Doberman ear cropping is a surgical procedure that makes a Doberman’s ears stand upright. When uncropped, an adult Doberman has ears that naturally flop and fold over. Like tail docking, clipping dogs’ ears is standard practice in some breeds in the USA. But not everyone agrees with the practice, and it definitely does have some downsides.
Why Crop Doberman Ears?
In some breeds such as Doberman Pinschers and Boxers, puppy ear cropping was considered an important attribute for a protection dog in the belief that cropped ears improve the dog’s hearing and make it harder for an assailant to grab hold of the dog. In smaller breeds like the Brussels Griffon, the ears were cropped to make it harder for a cornered rat to bite them.
Another reason is that in a Doberman, uncropped ears are often perceived to give a gentler, less aggressive appearance, so clipping dogs ears may also be part of an attempt to enhance the Doberman’s reputation for being fearless and fierce.
Natural Ear Positions
When you visit a litter of Doberman puppies you’ll probably find that the puppies’ ears are still in their natural state. Natural Doberman puppy ears are floppy, wide, and proportionately long in relation to the size of the head. Their ears are soft and silky, and inside they’re smooth and pink. As the dogs mature, this color will darken and a soft layer of hair will grow on the inside of the ear.
Cropping may take place before you collect your puppy, or your breeder may recommend you have the procedure carried out by your own veterinarian. If the puppies have not already been cropped you may be able to choose to leave your puppy with natural ears. This is something that’s worth considering as ear cropping, and its aftercare, is not always straightforward.
Can Doberman Ears Stand Up Without Cropping?
Leaving your dog’s ears uncropped in the hope that they will stand up on their own, won’t work. Natural, uninjured ear carriage in a Doberman is never upright.
People hoping to find out how to make doberman ears stand up without cropping are usually going to be disappointed because taping Doberman ears without cropping them, is very unlikely to work. The only way to get reliably erect ears on a Doberman, is to cut them before holding them in their new position until the ear cartilage has hardened.
Different Doberman Ear Cropping Styles
There are three different types of ear crops for Dobermans. The Doberman military crop (or working crop) is the shortest and easiest for training the ears to stand upright. The show crop has a long, curved shape and it takes many months for the ears to stand erect as well as almost a year of proper after-care.
This shaping exposes the inside of the ear, including the ear canal. The medium crop is between military and show length. In some dogs, surgery may not be successful and these dogs sometimes undergo additional surgery.
Surgical interference is the only thing that alters the appearance of their ears. And there are several different approaches to this surgical procedure.
Ear cropping is an elective surgery. A cosmetic procedure which changes the shape of a dog’s ears quite dramatically with arguably little measurable benefit to the dog. Although ear cropping has been a common custom for this breed, especially in the US, there is much controversy regarding this practice. Many places have banned ear cropping entirely, including most European countries.
During the ear cropping procedure, the Doberman puppy is anesthetized and the floppy part of the dog’s ear is cut off. The cut edges of the ear are stitched and Soft foam blocks or ‘posts’ are placed inside the ear and the ear is then taped around them to stand upright. This procedure is performed on puppies that are between the ages of 6 to 12 weeks of age. After 12 weeks the cartilage in the ear will have hardened and this makes it unlikely that the ears will ever stand erect. The posts remain in the puppy’s ears until the ears will stand erect on their own. Doberman ear posting can take from a few weeks up to a year.
Both the American Veterinary Association (AVMA) and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association oppose surgical alterations that are not for the benefit of the dog and merely for cosmetic purposes. Even in the US, there are fewer veterinarians who are willing to perform this surgery and ear cropping is no longer being taught at colleges of veterinary medicine.
Clipped Ears – Maintaining Breed Standards?
Breed organizations like the American Kennel Club still endorse the practice of ear cropping to maintain the traditional breed standards. Of course, breed standards can be changed, and have been changed in countries whereear cropping has been banned, so this isn’t a strong argument for continuing to endorse this surgical procedure.
According to the Doberman Pinscher Club of America ear cropping is done for two functional reasons. The first is that a cropped ear gives the dog an advantage when confronted with an attacker as there’s less for the perpetrator to grab hold of.
Even if true, this isn’t really an issue for the average family pet. Secondly, they state that when the ears are erect they’re able to locate the source of sound more accurately than a dog with a dropped ear. However, there’s no scientific evidence to back up this claim.
Doberman Ear Health
You may have heard that leaving your Doberman uncropped will increase the risk of ear infections, but there is no evidence to support this theory. A Doberman without clipped ears is not overly susceptible to ear infections or hearing loss.
Essentially with the cropped Doberman, the aim is to comply with show standards or are cropped because the owners like the way it makes the dog look. There are people who want their Doberman to appear as intimidating as possible. And as one study found, dogs with cropped ears are perceived as being more aggressive and dominant.
Cropped vs Natural Ears
Doberman ear cropping is now banned in many countries. And there are a number of reasons why this practice has fallen out of favor. Veterinarians and other animal experts have concluded that there is little benefit to ear cropping and this has to be weighed against the downsides.
Cropping a Doberman’s ears can actually be hazardous to the dog’s health for a number of reasons. Not only is this needless practice painful for the dog, as with any surgical procedure there’s the risk of infection or complications with anesthesia.
In addition, the bleeding disorder known as Von Willebrand’s disease has a particularly high frequency in Dobermans. This condition is characterized by a defect in platelet function which affects the blood’s ability to clot. Excessive bleeding after surgery is a common clinical finding and severely affected dogs may bleed to death from surgical procedures. This is one more reason not to have your Doberman’s ears cropped as surgery can be extremely hazardous.
Post-operation care is a time-consuming commitment. If you choose the long crop, you could be looking at many months of after-care.
Does It Hurt?
The operation itself is carried out under anesthetic, but post operative pain is inevitable when we make deep cuts in part of an animal’s body or when we remove body parts entirely. This pain may be manageable with pain relief, but it isn’t always possible to eliminate post operative pain entirely.
In addition, the long healing process in the weeks that follow surgery, can be more painful for the dog than the actual surgery itself.
It’s also believed that the dog’s body language is compromised when their ears are cropped and this may affect their ability to express themselves to other dogs. Lastly, after all the pain and suffering, there’s no guarantee that the surgery will be successful and the dog can end up permanently scarred.
Where can i get my dogs ears cropped?
Ear cropping must be carried out by a qualified veterinary surgeon under a general anesthetic. It cannot be carried out in areas where ear cropping is illegal, and is a procedure that is usually carried out only in puppies.
If you decide you want your puppy’s ears clipped, you’ll need to contact your veterinary surgeon to discuss this. But please do consider leaving your puppy’s ears intact. Ear cropping is not a straightforward or quick procedure. The operation is just the beginning. Here’s what’s involved afterwards.
The Ear Cropping Process And Aftercare
Ear cropping surgery is done under anesthesia and takes about 30 minutes. The surgery must be done by a veterinarian who is experienced in cropping Doberman’s ears. In some areas this may involve considerable journeys as fewer and fewer vets are willing to carry out the procedure.
During surgery, the outside part of the ears are trimmed and the edges are sutured. Some vets will post and tape up the ears immediately, while others will wait until the wounds heal.
Posting is done in a variety of ways. Essentially the ears are taped over the head to keep them upright and wrapped with gauze for protection. Timing will vary, but taping typically lasts about 6 months and it can take as long as a year for a long crop.
Proper aftercare is essential during this lengthy healing process, which is very uncomfortable for the dog. The wounds can bleed quite a bit and regular dressing changes are required to prevent infection.
Doberman Ear Cropping – Pros and Cons
A Doberman without ears cropped has a softer look with ears that are quite wide and floppy. There are those who insist that ear cropping is a part of the breed’s identity. Others will state that cropped ears allow the dog to hear better or reduce the risk of ear infections or deafness.
However, the only reason to have a Doberman’s ears cropped is to comply with show standards or for aesthetic purposes. If you are not intending to compete with your dog in the show ring, there is no need for your puppy to go through this process.
Is Ear Cropping Cruel?
Many people think so, and the procedure is now banned in many areas. Fewer and fewer veterinarians are willing to perform this surgery. It’s an expensive procedure that causes the dog a lot of pain. Owners are responsible for post-operative care that can last for many months. And even then there’s no guarantee that the surgery will be a success.
If you are on the fence about owning a Doberman without ears clipped, we hope this article has given you food for thought.
We think that a Doberman without cut ears looks just beautiful and we hope you agree! Tell us your thoughts on Doberman ear cropping in the comments below.
This is what is wrong today. People have a opinion and try to force their opinion on you. They ridicule you if your opinion is different and call you an animal abuser. Sorry- my dog my choice.
It’s not a opinions if they are reasons as to it. A opinion is “cake is better than ice cream” if you believe their is not a single thing wrong with this, get help. Poor dog
Actually, this article doesn’t “shame” people. It even lists different crop styles and how and who does them. You reacting in an overly sensitive way is telling. It sounds way more like you know doing an elective surgery on an animal is your vanity and needless. You want to feel ok with cutting up your dog and having it recover from a painful surgery that isn’t necessary…because it looks cool to you. I will shame you. You do this to your human family members? Did you have your babies’ ear lobes cut and fused to their skulls because attached lobes look better to you? You remove or alter your elderly parents body parts because you think if they were different they would look better? Probably not. You don’t have to take this article’s advice and no one named you personally in it so why you taking so personally ? Not sure why you need to whine into the void or state the obvious: your dog is your dog. No one said it wasn’t. SMH
Ear cropping is real animal cruelty. You don’t get a dog just for its looks, it’s about character traits as well. Appreciate the dogs natural appearance, it’s still goi g to guard your home with floppy ears!
There is higher incidence of penile cancer in men who are uncircumcised. Not cosmetic. Hygienic.
How is this in any way related to dog’s ears being cropped? Are you implying that ear cropping should be used to prevent cancer in dogs? Human circumcision is most commonly performed for religious and/or cultural reasons, whereas dog ear cropping really is purely cosmetic, but neither are primarily medical. So glad this horrible, unnecessary process is now illegal in most of Europe.
Glad to hear ear cropping is illegal in most of Europe.So unnessary and inhumane!!
Australia banned ear cropping and tail docking (on horses as well) in the early 2000’s. We shouldn’t be able to cause pain and risk to an animal simply to change its look..
Carole Ann Mullen says
Thank you for making my decision easier. My first dobe was not cropped. Second and third were. The third got an infection and one ear healed flopped over. Reading through your information made me realize I would’ve have been cropping for myself, not what the dog needed. No crop it is.
Sadie Adler says
I have a natural ear Doberman and her ears stand up most of the time.
Tatjana Pieters says
Yvonne Bagaman says
My first Dobie had a show crop. I took care of her ears after the procedure was finished.
Yes her ears were in a “rack” and taped for about six weeks, and topical antiseptic was applied regularly. She did not seem to be in any undue pain.
She had no infection or complications. If done right and with proper aftercare I don’t believe it causes undue pain. To me it ranks along with getting your male children circumcised- a matter of personal choice. Would I do it again, probably not.
Yvonne Bagaman says
The reason that I would not do it again is because I am in an area where there are no available Vets that would do the cropping the way I prefer (long crop). And how many ladies out there complain about ear cropping, but go and get breast augmentations, which are also purely cosmetic. Lol.
No one is taking a woman to a plastic surgeon without her knowledge and forcibly putting implants in her. Women choose that for themselves. Humans have higher thinking abilities and can weigh the choices and make them on their own. Dogs don’t get to choose if you cut them up or not. So we should use our higher thinking brains and only do it when it is beneficial to our animals.
How much pain do yo think a dog is due for a cosmetic procedure?
Not much of a personal choice for the circumsized baby…
I have had 5 Doberman all with their ears cropped. I seen no signs of pain. If I thought that they were in pain I would absolutely not have their ears cropped. Love them💕☮️
❤ Love ❤
With regard to the theory that erect ears are more accurate at sonic locating, I would point out that when the dog has control over the elevation of each ear, you will often find them listening with one ear in a lower position than the other. This actually has a function, to allow the dog to use the parallax introduced by the differential ear positioning to acquire the range of the target sound. A dog with fixed upright ears has no control over this positioning and therefore would theoretically be less accurate at locating the source of sounds (accurate in finding direction, but not range.) Tilting the head might be an attempt to compensate for this lack of control. My dog has floppy ears and she can pinpoint muskrats and other small animals rummaging in the tall weeds and accurately pounce on them, sight-unseen. Would like to see some studies of this parallax phenomenon, comparing accuracy of uncut ears against ones that have been mutilated for the sake of the owner’s vanity.
most dogs rely on sight or smell, not hearing, when locating “prey”.
Graeme Roger Chick says
How can one say that they love or feel for their pet if one is willing to cause it a lot of pain, for no better reason than that YOU think it looks good. Shame on you.
It’s obvious u don’t understand dobermans
John D says
He clearly understands human beings, though.
❤ Love, clearly. ❤
It’s obvious you don’t understand DOGS. Ears are for hearing, and are best left as the breed has developed them, as well explained by Reggie, above. And tails are needed for many functions — apart from wagging or between their legs to express emotions, they are used physically for balance. My 12 lb Italian Greyhound mix would whip her tail around as needed for balance while racing through the snow. I only noticed when looking at photos and videos I took of her running. I later read, the dog’s tail is indeed used for balance.
❤ Love ❤
I can’t help but wonder if you’re ok getting other human cosmetic surgery rather than having it performed in a dog.
Y’all are just mad that you were wrong about cropping ears. Now you’re embarrassed and sticking to your dumb*ss excuses for animal cruelty.
Breed standards are beyond dumb, animals aren’t an aesthetic.
Grace Robinson says
breed standards are perfectly fine. I’m cropping my Dobermans ears. cry about it.
Dobermans were not wild running around the streets of Germany in the 1890s They are man created for a certain duty like all breeds. If you don’t like cropping , don’t do it is neutering your dog not painful and dangerous ? Is that for the well being of the dog ?? No. It’s for the well being of the owner. Should we cut off their feet so they don’t get foot cancer ?? This being the argument to neuter. If you don’t like bologna. Don’t buy it.
There is scientific reason to neuter dogs. Unneutered dogs account for many dog deaths as they run away to try to mate and get hit by cars or otherwise killed. It is not the same. Circumcision has scientific evidence in favor of reducing bacteria. It’s just a cosmetic thing and I don’t give a fuck of dog ears are not naturally floppy, leave them the ears they’re born with unless an accredited vet suggests a surgery for health. It’s mean and stunts the dogs well being.
Thank you for the article
S Saacchi says
Cosmetics, medication, tested on animals first. Please take the great big beam out of your eye before you take the speck out of mine………Would you give a life saving vaccine or medication or perhaps a medical procedure to your loved one which has been cruelly tested on an animal??
Edmundo Corona González says
Nice Doberman pictures btw
Adopted Daisy from the local Humane Society . She’s going on three years old . Two previous “homes” . I promised this beautiful Dobe , No One here will ever hurt her . She’s been a challenge , but progressing nicely . Not afraid to come to me asking for love and attention . I always comply !
Daniel During says
I do agree, we should not crop our dogs ears or tails and we should not circumcise our boys either.
I have had 4 great danes so far, no one cropped.
Always kept them how they were born.
I would not like that done onto my self, Why would I inflicted on another being?
If you want to remove anything from your dog, testicles, ear cropping, tail) think about doing it on yourself first. (You may chose to let go of your pinky, since it is of not much use anyway, and you don’t have a tail to let go of) 😀
Some human babies are born with small tails that are surgically removed at birth. Clearly a cosmetic decision.
Yea some human babies are, but every dog is born with ears and tails unless a birth defect. I can’t understand how people willingly puts their dog onto the surgical table. There’s always risk with it. Especially Dobbies with the risk of them having von Willebrand’s disease which Dobbies are known to have. Many pups bleeds to death because people want a different appearance than how they were born like
As a lady, I have never had a tail, the need to be circumcised and do not have a tail nor ears that flop. I don’t share those concerns as my intent is for my dog to appear vicious,
& threatening to fend of predators without risking my dog and my life.
Floppy ears is not a natural occurrence in wild dogs/wolves /coyotes. This is something that humans have bred with the domestication of animals. If you want to go with something that is more natural that nature would have intended, that would be a cropped ear. The article states it hasn’t been scientifically proven that erect ears hear better than floppy ears. Again, I would say look at nature. There is definitely a clear winner, and that would be erect ears.
Also, dogs with floppy ears tend to have more ear infections. Something which the Doberman is already prone to having.
Anyone who has chosen to have their son circumcised has no room to have an opinion about cropping being “cruel and unnecessary.” Just my two cents though.
Floppy ears are a natural occurrence. Just because wolves and coyotes have erect ears doesn’t mean it isn’t natural for other breeds.
This is a silly argument. It’s like saying that short hair on dogs is a natural occurrence and therefore. dogs that have long hair should always have their hair cut short. The article specifically said that scientific studies have shown that having upright years does not improve hearing or reduce your infection
Edmundo Corona González says
Todos los carnivoros tienen las orejas erectas incluso los gatos domesticos, incluso los humanos, la elegancia del doberman se debe en gran parte a un buen corte de orejas.
Actually floppy ears are not a natural occurance in dogs and there predecessors.
Dogs as an animal would not exist were it not for man’s interference. All of the breeds that he produced are possible because an enormous number of repeated sequences in the canine DNA. Pain medication and veteranarians’ increasing willingness to use it will help the Doberman recovering from an ear cropping.
You’re right on!
There are various tribes that make body modifications – scarring, tattoos, body piercings, or extended neck, lip, earlobes, nasal canals, etc. Elders/parents will start when the children are young and continue as they grow into adulthood. Some into old age, if you will. They do so for aesthetic, religious, or social reasons. These people grow up happy, loved, and functioning people of their community. Not very different with our pets it would seem.
I would say it’s entirely different as those people make their own decisions and choose to have their body modified according to their own reasoning and it makes them happy. With animals, I don’t think they would ever wake up and think my ears need a little cropping.
It’s a elective procedure for humans needing their ears “cropped” called pinning the ears back for folks whose ears stick out. Also isn’t it more important that the dog is taken care of for its entire life by the owner than the owner choosing to give it a Breed standard look if that’s the reason they picked the dog. Also isn’t neutering a animal painful or traumatic also completely against what they are made to do. You just justify it by saying to helps with unwanted dogs being born. Fences and kennels do the same without the pain for the dog.
I totally agree with you! We have our boys circumcised should we outlaw that practice as well. People just need work on stopping true animal abuse and not be concerned with my super spoiled Doberman’s eats!!!
I always argue this and no one can come up with a good come back! There’s a lot worse in this world than responsible cropping!
Edmundo Corona González says
I totally agree, I am an advocate for ear cropping, and I do not see cruelty or animal abuse if the surgery is done in a vet hospital equipped and with the correct care. In Mexico it is prohibited but it does not prevent the owners from continuing to practice it, the difference is that now they end up doing it clandestinely
I just got my first girl dobermen amd she is wonderful one of my friends it trying to tell me that i have to get her ears cropped do to ear infection and my pup is 8 weeks old today. I looked it up here but it really for show she came with docked tail but the ears are not cropped i dont want them cropped want her to look cute but sassy as well right now she is my little fur baby she wont let me leave the room with out her i also have a 4 year-old and a 2 year old. Who loves her. And she had a big fenced yard
Erica Stewart says
I have an 8 Year old male had his ears done so pitiful and painful made a quick recovery all is well.. Got A companion she is two , I vowed to never do that again to a dog. I have to say she has suffered chronic ear problems pain and suffering constantly🤷🏼♀️ Now I’m wondering if I made the right decision?
Lily Jones says
It may just be the individual dog. I have had two Dobermans, never got their ears cropped and neither has had ear complications. I strongly discourage this practice and if you still do it, despite its cruelty and pointlessness, you are only doing it for appearance, not to help with hearing or infections. Neither of my dogs (both males) were neutered either.
James E Hite says
I believe cropping a dobermans ears is unnecessary and cruel. Before I bought my first doberman, I didn’t know much about it and thought it was normal. But the breeder who had show dogs informed me he did it only for the purpose of show. Said it was up to me whether to do it or not and that he didn’t recommend putting the pup through unnecessary pain. So I didn’t have it done and would never do it. My Dobie was the best dog I ever owned.
Virginia Eaves says
I agree. I bought my first dobie when she was 5 from her owner that did not have enough time for her and she was in a kennel 8 hours a day. She already had cropped ears and was trained. She was outstanding, loyal, loving, and great with children. My second was a rescue from the shelter and about 1.5 years old. She had natural ears and a cropped tail and thought to have been used for breeding. She was fearful, emaciated, and had heart worms. I had her treated and she lived to be 15! She was wonderful with children, too!
Hi I had a Doberman years ago and had his ears cropped. I want another Doberman but I don’t want her to have her ears cropped. My problem is that without those stand up ears people don’t consider them to be Dobermans and I need to have that recognition so I can feel like they need to stay away because people don’t recognize a Doberman without cropped ears. I don’t want to do it but I am worried people won’t take them seriously or recognize them as a guard dog. I am 66 and need security help. I love dobies. Help?!
Cropping and docking is simple human vanity. It serves no other purpose. I think disfiguring an animal because it suits the owners eye is an extremely selfish thing to do. One may as well be saying they look better with all their legs cut off.
I have always had my Doberman’s ears cropped, and I am talking 2 that I have had. They were fine. I don’t believe you bring up anything scientific to say it is ok to do. I say it is, because it did not alter their personalities. Both loving, very smart, well trained. I feel, it is a guilt trip you put responsible owners through. Rather, go after those who just think having an untrained pet is a ok. Floppy, cropped ears….tails…I believe that is worse.
Duane Smith says
Well, you may not read much.
So because it doesn’t traumatize the animal too much to permanently damage them it’s fine? I hope you don’t think the same way with humans.
Like a previous person stated, would you decide to put your son through the pain of having him circumcised?? I would chose to focus your attention on people who don’t properly take care of their pets to begin with.