Let’s Talk About Doberman Ear Cropping
2015 Update: for a more detailed article read the pros and cons of doberman ear cropping.
Doberman ear cropping is the procedure to shape doberman ears and have them stand erect. It is customary to identify the doberman dog with having cropped ears. The crop contributes to the breeds identity and character. A doberman with natural ears takes on a much different appearance and is preferred by some people who object to this cosmetic surgical practice.
Historically, cropping doberman’s ears was done for functional reasons. As a guard dog, having the ears cropped to stand upright allowed for increased sound localization, an important feature for a successful personal protector or watch dog. Nowadays ear cropping is usually performed to comply with show standards or for purely aesthetic reasons.
The doberman ear cropping age is usually done at 7-9 weeks of the birth. It is not recommended that the ears be cropped after 9 weeks as the ears cartilage has formed to a flat shape. The procedure should be completed by a vet with experience in ear cropping to ensure a proper, good looking, standing ear. This procedure is both a science and an art. After the surgical procedure, aftercare of the ears and ear taping is essential and will take a few months. For the long crop, it may take almost a year of care. A commitment from the owner to proper ear care is vital.
There is some controversy with ear cropping and it is outlawed in some countries. Where it is allowed by law, few veterinarians now offer this procedure and it is not taught in many vet schools. It is important that the vet have experience in ear cropping as this procedure involves more skill or artistry than technical surgical skill. You’ll want to see previous patients as adult dogs to assess how well the ears developed. The shape or length of the ear crop style varies. Ear cropping styles include: a short (military) crop, a medium crop and the longer, standard show crop.
The surgery is done under anesthesia and takes about thirty minutes. The ears are trimmed and then a rack, post or cup and tape holds the ears in place. The ears will usually stand upright after taping for about 5-6 months. The timing will vary, with some dobermans nearing one year until the ears will stand. This is more common with the longer ear crop. It is the lengthy healing period which is more discomforting to the doberman than the surgery itself. Again proper after-care is essential to prevent infection and allow for a successful standing ear crop. New owners should be aware that they are responsible for the proper after-care.
For more information on doberman pinscher ears check out the ear taping post.
Have you had your doberman pup’s ears cropped? Tell us about your experience. Were you happy with the results? How difficult was the aftercare for you? Would you have the procedure done again on your doberman?
Here you can see the 3 different doberman ears, a short doberman crop, a long doberman show crop and a doberman with natural ears.
Update: a more recent article on the pros and cons of doberman ear cropping.