Doberman pinschers are known for their statuesque beauty, glistening coat, and protective nature, but did you know that their catlike, erect ears aren't natural? That's because for a Doberman's ears to stand erect, they must be cropped. There are three main types of ear crops in Dobermans including the military, medium, and show crop. While ear cropping is a requirement for showing your Doberman, it's generally considered a purely cosmetic procedure that is somewhat controversial.
Different types of Doberman ear crops
Of the three Doberman ear cropping styles, the show crop is the most common. That's because dogs shown professionally are required to have cropped ears and a docked tail. These characteristics are considered part of the breed standard for Dobermans shown in American Kennel Club events. The show crop is the longest and most narrow crop of the three types.
The military crop, also known as the pet crop, is the shortest of the Doberman ear cropping sizes and is the widest at the base. The aptly named medium crop is right in the middle of the other two types of cropping in terms of length and width.
Doberman ear cropping procedure
Doberman ear cropping is typically performed when a puppy is between 7 and 9 weeks old but sometimes as late as 12 weeks old. The procedure is not recommended for older dogs because it likely will not be effective due to the development of the ear cartilage. Because it is a surgical procedure, ear cropping should only be done by a veterinarian and under anesthesia. In fact, nine states have laws that govern ear cropping procedures on dogs and mandate that the procedure must be done by a licensed veterinarian for the safety of the dog.
During the procedure, the majority of the external ear flap is removed along with several nerve endings. The amount of ear flap removed depends on the style of the crop: more for the military and less for the show and medium crop. The ears are then stitched and bandaged.
After the procedure, the dogs ears are taped and kept upright by a cup. It will take around two weeks for the ears to heal, and the stitches will then be removed. The ears are kept upright until the dog reaches 6 months of age to 1 year old or until the ears are stiff enough to stand on their own.
Doberman ear crop controversy
While the American Kennel Club and other pedigree organizations list cropped ears as part of the breed standard for Doberman pinschers, the procedure is considered purely cosmetic. Because it is cosmetic, both the American Veterinary Medical Association and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals oppose ear cropping of any breed. The procedure is considered cruel, painful, and unnecessary.
A Doberman's natural ears are short, rounded, and floppy, not erect and triangle-shaped. Some breeders claim that cropping the ears improves a Doberman's hearing or discourages ear infections. While there is some evidence to support these claims, the procedure is not always successful, and there are health risks associated with surgery that may outweigh the potential benefits.
Dog ear cropping considerations
Dobermans are only one of many dog breeds with cropped ears that you'll find. Other breeds include Boston terriers, Great Danes, American pit bull terriers, boxers, cane corsos, German pinschers, and standard schnauzers.
While some consider ear cropping necessary for that iconic Doberman pinscher look, many don't think that the procedure is needed at all for these handsome dogs. Some veterinarians will refuse to do the procedure at all due to ethical considerations. Plus, there is a lot of aftercare for your dog to keep his ears upright and infection-free, so consider this when deciding if ear cropping is something you want to do with your own dog.
- Cavalier Doberman Pinscher Club: Doberman Ear Crops
- Dobermans Den: Doberman Ear Cropping Styles
- Doberman Planet: Doberman Ear Cropping Pros & Cons: Should You Do It?
- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Ear-Cropping and Tail-Docking
- American Kennel Club: Doberman Pinscher
- American Veterinary Medical Association: Ear Cropping and Tail Docking of Dogs
- American Veterinary Medical Association: State Laws Governing Elective Surgical Procedures
- Canine Journal: Dog Ear Cropping And Tail Docking: Necessary Or Inhumane?