ear tattooing for dog shows - Page 1

Pedigree Database


by theresagsd on 15 April 2020 - 19:04

hi everyone! I am bringing home my female German Shepherd in 2 weeks from the breeder to use for showing. I had asked the breeder about getting her an ear tattoo instead of a microchip (personal preference).. and he had told me that tattoos were done a very long time ago, and that a chip is all that is needed for shows now. Is tattooing a completely phased out practice? I was hoping I could find out if someone still does it. Where would I find that information? Can any vet do it?.. should I call the local vets? And what age is that typically done by? I am located in New York and willing to travel within the state. Thank you all for your time and responses!

Western Rider (admin)

by Western Rider on 15 April 2020 - 21:04

It used to be done at about 7 weeks give or take a week.  It was replaced with the chip as many organizations considered it cruel there were other reasons as well. Tattoo won't be of much help if the dog gets lost and it fades to a nonreadable mark with age so is no use for identification

When the stay at home is lifited your pup may be too old to do it.

You can look up Schutzhund clubs and see if anyone there can/will do it. 


by Hundmutter on 16 April 2020 - 06:04

Depends where you are. We still have our Tattoo Register in the UK although the microchip has now become a legal requirement. Not so sure it is very active anymore, with use of the system dependent on how many tattooists there still are. But for any dogs marked under the scheme it actually remains a better way to trace their owner / breeder than the microchip in some ways - there are problems with a) vets reading chips [they don't all bother, so if a dog is a stolen one, no-one finds out; whereas ear tattoos are instantly visible]. b) too many competing firms running chip records, causes confusion. c) peoples' failure to update info so for Dog Wardens, Vets, Rescues etc a chipped lost dog is no guarantee of tracing its owner.
Our tattooists are/were mainly very skillful, so did not cause more than a brief moment of pain in even adult dogs; and the numbers do not smudge or fade and become unreadable, in most cases. Any that are a little faint can be brought up by wiping the ear surface with alchoholic rub.
My current dog is chipped and not tattooed, but I always prefered tattoos when we had a choice. On my bitch Vida her tattoo, done at 7 weeks, was still completely readable when she died aged 14.

Q Man

by Q Man on 16 April 2020 - 10:04

If you're interested in Showing your dog in AKC then I'd consider contacting them and ask what their view on Tattooing is...
Basically a number of years ago the SV decided to switch over to the Micro-chip and so most organizations did so too...



by Rik on 16 April 2020 - 11:04

I had a Doberman from the House Of Hoytt in the '70's that was tattooed on the belly by HOH, although not sanctioned by any dog org., it did help me recover her after a theft.

not sure how an ear tattoo will benefit you unless it is recognized by whatever organization you plan to participate in, so very stric guidelines apply.

if you are just doing it for proof of I.D/ownership., then find a vet that will sedate and tattoo on belly and record. if not recoginized then doesn't mater where tattoo is.

you may still be able to buy the tattoo clamps for ears, so do a google. good luck on that and prayers for your dog.

I'm sure you have your own reasons for not wanting a chip, but there are reasons the SV switched over.


Q Man

by Q Man on 16 April 2020 - 13:04

As for putting a Tattoo on the inner thigh...I had a GSD from Italy that had her Tattoo on her inner thigh...It was Nice...Clear...Bold and no hair there...But I Trial in Schutzhund and have to show her Tattoo to the Judge...I had to lay her down and flip her over to do so...I don't like putting my dogs in that position when your showing/trialing...
I find negatives about both the Tattoos and Micro-chips...but I think the Micro-chip is the best of either...



by Hundmutter on 17 April 2020 - 03:04

That's one of the things which is more convenient about ear tattoos Bob; you can show a Judge while showing the teeth. Although over here a dog's tattoo would probably be checked before entry to the Showring, by a steward, in any SV style show where it might be considered important to confirm it. (Thinking past British Seiger Events or maybe Regionals, our regular KC shows would not bother.) I agree though, about belly/inner thigh tats; I would not want to put any dog into such a submissive position while being seen in a Showring.

by GSCat on 17 April 2020 - 19:04

Know of a law enforement canine that was tattoed in both ears that was stolen. Someone cut off the ears [vomiting emoticon]


by Hundmutter on 18 April 2020 - 04:04

People 'hear' rather than 'know' of that sort of case all the time GSCat; and I accept that it is maybe more possible to get away with in the US than over here for instance (where we tend to leave dogs ears alone rather more).
But I think I am right in saying the people who run our UK Tattoo register never came across a proven case of any tattooed dog having had its ear(s) cut off.
People with (illegal) Pits tend not to have them marked with any ID ! - so any cut-off ears probably were not tattooed ears.

If it does happen its very infrequent, and not a reason not to have a tattoo.


by emoryg on 18 April 2020 - 17:04

I did breed inspections for USCA back in the 90s, and on my last visit to the litter (around 8 weeks) I would be accompanied by a guy who did the ear tattoos.  If I remember correctly, he said the ink they ordered from Germany came with lidocaine that would help numb the puppy’s ear.  Maybe one in every litter would yelp.  I also needed to observe adult dogs having the tattoo put in the ears.  It was always at a vet’s office and the dog would be anesthetized.  Two of my dogs had ear tattoos after one year of age while they were getting hip xrays for the A-stamp. 

I attached a video so those who are not familiar can see how the tattoo is read.  The first part is me with one of the dogs I trained having her ear checked at a schutzhund trial.  This is one who had the ear tattoo at a year old.  CJ20001  I still remember her number.  The other dog in the video is having her thigh tattoo read during a breed survey.  Interested to note, her ear tattoo did not take as a pup. 



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