There are two common arguments people have when it comes to cropping ears. Some people believe it is cruel to the breed and don’t like the look, others believe cropping the ears is staying true to the breed because it is a distinct look and there are health reasons why it should be done.
Let me share my story with you:
My first Doberman was from a rescue and he was totally natural. By natural, I mean he had a long tail and his ears were not cropped. Most people when they looked at him thought he was a coon dog. Children would run up to him to pet him or teens would taunt him in our fence – like they do most dogs. Murphy did not take well to this. He started to act aggressively toward people and we almost had a bite incident. So when we got our first “puppy” and discussed getting his ears cropped I agreed with my husband that they looked prettier with their ears cropped. I searched everywhere for a good vet to do the cropping because I had heard horror stories about bad crop jobs. I found a wonderful vet and set up Nickel’s appointment to crop his ears. The day of his ear cropping I panicked. I called the vet and told him I had changed my mind. I was crying and said I didn’t want to be “cruel” to my baby by chopping his ears off. My vet said I could come pick him up, but I was making a mistake. He said I could pay the fee to have his ears cropped or I would pay twice as much during his lifetime in vet bills for ear infections. He then told me that to be true to the breed I should crop his ears or people would mistake him for a coon dog – something I was already aware of first hand. So we cropped Nickel’s ears and I can’t tell you how happy I am we did. People KNEW at first glance he was a Doberman and treated him with respect AND reserve.
You can make your own decision, but the puppies ears must be cropped between 9 and 12 weeks of age and they are put under so they don’t feel any discomfort.
Here are some things you need to know about cropping:
Your Doberman's ears will NOT automatically "stand" once cropped. It takes a period of weeks and sometimes months of taping and "posting" the ears to achieve the desired effect. You should plan on having your puppy’s ears taped weekly until they stand. Although this procedure may appear simple in nature, aftercare plays a *major* part in the finished look.
The taping of ears should be done by an experienced individual (Doberman fancier or vet). Lack of dedication, not taping for a long enough period or poor posting technique may result in "cropped and flopped" and leave you wondering why you cropped the ears in the first place.
There is no way to tell how long you will have to tape their ears. Genetics (cartilage) and the length and style of crop all make a difference. At first my vet didn’t think one of Nickel’s ears would be good for cropping, but as you can see, they turned out beautifully because I listened very carefully and did EVERYTHING he told me to do.
There is no guarantee that your dogs ears will stand. Sometimes despite the crop and aftercare, your dog’s ears may not stand.
Ear cropping is done under full anesthesia. As with any surgical procedure, there may be risks. Some dogs have died due to anesthesia reactions. The decision to crop is yours to make and you should make the decision carefully.
Cropped and flopped:
Bad vets and poor aftercare can also result in bad looking ears for your Doberman. Choose your vet wisely and make sure you can devote the time to care for their ears properly or you might end up with a bad crop. (see the photos at the bottom of the page)
Below is a video of my vet wrapping the ears of one of our pups. This video can help you if you plan to post ears yourself instead of taking your puppy to the vet or if you are not familiar with posting it will show you what is involved in the process. :) I can't stress enough how important it is to check a vet's work (ask for photos of other dogs who have had their ears cropped or call references) and talk to the vet about their experience in cropping and if they think it is a good thing. If a vet charges $500 or $600 for a crop they are trying to price themselves out of business, so please be careful.
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