Ear cropping is the surgical partial removal of a dog’s external ear flap and the remaining part of the ears trained to stand upright by taping. The cropped ears give a dog a wolf-like appearance with a pointed, alert, and attentive form.
The procedure is optional and is performed by a qualified licensed veterinarian on a Great Dane puppy when they are between 7 to 10 weeks old with underdeveloped ear cartilage.
During the procedure, the puppy is put down with anesthesia and the veterinarian cuts away the unwanted ear tissue then closes up the incision with sutures.
Healing takes up to 2 months whereby the ears have to be kept upright so that they do not flop again. The ears are kept upright with a metal rack or special paper and afterward, when the stitches are removed, they are kept upright with strapping tape and splints.
The Great Danes are among dog breeds that have their ears cropped such as the Doberman Pinscher, American Pitbull, Cane Corso, Boxers, American Bulldog, Boston Terrier, and the Schnauzer.
3 Of The Best Great Dane Ear Cropping Styles
The best Great Dane ear cropping styles are:
The show crop style, also known as Eagles wing style, is the most performed ear cropping style on Great Danes that participate in competitions.
Most of the Great Dane’s ear length is preserved during cropping, therefore, maintaining the length of the ear.
Because of this, the style gives the longest cropped ear form for a Great Dane and looks like a long curved silhouette.
The healing of the ears from this style takes a long time and also presents more danger of no guarantee that the ears will stay erect.
The working crop cropping style, also known as the pet or military crop, is also a popular ear cropping style of the Great Dane.
The ears are sized to a short wide base with a triangular shape which gives the dog an alert and attentive look. The style advantage is that it heals quickly.
The medium crop is an ear cropping style that is a combination of show crop and working crop styles.
This means the ear is not trimmed too little or too much, the difference being the length that is in between the show crop and the working crop. The style, however, takes longer to heal.
Is it cruel to crop a Great Dane's ears?
There are differing opinions towards cropping of dogs’ ears and also whether it is cruel to crop a Great Dane’s ears.
The American Kennel Club terms ear cropping as an acceptable practice, however, some opposing opinions exist from some dog breed organizations and kennel clubs that term ear cropping as cruel.
The opposing groups term ear cropping as cruel based on the fact that it is not necessary to put a dog through the pain from having the procedure and also that there is little significant health benefit for dogs with cropped ears vs uncropped dogs.
The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes both tail docking and ear cropping of dogs especially for cosmetic purposes and discourages the practices based on this same reasoning.
Ear cropping is not illegal in the United States, however in many countries, especially in Europe, the practice is illegal and has been banned.
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Should you crop a Great Dane's ears?
The choice to crop a Great Dane’s ears is an optional decision made by their owners. Veterinary science has shown that there is no physical or medical advantage of ear cropping a dog or Great Dane and doing so is deemed unnecessary.
The main reasons today that an owner would decide to crop their Great Dane’s ears is for enhancement of their dog’s appearance and also preparation for them to participate in dog show competitions.
The practice is slowly declining but is still popular in dog shows although it is not a requirement for participation based on breed standards.
Reasons for Great Dane ear cropping
In the past, ear cropping was mainly performed on working dogs that were bred for hunting, herding, or those used for dog fight competition.
The reasons behind this were to reduce the risk of ear infections, hematomas, and also the chances of getting injured when the dogs had to fight back during their assigned activities.
It was believed that floppy ears encouraged moisture to accumulate in the ear canals which promoted bacterial or fungal infections. By cropping the ears, the ear canal was left open and airy with less likelihood of accumulation of moisture and occurrence of ear infections.
However, studies have shown there is only a slight difference in risk of infection between a dog with cropped ears compared to non-cropped dogs. Prevention of infection is mainly through proper grooming and hygiene of a dog’s ears and not so much attributed to cropping of the ears.
Ear cropping has also been shown to be a painful experience for dogs and this has been argued to not be worth it by putting a dog through this procedure.
Apart from this, ear cropping was also done for enhancing a dog’s appearance by giving them an alert and attentive appearance. This was beneficial especially for dogs that participated in dog shows.
How much does it cost to crop a Great Danes Ears?
The average cost of cropping a Great Dane’s ears ranges between $150 to $800 which varies greatly depending on the veterinarian that performs the procedure.
This cost includes the cost for the procedure, medication, that is, antibiotics and pain medication as well as follow-up visits.
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Great Dane Ear Cropping Aftercare
During the first few days from the hospital, a Great Dane will be in pain and discomfort where they will also feel like scratching their ears.
You may need to buy them an Elizabeth collar or E-collar to cover the upper side of their head to prevent them from scratching themselves or hitting their ears on surfaces.
This will prevent them from inflicting more pain to themselves as well as allow the wounds to heal well without being touched. The veterinarian will prescribe medication involving antibiotics and pain medication for your Great Dane.
Great Dane ear cropping aftercare involves constant monitoring from home and ensuring the wrapping tape on the ears stays in place for 21 days after surgery to allow for proper healing.
In addition to this, Great Dane ear cropping aftercare involves:
- Following the vet’s instructions
Follow your veterinarian’s post-operative care instructions to ensure proper healing of your Great Dane’s ears. This includes care for the ears, provision of medication, and going for scheduled appointments such as appointments for stitch removal.
Also, if you happen to notice that the ears become unwrapped, contact your vet to wrap them again.
- Keep the ears clean
Cleaning of the ears is done after 6-8 weeks whereby the ears are ready to be exposed for cleaning.
Properly clean your Great Dane’s ears 2-3 times daily with hydrogen peroxide. Keep the wrapping tape dry and clean always.
- Remove scabs when present
Scabs prevent the ears from being erect when they’re healed therefore remove them when they start to form.
This is done by wrapping the ears with a warm towel that has been soaked in warm water and using it to wipe down the scabs.
- Look out for infections
Be alert for any unusual signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of an infection on the ears.
Inspect the ears for any signs of swelling or presence of discharge and if present, immediately take your Great Dane to the vet for a checkup and treatment.
- Feed your Great Dane proper nutrition
A well-balanced nutritious diet suitable for Great Danes should be provided to help strengthen their immune system and also to enable them to heal well and faster.
Great Dane ear cropping is optional and is decided by their owners to have their dog’s ears cropped.
As noted, it is not necessary to have your Great Dane’s ears cropped but if you decide to have them cropped either for cosmetic purposes or to participate in dog shows, ensure that a qualified licensed veterinarian performs the procedure to ensure the safety of your dog.
I hope this article has helped you know the best Great Dane ear cropping styles, whether the procedure is cruel, whether you should crop your Great Dane’s ears, the cost, and the aftercare.
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