I'm always curious about people's opinions on this subject. It's strange that some breeds' "accepted appearances" include docked tails, cropped ears, and dew claws removed..the dogs would look silly to us without these operations done. Why were these practices of mutilation started? Are they necessary? I found a great site answering my questions..What are your thoughts?
"People have been changing their dogs' appearance for centuries—guard dogs are made to look fiercer; tails have been clipped so dogs could run faster; and yes, there have been reports of people actually having wrinkles removed from certain breeds. Wrinkles that Mother Nature put there herself. Is any of it justified?
In some cases, what was once functional is now simply unnecessary and bordering on cruel. But in other cases, you still might want to consider having a bit of surgery done. You might be doing Rover a favour.
What's up with docking? Tail docking is the practice of cutting off most of a dog's tail when he's between two and five days old. There are over 70 breeds of dog for which tail docking is a standard practice, including Airedales, Old English Sheepdogs, Cocker Spaniels, Griffons, Poodles, Rottweilers and Boxers.
Historically, the reasons for tail docking included preventing injury during fighting and avoiding getting caught and tangled while hunting.
Consider what happens when you cut a tail. The tail's anatomy includes a well-developed system of bones, muscles, nerves and arteries extending into the dog's back and pelvis. The tail is also a very important communication tool. Joy, fear, submission and aggression are just some of the obvious emotions that can be expressed with the tail. When you cut off a dog's secondary means of communication, it might lead to behavioural issues.
Studies have shown that dogs have the same pain receptors as humans so, the pain felt by a puppy should be equivalent to the pain felt by a human should we have the equivalent surgery. (I can think of certain analogies but will leave it to your imagination.) Further, the amputated nerves may become extremely painful, and cause chronic hind-end pain. This further leads to maladaptive behaviour. The loss of muscle function could be a factor in incontinence later in life. The tail also acts as a very important tool for balance; the loss of this functional unit will put more stress on other areas, such as the knees, hips and back. This could lead to such issues as joint injuries, overused muscle injuries and disc problems in the spine.
When a dog's tail is amputated, scar tissue will form in and around the structures in the area. Scar tissue tends to tighten and cause local pain, as well as tugging painfully on other structures. Some experts believe it's no coincidence that two of the top three breeds that develop knee ligament (e.g. ACL) injuries often have docked tails: the Boxer and Rottweiler. Disc problems in the back are most common in Boxers, Dobermans, Great Danes and Poodles.
In parts of Europe and Australia, tail docking is illegal. Many breeders won't do it and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association recommends that it be outlawed. Here in Canada, it is obviously still a common and legal practice. It's your call.
The flap about ear-cropping Ear-cropping involves various forms of surgery, ranging from complete removal of flaps to minor trimming of excess skin. Historically, ears were cropped to protect a dog from injury while fighting, and the look made the dog appear more fierce, important in guarding. Expert opinion varies on this one. The American Animal Hospital Association opposes ear-cropping, if it's for cosmetic purposes. The American Veterinary Medical Association was evenly split when last voting to determine whether to support or oppose ear-cropping—the deciding vote allowed ear-cropping to continue to be supported. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association is opposed to earcropping and recommends that breed standards be modified. The basis of the opposition to ear-cropping is that it is for purely cosmetic reasons, is considered to be mutilation, and holds unnecessary risks.
Ear-cropping is common practice in breed such as the Boxer, Doberman, Great Dane, Schnauzer and Bull Terrier. Overall, most veterinarians agree that there is no medical or ethical justification. All of Europe and Australia have determined this procedure to be illegal.
Are you a claw-abiding dog lover? Dew claws are like thumbs. Although this may sound serious, the removal of the dew claw is actually an accepted practice. Dew claws have little function and often lead to painful injuries by getting caught in the bush, etc. They can be problematic in areas with heavy snow, as the dew claw can be injured when feet penetrate through ice into snow. It is a lot easier and less painful to remove dew claws on a young puppy.
However, the dew claw does have arterial, nerve and tendon supplies, which indicates that it should have the ability to function. It can be suggested that the claw has use, however, it is not recognized as being functionally important.
Get good advice, chop chop Still thinking about getting your dog's ears, nails or anything else cosmetically altered? Be careful. Even if you think it's worthwhile, be warned. The trauma might not end on the cosmetic surgeon's clinic table. There could be longer-term related issues, such as painful scar tissue, decreased flexibility; balance and agility problems. If you have an older dog who has had previous surgery and you feel that he/she may have residual problems, there is still opportunity to address the above issues. Speak to your vet about what therapy is recommended. —N.D." http://www.citydog.ca/archive/104/phys_ed104.html
I have and have worked with many cropped and docked breeds. I have not had a single problem with the surgery or any lasting effects.
Have you ever had one? I always think its funny how people say its cruel but they have never seen a pup after words. I have written about this so many times. Look up one of the old posts. For my breed,dobes,they are not the same without their crop and dock. they just look like a hound.
I have dealt with the effects of bad docks but that doesn't mean you ban docking that means you don't get it done by idiots!
And all the injuries I have seen on dogs that should be docked and werent were from doors,not from them working. So it is still very necessary that it be done. Some will never have a problem and some will. Its just safer and easier to get it done early.
not to mention that boys are still circumsized right? I've seen it done twice. the dogs are treated much better when they get their ears done. they actually get knocked out:)
My dobe was jumping around nad happy the next day. Not only was he having problems with his ears before his crop but he was so much happier when it was done. He loved having his ears rubbed and didn't get an ear infection constantly.
And personally I hate to see a dobe without a crop. I automatically think bad breeder. You want the breed to look its best and stand for what it was created for and that was not to look like a hound.
***Edited By: joce on 8/23/2005 6:08:05 PM*** Reason: h
I didn't insist it was cruel..sorry if it came out that way..I was just curious what peoples opinions were. I haven't seen a thread like this, sorry I missed yours. I have had a dog with a docked tail.
Thats ok. I just get so irritated when people come on and say its cruel. My dobe is the most spoiled dog in the world! I wouldn't do anyhting to cause him harm. Thre are some videos floating around on the net of a boxer crop if you can find them. If its done right there isn;'t even a lot of blood. I didn't like my breeders dogs crops so I went to another vte that I had to research. So many people just call and drop their dog off.
I have 4 Great Danes. 2 are cropped, 2 are natural-eared. The only reason one of my Danes isn't cropped is because he is a rescue and we got him when he was 6 months old, which is way too old to crop.
To me it's a personal preference. I like the look of a crop on a male Dane, but prefer females to be natural-eared.
Back in the day the reason Danes were cropped in the first place was to protect their floppy ears from wild boars hanging on to them and to protect their ears while running through the brush after the boars.
I'm always interested in this topic. I had a Dobe in the early 80's. When she was nine weeks old she went to have her ears done. She and her littermate were home mere hours and you wouldn't have known anything was done to them, if you didn't see their ears laying across their heads. Our vet at the time did wonderful long cuts on these two and also fixed their tails where too much tissue and cartilage had been left on the end where it could cause pain (he also lined up the markings on the tail when he sutured). He believed in suturing the side of the ear and leaving the top half inch unsutured for any drainage. Then he laid the ears across the back of the head and lightly (very lightly) tied the sutures ends together. When the sutures were removed, the vet constructed a rack that wasn't really a rack. He used tongue depressors padded with cotton balls and taped the ears around, but never over the top. We were instructed to increase natural calcium in their diet. They loved the cottage cheese. Their ears stood beautifully. They had lovely shape. Never had a days problem with them and the pups never seemed to notice any of the process. Also, please note that an ear that stands is much less likely to have infection problems.
***Edited By: wolf256wolf on 8/23/2005 6:31:20 PM*** Reason: ++
I have a Standard Poodle with an uncropped tail. The breeder never told me why it was undocked, I had no intention of showing the dog, so it was not an issue.
The grooming is a bit tricky. Most poodle cuts assume the cropped tail and they look unbalanced on a dog with a longer tail. I finally settled on cutting his tail like a Portugese Water Dog and it looks fine.
I like the natural look on dogs and personally don't favor cropping or tail docking of any kind. But I am not ruler of the universe, thank God.
As long as you don't harm your dogs doing it, who am I to say????
We have miniature pinschers, and remove dewclaws and dock all tails....as for the ears, I only crop the ears of the ones I intend to show. I have some cropped and some natural...a couple with big stand up bat ears and some with the floppy ears
I have a Minature Schanuzer her tail was docked when we got her, I did have her ears done also. I personally like the way she looks with her ears docked. When we get another I will do the same. I think it is just a matter of opinion. But it does help with ear infections. But it is an added cost, I guess that why it is optional.
As long as the procedure is done by a professional, I do not agree with any type of back yard hacking of animals ears or tails. If you can not afford to have it done by a vet, then hopefully you'll have enough sence to love them natural.