Dobermans are well known for being excellent guard dogs and physically for their lean, muscular body frame as well as cropped ears that give them a fierce look.
The Doberman’s cropped ears are a very distinctive feature of the breed which gives them a striking and intimidating appearance.
A Doberman with cropped ears had their ears clipped to make them have this appearance.
So, what are the different Doberman ear cropping styles?
Read on to learn more on Doberman ear cropping, the different Doberman ear cropping styles, the cost and whether you should crop your Doberman’s ears.
Doberman Ear Cropping: What Is Ear Cropping In Dobermans?
Doberman ear cropping is the surgical partial removal of a Doberman’s external ear flap and the remaining part of the ears trained to stand upright by taping. The Doberman ear cropping age is between 7 – 9 weeks old when the puppies’ ear cartilage is still flexible and malleable for cropping.
The cropped ears give a Doberman their distinctive appearance by having pointed ears giving a fierce and attentive look.
The Doberman is among dog breeds that have their ears cropped including the Great Dane, Cane Corso, American Bulldog, American Pitbull, Boxers, Schnauzer and Boston Terriers.
Why Do Dobermans Get Their Ears Cropped?
Dog ear cropping procedure has a long history where it was mainly performed on working dogs bred for hunting, herding, or those used in dog fighting competitions.
Doberman ear cropping was considered important and the reasons for it include:
Prevention of ear infections
It was widely believed that ear cropping enhanced the health of dogs such as the Doberman by decreasing ear infections.
The belief behind this was that floppy ears made moisture accumulate within the ear canals which encouraged bacterial or fungal infections.
By cropping the ears, the ear canal was open and airy which discouraged moisture from accumulating and prevented ear infections.
This may have been the belief in the past for ear cropping, however, studies have shown that there is no correlation between a dog’s cropped ears and the decrease in infection or severity of the infection.
Hunting, fighting or guard dogs also had their ears cropped to prevent their prey or targets such as bears, boars or other dogs from getting a hold of their ears and causing injury.
Dogs with cropped ears are also perceived to be more aggressive and intimidating compared to dogs with floppy ears.
Based on this, many Doberman owners also prefer to crop their dog’s ears to have this appearance.
Ear cropping was believed to improve a dog’s hearing ability through the lifting of the ear flap for a dog to be able to hear better.
They enhanced their ability to hear their targets or opponents especially during hunting, or herding.
Aesthetic and cosmetic purpose
Doberman ear cropping was also performed to enhance a dog’s appearance by being aesthetically pleasing. Today ear cropping is done for this cosmetic purpose.
Ear cropping practice has also been passed on through many generations and it is now a breed norm for Doberman Pinschers to have clipped ears.
Doberman owners and some breeders continue to maintain this breed standard and it is the most common reason for Doberman ear cropping today.
Natural Doberman Ears
Natural Doberman puppy ears are wide, long floppy and fall to the side of their head. Doberman puppies are not born with upright ears, the ears can stand upright only with surgery.
The ear flap also known as the pinna is soft, pink and silky on the inside while the outside area is covered with fur.
The Doberman ears are made of muscles that are attached to cartilage and the position of the ear flap is controlled by the muscles.
A Doberman with cropped ears therefore has their ears cropped to have pointed erect ears. At the age of 7 to 9 weeks puppies are at the age of having new owners from the breeders.
You may find some breeders have had their puppies already cropped and some will still have their natural floppy ears.
You may decide to purchase a puppy with clipped ears or have your puppy with natural ears cropped by your veterinarian.
Doberman Cropped Ears: The Best Doberman Ear Cropping Styles
There are three different Doberman ear crop styles. The ear crop styles vary in length and shape, giving a Doberman the distinctive wolf-like appearance.
The best Doberman ear cropping styles are:
Military or Pet Crop
The military for pet crop style, short in length with a white base crop. This means that a lot of the floppy ears’ area is cut off to have a short length with a short wide triangular base.
It is a style that is commonly seen Dobermans that do not participate in dog shows.
This gives a Doberman an intimidating appearance. The style takes a short time for the ears to heal and stand.
The medium crop style of the Doberman ears is a little longer with a small base compared to the Military crop style.
The ears are medium sized length. It is a style whose length is between the Military crop and the Show crop. This cropping style takes longer for the ears to heal.
The Show crop style, is known as Eagles wing style, and gives a Doberman the longest cropped ears. The style is narrower than the Military and the Medium crop.
This is achieved by retaining most of the ear length, maintaining the ear’s length. The ears look like a long curved silhouette.
The disadvantage of this style is healing takes a long time and has no guarantee that the ears will stand as desired after healing.
Doberman Ear Cropping Process: How Are Doberman Ears Cropped?
Ear cropping is usually performed on Doberman puppies aged 7-9 weeks with underdeveloped ear cartilage. The procedure takes 30 – 45 minutes to complete.
A puppy should be kept from eating at least 12 hours before the surgery is done.
During the procedure, a puppy is put down with general anesthesia. The ears are then washed to disinfect the area before surgery.
Depending on the ear crop style selected, measurements and marks are made on the areas of the ear that will be cut.
The veterinarian then cuts away the unwanted ear tissue and closes up the incision with sutures. The ear is then taped to a hard surface to train them to stand upright and heal.
Doberman Ear Cropping Aftercare: What Does It Involve?
The Doberman ear cropping aftercare has a high impact on whether the ears will stand up properly or not.
The aftercare involves time and commitment on the part of the owner to ensure proper care for the ears to allow them to stand.
The first 7 days after the procedure, a Doberman puppy is usually in their metal rack or cup which helps to keep their ears upright as they heal.
After these initial 7 days, that is, between day 7 and 10 after surgery, the sutures are removed by the veterinarian, and the rack replaced.
Having ears on a rack or cup allows easy cleaning of the ear edges to keep them clean. This is done by using hydrogen peroxide.
The puppy’s ears stay up with a rack until the ears are completely healed. Posting and taping of the ears is only done when the surgery scabs are completely healed.
Posting should be done every 4 days by removing the old taping, cleaning the ears and again wrapping the ears with racks.
Consistency is important in the process and ears should never be left unwrapped for a long period of time.
They should momentarily be left to breathe and dry up for a few minutes on every posting and immediately posted right up again.
Posting and taping is done until a Doberman’s ears fully stand up on their own.
The below video shows a demonstration on how to post a Doberman’s ears.
Overall, Doberman ear cropping aftercare involves:
- Ensuring the wrapping tape on the ears stays in place
- Wrapping the ears when they become unwrapped
- Always keeping the wrapping tape dry and clean
- Looking out for signs of infections such as foul smell or discharge from the ears
- Proper nutrition to keep them healthy and which also allow quicks recovery
How Long Does Doberman Ear Cropping Take To Heal?
Generally it takes 10 – 14 days after ear cropping surgery for a Doberman’s ears to recover, and another 5 – 6 months for complete recovery with taping to have ears that stand upright.
Some Dobermans may take up to one year for the ears to stand upright.
During the healing period, a Doberman’s ears are kept upright with a metal rack and afterward, when the stitches are removed, they are kept upright with tape and posts.
Why Is Doberman Ear Cropping Controversial?
The topic of ear cropping has been controversial with the debate whether it is animal cruelty to have Dobermans and other cropped dog brreds go through the procedure.
Animal activists hold this opinion which is supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), because it puts a dog through unnecessary pain and discomfort post surgery.
The American Veterinary Medical Association is against both ear cropping and tail docking which is the reduction of a dog’s tail size, especially if it is for cosmetic purposes.
There are also no health benefits associated with ear cropping, therefore it is deemed unnecessary.
On the other hand the American Kennel Club still views ear cropping as an acceptable practice.
These conflicting views bring the conflict around the subject.
Is Doberman Ear Cropping Legal?
Currently, ear cropping is not illegal in the United States, however in many countries, and in Europe, the practice is illegal.
Most states in the United States allow the practice to be conducted by a licensed veterinarian.
Is Ear Cropping Needed for Dobermans to Compete in Dog Shows?
No ear cropping is not necessary for a Doberman to compete in dog shows. Dobermans with uncropped ears can still participate like Dobermans with cropped ears.
The American Kennel Club approves both Dobermans to compete in conformation shows.
A Doberman with cropped ears does not have a competitive advantage over their uncropped counterparts. They both have an equal chance of winning as long as they meet the breed standards.
Doberman ear cropping is not a requirement for participation in dog shows, however, many participants choose to crop their dogs to enhance their appearance as a common practice.
Doberman Ear Cropping Price: How Much Does It Cost to Crop a Dobermans Ears?
Doberman ear cropping price ranges between $650 to $850. The price varies greatly depending on the veterinarian who performs the procedure.
The cost includes the cost for the procedure, after care medication, that is, antibiotics and pain medication as well as follow-up visits.
A breakdown of the cost:
Pre-surgery examination and blood work
Ear cropping procedure
(Follow up examination included)
Ear postings (some clinics include this cost in follow up examination costs)
$ 15 – $ 65 per visit
Can You Crop Your Dobermans Ears Yourself?
No, you cannot crop your Doberman’s ears by yourself. Ear cropping is a surgical procedure that requires a licensed veterinarian who is a medical profession experienced in carrying out the procedure.
Without this professionalism and doing it on your own, it would inflict excruciating pain on a Doberman without the general anesthesia required and also it could lead to post surgery complications such as infections.
State laws also only permit the procedure to be carried out by licensed veterinarians.
Should You Crop Your Dobermans Ears?
Cropping a Doberman’s ears is optional and it is a decision made by their owners. Veterinary science has shown that there is no physical or medical advantage of ear cropping and it is deemed unnecessary.
Therefore you do not have to crop your Doberman’s ears. The decision rests on you if you want to raise a show dog or if you prefer to have a Doberman with clipped ears for their unique look.
Other factors to consider include the financial cost, the pain a Doberman experiences due to the procedure, the potential risks and the lengthy aftercare involved.
These are the considerations to think about when deciding whether to have your Doberman cropped or not.
In Summary: Doberman Ear Cropping Styles
Doberman ear cropping is an optional procedure that Doberman owners decide whether they will have their dog’s ears cropped.
It is not necessary to have your Doberman’s ears cropped. Today, dog ear cropping is performed for cosmetic purposes to enhance a dog’s look or to participate in dog shows.
There are three different Doberman ear cropping styles to choose from. These include the military, medium and the show crop. The three styles give a Doberman their distinctive striking appearance and fierce look.
If you decide to have your Doberman’s ears cropped, ensure that a licensed veterinarian performs the procedure to ensure the safety of your dog.