Paper published: Dogs with cropped ears in the UK: A population-based study using electronic health records

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Bull breed with cropped ears looking towards camera

The latest paper using SAVSNET data has been published in the Vet Record. This work focussed on dogs that were reported by the veterinary surgeon to have had their ears cropped.

  • Ear cropping for cosmetic purposes was made illegal in the UK in 2006. Despite this, a lack of import regulations and celebrity and media influences mean cropped dogs are increasingly reported.
  • The demographics, temporal trends and patient-level associated factors for dogs with cropped ears were evaluated in a large sentinel population of dogs visiting UK veterinary practices.
  • A total of 132 dogs with cropped ears were identified, with rates peaking in 2021. In 84 cases (63.6%), there was evidence of importation, most commonly from countries where cropping is also illegal, including Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Spain, Poland and Ireland. American Bulldogs, Dobermanns, Italian Mastiffs (Cane Corso), Bulldogs and Mastiffs were all significantly overrepresented. Affected dogs were more likely to be unneutered (odds ratio 11.04, 95% confidence interval 5.84–20.90).
  • The study likely underestimates true levels of ear cropping. Identified cases are from a sentinel network of veterinary practices, and as such may not be representative of the wider UK population.
  • These data suggest a need to educate owners and veterinary surgeons about the welfare and legal implications of ear cropping. The data presented can inform future targeted policies in veterinary practices and at a governmental level.

Read the paper here

Read the Editorial 'Ear cropping: illegal, unnatural, unneccessary' here

Read the Research Comment ' Ear cropping of dogs: an illegal procedure presenting an increasing welfare problem in the UK' here

See the infographic here

Explore data on dogs with cropped ears here