Everything You Should Know About Tail Docking, Dewclaws, and Ear Cropping

Some breeds have certain physical traits that are possible to modify for a variety of different reasons, and Cane Corsos happen to be one of those breeds. If you are planning to get a Cane Corso puppy, your breeder will likely talk to you about modifications like tail docking, dewclaw removal, and ear cropping. If you don’t have a lot of knowledge about these modifications, you are bound to have questions. Here’s what you need to know about modifying your Cane Corso.

What Is Tail Docking?

Tail docking is the removal of a portion of a dog’s tail when they are still a puppy. Tail docking a Cane Corso can be done in a few different ways; either via surgical removal or by using medical-grade bands to restrict blood flow to the end of the tail until it naturally falls away. Either way, the procedure is done when the puppy is still really small.

Docking the Cane Corso’s tail early ensures the tail properly heals, and because the tail is still fairly small in circumference, the procedure is not all that complicated and does not leave the dog at risk of infections. At Red Rock Cane Corso, we dock tails within 24 to 72 hours after the Corso puppies are born. The tail is docked to about a third of its normal length.

Is Tail Docking Your Cane Corso Necessary?

A lot of people view tail docking as something that is unnecessarily cosmetic. However, much like ear cropping, this modification is actually for the benefit of the dog. Some of the advantages of tail docking include:

  • Helps to avoid injury to the tail for a working Cane Corso
  • Prevents problems with mangling the tail to compromise the dog’s overall appearance
  • Ensures the Cane Corso qualifies for showing in some competition arenas

Tail docking isn’t completely necessary, but it is definitely a good idea with your Corso.

What Is Dewclaw Removal?

dewclaw is a digit on the inside of a Cane Corso’s legs that does not make contact with the ground when the dog runs or walks. Sometimes referred to as a dog’s thumb, these digits do have a claw, and they can have some musculoskeletal support or be completely unattached to the musculoskeletal structure of the foot; only attached by a flap of skin. Some Cane corso lines actually produce dewclaws on rear legs, but usually, they are only found on the front legs.

Declaw removal involves surgically removing these digits. The procedure is performed at an early age, usually at just a few days old, so as the Cane Corso puppy grows, the incision naturally heals so it looks like there was never anything in the spot.

Is Dewclaw Removal Necessary?

Declaw removal with a Cane Corso may not be necessary, but it is usually a preference among owners. If the Cane Corso puppy has a dewclaw that is only connected by a flap of skin, this digit is easily injured. For example, the extra digit can get caught on thorny underbrush while the dog is running through a field, which would tear the skin. Therefore, it is best if the dewclaws are removed early. However, if the dog is going to be used for working events or in the field with prey, they are often left in tact as this enables the dog to use the dewclaws to help latch on and hold the prey.

What Is Ear Cropping?

Cane Corso ear cropping examples

Example of a well cropped Cane Corso ear

Cropping a Cane Corso’s ears gives the breed it’s telltale appearance with a stately head and smaller ears. Cropping is done by surgically removing part of the pinnae or auricles, which is the outer flap of the dog’s ear and should always be done with a vet experienced with working with Cane Corsos specifically.

Ear cropping procedures are done early in the puppy’s life. The optimum time for the cropping procedure to be done is between 8 and 10 weeks old. With Cane Corso’s, a specific section of the ear is removed so there is little or no outer flap covering the ear canal. This creates a nice bell-shape that allows the ear to stand and form a half cup that the dog can direct towards sounds for better hearing, which makes for a more efficient guardian.

Is Ear Cropping Necessary for Cane Corsos?

Ear cropping is a highly recommended procedure among breeders. Even though there is some debate about cropping a Cane Corso only being for aesthetic purposes, most well-versed breeders have a different view. Ear cropping can enhance the dog’s ability to hear well in the field. The manner of the modification leaves the Corso’s ear more cupped in appearance, which captures sound. Not to mention, cropping your Corso’s ears will help thwart problems with ear infections down the road.

All Modification Should Be Handled Carefully

Whatever modifications you decide on with your Cane Corso, it is critical that you know the breeder you are working with is entrusting the task to a veterinarian who is skilled in the procedures. In the United States, most of the Cane Corsos have docked tails and cropped ears. In many of the European countries, they have outlawed cropping and docking, so the Cane Corso in those countries still possess full tails and natural ears. There is a lot of confusion about canine modification being purely for reasons of appearance, but the AKC states:

“Mislabeling these procedures as ‘cosmetic’ is a severe mis-characterization that connotes a lack of respect and knowledge of history and the function of purebred dogs.”

At Red Rock Cane Corso, we utilize the services of Dr. Nave at Tropicana Animal Hospital, who has been our trusted veterinarian for many Cane Corso modifications. If you would like to know more about tail docking, dewclaw removal, or ear cropping, reach out to us at Red Rock Canyon Cane Corso. We are always happy to answer any questions you have.

Comments ( 11 )
  1. Josie Alpers

    Do you ever sell puppies without the tail docked or the ears cropped?

  2. Ryan

    Once thea ears are cropped, how do you care for the ears until they are healed?

    • admin Post author

      You keep them dry and the puppy will have a cone on so they cannot scratch them. If you notice any puss or swelling that would be a sign of infection which would be diagnosed by your vet and require antibiotics

  3. Cynthia

    I got my puppy at 9weeks 3days ago… He is waiting to receive his shots on 1/2… Well it be to late to have his ears cropped.

    • admin Post author

      You should be able to find a Vet to still do them but it is close.

    • admin Post author

      Vets usually stop at 12 weeks but I have seen Vets crop at 4 yrs on an import before. The thing is after 12 weeks many vets believe the fold of the ear flopped over has really set in and there is a greater chance it may not stand.

  4. Joe santini

    I’m looking at getting a pup that’s a little over 9 weeks old. Is it still safe to crop his ears and have his tail docked? And if so should I have both done at the same time or will that be to much for him to handle?

    • admin Post author

      Typically tails and dew claws are done between 2 and 4 days old. At 9 weeks the tail would be considered an amputation. Ear cropping age is usually preferred between 8 and 10 weeks.

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