Ears: to crop or not to crop?
One of the most common questions Caucasian Shepherd’s owners ask is should one to crop the ears of the dog. Let’s learn this topic to have the objective and competent answer.
Why did caucasian shepherds have their ears cropped short?
The history of Caucasian Shepherd breed encountered 2 thousands of years and during the old time ears were cropped for security reasons to avoid their injury and infection during the dog fights with enemies and running among bushes. The ears were cut off 1-2 days after the puppy’s birth with usage of sharp scissors. It was painful but very rapid procedure, almost bloodless if done by an experienced person in sterile conditions.
Is it legal now to crop ears of caucasian shepherd dogs?
Currently there is much less need for the fighting job in the life of a usual Caucasian Shepherd dog. The tradition was slowly fading away and during the last years even the restriction for clipped ears appeared – Caucasian Shepherd with cropped ears were banned to participate in the dog shows in some countries of the Western Europe. The restriction covers Caucasian Shepherd dogs born after 1989. As to the cut off tails, such Caucasian Shepherds born after September, 1, 2001 also cannot participate in the European dog shows. Ears cropping is illegal in European countries that have ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals. These are Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium (tail docking allowed), Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic (tail docking allowed), Denmark (tail docking allowed), Finland, France, Germany (tail docking allowed), Greece, Italy (tail docking allowed), Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg (tail docking allowed), Netherlands, Norway, Portugal (tail docking allowed), Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine.
Most countries-members of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale also do not support ear cropping and tail docking. However The American Kennel Club and The Canadian Kennel Club consider ear cropping and tail docking as acceptable to define and save certain breeds’ exterior.
Despite cropping of ears is considered ethically irresponsible it still takes places in some countries. In Germany a dog owner was fined for cropping ears of his Caucasian Shepherd puppy. Ears cropping is prohibited in Germany and the operation was made outside of the country but the German judges considered the dog suffered after the operation when came back to home.
Is cropping of ears acceptable now for caucasian shepherd dogs?
The main reason against ear cropping sounds like that: it is a surgical operation that accompanied by pain and physical suffering which damage behavior of dogs. Cropping of ears and good wellness of the dog are not compatible things. Ears cropping is a painful procedure negatively affecting Caucasian Shepherd’s health. But you can ask your vet to put local anesthesia and ears cropping will turn into a painless and simple cosmetic surgery.
But there is another reason: dogs use body language for communication. Tail and ears are main ways to communicate. Dog ears express what the dog is feeling. When a Caucasian Shepherd is listening to the sounds around and watching out he pricks the ears up. When the dog is scaring and feeling weak he drops down the ears or pastes them to his head. The dog tail helps to keep balance at running and it also shows his dominate or passive behavior. When the ears are cropped they cannot express all these feeling in normal way.
Have you ever seen a Caucasian Shepherd dog with docked tail wagging it? When two Caucasian Shepherd dogs meet at the first time the dog with cropped ears or docked tail has fewer chances to show his dominance or weakness. Thus the dog gains negative experience which may negatively affects his behavior. The dog may becomes nervous and choppy.
So crop or not to crop?
It’s up to you to decide. If you like cropped ears for Caucasian Shepherds – you can crop them, remembering that your dog does not want it but he has no choice in this case. If you live in Europe we do not recommend you to crop the ears. If you would like your Caucasian Shepherd to take part in the European dog shows you should not crop ears of your dog or buy a puppy with cropped ears.
At our kennel we make ears cropping for a half of all newborn puppies. We crop the ears of puppies we sell to Russian dog owners because it’s a normal practice for Russian Caucasian Ovcharka and standards of The Russian Kinologist Federation RKF-FCI for Caucasian Shepherds state the ears should be cropped. We may crop ears on our Caucasian Shepherd puppies for sale to USA. We do not crop ears on puppies for sale to Europe.
When you are looking for a Caucasian Shepherd puppy for sale always ask the dog owner has the puppy you’ve liked his ears cropped.