Docking dogs prohibited in Germany

When cropping dogs, the four-legged friends are cut off their ears or tail, usually already in puppy age. For a long time, this intervention was one of the required standards of certain breeds such as the Doberman - fortunately, the intervention is now prohibited in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The cropping of dogs on the ears and tail was common for a long time with the Doberman - Shutterstock / DragoNika

Since 1987, cropping of dogs on the ears, since 1998 also on the tail, has been prohibited. Exceptions are only allowed if the procedure is unavoidable for medical reasons, or if you want to use your dog for hunting and he absolutely needs a docked rod.

Docking dogs: what is it?

The term "cropping" comes from French; there the word "couper" means something like "cut off". When cropping dogs on the ears, they are clamped in a special template, a so-called metal clip. This happens in puppies between the ages of seven and 14 weeks. The protruding part of the ear is cut off, the severed veins are pressed off and the cut is sewn. The ears are then attached with an adhesive bandage over the dog's head so that they will remain upright later.

In this way, the edges of the wound do not contract again. One week after the procedure, the ears have to be glued and supported with a frame placed on the head or with cotton tampons - and floppy ears become pointed, upright ears. In the meantime, the dog often has to be treated with antibiotics so that the cut does not catch fire.

The docking of dogs on the tail takes place in the newborn age of the puppies with one to three days. The dog babies are usually put under anesthesia, but sometimes the operation is performed under local anesthesia. The skin is cut around the tail at the desired location and pulled back. Then the vet cuts the tail between the vertebrae and, if necessary, sutures the wound; usually, however, it grows back together without sewing. Again, the dog often has to be given antibiotics and pain relievers.

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Why docking dogs is prohibited

Paragraph 6 of the Animal Welfare Act states: "It is forbidden to amputate whole or partial parts of the body ... of a vertebrate." The cropping of dogs for visual reasons is simply cruel, since the healing, especially of the ears, is lengthy and prone to complications. The dog also feels severe pain and is deprived of two of its most important means of communication with the ears and tail.

Since 2010, all breed standards that require dog docking have been removed from the FCI formulations. The "Fédération Cynologique Internationale" is the largest umbrella organization for canine based in Belgium. Docked dogs may also no longer be exhibited in Germany, even if they come from abroad, where docking of dogs is not yet prohibited. In addition, the animals may not be brought abroad for docking.

Are there exceptions to the ban?

Exceptions are only permitted in individual cases, namely according to "veterinary indication" or if "it is essential for the intended use of the dog in the case of dogs to be hunted and the veterinary concerns do not conflict with it." So it is only allowed if your four-legged friend has been shown to have more benefits than pain from docking. For example, if he has a tumor on his ears or tail, or the tail is torn off, that's one of the veterinary indications. Hunters argue that dogs with long tails could injure themselves while rummaging in the undergrowth and thick undergrowth.