Doberman Pinschers are born with long floppy ears. The ears are often cropped, normally when a puppy is 8 to 12 weeks old. The healing process takes about 10 days, at which time the stitches are removed and training the ears to stand upright begins. The dogs are also born with naturally long tails that are docked shortly after birth.
The military crop, also known as the working crop, looks like rounded triangles. The military crop is the easiest ear cropping for training ears to stand upright. This type of cropping is not done for beauty, but more with utility in mind.
The show crop is often described as "Eagle's wings" because of the curved, long shape. This style is used on Doberman Pinschers that are to be show dogs. It takes many months to train show cropped ears to stand upright. In some dogs, the ears may not stand upright after training and sometimes need additional surgery.
The medium crop is more for beauty. The length of the ear height is between show and military cropping length. The ear is long and curved and requires a longer training period. The medium crop, however, provides better results than the show crop.
After the stitches are removed, the ears are trained to stand upright using a half diameter roll of foam pipe insulation cut 6 to 8 inches long, along with first aid tape. The roll is placed in the ear as far as it will go comfortably. The tape is wrapped around the ear and the roll to keep the ear upright. Ears are kept bound with tape and a roll for two to three months, or until the ears stand upright without any help.
Dangers of Cropping
Although rare, cropping sometimes causes the ears to develop pliable and soft thick cartilage that does not stand upright even after training. Puppies that have continuously wet ears after cropping and taping sometimes develop scar tissue, and the cartilage loses the rigidity needed for strong upright ears.