Some pet owners crop their dog's ears. This procedure ends with the ears standing straight up. I get the impression that this is genearlly tailored towards specific breeds (stronger ones), though I don't truly know. There are various laws prohibiting these procedures in certain locations (even entire countries) because of animal cruelty. Here's a before and after photo of what I'm referring to:

dog ear cropping before and after

I can't help but wonder if there are any upsides to it at all. Either medically, sensory, or functionally. As far as I can tell, it looks like some owners do this strictly for appearences. Upon further research, they apparently have a lot of different styles, too. Like so:

dog ear cropping styles

  • Does this provide any legitimate benefit?
  • Why do people do it?

2 Answers 2


This is about appearance, to make them look tougher which is why it's generally done with certain breeds. Beyond that, there's no benefit to the dog, the "toughness" appearance is a human aesthetic only and many are now starting to back away from it.

Edit based on commentary... There is a possible legitimate benefit with respect reducing the risk of a yeast infection. As @RebeccaRVT notes, floppy ears can help to trap moisture in the ear canal which can lead to ear infections. Mind you, based on some of the reading I've done, this is more common in breeds with large, very floppy, ears than the ones typically cropped, but at least something to discuss with your vet.

I still think there is some additional protection for the ear canal with respect to foreign objects when left natural as well.

Now, my side editorial opinion is that I like the natural look far better. However, that's because I generally prefer the look of a happy animal rather than one that has been tailored to look mean.

  • Do you believe there is any possibility of amplified hearing from it?
    – Ryan Foley
    Nov 20, 2016 at 0:32
  • 1
    @RyanFoley - No, dogs already have incredible hearing and sound is transmitted by vibration of air molecules anyways and the ear flaps don't block the ear canals, they dangle over them.
    – Joanne C
    Nov 20, 2016 at 0:36
  • Historically there was more reason to crop ears, when some breeds of dogs were used for things like dog fighting, which is now of course considered animal abuse. Drooping ears are easily damaged, and so people cropped the ears to prevent future injury.
    – Kai
    Dec 9, 2018 at 18:25

They do it for aesthetics, it does not serve any purpose.

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