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As you can see, we started with the reasons why not to crop the ears right away. Bulldog ear cropping is becoming less fashionable. As a matter of fact, it is sad that it was fashionable in the first place. However, let’s not judge the past until we can make the present (or the future) better.

There are 5 reasons why you should stop Bulldog ear cropping right now. To be honest, all it takes is one reason – pain. But, if you need more proof, keep on reading.

We are not here to judge, but to shine a light on the issue that has been a topic of debate for many people, including some veterinarians. 

Whether you will agree or disagree with this text depends solely on you and your perception of the subject matter. However, I do wish you will take all of the reasons into consideration if you plan on cropping your Bulldog’s or any other dog’s ears.

Bulldog Ear Cropping

bulldog with cropped ears laying on the floorbulldog with cropped ears laying on the floor
Photo from: @arottaloveplus

The Bulldog or English Bulldog is a famous dog breed. They have unique looks:

  • Stout, sturdy body
  • Large head
  • Upward muzzle
  • Strong legs 
  • Rose-shaped ears

These are the Bulldog’s physical traits according to the AKC (American Kennel Club), and they are specific about their ears never being cropped! The same rule goes for other Bulldog breeds, like Frenchies (or French Bulldogs), American Bulldogs, Bullmastiffs, etc.

There has to be a reason behind such strict rules about ear cropping from one of the most famous American Kennel Organisations. There are, and it is time to start talking about them.

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These are 5 reasons why you should stop Bulldog ear cropping. 

1. It Is Painful

The first reason is the biggest and the most important. Did you know that in most cases, Bulldog ear cropping is done without anesthesia or any other way to stop the pain sensation? And, it is painful. 

Don’t trust dog breeders who tell you otherwise. They are cropping ears, not clipping nails. If you check the innervation of the dog’s ear, you will see that it is quite innervated. This means that a dog does feel the pain, and it is not pleasant.

Painful procedures lead to another issue. A dog gets extremely scared of vet appointments or vet visits to the point of having an extremely anxious or stressed dog. They will try to hide, they will whine and cry, and sometimes they can even get aggressive.

You would do the same if you knew a vet trip meant pain. Dogs have good memories when it comes to painful experiences. Have you ever wondered if your dog would forgive you if you ever hit him? 

First off, I hope that never happens and never will, but the answer is – dogs act on emotions and remember situations as good and bad as a form of their survival instinct. The higher the pain and fear, the “deeper” the memory settles in their brain. 

That is how they learn what situations, places, and people to avoid in order to stay safe. If you take your dog to a vet for a painful procedure (such as ear cropping), chances are your dog will never see the vet trip as something good.

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2. Possible Health Issues

English bulldog puppy runningEnglish bulldog puppy running

Any surgical procedure is an invasive procedure, which means there are possibilities of something going wrong. Truth be told, Bulldog ear cropping is not a complicated procedure. However, it is a surgical procedure, which means there are higher chances of something going wrong.

Things can go wrong before, during, and after the procedure. In all three stages, a health issue can develop, from psychological to physiological. The last part – after the procedure – is when “common” health issues can arise.

These health issues are bacterial or parasitic infections. Weakened, open, and sore wounds are the perfect place for bacteria to start multiplying; thus, leading to infection. Dogs can further hurt themselves by scratching the wound, or through gameplay with other dogs.

Any infection on the outside part of the ear can spread to the middle and inner ear, which can have serious consequences, e.g., hearing loss.

3. It Might Affect Hearing

Dogs might not hear as well as some other animals (especially night predators), but they still have excellent hearing compared to us. And, no matter if your dog has long, floppy ears, pointy ears, or Bulldog-type ears – they can move their ears, and their ears are made for a reason.

Whether Bulldog ear cropping affects hearing directly or indirectly is irrelevant. Even if there is the slightest chance that it can affect hearing, we don’t want to risk it. 

Any true dog lover and dog owner will do all it takes to protect and keep their furry friends safe from any harm. They want their dogs to be healthy. At least, that’s what we hope for.

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According to the RSPCA, the change can happen, although it has not been officially confirmed and proven by scientists and DVMs. 

4. Body Language Issue

Vet examining english bulldogVet examining english bulldog

Dogs can bark, but their verbal communication is nothing compared to their body language. They use their entire body, tail position (you can check the tail position chart here), eyes, and ears to “say” how they feel.

Pricked ears are not a sign of a relaxed dog. Pricked ears mean excitement and action, and they also mean that the dog has heard something. It could also mean I am ready to act, I am focused, etc.

If you saw a dog with pricked ears, a closed mouth, and eyes fixed on you – what would you do? I would try to walk away. Why? Because you know the dog is not in the mood to play.

However, what if you saw a Bulldog with cropped ears? I wouldn’t wait to see if it’s happy or relaxed – I’d leave right away.

It seems trite to use such examples, but they are the reality. That is exactly why people do Bulldog ear cropping. But, we’ll talk about that later.

5. It Is Considered Mutilation

English Bulldogs were bred a long time ago as bull-baiting dogs. Just like some other dog breeds, so-called breeders bred these dogs to fight, and they used to crop their ears and tail in order to prevent injuries in these places.

Do you still take your dogs to dog fights? Do you need him to bait the bull? If the answer is no, then why do you crop their ears?

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Bulldog ear cropping is considered mutilation. The British Veterinary Association is strongly against it. They are campaigning against the ear cropping of any dog breed unless it is a medical procedure that will improve the dog’s health.

Bulldog ear cropping means cutting part of a healthy dog’s body for purely cosmetic and “fashion” reasons. It goes against the dog’s welfare. So, yes – this practice is considered to be mutilation.

Why Do They Crop Ears?

Cute english bulldog sleeping on the couchCute english bulldog sleeping on the couch

A long time ago, people used some dog breeds in dog fights and bull-baiting. To ensure the dogs didn’t get cuts and bruises on body parts that were easier to bruise (ears and a tail), they performed cropping procedures.

When dog fights and bull-baiting stopped, people thought of a “brilliant” idea to make their dogs look scary. They thought that dogs like the Doberman Pinscher, the Dogo Argentino, the Bulldog, and other dogs are not “real” examples of the breed if their ears are left natural.

So, they started Bulldog ear cropping out of fashion. Luckily, a lot of people today don’t crop the Bulldog’s ears. However, this is still a common practice in Doberman Pinschers. 


If a dog has an ear problem that is affecting its health, a certified veterinarian can make the decision to crop the ears in order to help the dog. It should be done under full anesthesia or any other way that ensures that the dog does not feel the pain.

Also, if a dog is a working dog, such as Collies or Australian Shepherd dogs, they can also have their tail cropped in order to prevent injuries while working.

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Other than these two, there are no other reasons why anyone should decide to crop their dog’s ear (or tail).

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One More Thing

Funny english bulldog puppy playing in the parkFunny english bulldog puppy playing in the park

If you need an example of how ear cropping impacts dogs, there is a real-life story I’d like to share with you. It is not a case of an English Bulldog, but of a Staffordshire Bulldog from the UK. The poor girl hates not only the vet, but also nail-clipping, ear cleaning, and the rain.

Her name is Lyla, and she was rescued in 2020 by the RSPCA. Her ears were illegally cropped. Luckily, she found her forever home, but some scars never healed, and we’re not talking about physical scars only.

Check out her story on the official BBC news website: Lyla Bulldog

The Conclusion

Bulldog ear cropping should be banned. It is already illegal in almost all of Europe, and the only exception is the one we mentioned – for health reasons, but strictly done by the vet.

Unfortunately, as for the States, it is still unrestricted and it has to be done by a vet. However, only 9 countries do the latter. And, even if it is illegal to crop the ears (unless you are a licensed veterinarian), you can still take your dog for ear cropping for cosmetic reasons. They don’t mind that.

At least, when you take your dog to the vet, the procedure is done under anesthesia. This means that the dog doesn’t feel pain during the procedure. 

We hope these 5 reasons cleared the picture and opened your eyes to why Bulldog ear cropping should be banned unless it is entirely because of health reasons.

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By Andy Marcus

Hello, my name is Andy Marcus, and I am a passionate dog lover and enthusiast. For me, there is nothing quite like the joy and love that a furry friend can bring into our lives. I have spent years studying and learning about dogs, and have made it my mission to share my knowledge and expertise with others through my website. Through my website, I aim to provide comprehensive information and resources for dog owners and enthusiasts. Whether it's training tips, health and nutrition advice, or insights into dog behavior, I strive to create a platform that is accessible and useful to everyone who loves dogs.

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