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Reader comments: litter registrations and show attendance down, breeders under political assault while legislation against cropped and docked breeds is increasing.


August 2015

Joseph Byer, Jr., Research Editor


The AKC is pursuing the big money by pandering to the mixed breeds and compounding the problem, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is infected with the disease of political correctness passed around by animal rights radicals.


As a result the breeds that are cropped and/or docked according to their respective ii  Breed Standards have seen their populations dramatically decrease as the procedures have been outlawed in some countries. The decline in popularity is because a key component of their traditional look has been taken away; they are rendered not readily recognizable as that breed anymore. Veterinary schools have stopped teaching cropping and docking procedures as the animal rights activists have invaded their staffs. Also impacting the traditional crop/dock breeds, veterinarians who perform the procedures are an aging lot who may not be around much longer.


Thankfully, individuals and small groups are banding together to bring back the glory of exhibiting their dogs in a welcoming environment. The purebred dog fancy has not given up on protecting those breeds that came to popularity in part because of their elegant yet functional appearance. One such resurgence comes from our spunky Canadian fanciers who lead the way for American dog lovers.


Every owner or breeder of a cropped or docked breed must step forward to defend their dog's heritage. This is not a message of "everything is under control" because it is not.


The radicals are the nattering nabobs of negativism, rattling the sword of defiance against those trying to preserve purebred dogs. The American Kennel Club can't be counted on to maintain their base constituency as they have moved onto bigger money streams pandering to mutts and rare breeds. Nor will it be the adversarial veterinary organizations that seek to preserve purebred type and cropped/docked breeds; it will be the average dog lover who votes with their dollars to significantly reduce, if not eliminate the amortization of the purebred dog for financial gain. It will be true dog lovers such as the small group in Canada who has put out a YouTube video that is pro-cropping/docking.


Another excellent video addresses cropping and docking in a viewer friendly style. Sheep exhibiters take pride in both the breed type and HEALTH of their animals. Note the docked tails on the sheep the dogs are herding. Imagine the consequences of feces trapped in the hair around the anus!) This production video is also a Canadian product.


Why then are the American dog breeders sitting on their hands? Too many believe that the breed clubs will do something to save their breeds but those clubs, instead of defending the breed standard, are locked up by a complete failure to act (much like our political system). Senior Parent Club members tell members that to uphold the tradition of cropping ears and/or docking tails will only bring about the breed's demise. The breed club strategy being pushed is "Do nothing, perhaps it will all go away".


Do you feel that a "head in the sand" is a proper strategy to employ? Neither do I! And neither do the ear cropping veterinarians we interviewed who are wondering when the breed clubs will do something? If indeed we cannot rely on our national breed clubs to preserve purebred dogs, then like our northern neighbors, we must come out of the shadows and individually take on the dog world machine that is rolling all over us.


Yes my fellow dog enthusiasts, the support for tradition and adhering to breed standards written a century or more ago is on the upswing. It is time to ask yourself a question; "What can you do to preserve these living works of art?"


You cannot stand by and watch the breed you love slowly fade away because a non-dog owning minority has condemned a simple surgical procedure that in many hunting, herding, and protection breeds. If you belong to a breed club or a parent club, ask them what they will do to preserve cropped - docked purebred dogs?


3 short Cropping/Docking videos explain why the simple procedure is necessary to the preservation of breed type and/or function in many Working and Sporting breeds. Tail docking (done before pain receptors are fully developed) and ear cropping (done under general anesthesia) are neither painful nor cruel.


Examples of why docking a dog's tail is healthier than injury resulting in licking or wearing a cone!

fig 1 the problem

fig 2 the torturous solution!


COMMENTS HAVE CLOSED, thanks to our readers, please see selected comments below.


Jeff said: Spay and neuter again. Unrelated. Their are reasons to spay and neuter..... Medical reasons .... Like for rescue and shelter dogs and dogs who have owners who refuse to be responsible. The AVMA does NOT support mandated spay/neuter.  There is no shred of science indicating better hearing or better ear health in cropped dogs. None. If anyone has PROOF otherwise please send to the AVMA. Maybe they will change their position.


Deb said: I will stop docking when you stop spaying and neutering for convenience. Yes, that's right laziness. There is NO reason to spay or neuter, unless medically necessary, other than pure laziness on the part of owners.


Megan said: I have always wondered about the "health and safety" justification for cropping and docking. Greyhounds are highly prone to injuries to their long, whippy tails. Cockers, Bassets, and other drop-eared dogs are notorious for chronic ear infections - some requiring that the ear canal be ablated (destroyed) and a hole drilled into the unfortunate dog's skull. Imagine how much needless pain and suffering we could prevent if we only docked the tails of Greyhounds and cropped our Cockers' ears! Won't someone advocate on behalf of these unfortunate creatures? Hm, I hear crickets - perhaps you do, too! The fact is that we dock and crop for the sake of fashion and tradition - the other justifications don't hold up. And at the end of the day, as the humans in charge, we need to decide whether that's reason enough.


Ann said: When people call these veterinary procedures mutilation, it just shows ignorance of the procedure, and accuses vets of being unethical. These procedures are minimal, especially when compared to invasive procedures like spay/neuter, which forever change the health of the dog physically and mentally. To say the bans had nothing to do with the fall in registrations is ridiculous; the stats are quite clear! I have talked with breeders that are so fed up with being told what they can and cannot do with their breeds, they have stopped breeding totally. There were and still are in many cases, very good reasons to crop/dock. Dogs with prick ears have a greater ability to locate sounds. This is pretty important in breeds that guard and protect! And it is why dogs in the wild all have prick ears; it helps them survive. To the vet that says they have only seen two injured tails, I have to say that within just two weeks when I happened to stop in at my vet's office, there were each time a dog with serious tail injuries! One was a bloody mess. I also know a person with a service dog that had to have a tail amputation due to tail injury. Per my vet, tail injuries are quite common. For a dog that vigorously wags its tail, it can certainly be a problem! Most of all, I see red when people attempt to curtail my rights... I resent people that think they know better than we do about our dogs and our breed.


Anonymous said: Change is hard but what needs to be changed is the breed standards to accommodate both preferences before it becomes legislation. In the fields paws and feet can be injured, we do not cut them off. Eyes can be damaged by brush, we do not sew the eyelids shut. I just want a choice without the handlers and judges hurting my chances because of my choice. If foreign dogs are competing against us in the ring, how is the judge supposed to know which ones should abide by the American standard and which ones by the foreign laws? Therefore, what does it hurt to just let it be a choice for everyone before regulation give us no choice. (Love my poodles)


cherifell said: While I read the information, I rarely post comments. I reside in the gray but I must say, I'm just about ready to fully drop AKC registration of my litters and go with the CKC for registrations. In fact I don't see any purpose for registering my pet puppies as pet owners rarely if ever send in their applications. I hate the thought of not using AKC as the premier showcase for my breeding stock but I almost think I should stop showing AKC on principle alone. Luckily I am close enough to the border to travel to CKC shows and I can still enjoy the local UKC and IABCA shows. I've always owned a Rottweiler and have to say I wouldn't want one with a tail. I admire a beautifully done ear crop and I've always wanted a Doberman but again I wouldn't want one with a tail and floppy ears as it looks like a different breed I'm not attracted to. Am I a vain human? SURE! I'll admit yes. I'm vain and I admire all the beautiful animals I OWN, yes own. Not pet parent or fur-baby. There are so many animals suffering terribly from starvation and true abuse when cropped and docked dogs are living on a lap (pun intended) and luxury. Right or Wrong? Black and White? NO, the answer is gray. I don't think gray areas like cropping, docking, politics, religion and abortion should be legislated, let people make up their own minds! As well said in another comment, this is America for Gods sake! If you want to control the decisions of others you should move to a country where your mind will be made up for you and you have no rights. Enjoy that mentality for a while.


Laura said: Betty, WHY are you so defensive?? HOLY COW!!! If the registration numbers are dropping so DRAMAtically, then I would think people who CHOOSE to have the natural tailed/eared breeds, would be ENCOURAGED to participate in registering, showing, performing, etc, instead of being bashed, hassled, threatened, etc, by the ear & tail haters in the US. If your dog is better than the un-cropped/un-docked dogs then it will win. Owner of the FIRST Natural Tailed AKC CHAMPION Rottweiler Bitch (WB/Select at the 2013 National Specialty), and the ONLY AKC GCH Natural Tailed Rottweiler in the US!!!


steve said: Hey Betty, me and my wife are with you. We have Irish Wolfhounds and many a time as she picked up ashtrays and broken knick knacks swiped off the table she has said we should get a pug. We love our big guys but some of these long tailed breeds just were not even intended to be house dogs. If we choose to keep them inside, we keep the tail. If they are meant to be cropped or docked, we would have it that way to.


Betty said: I don't need an EXCUSE for exercising my freedom. Don't forget women abort babies. STOP THINKING YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CALL PERSONAL CHOICE MUTILATION. YOU can do what YOU want and I can do what I want ~ this is AMERICA people. I circumsized my son. I neutered my cat. I cropped my dog. Then I had a nose job to correct my septum and decided to get a breast lift. MY CHOICE and NOBODY is going to remove my FREEDOM. SURGICAL PROCEDURES are NOT MUTILATION!!


Alycia H. said: This video is almost comical. My points: Prevent injury? So we should dock all mutts in the pounds before they're adopted so they never have a injury? Why should purebreeds be so lucky? Decreased blood flow? Why do puppies bleed when docked? Docking is based on what they do? Rottweilers are docked and they don't have thin whiplike tails. I've taking my Rottweilers to the "bush" many times, not once did they insure a tail injury, same goes for their dewclaws. Hygiene issues? Aren't those dogs typically clipped? Docking is done within a few days of the pups being born, before the develope a pain response? What's the point of doing neurological stimulation on days 0-16? What about when docking isn't successful and it has to repeatedly be done? Only a few moments of discomfort? You just said it was before the neurological system developed a pain response. My breeder is Europe won't dock as it is illegal, he has breed probably 500+ dogs in his 25 years as a breeder. Never has he had a tail injury, so your percentages are invalid. You're pictures of injuries are extreme cases. Again I state we should dock all mutts as well. Your video is invalid. On the note of registration, don't worry my future tailed Rottweiler litters will still be registered with AKC and you will see us compete in AKC rings. Again, invalid argument that not docking leads to lower show entries and less dogs being registered.


Diane said: The age old useless excuses about docking tails to avoid them getting hurt later in life, or better yet, to avoid dogs having dirty rears, is laughable! Such lazy people ought to try hygiene instead of mutilation! And cropping ears to avoid ear infections, just does not hold up in reality. So you show a picture of a hurt tail and a dog in an e-collar, big deal, I can show you a thousand pictures of dogs with undocked tails and uncropped ears that are in perfect condition. Old excuses are used because the old boys club mentality cannot come up with anything valid, since there IS no excuse to cut off healthy body parts simply for human selfish reasons, that *they like the look better*. Tough, then get a breed that has prick ears or a short tail, because the intelligent compassionate caring world does not want to mutilate healthy animals for your selfish reasons! And stop quoting *show* standards...they are simply a blueprint that was decided by, you guessed it, more selfish humans, again for their own reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with what is best for the majority of dogs!


Ann said: I have shown Rottweilers since 1982. I also have a Bachelor's degree in Animal Science & was a Veterinary Technician for many years at a large small animal practice. In that time I saw two dogs whose tails were damaged; a Greyhound and a Great Dane. Recently we have owned a couple of Borzoi. I find it fascinating to see how they use their tails. And yes, with all that coat, at times, there is feces on the dog's furnishings. So, what do I do I do? I clean the rear. No big deal. We have also shown Boxers and Dobermans. I quit both breeds because of ear cropping. Ear cropping is an art; very few veterinarians can perform the procedure. And really, look at some of the ridiculous ear crops and the length of ear in the ring. At first, I did not like a Rottie with a natural tail, but I am beginning to like it. We recently obtained a German Shepherd and again, I see how much she uses her tail. We live on a farm and she has not damaged her tail. I am not a "humaniac". We also work our dogs in agility, herding, tracking, draft dog, etc. I find the reasons to crop and dock, quite weak.


Nancy said: I have a breed which can be born tailess, and our standard call's for not substantially longer than 4". Our breed has the largest amount of Dual champions (field and show championship) of all sporting breeds, and because they go deep into the brush to find the birds, their tails can easily get caught in thorns and brush and torn if they were longer.


Jeff said: Marilyn. I'm all for choice . Yours and those who see no medical need to crop or dock to "show".  Registration drops are unrelated to crop and dock bans. Proof? Our plummeting registrations... We have no bans. Everyone please read the FAQs on the AVMA website related to medical benefits, if any for any of these procedures.  And Dobelover, yep, registrations are down... Nowhere more than in the USA. The point is we have no bans so it sure isn't because of that issue. Unrelated. Trying to link the two is just a scare tactic.


Dobelover said: Registrations of docked breeds have plummeted world wide in countries where this procedure has been outlawed. Do some checking Jeff et al - some breeds are teetering on the border of extinction due to this asinine politically correct legislation. My animal - my choice!!!


Marilyn said: I will defend with my dying breath the right to crop and dock. For many reasons. It's healthier for the dog. It is my right to choose. And I am sick to death of the political correctness and animal rights sentiment that is taking away my freedom and personal choice. EST 2002 © 610bf178R198



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