From breeding to dog grooming to everything in between, there are many pet parents and individuals in the pet industry who are all about what a dog looks like. If you’re attracted to a breed based on its physicality, there’s nothing wrong with you. Lots of pet parents are drawn to specific breeds because of physical and personality traits. However there’s a large debate regarding tail docking and ear cropping that you should know about.
Not Always Natural
Tail docking and ear cropping aren’t part of dog grooming, but they are part of maintaining a ‘breed standard look’. It’s kind of strange to consider something a breed standard when it’s not a natural trait. If you research dog breeds, you will find some that have naturally pointy ears and short tails and others who have naturally floppy ears and long tails. You will also find that their ‘breed best’ doesn’t match up with what’s natural, mainly: a pointy-eared, docked tailed dog isn’t born that way. Don’t judge all dogs by this however, as some are naturally born with these traits and while the practice may be cruel and painful to puppies, you should never treat an individual or dog as less of a person because you disagree. That’s just common manners.
The Pet Industry Is Putting Its Foot Down
While it will take a while for all pet parents and competitive pet owners to meet on the same level, some professionals in the pet industry are taking a stand. Dog grooming is never a place where you should find tail docking or ear cropping to be handled, however, vets are usually the ones that do this work. In recent news, the major pet hospital Banfield made headlines by stating they would no longer be performing these procedures in their facilities.
Why Is Docking and Cropping Even a Thing?
A long time ago, someone didn’t just decide they thought their dog would be cuter with a docked tail and cropped ears. It never had anything to do with dog grooming or the way a dog looked. Actually, once upon a time, those things actually had a purpose for working dogs. Schnauzers were popular for farm dogs while Boxers were commonly used for dogfighting. Both have naturally floppy ears and when put in these situations, it leaves them vulnerable to be punctured or damaged.
Likewise, many dogs who are now commonly known to have their tails docked had them docked for similar reasons. Rottweilers and Weimaraners were both farm or field working dogs and the shorter tail helped prevent trauma or infection when working with farming equipment or animals. There were no dog grooming or presentation reasons in mind.
So Why Is It Done Now?
More than anything, cropping and docking has become something of an expectation in competitive dog shows because it was so commonly done on the dogs when they were or still do work. Pet parents will also now look at these breeds and think, “That dog’s tail is too long,” or “Those ears look funny on that dog” and so even if they aren’t showing their dogs, they will do the crop and dock strictly for cosmetic reasons and serves little purpose other than for show and dog grooming standards unless the dog is a working dog.
In most of Europe, it’s actually outlawed and considered animal cruelty. Why is it still done here? Who really knows.