Ear cropping in dogs, particularly in breeds like the Presa Canario, is a topic of considerable debate. While some argue that it is a cosmetic procedure, others maintain that, when performed ethically and correctly, it offers specific benefits. This article explores the ethical implications, potential benefits, and the issues that may arise if ear cropping is not performed.

Understanding Ear Cropping

Ear cropping is a surgical procedure where a portion of a dog’s ears is removed, usually to make them stand erect. Traditionally, this practice has been associated with certain breeds, including the Presa Canario, for both historical and functional reasons.

Benefits of Ethical Ear Cropping

Health and Hygiene

Reduced Risk of Infections: One of the primary health benefits of ear cropping is the reduced risk of ear infections. Floppy ears can trap moisture and debris, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Erect ears, resulting from cropping, allow better air circulation, thus reducing these risks.

Prevention of Injuries: For working dogs, such as those involved in protection or livestock guarding, floppy ears can be prone to injuries. Cropped ears are less likely to suffer from tears or abrasions, which can be common during intense physical activities.

Historical and Functional Reasons

Breed Standard and Tradition: Historically, ear cropping has been performed on Presa Canarios to adhere to breed standards and maintain the traditional appearance of the breed. This can be important for breeders and owners who participate in dog shows where conformation to breed standards is essential.

Functional Utility: For dogs working in roles where they are at risk of physical confrontations, cropped ears can minimize the areas that opponents or other animals can grab, thus providing a functional advantage.

Aesthetic and Practical Considerations

Enhanced Appearance: Many believe that cropped ears give Presa Canarios a more alert and formidable appearance, which can be desirable for a breed known for its protective instincts.

Easier Grooming: Erect ears are generally easier to clean and maintain compared to floppy ears, which can harbor dirt and mites more easily.

Ethical Considerations

When discussing the ethics of ear cropping, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of performing the procedure correctly and humanely. Here are some ethical guidelines to consider:

Veterinary Expertise: The procedure should only be carried out by a licensed and experienced veterinarian to ensure it is done safely and with minimal discomfort to the dog.

Proper Aftercare: Post-operative care is critical to ensure a smooth recovery. Owners must follow veterinary guidelines for cleaning, monitoring for infections, and managing pain.

Informed Decision: Owners should be fully informed about the procedure, including potential risks and benefits, before deciding to crop their dog’s ears.

Potential Issues with Uncropped Ears

While some argue against ear cropping on ethical grounds, it is essential to acknowledge the potential issues that can arise with uncropped ears:

Increased Risk of Infections: As mentioned earlier, floppy ears can trap moisture and debris, leading to frequent ear infections. This can cause chronic pain and discomfort for the dog and may require ongoing veterinary care.

Higher Injury Risk: Dogs with floppy ears are more susceptible to ear injuries, particularly if they are active or involved in protection work. Torn or injured ears can be painful and may require surgical intervention.

Aesthetic Disadvantages: For those involved in showing their dogs, uncropped ears might be seen as a deviation from breed standards, potentially affecting their competitiveness in dog shows.

Presa Canario puppy exploring a field in Virginia


Ear cropping in Presa Canarios, when performed ethically and responsibly, offers several benefits, particularly concerning health, hygiene, and the dog’s functional abilities. However, it is essential that the procedure is carried out by qualified professionals, with a focus on the well-being of the dog. Owners must weigh the potential benefits against the ethical considerations and make an informed decision that prioritizes their dog’s health and happiness. By doing so, the practice can be both ethical and beneficial, aligning with the responsible breeding practices promoted by organizations like SoCalPresa.

For more detailed information about responsible breeding and care for Presa Canarios, you can visit SoCalPresa.