Manitoba Bylaw Prohibits Ear Cropping

Image by cr500178 © Flickr

Taken from the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association’s website:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winnipeg, Tuesday, February 7, 2012 – On Friday, February 3rd, 2012, at its Annual General Meeting, the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) passed a bylaw stating Manitoba’s veterinarians are not permitted to perform ear cropping on dogs for cosmetic purposes. The newly adopted Bylaw 31: Ear Cropping states: “No member shall perform cosmetic ear cropping on a canine for the purpose of having the animal’s appearance conform to a breed standard or tradition.

Generally performed on puppies at around three months old, ear cropping is a surgical procedure that reshapes a dog’s ears by removing both skin and a cartilage core. When removing this “floppy” part of a dog’s ear, known as the “pinna”, approximately one-half of the entire ear is removed. Once the tissue is removed, a splint or bracket is used to help hold the ears while they heal in an upright position.

The MVMA believes this procedure is unnecessary in the canine species, causing pain and distress to the patient without any medical benefit. It should be noted that surgical alterations in cases of injury or for reasons of health are not considered cosmetic.

If a Manitoba veterinarian was found to be performing cosmetic ear cropping, they would initially be investigated for breach of Bylaw 31. Then, if found in contravention, penalties could range from, a letter of reprimand to termination of their veterinary license in the province of Manitoba.

Though ear cropping was typically performed by veterinarians, dog breeders and owners often undertook amateur attempts of this procedure. However, as with all veterinary surgical procedures, no one but a licensed veterinarian is permitted to perform veterinary medicine, as set out in the Veterinary Medical Act. If a lay person is found guilty of having performed surgical procedures on any animal (including canine ear cropping), it could be in contravention of this Act, and he or she would be subject to fines of ranging from $5000 for a first offense to $30,000 for a second offence. He or she could also be charged under the Animal Care Act.

The tally of provinces in Canada in which it is banned is now up to three. Nova Scotia banned tail docking and ear cropping in March of 2010 while New Brunswick has had the ban in place since September 2008.

As many of you can see, Kyuss does not have his ears cropped. When I first decided I wanted a dobermann at the age of 15, I knew I wanted to have his or her ears cropped. There was no doubt in my mind. I had put in a lot of research and come to the conclusion that it was safe, it was relatively pain-free and it would be healthier overall.

When the time came to put the deposit down on Kyuss, I still was dead set on cropped ears. Now however, there wasn’t just a “me” anymore, there was an “us.” Since he would also be my husband’s dog just as much mine, I had to include his desires as well. It turns out, hubby is fond of the floppy ears. We talked, and talked, and talked about it, right up to the day Kyuss came home with us. Even then, we still had time to make the decision as ear cropping can be done from the ages of 7 – 12 weeks with success.

That’s just it though, we had the choice. Manitoba has now taken that choice away from people. Many, I’m sure, will attempt the procedure themselves, putting their dog through a lot of pain; which I saw this firsthand while living in the UK for 3 years.

It’s a sad, sad day today for breeders of cropped and docked breeds all over the country.

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  1. What’s going to get ear-cropping isn’t the law.

    It’s that the vets who will do it are getting older and retiring.

    Many younger vets are vehemently opposed to the practice.

    And in the US, the AVMA has come out calling for breed clubs to change standards and is generally opposed to the practice:

    Honestly, I think it’s a dying practice. If I had a cropped breed, it would be floppy.

    By the way, you do know there are naturally prick-eared dobermanns?

    They are pretty rare, though, but you could introduce naturally prick ears through breeding miniature pinschers to dobermanns.

    I know that sounds crazy, but all you’d have to do is AI a minpin dog to a dobermann bitch, then select for larger size and prick-ears as one breeds back.

    That’s my solution to the cropping problem.

    1. Yes, it is a dying practice. I actually wouldn’t mind a naturally prick-eared dobie! I have thought about it before and wondered why no one was breeding for dogs with stronger ear cartillage. Then I discovered the world of dog breeding and the purist crowd…
      I thought someone could always add in some pharoah hound blood, I’m sure that would get those ears standing! LOL

      1. Thanks for the photo. I believe they would indeed! It would be quite interesting if someone developed a strain of natural erect eared dobermans.

  2. While, there may not be any “medical benefit” to having cropped ears, I would personally rather lose my ears than my scrotum! I cannot imagine how that would be. (shudder… shudder… shudder…)

    1. LOL. Yes, it is sad isn’t it? I don’t feel it’s necessary to crop or dock a pet animal, but I believe the choice should still be there.

      And I’m sure if the dogs could have a say in the matter, they would much rather be missing a bit of ear flap than a reproductive organ.

      1. I love boxers (and dobermann, and danes, …) with cropped ears. It is a bit of discomfort for the dog for a very short time, it is over very quickly and then you enjoy a lifetime of wonderful looking dog. It has no long term drawbacks for the dog. No docking or cropping but euthanizing, inserting chips, cutting away ovaries, uterus, testicles, etc. is fine???

        1. After seeing dogs recover from a spay vs. those recovering from ear cropping, I’d say the dogs who’ve been spayed are in much more pain than those who’ve been cropped.

  3. My turn. I’m new here and don’t have a dog that needs any exterior cropping…….she is a mix between a Chocolate Lab and a Standard Poodle….yes, a Doodle!
    Good point about doing the ears rather than the scrotum!!! Don’t want to think about that one! Some human cultures and religions ‘crop’ body parts from both sexes. Maybe this whole dog cropping thing was just a natural progression passed on to our critters. Personally I am glad the practice has ceased here in Nova Scotia and now it’s up to the ‘kennel’/breeder people to accommodate the change.

    1. Awww a doodle, what’s her name? =D

      The original purpose for the cropping of the ears and the docking of the tail and dewclaws in the Doberman was because it was bred to be a personal protection dog. I know Karl F. L. Dobermann attempted to breed erect ears into the breed, but the breeds he possibly selected from were predominately drop-eared breeds. (Beauceron, Great Dane, Rottweiler, Manchester Terrier etc.)

      I think Retrieverman is right about breeding for more erect ears in the dogs. It would definitely solve the problem breeders are now encountering. Of course, the only way to know which ears are most erect naturally, are to leave them uncropped. (Kyuss as you can see has very droopy ears)

      Selecting for a natural bob-tail however, I am very much against. You can check out why, by reading Borderwars’ post entitled “Without a Tail to Sit On”

      Although I am saddened the original look of the Doberman is falling by the wayside, in most part by changing views of the general public, change is inevitable.

  4. So are cropped ears still in the breed standard? What does Manitoba expect breeders to do, not show their dogs? Seems to me governments have more important things to worry about.

    1. Well, in the CKC’S breed standard of the dobermann, you are allowed to have uncropped ears. “Ears either cropped or uncropped. The upper attachment
      of the ear, when alert, should be on a level with the top of the skull. If
      cropped, the ears should be well trimmed and carried erect. If
      uncropped, they should be small and neat, and set high on the head.”

      It’s all dependant on the judge I suppose. One judge may prefer uncropped, while another cropped. I’m sure most breeders will simply drive out of province to get their pup’s ears cropped. It wouldn’t be the first time I’m sure.

  5. I don’t like the idea of cropped ears. Neither to I support declawing cats. They are unnecessary procedures and not one I find can be easily compared to the necessary procedure of altering your pet. It does a lot to set back the work being done trying to stop people from looking at our “dangerous breed” dogs with fear.

    1. Sorry I never replied to this post! I don’t know how I missed it =[

      I don’t agree with declawing cats either. Two of my cats have their claws while one (was hubbys cat) has all 4 paws declawed.
      I witness how it was done when I worked at a vet office in my youth. They really should change the name to “claw amputation” as I believe most people don’t realize that the first knuckle of their cat’s paws is chopped off in the proceedure.

      I love the look of a cropped ear and docked tail on some breeds (like the doberman) but then I also love the drop ear and tail on others (like the great dane)

      What a lot of people don’t realise, however, is that by cropping a dog’s ears, we are fixing (with surgery) what selective breeding has done to the dog.

      Many people are opposed to ear cropping because of the surgery, and then how the ear has to be taped up afterward for months to train the ears to stand. But ear taping is not reserved for cropped ears. Many breeders of collies, bulldogs, whippets and even natural eared dobermans will actually glue, tie, staple and tape their dogs ears as well.

      Natural Ear Taping for Doberman:

      Video of Border Collie Ear Stringing

      Video of Bulldog Ear Stapling

      Tis the vanity of us humans I suppose.

      1. (I thought you were mad at me)

        Honestly, I don’t know much (anything) about cropping or docking because it’s not something I think about. For me, it’s the modification for vanity. But I feel the same way about breast augmentation and one of my best friends had that done and it sky rocketed her self-esteem so – what the hell do I know :)

        1. Haha I’m not mad, just blind I suppose!

          Yes, I must agree… I don’t like modification for vanity (especially breat implantation), but this is coming from someone who has her ears full of holes a ring through her lip, and a tattoo on her ankle… so, I suppose I’m on both sides of the fence for this one.

          I’m always open to argument, as it helps me become a more knowledgeable person, and also may shed light on a point of view I didn’t know about or consider.

          I guess that’s why I’m all for choice.

  6. Why can’t CKC, Breeders, Vets & pet owners work together?
    Results would only benefit everyone concerned.
    Docking, Cropping and Dew Claw removal have been for a century , and are quite simply good Animal Husbandry.
    In order to truly understand the benefits 1 would have 2 live and breathe a breeder’s life. It is not the ear or tail altering that’s wrong. What is wrong is that something that is so beneficial is treated like it is not. The false accusations published in many news articles, would leave a regular pet owner to believe that cropping and docking are harmful and require great after care. Just not true!

    What we should be doing is researching and evolving these procedures.
    Instead, we choose ban and omitted those already skilled Surgeons from performing or, improving these much needed services.
    I believe the majority of people who are against docking n cropping have never own a cropped or docked breed.
    And if they have that’s about it. Owned one. Never took time to find out the dogs origin or why it was bred for in the first place. Just liked the looks of it and went from there.
    I wonder how many people can truly say they have done the best for there pet, when they still go to wal-mart for food and treats. And over vaccinate instead of doing tiller tests.
    I think that the way the current legislation for the OVC (Ontario) is fine. Everyone has a choice.
    What gives anyone the right to say your dog is not except able and should be left to fend for its self.
    We created these breeds and it is up to the owners, breeders and vets to continue to offer same care if not better.
    Next we will be looking at law against trimming your dogs coat. No more hair cuts for dogs. Poodle’s look very different when groomed properly.
    Below is a link from various US breed clubs explaining why docking and cropping are import to their breed.
    I also find it strange that we are allowed to euthanize our pets, but refused docking or cropping.
    I do not see a bright future 4 some of our registered breeds; I feel they will be only seen in History books.
    thank u 4 your time

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      I must agree with you completely and wonder myself “Why can’t the CKC, Breeders, Vets & Pet Owners work together?”

      I think one of the problems people have with ear cropping, is seeing the result of poor aftercare. I’ve seen some lovely crop work ruined by improper taping.

      Also, the bad crops (usually done by people on their own without a licensed vet) make the news like this puppy:
      So suddenly ear cropping is cruel because someone decided to cut their puppy’s ears off with scissors.

      Really, I think people should simply be able to have the choice. If that choice is taken away, I fear many more puppies will end up like the one in the link above.

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