Great Danes are among the dog breeds that have their ears cropped which gives them a very distinctive look.
You may be interested in having a Great Dane with cropped ears but may not be sure whether it is the right thing to do.
If you are wondering whether you should have a Great Dane with natural or cropped ears, consider the positive and negative aspects of ear cropping before making the decision.
Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of cropping Great Dane ears and whether you should do it.
Great Dane Ear Cropping
Great Dane ear cropping is the surgical procedure involving partial removal of the ear flap and training the remaining section of the ears to stand upright with taping.
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia by a veterinarian when a puppy is 7 – 10 weeks old, which is a time when the outer ear cartilage is soft and pliable.
So, should you crop your Great Dane’s ears or leave them uncropped?
Ear Cropping: A Controversial Topic
Ear cropping of canines has been a very controversial topic with opposing opinions with those in support of the practice and those against it.
Cropping of Great Dane ears is considered a controversial subject because there is no evidence of its benefits, although it is continued.
Great Danes were bred as working dogs that were used in the hunting of wild boars and ear cropping was a practice performed on the breed for the perceived benefits.
It is a practice that has a long history and in the present day, it is still practiced in some countries.
Most countries in Europe have banned ear cropping. Currently, ear cropping is not illegal in the United States.
The arguments behind ear cropping are based on the perceived positive and negative sides of it as viewed by different groups.
Pros and Cons of Cropping Great Dane Ears
Pros - Cropping Great Dane Ears
The pros of Great Dane ear cropping is mostly based past reasons for cropping which stems on the history of cropping dog’s ears. However, there are reasons why it is continued today. These include:
Prevention of ear infections
One of the reasons why ear cropping was performed on the breed in the past to prevent ear infections.
The Great Dane has natural floppy ears that were believed to hold moisture within the ear canal, which encouraged fungal and bacterial growth that caused infections.
Ear cropping provided the ear canal with enough air flow which decreased the occurrence of ear infections.
Improvement of hearing
Cropping of Great Dane ears was also believed to enhance their hearing ability through the partial removal of the floppy ear flap which obstructed the ear canal.
As hunting dogs, this enhanced hearing helped them to hear the movements of their targets which helped in the hunt.
Defense against injury
Hunting wild boars was a dangerous activity where Great Danes had to hunt the boars, which also posed a danger in an encounter.
Wild boars had tusks that could easily cause injury to a Great Dane during a confrontation.
Ear cropping was therefore performed to prevent the boars from getting a hold of Great Dane ears and causing injury.
Enhancement of a Great Dane look
Great Dane ear cropping enhances a Great Dane’s appearance by giving them a good look. Many Great Dane owners and enthusiasts love the pleasant look that ear cropping creates for a dog.
This purpose of ear cropping is mainly for aesthetic and cosmetic purposes, which is the main reason the practice is done today.
The American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Great Dane breed standards allow ear cropping and a Great Dane can either spot cropped ears or their natural floppy ears.
Qualification into the American Kennel Club’s conformation shows allows both Great Danes to participate.
Some participants opt to have Great Danes with cropped ears which enhances their appearance for the competition.
We have a guide on the Great Dane ear cropping styles that you can read more on the different ear crop styles for Great Danes.
Cropped Great Danes are considered aggressive
A Great Dane with clipped ears has an alert and fearless appearance that most people perceive as being more aggressive and dangerous.
People who see a cropped Great Dane tend to shy away and do not easily approach this particular Great Dane because of its fierce and intimidating look.
Several Great Dane owners desire this and achieve this by having their Great Dane’s ears cropped at an early age.
Cons - Opposition To Cropping Great Dane Ear
Complications from surgery
Complications from surgery can also occur from the ear cropping surgery. This includes the risk of a Great Dane puppy reacting severely to anesthesia.
Permanent scarring due to infection can also occur after surgery which can lead to the removal of the entire ear.
Lack of significant health benefits
In the past, ear cropping was done to minimize the occurrence of ear infections in Great Danes.
However, veterinary science has shown that ear cropping does not have any health benefits. The procedure does not minimize significantly the development of ear infections in comparison to dogs that have uncropped ears.
Prevention of ear infection is mainly through hygiene and proper cleaning of a Great Dane’s ears and not so much on ear cropping.
Unnecessary pain and discomfort
Since there are no scientifically proven benefits of ear cropping, the practice is deemed cruel because it puts a Great Dane through unnecessary pain and discomfort post-surgery.
During recovery, a Great Dane puppy’s ears are sensitive over several days, with the healing period taking 10 to 14 days.
A puppy also requires follow-up treatment which involves pain medication and taping.
The whole process can cause trauma for a puppy which can lead to lifelong sensitivity and pain.
Loss of ear communication
Dogs usually communicate with each other through different movements of their ears. The partial removal of the ear flap through ear cropping limits a dog’s ability to communicate and express themselves effectively.
This can lead to misunderstandings with other dogs which can lead to dog fights.
Tedious ear cropping aftercare
Ear cropping aftercare is also a long tedious process that includes specific bandaging of the ears to ensure that they maintain their upright position.
Special attention has to be provided by the Great Dane owner to support this and also to ensure that infections do not occur.
Risk of failure
Great Dane ear cropping also has the risk of failure. The desirable results of ear cropping may not be achieved.
This means that even though a Great Dane may go through surgery and the healing process, their ears may not stand upright due to various factors such as improper ear taping and care.
Great Dane Ears Cropped Vs Not: Should you crop your Great Dane’s ears?
The decision to have a Great Dane’s ears cropped versus not is on the Great Dane owner. Ear cropping is optional and one can decide not to have their Great Dane puppy’s ears cropped.
Today, the main reason for Great Dane ear cropping is for an enhanced appearance either as a family companion dog or for dog shows.
Therefore, depending on what an owner prefers, they can have their Great Dane’s ears cropped or not.
Important considerations to have in mind are both the negative effects of ear cropping and the positive aspects when deciding before committing to it.
The American Kennel Club accepts ear cropping for Great Dane, which is part of the breed standard and does not disqualify cropped Great Danes.
However, the American Veterinary Medical Association is against ear cropping and tail docking of dogs by regarding it as unnecessary, cruel, and inhumane.
The association also advocates for the elimination of the two practices from the breed standards.
Do vets recommend ear cropping?
Most vets do not recommend ear cropping because it is deemed unnecessary by having no health benefit, however, some veterinarians perform ear cropping.
Currently, ear cropping is not illegal in the United States and it is a regular practice. By state law the procedure should only be performed by a licensed veterinarian, therefore some veterinarians perform the procedure.
Veterinarians that perform the surgery ensure that the procedure is painless and prescribe pain medication to ensure a Great Dane puppy does not endure discomfort or pain. They also guide on the aftercare.
Conclusion: Pros and cons of cropping Great Dane ears
Cropping of Great Dane ears is regarded as cruel by some and not worth it taking a dog through it due to the discomfort post-surgery and the tedious aftercare.
Some view it as a good practice that gives a Great Dane a pleasant appearance both as a show dog and a family dog.
There is no right or wrong answer to whether one should crop their Great Dane ears or not.
The decision boils down to the preference of the owner and whether you should want your Great Dane cropped, with the pros and cons in mind.
If you are undecided on whether to have a Great Dane with clipped ears, I hope this information gave you insights when weighing the pros and cons of cropping Great Dane ears.
Great Danes with cropped ears and those with natural floppy ears both have good qualities.