Why Do American Bullies Get Their Ears Cropped? Facts & Myths

One of the more controversial topics in the American Bully world is ear cropping. American Bullies are known for their ear crops and few understand why this is done. Some argue it is a harmless procedure, others argue it’s inhuman.

Why do American Bullies get their ears cropped? There are several reasons why American Bullies have cut or cropped ears. One of the main reasons is the aesthetic look of the sleek pointed ears that conform to breed standards. Cropped ears have been said to reduce chances of chronic ear infections as well.

Cropping an American Bullies ears is a hot topic. I have personally chosen not to crop my American Bully’s ears for a variety of reasons. This was my own choice for my own reasons. This article will cover the facts and myths behind American Bully ear crops. This post is not to pass judgement on an individual’s choice. Let’s dig in.

Reasons Why American Bully’s Ears Get Cropped

Within the American Bully community many people can get rather defensive about ear cropping. Some use language like mutilation or cutting of ears, while others defend the practice as tradition, personal preference, and for health concerns.

For myself I chose not to engage in such debates. I would rather gather the facts and make my own choice about my American Bully. What I care about in the end is whether or not these dogs are cared for. Are they loved, trained, and respected like they deserve.

These are some of the reasons why American Bully owners choose to crop their dogs’ ears. 


american bully white background

One of the primary and most common reasons why American Bullies have their ears cropped is the aesthetic. Traditionally American Bullies have had their ears cut to give them the strong, sleek, and somewhat menacing look. 

Although the American Bully is one of the friendliest and best companion family dogs you will find, they do have a rough and tough appearance with ear crops. This dominating look stems from their early history and lineage coming out of the American Staffordshire Terrier and Pitbull breed where ear crops were typical practice for fighting dogs.

Ear cropping of American Bullies is the preferred look for many owners. It is easy to identify the American Bully breed based on this aesthetic, and the dominant reason why owners choose to have their ears cropped.

Ear Infections

american bully sad face

There is a myth that all dogs with floppy ears are far more prone to chronic ear infections. Though dogs with hanging ears can be more prone to ear infections, chronic ear infections has more to do with the genetics of the dog. Certain breeds are more prone to chronic ear infections, but the American Bully is generally not one of them.

Dogs with allergies and immune diseases are far more prone to ear infections. These same dogs that have hanging ears or a lot of hair in the ear canal can have buildups of moisture leading to infections as a result of the underlying skin disorder. So dogs with these skin disorders and with hanging ears are far more prone to ear infections as a whole.

That being said, there is no evidence that ear cropping will prevent ear infections. Even with dogs that have underlying allergy or immune disorders. According to the AVMA there is no correlation between dogs with cropped ears having any more or fewer ear infections as a result of the cropping procedure.

“Nor are traditionally cropped breeds among those with the highest incidence of otitis externa, even in countries where cropping is rarely performed. Thus it cannot be assumed that ear cropping has a medical purpose”


Breed Standards

american bully smiling in field

When it comes to pure breed dogs the appearance is important for breed standards. Along with a set criteria for weight, height, coat, and coloring, many times things such as ear cropping or tail docking are included. For the American Bully ear cropping is part of the breed standard.

In North America if you are looking to have a show dog in the American Bully category, ear cropping is now more optional than before, but traditional the norm. This tradition has been in place since the beginning of standardization of the breed. American Bullies are known for their cropped ears. As a result many avid fans continue this tradition and standard appearance.

I myself never plan to have my American Bully go inside the show ring. One of the reasons I elected not to have his ears cropped. An American Bully is still an American Bully whether they have natural or cut ears.

Hunting & Fighting

american bullies playing

Originating back in the early days of pit fighting, ear cropping was used as an added defense while engaged in fights. By having cropped ears the “bull and terrier” breeds did not have floppy ears for their opponent to latch onto during fights. Though dog fighting is illegal almost everywhere in the world, the traditional look persisted.

Hunting is also another reason why some Bully breeds, or working breed dogs might have cropped ears. Similar to the reasons associated with pit fighting, a hunting dog runs the risk of getting their ears latched onto by potential prey as well as predators.

Other factors such as running through bush and shrubs while on a hunt have been sited. Dogs with natural ears can get ears snagged in thick vegetation during hunts. Cropping can prevent potential injuries.

Though hunting dogs are still present in the modern world very few are American Bullies. In fact I think it’s safe to say that 99.9% of all American Bully dogs will never hunt in their lifetimes. Cropping for this purpose is extremely rare, and is more of a traditional look that originated from the pit fighting era more than anything.

Is It Good To Crop American Bully Ears?

As a whole I would say there is no net benefit to cropping an American Bully’s ears. The procedure is done on a purely aesthetic basis the majority of the time. Owners are free to choose ear crops for their dog, but there is no medical benefit that will be good for their dog.

Understanding some of the misinformation primarily around ear infections is important. When American Bully owners think ear cropping is good for ear infection prevention, further research and advice from a vet should be considered.

Is Cropping Ears Bad For Dogs?

american bully funny face

Ear cropping can be a painful procedure for dogs. Some would call the practice cruel and unnecessary. Depending on who is performing the procedure, ear cropping can be traumatic and extremely painful. Even under the right conditions the risk of infection to wounds can be an added factor.

I have met plenty of American Bullies with cropped ears, and plenty of their owners. Placing judgement on these very well meaning people is not what I am here to write about. In the end the procedure is up to the owner. My only hope is that it is done by a highly skilled professional and proper after care is maintained.

Personally, ear cropping was a bad choice for my dog. As the owner I decided that I did not want to put any unnecessary pain or risk of infection onto my American Bully. This was my choice for my own reasons.                         

Final Thoughts

american bully chester chews and bits rope

Ear cropping is a very hot topic within the American Bully, and Bully breed community as a whole. Many people love the look of cropped ears, and many find the practice to be cruel and unnecessary. There is only one thing I am able to control and that is what I choose to do with my American Bully, and that was to keep his ears natural.

In the end, whatever the reasons might be, I care more about the love and care given to someone’s American Bully. A loving, nurturing home that provides all the exercise, nutrition, mental stimulation, training, and belly rubs that an American Bully requires.

If you choose to crop their ears, always consult with a professional. When you are deciding if ear cropping is right for your American Bully make sure you have all the information.

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