The pit bull breed is known for its alert, proud and stoic looks. And that look can only be achieved with pitbull ear cropping.

It’s sad to say that there are not many resources over the internet about it. As a result, pitbull owners often end up confused. A lot of them don’t know which crop style to chose and what to do before and after the procedure.

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Believe it or not, getting your pitbull ears cropped is not an easy job. You need to dedicate your time and take care of your dog’s cropped ears until they heal and stand in the right direction.

Pitbull Ear Cropping

Ear cropping refers to the surgical removal of either part or all the external flappy part of the dog’s ear. This is usually done with anesthesia, meaning it does not hurt your puppy.

The process is performed for assumed health or cosmetic reasons. Traditionally ear cropping was done to prevent ear infections. But this has been proved wrong. Your dog’s ear shape has very little to do with an ear infection. Just keeping them clean will do!

Although the traditional reasons have been proved wrong, the procedure is still done. So that the dog looks a certain way. It’s somewhat like cosmetic surgery for dogs.

However your dog is exposed to the outdoors very often, owning to physical labor, then ear cropping is a fair option to help your dogs stay healthy and free of infections.

Different Pitbull Ear Cropping Styles

There are four different styles of ear cropping for your pitbull.

pitbull ear crop

Battle Crop

battle cropThe first style is the battle crop. It’s a real close cut to the head to where there’s almost no ear left.

Back in earlier days, this was a very popular crop for bullies and pit bulls. Why? When they get into the dog rings to fight, the other dog will have less to grab onto during fighting. The name of the crop is self-explanatory.

Short Crop

short ear crop pitbullThe second style is a short crop. Now the short crop is increasing in popularity with big names like the hulk who has a short crop.

It’s the perfect balance because it’s not as quiet as short as the battle crop but it’s not as long as the show crop. This style of ear cropping is growing in popularity.

Show Crop

pitbull show croppingThe third style is a show crop.

The show crop is longer than the short crop and it also is increasing in popularity. Because dog owners choose it when they take their dogs to dog contests and dog shows. This style of the crop is what I see most show dogs having nowadays.

It creates the perfect balance between a short crop and definitely not as long as a tall crop which brings us to the next one.

Tall Crop

tall or long pitbull ear cropLast but not least the four styles of the crop is the long crop or the tall crop. This is not very popular in the pit bull community.

You would often see great Danes have this or Dobermans have this kind of crop as their ears stick up high and point to the sky. Like I said you won’t see a lot of bullies or Pitbulls have this crop. And it’s very rare to see them have that.

Best Age for Ear Cropping

First of all, the best time to crop your pitbull is before they are 12 weeks of age. But you can get your dog’s ear crops between 8 weeks and 16 weeks of age depending on your vet.

However, if they have a standing ear set, you can crop them at almost any time in their life, as the hard part about cropping is getting them to stand.


  • If your pitbull is too young, they do not build enough ear cartilage. And it could take a long time for the healing process to be finished.
  • If your pitbull is too old, they might have too much ear cartilage already developed. It can create some complications during the surgery process.

Pitbull Ear Cropping: Complete Procedure

Now let’s talk about the ear cropping procedure itself.

Check Legals

Make sure you look up your specific country to find out whether or not cropping the dog’s ears is legal where you live.

Although in most states of the USA ear cropping is legal but there might be some restrictions. And the laws keep changing. Make sure to check the details before you start the process.

Pick a Reputable Vet

Pick a reputable vet who has done this before who has references and a lot of times. See the photos of dogs that they’ve done in the past. 

Also, make sure they’re experienced at doing this on pitbull specifically. Because ear cropping on a boxer or doormen or other dogs is different than ear cropping a pit bull. So make sure you find an experienced vet.

Check Cartilage

Your vet will look at the cartilage of your dog’s ear and see if the cartilage has hardened yet or not.

The deal is when the pitbull is young the ear cartilage is still soft and kind of pliable and hasn’t really gotten firm. As the dog ages usually about 12 weeks of age and then on up the ear cartilage hardens. 

But to make sure if your pitbull is eligible to get the ears crop to, take them to the vet and actually have an inspection done of the ears. In this way, the vet can tell if the cartilage is hardened or not.

Select Ear Cropping Style

Once you decide to get your dog’s ears cropped and you pick a vet to do it, you’ll go in and you’ll choose an ear cropping style.

You can check the pictures of different pitbull ear cropping styles over the internet. Select one and take the image to the vet for reference. Another option is to refer to the previous work of your vet. You will be able to see the capability of your vet and can also select ear cropping style that is familiar to your vet.

The Day of Ear Cropping Surgery

On the day of the procedure, you’ll go in. The dog will be put under general anesthesia. Your pitbull will be completely knocked out. Generally, the procedure itself is a really easy and quick procedure. No pain is felt. No discomfort. 

The procedure itself only takes about 30 minutes. When you take the dog home, the dog will either be on some pain meds or maybe have a pain patch on them. The ears will be all wrapped up and tape but that is not the case all the time. Some vet advice for no bandages on the stitches.

Stitches Removal

There are two types of stitches used for ear cropping. Dissolvable stitches or non dissolvable stiches. As the name suggests, dissolvable stitches dissolve after a certain time period. Comparatively, the non-dissolvable stitches will be removed by your vet.

Post-surgery Consultation

In post-surgery consultation, the vet will unwrap the dog’s ears (in case of bandaged ears) and remove the stitches. Check for infection and just do an overall visual check to see how the ear crop went.

After this point, it is up to the owner to post the ears into position and wrap it every so often to make sure that the cartilage hardens into the desired look.

Tapping Cropped Ears

Basically, the ears are taped up right into a position that you want them. Leave them taped for a couple of days then you remove the tape. Clean the ears and then retape it back into the position for another couple of days.

You repeat this and you got to do it for anywhere between 3 to 6 months is normal until the ears start to stand on their own. And then you can stop the process.

The longer the cropping of the ears the longer routine has to continue with the wrapping because it’s gonna take longer for the ears to stand. So a show crop is going to take the longest and the battle which is the shortest crop is going to take the least amount of time.

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Pro Tip

You should always use a reputable vet that does full anesthesia and has a good track record of taking good care of their dogs. Also, they make sure that your pitbull have minimal discomfort and minimal pain during the ear cropping process.