dog. You need to be very cautious and prepared before you select this style.
The final type of ear cropping is the long crop, also known as the tall crop. This gives the dog a fierce look and it is not a popular way to go.
How To Find A Good Vet That Can Crop Your American Bully’s Ears
Deciding to go with ear cropping is one thing, but where can you safely go to have this procedure done? You need to be sure that you only use a reputable vet to have the procedure done, but finding one might not be as easy as you would hope it would be.
The best way to find a good vet is to ask a local dog breeder who works with American Bullies or perhaps other bully breeds. The breeders are usually up on where to find the right type of care.
Of course, you can also use online forums and websites to see where other American Bully owners have gone.
You can usually find reviews as well to see what people have said about the vets in your area to get a sense of a vet’s trustworthiness.
Do not just go with the first name that you find. Instead, you will want to get a list of vets and begin to call them one at a time.
You need to find out first whether the vet will do the cropping, then how much experience each vet has with ear cropping. Cropping is a serious surgical procedure, and you cannot just allow anyone to handle it.
Can You Crop Older American Bully’s Ears?
As we mentioned above, it is generally considered ideal to have your American Bully’s ears cropped between 8 and 16 weeks old. But that does not mean that it is the only time that you can crop a dog’s ears.
A dog’s ears can still be shaped later on. But, waiting too long can lead to other complications.
The older the dog is when the cropping happens, the more traumatic the experience will be. A dog is likely to be in more pain and there is a greater risk of complications.
A vet might also not agree to crop an older dog’s ears because the cartilage has hardened and been there longer.
So, while you technically can have an older dog’s ears cropped, it is not advised that you do so. Likewise, you cannot crop ears before the 8-week mark due to safety and health issues.
Ear Cropping & Legal Aspect
Ear cropping is not just debated based on the ethical question of it call, but there is a legal component to things as well. There are currently nine states with the United States that regulate ear cropping.
These are Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington. They all state that ear copping can only happen under the care of a licensed veterinarian.
As we mentioned above the AKC and AVMA do not agreed on the ear cropping front.
The AKC says that it can be allowed as it is considered the standard look for the breed, while the AVMA states that it is a cruel process and entirely unnecessary.
The other factor at play here is the perception of the public to American Bully dogs who have had their ears cropped.
It is harder to find housing if you have one of these dogs as a pet and some places will completely ban your dog based on this.
American Bully Without Cropped Ears
If you have not seen what an American Bully looks like when its ears have been left natural, we can help you out. Naturally, an American Bully’s ears are much like a Labrador Retriever.
This means that they are floppy ears that can fall forward, supplying the dog with the adorable, concerned expression that humans love, when the ears fall forward.
The ears do stand up a little higher than lab ears do and they even have a little curl up at the top.
This gives the American Bully a happy and curious look, which is in direct opposition to the aggressive look that they get with cropped ears.
American Bully Ear Cropping Prices & Recovery Time
Looking at the price range for ear cropping, it is not simple. There is a huge range in the surgery fees. Part of the cost difference is due to location and the vet’s standard fees.
In general, the pricing can range from $150 to $800. The average cost is about $250, but then you need to consider any follow-up visits and medications. Some vets may include these within the cost, but not all.
Most vets will not do this procedure, but you need to make sure that you are using a professional vet or you run the risk of a lot of complications.
The usual recovery time for this procedure is between 3 and 4 weeks if the procedure was done well. This time can be extended if the procedure was not done by a professional or if your dog experiences complications.
American Bully Ear Cleaning & Health
After the procedure has been performed, you will want to make sure that you are taking proper care of them after surgery.
Your vet should be giving you specific instructions on how to care for the wounds during the recovery period.
In general, a vet will prescribe antibiotics as a precautionary measure. A normal round of antibiotics should last about 10 days and you must complete the entire prescription. Never stop antibiotics early.
You should also receive instructions to use bactine spray to help reduce pain and prevent infection.
You should also be given some kind of antibacterial cream to put on the stitches as well as strict instructions on how to take care of the ears.
It is essential that you follow these instructions well or your dog’s healing time will be much longer and more painful than is necessary. You also run the risk of infection which can lead to greater issues.
Ear cropping does not have one simple answer as to whether you should do it or not. Really, you need to consider all of your options before you decide to act on this.
Think about what your expectations are and why you would have the procedure done. Remember that if you do opt for ear cropping, only do so under the care of an experienced and licensed vet.
Then, you will need to be diligent to the after care of your dog’s ears to ensure that they heal well, without infection. Under good care, your dog’s ear cropping should be safe.