The Case FOR Cropping

“Today I experienced my first seriously negative and rude response to Bandit’s ears being cropped… and I was angry!! I was not angry at this woman’s opinion – everyone has the right to believe what they want to believe and make their own choices and that is absolutely fine. But when someone rudely tells me that I am cruel and I must not have thought that my dog was born good enough, that really rubs me the wrong way.”

“I’ve only had one person give me a half-negative remark…just the usual “aww, poor little doggie, daddy cut your ears off, huh?”

red doberman with cropped earsThese are just two comments from a Doberman forum showing the opinions surrounding Doberman ear cropping.  People can be mean. My last post on ear cropping resulted in over 200 for and against comments! It’s the second most popular and viewed post on this website. (The most popular post is 5 Doberman Colors and 3rd is my list of favorite Doberman names.)

Like most things in life, ear cropping is not a black and white issue. There are many things to consider to make an educated and less emotional decision about this procedure. I hope this post will help with that.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of having a Doberman’s ears cropped.

The Cons of Ear Cropping

  • Like any surgery, this can result in pain and the risk of infection.
  • The post-operation care is a big commitment which can last weeks or months depending on the ear crop style. You will need to learn the skills needed to re-post or tape the ears yourself at home.
  • Owners of cropped puppies may get stressed worrying about infection, puppy pain, or the after-care, which is time-consuming. Be prepared mentally for this if it’s your first time.
  • Ear cropping is banned in some countries, so you might not even have the choice of this procedure.
  • Finding an experienced ear-cropping vet that does good work on Dobermans, not just other breeds, may be hard. A Doberman crop is different than a Boxer or Great Dane crop.
  • It’s an expensive surgical procedure that only a few vets do, so you may need to travel far to find a cropping vet.
  • It can be argued that it’s un-natural and purely for cosmetic reasons.
  • Some people find it a cruel practice and WILL let you know! either in public or online. Petitions to ban the practice still continue.
  • There is no guarantee of success. The ears may not look symmetrical, have the right shape or one ear may end up flopping downward.
  • As with any surgery, general anesthesia carries some risk (like allergic reactions).
  • It is a sad reality but in some countries, people crop without going to a vet or using anesthesia. This is, of course, barbaric and obvious animal abuse that should result in criminal charges.
  • Even if you decide to crop, you may doubt that you did the right thing and feel guilty for putting your pup through this procedure. Again be prepared for a potential emotional roller-coaster.
  • Some people insist that cropping and docking affects canine body language communication and doesn’t allow the dog to express his emotional state properly to other dogs.
  • Lastly, PETA or similar animal advocacy groups will hate you if you crop a dog.

The Pros of Ear Cropping

  • The cropped/docked Doberman has the iconic look of the breed. Ears that are not cropped, are not honoring the breed standard and what the original creators intended for the breed. If you look at early photos of the Doberman, they all have short-cropped ears.  We have to wonder what the original Doberman breeders, Mr. Karl Louis Dobermann, Otto Gueller, and Philipp Gruenig would think about this cropping debate.
  • Some people believe it helps with sound localization. The dog is able to “aim” it’s ear towards sound better. This may not matter much for a family pet but could be important for working security dogs.
  • It creates a more alert, intimidating look. There is no denying that a cropped Doberman is instantly recognizable. Some people may want a Doberman to help deter crime just by its appearance or presence. 
  • Originally ear cropping did have a functional purpose and was not just a cosmetic procedure. Again for working dogs, a shorter ear prevented either humans or other animals from grabbing hold of their floppy ears during an attack.  Also for dogs that run through wooded areas, the floppy ear (or long tail) could get damaged by the wooded brush. Infection from damaged ears was a serious issue in the early days before advanced medical care.
  • Some people believe that cropped ears are less prone to ear infections. Scientific data is mixed.  Ear infections would make sense for dogs that live in damp or humid areas, where ear cropping might prevent infections caused by trapped moisture.
  • A cropped Doberman will do better in the show ring. I suspect there is a bias by judges towards cropping in dog shows. This may vary depending on the country or the show.
  • New medical procedures, like laser cutting, now make the procedure safer. It’s thought that laser cuts heal faster since there is less tissue trauma. The edges are more precise with less bleeding and scabbing.
  •  Ear cropping is a less invasive surgical procedure than spaying or neutering, which owners do all the time without a second thought. Spaying/neutering is accepted socially even though it can also cause problems and is not medically necessary. 
  • I strongly suspect that a cropped Doberman that ends up in a rescue or animal shelter will be easier to re-home than a floppy ear Doberman. Usually, when people decide to get a Doberman, it’s the traditional looking, iconic Doberman that they want. 
  • Lastly and I think this may be the most important issue that doesn’t get talked about, the effect on the future of the breeding pool.  A ban on ear cropping may result in some breeders ending their breeding programs or leaving the business.  With fewer breeders, this means a shrinking of the gene pool. A shrinking of the gene pool means there is less genetic diversity which would increase inherited health disorders.  A healthy Doberman could be a rare thing in the future or even lead to its eventual extinction.  Think about that, the extinction of the Doberman breed!
  • And PETA will hate you! (depending on how you feel about this group, this can be either a pro or con)

The legal status of dog tail docking and ear cropping by country

If you’re wondering where ear cropping is banned or allowed, this docking wiki  lists the legality in various countries.  If your country or state/province is not listed, or you want to confirm the information, I would suggest contacting your local Doberman group or local veterinarian association.

doberman cropped map of countries that ban or allow procedure

countries that ban ear cropping

a red doberman with natural floppy earsPersonally, I believe that breeders should be responsible for ear cropping before they sell their puppies. After the puppy leaves, the breeder and vet should continue to provide support/guidance to new dog owners for the after-care and ear taping/posting. This is a sign of a good breeder and vet who care about the well-being of their pups and helping new Doberman owners.  Owners who have newly cropped dogs should not have to fend for themselves, relying on questionable online medical advice.

Now here is my personal opinion as an owner who has had both a cropped Doberman and two natural ear Dobermans.  My next Doberman will have cropped ears.  I want the iconic, traditional look.  I want people to instantly recognize that my dog is a Doberman.  With my floppy ear Dobermans, some people weren’t aware that they are in fact purebred Dobermans. I sometimes got asked what breed my floppy-eared Doberman was.

Why is this important to me?

As a petite female, I want a Doberman for the personal protection that it offers.  I live in a country (Canada) where I’m not allowed to have a firearm for personal protection. In fact, I’m not even legally allowed to carry pepper spray for self-defense.  My government expects me to rely on the police (who really only respond to crimes after they have occurred). Or they expect me to spend years learning a martial art to protect myself. (Which if you’re gonna do, I recommend Krav Maga.) 

I don’t need my dog trained as a protection guard dog. They will naturally alert me of strangers, and because of the Dobermans’ intimidating, alert look, they will provide some deterrent against crime or assault.  I suspect most criminals will avoid a home being watched by a Doberman. Which dog looks like more of a threat, the one with floppy ears or the one with alert standing ears?  While my dogs will be foremost loving, peaceful companions, I like the Doberman’s natural protection instincts. And I think Dobermans know it’s their job to help protect their family pack.

Everyone will have to evaluate their own needs and reasons for owning a dog. The to-crop or not-to-crop debate will continue around the world regardless. I hope this post will be helpful in your decision.

Did I miss any other pros or cons to having a Doberman cropped? I would love to hear your opinion.

65 thoughts on “The Case FOR Cropping”

  1. Nice way to put this topic of division into perspective. Cropping versus not cropping in any country that uses the words “Dog ownership” should give dog owners the freedom to choose. I choose to crop my Dobermans ears because it improves their quality of life. If something were to happen to me.
    My Dobermans are smart and attractive, iconic & brilliant which can be seen from a block away.
    Laser technology, medicine practice have advanced to reduce the negative effects on the pup. 12-14 days and the pup is back to being a puppy. Doberman Pinschers are an amazing breed with cropped or natural ears. Each dog owner can choose for themselves what’s right for their dog.

  2. What about breeding dogs that have a ton of health issues. Like the english bulldog. Isnt it far more immoral to breed a dog, knowing that it will deal with serious health issues most of their lives.

  3. Almost all of your “pros” boil down to an aesthetic reason… it’s the way it’s always been done, it looks cool. You’re unnecessarily mangling a dog’s ears for your amusement, not theirs. If you cared about your pets as much as want us to think you do, you would stop. Love some of the comments, “It’s my dog and I’ll do whatever I want to it.” You should examine your hearts. Sounds like you’re after property, not companionship. Would you like it if someone made the decisions about your body for you? How many believe in “my body, my choice?”

    • There are some cases where the dogs are working dogs and the ears are cropped and tails docked to protect the animal from getting dragged off by the ears or tail. Dogs with cropped conical ears give less area to grip than floppy big ears.

    • Ok then dont spay or neuter any animals… because if you dont want them to have puppies/babies then you need to be a responsible owner or dont own an animal at all.

  4. I was just looking for a head cover to protect my dobergirl from fox tails because as we get our obligatory excercise during this weird, scary and unchartered era of “sheltering in place” and self isolating… I noticed extreme amts of green foxtail plants EVERYWHERE ! Especially in our neighborhood 200 ACRE OFF LEASH DOG PARK (small plug for this Santa Barbara gem of a spot! #Ellingspark).

    ….and I stumbled upon your blog post (I was googling “protection from foxtails for dogs with cropped ears”- “OUTFOX” who makes the coolest contraption in the world to keep those buggers out of eyes, ears and especially noses…doesn’t make one for standing ears : (

    I loved the post! THE NEW CASE FOR CROPPING EARS.

    Very thorough and wonderful coverage of both points of view. Very well written. BRAVO!

    My dobergirl came to me after a 2 year search for a “small, quiet female” (I was told by several breeders that if I want calm I should get a boy…but small was more important to me at the time – Oy! little did I know I would have to go on to get the equivalent a Phd in dog handling and training and EMT level skills in ear care before it was all over and my pup was finally a civilized citizen who I could not love more nor be more proud of….but that’s a whole other topic for discussion some time!

    What I wanted to request was that you DATE YOUR POST – or at least make ref to the dates that you put up the (way cool and very informative!!) chart about which countries ban, permit and neutral – so that readers can know whether they need to look further to see if things have changed…ie Canada has since banned cropping (I might be wrong as I didn’t personally look into what the actual law states and it might be that it simply states other than from a licensed vet ….) but I think you are in Canada (along with so many of my close relatives! GO CNUKS! ((blush)…is that how you spell that ?)! so you would know.

    I trust that in time – more countries will be added to the list of those that BAN CROPPING (and your post can be updated with dates and new charts so that we can see the progression and the time from in which it happened… perhaps every country will eventually take this stance? who knows? Who would think that the entire country could very be on ‘lock down’ due to a virus – yet here we are…so anything can happen. Always).

    I didn’t want to buy a cropped puppy.

    But after such a long search for a pup that was both HEALTH as well as TEMPERAMENT tested and guaranteed …. my breeder wouldn’t sell an uncropped pup – especially to a FIRST TIME dobie buyer… because of the REASON #9 in the “PRO CROP” list in your post “THE NEW CASE FOR CROPPING” – the likelihood of her being able to re-home the puppy if we decided not to keep her was MUCH higher if she was cropped.

    So I went along….as a matter of fact, she had her buyers pick the puppies up from her the day after the crop because (as you stated)…she had to drive more than a days drive in a car with a crate, an adult dobie (her personal dog for companionship and protection as she traveled across the country alone) and #11 – 10 week old puppies!

    Although the crop was a beautiful job done by a (now retired) amazing if not ‘old time’ veterinarian who I believe was one of the LAST OF THE MOHICANS of professional standard doberman ear croppers. To say I was scared to take over care of this fresh procedure on my new pup who was also scared – confused about this new posting contraption on her head, away from her siblings and her mom for the first time, and with someone she didn’t know … to call it “scared” is a big understatement!

    But we both lived through it and with the daily – (ok more than once a day) help on the phone and via face time of an amazing breeder whom is trusted and committed to bettering the breed through her website “PRIMADOBERMANS” – –
    with her help and alot of hard work for months …. I and my pup got through it and now – she is a beautiful dog that gets compliments and comments whereever we go – things like “Wow what gorgeous ears” , “ What a pretty dog!”, “I always wanted one of those dogs!” and the all so common “My family/grandparents/sister/neighbor used to have one of those dogs when I was a kid and I have always loved them!”.

    (a plug for anyone considering caring for cropped ears without experience – you need an experienced person as a mentor if you are to do the best job for your dog – and if you are not going to commit and do an excellent job at this arduous task – DO NOT CROP! It is too much for your puppy and yourself to go through to not expect and work for excellence.

    Early in my relationship with my puppy, I swore I would NEVER AGAIN – a) Owner another doberman! (too hard to raise), b) Crop a dogs ears, c) Buy a dog, d) Have a female dog!, and e) Have a puppy!! ….. but now – five years later, I have learned so much! Both my pup and I have grown as individuals and as a team. It took time. And commitment. And working with a breeder or someone who truly sees the purpose of protecting the breed and breeding with the intent to protect the qualities of a breed that makes it sound, stable and balanced. Someone who will stand behind the puppy’s health, temperment and longevity and who really cares about maintaining quality in the breed – without this, you should not pay for a puppy.

    I can’t see myself ever NOT having a doberman in my life and with the discomfort and time of taking care of her ears behind us, I look at her and see the true and time honored legacy of her breed in her.

    THE LOOK OF EAGLES! …. the intensity, the eyes and …. those beautiful ears!

    Thanks for adding the dates to the posts for future reference.

    Sincerely in the SPIRIT OF THE DOBE.
    KR, California. March 2020.

    • I believe one very important aspect of cropping is being missed. I have only had cropped Dobermans that came that way from the breeder, however if it had not been done I would gotten it done.
      Being on of the smartest breed of dogs out there, I had mine as service dog for epilepsy. Some of you already know this, they are LISTENING to your heart beat that tends to be eradicate, feeling for a fever to spike, Listening for unusual sounds that are made unbeknownst to me right before I have one, his hearing has to be on point. Having them cropped is almost a must, metallic taste in my mouth, if he is not near me and I am going down I yell for him, I don’t remember much after that. Usually he is right beside me with his head on my lap when I come to. Sometimes it is absolutely necessary for health reasons.

  5. I’ve had dobermans with both docked and undocked ears. I prefer the docked for the reasons stated by other owners. My undocked Doberman is always shaking her head. We’ve avoided infections by keeping her ears clean, despite the fact we live in high humidity in Texas.

    There’s something else notable about docking the tail. I have expensive nicknacks all over my house. My Doberman is almost cat like moving through the home with such grace, never knocking over items on tables. Had her tail not been docked she’d have destroyed many an item! The tail in dogs is used for balance, but Doberman compensate as their whole bodies are now used.

    I want to touch on the issue of spaying for a moment. My female Doberman had gotten a very small lump in her breast. It wasn’t cancer, but the vet thought it best to spay her. What a mistake that was. Spayed and neutered dogs need the hormones lost as they grow older. Now she’s on bladder control meds, meds for joints, etc. Mass sterilization to prevent over population is wrong! You do unrecoverable harm by this. I wish I had waited to see if she got more lumps! There are vets out there who agree with me as they’ve seen the harm done as well. They no longer will spay and neuter dogs like they did before. And why would you need to spay your best friend to prevent over population? I’m 62 years old and this is the first spayed dog I’ve owned. I’ve never had unwanted litters. I usually have at least two dogs at a time. Mine never ran free out of a fenced in yard. Responsible owners know what I’m taking about. The African Vet who posted was SO wrong. Spaying and neutering to prevent over population is barbaric and has long term ill effects.

    Now the issue of your dog protecting you … am I going to send my dog after a gunned assailant? No, I’ll just let the man shoot me. Of course I’ll send him/her! I’ve done it several times. You have to remember too, Doberman are FAST! It would be difficult for a man to react that quickly to harm him/her.
    Now as far as a dog being property, well legally they are. They are both companions and property. That seems like such a silly argument. Smh

  6. These people are butthurt about cropping their pups ears. “People that crop and dock are only thinking of their own specific wants”. Blah blah effin blah. I know. I sound educated, right? Who cares. I garauntee that each one of these anti-croppers have had their very own infant circumcised, with no anesthesia might I add, maybe numbing cream…if that. “Oh lets cut the wee ones foreskin off of his wee peen because it looks weird”. I know. I know. I’m totally off topic. The moral of the story is that it is a personal preference. You want to crop your pups ears because it looks better. Crop them. You want to dock their tails because it looks better. Dock them. You want to slice your wee boys foreskin off because it looks better. Slice it. Its your decision. People who firmly believe in circumcision but think ear cropping is cruel are morons. I know a few. That’s the only reason I am even commenting
    They claim its different, but really, its not. Our pups are like our own children. We do what we think is best for them. I chose not to have any of my boys circumcised because it is not necessary. Although I have an appreciation for the cropped ears more so than floppy, it is something you have to be dedicated too and with 5 young children its not something I’d want to deal with. I’m fine with floppy ears. I’m also not planning on ever submitting my pup into a contest. So for someone like me, that just wants a furbaby to love, to be apart of the family as one of my very own children, its not necessary…therefore I have no desire to do it. I don’t judge those that chose to. Just like I don’t judge one for chiding to circumcised. People need to stop being such cry babies. Worry about themselves and their own. 😉

    • just wish i could tell you how heartily i laughed at this one.
      “You want to slice your wee boys foreskin off because it looks better. Slice it.” what is the dog? a toy? sounds like you’re saying we can do whatever we want with it, be it right or wrong, because oh!!! it’s our dog, who’s stopping us?
      utterly flabbergasted by how such mindsets exist.

  7. I would like to add a point to this very important and interesting thread. My current dobe is my 4th all had cropped ears, all cropped bytes the breeder. I am a very strong supporter of cropping and had long discussions with people and in particular my vet. He will not crop ears for a very different reason. He says that too many people who want cropped ears are not really willing to do the work required to ensure a proper standing ear. When I got Beau he was 6 months old and one ear did not stand. The “breeder” had it propped up with black duck tape. I posted him again and it took over 16 months to get the ear to stand. It was very hard and heart breaking to know he might have had the surgery for nothing. I have seen several dobermans in my area with cropped floppy ears. So my vet’s point is well taken. So please do crop but make the commitment to do whatever is necessary. My boy now has 2 beautiful ears.

  8. I’ve heard it all and quite frankly don’t care. My bottom line perspective is, if you’re not paying my bills you have no say so in what I do and my choices.
    I am now keeper to a third Dobe, she was a rescue and came fully docked and cropped. My first and second Dobes came to me as a puppy with only a docked tail. It’s a gospel truth you have to do your research on finding a vet with positive cropping references. And be able to meet the costs. The after care isn’t all that difficult the main focus is due diligence. I agree, cropped ears are intimidating and that is part of the appeal of the Dobe, what’s wrong with that? I wouldn’t do it on an adult but see no harm on a pup while in its formative stage.
    Personally I’m more concerned about back yard breeders who have no ethics or understanding about linage. For them it’s all about looks and not genetic faults that get passed on. I associated with a well known breeder in Illinois and the first thing, beside meeting my female was to produce a 6 generation pedigree. Fail that, yer out.

    • I do agree with you, it should be your choice. All my dobermans have been cropped. However people need to realize that cropping can be a long commitment of care. I do know a vet who refuses to crop because he says that most people will not care for the ears if it becomes a difficult or bothersome task. The dobe I currently have took over 17 months before I quit posting. There were days when I was really fed up. I stuck to it and he is beautiful. Nobody will mistake him for a coonhound.

      • Sherise, I don’t even know if she is still around but I highly recommend Joan Firestone out of Lemont, Il.
        Her kennel was names Dedo’s Dobermans. Barring that all I can suggest is you start networking. Good luck.

        • Just writing to let everyone no i was looking for a male puppy and went to this place in lemont illinois.After seeing the inside of house would never buy a dog from her had puppies and alot of dobermans jamned into cages everywere all crying and howling-she then noticed i was intheir and said you cant go in their.I was just looking for the bathroom-terrible breeder that was referred to me all dogs had some sort of scratch or bite marks on them horrible i need to report them who can i do that with.The place is in lemnot il.Owner is joan firestone with many alliases.

          *I found this post when I was looking up Dedo’s Dobermans. Please don’t adopt/purchase from there.

    • I like the comment in the original story that spay and neuter is more invasive than cropping, something PETA would probably support.

  9. We personally crop and dock tails. We have had both, know folks who have both. Flopped ears are harder to take care of – managed and we have seen the result of an owner not doing so, or even not realizing they need to care for a natural ear. (if you do not know what this means, then educate im thinking and it may help to understand also why cropping is a pro, not a con). Our lifestyle would dictate a well kept doberman, we run a 40 acre prof. horse and also a domestic/equine/wildlife rescue, these dogs are not only family but work alongside us as such. , … Do we or i think the breeder should crop before a pup is sold, no. there are various choices in cropping and that should be left up to the owner, also – in educating especially a new or novice owner, they need to start right from the beginning with the Vet of their choosing and learn, right from the get go. Also there is a cost factor, the puppy price would have to also have the cropping included as well and substantially raise the price of the pup, and also – not all owners want a cropped puppy. Nor as we found out this last litter, one gal did not want her pups tail docked either. Fine with us, it is their dog once paid for. … respect all, the dogs, the new owners and educate.

  10. The common theme in this thread is clearly about what the owners want. How they want their dogs to look. Doesn’t really seem to be about the dog. My suggestion is if you need something intimidating, get a weapon. That’s pretty intimidating. Any dog that is considered a “protective,” breed does a pretty good job of intimidating people on their own without cosmetic surgery.

    • I take my Doberman to the home stores regularly to keep them socialized and on more than one occasion have have people say to me she is more effective than concealed carry (which I am registered to do). I asked why they think that and the answer is always the same. You can’t hide that dog and no is going to approach you with her in tow. I tend to agree.

  11. What actually surprises me is the fact that no one discusses why there is no attempts being made to breed erect ears into the dobermann, or for that matter to try to breed the bobbed tail back into it (from what I read it was once in the dobe’s genepool but was lost. Personally I’m on the fence about docking and cropping, but in general prefer the them but if anything it should only in the traditional cuts for the traditional breeds by licensed professionals… but I find it interesting that so many people who care so much about banning these practices don’t try to find the most obvious solution… I mean, look at the diversity we’ve managed in the dog breeds, I find it hard to believe we can’t at the very least get erect ears into a breed, seeing as it is the standard for the dog’s wild ancestor.

    • The Doberman was not from a wild ancestor..but bred from 4 or 5 other dogs in the 1800’s.
      Wild canines have short ears, long ears had to be bred into domesticated dogs.

      I have a doberman that was a rescue..her ears were cropped but not posted. She looked funny at first, since our first Dob we cropped his ears..and he was so handsome. Plus living in Louisiana the Dobies without at least having their ears cropped would be a real problem, with infections and mites.It is much to humid and why have a dog overheat because of long , thick ears.

      Doberman are special dogs..ours have been members of the family and we could not live without a Doberman as part of our circle. They are more then loyal..and more then loving..they really are amazing.

      • Dobies are the best. But so are Rotties. We have “paired” the 2 breeds 3 times in our home and they are best buds. Both females each time. We too could not go without these loyal loving breeds.

  12. I think its absolutely nothing wrong with cropping ears or docking tails. When someone asks me why I did that to that poor puppy I ask them if their husband is circumcised or if your boobs are real. Live your life and I live mine. AND I am a Vegan and see no cruelty in it, My parents circumcised me and I don’t mind.

    • @ Rick…that’s a good one! Next time I hear someone b*tching I’m going to say: Are you circumcised (if it’s a man) or is your husband circumcised or your male children (if it’s a woman/usually 99.9% of the time)? Why did your parents do that to you (man) or why did you do that to “the poor baby” (woman)? Hee hee, love it.

    • That is my standpoint on cropping and docking as well. Being involved in rescue, I struggled with it for awhile because, well, rescue groups tell you it’s cruel and you should shame people against it. With that being said, as a rescuer, I may be in the minority with my opinion, but I started thinking more about choices, mainly mine. That’s when I thought well people have their sons circumcised, they pierce their daughters’ ears, vax/don’t vax, administer medications and hormones to their children, choose whether they have or don’t have a haircut (usually against the child’s will), what their kids wear, eat, and how they basically live, but are the same who say “humans can make choices, dogs can’t”… well baby humans can’t either, the parent “owner” makes all those choices while the child is young because it’s how they want the child to look, act, or eat… for their own good. Well, the same can be said for your pet, you do what you feel is right for yours as long as it’s done humanely, safely, and up to certain standards. You wouldn’t circumcise your own kid so take your dog to a verified safe vet specialized in cropping.

  13. People, I got my dog’s ears docked because my dogs are kept outside and they love to explore and I was afraid he might get his ear hung on a fence and get it infected. He shows no sign of wishing his ears weren’t docked and he is perfect with or without his ears docked!

    • I didn’t know they could do laser on pups ears. My dog is scheduled for July 5th and I am going to ask them about this. Sounds much better.

  14. First off the proper ‘standard’ breed is how the dog looks when she/he is born. second infections could happen anywhere in the body and the surgery will increase the chance. third spaying/ neutering is basically a medical necessity because without it thousands to millions of animals would have to be put down due to animal overpopulation, fourth it wouldn’t matter if you crop a dogs ears, IT WILL STILL ATTACK!

    • I completely agree with you! I had a uncropped black/rust male and I now have an uncropped red/rust female. In all the years of being a doberman owner everyone I meet knows that my dog is a doberman. She is just as intimidating without her ears cropped and I have no doubt if she felt she needed to, she would still protect me with her gorgeous natural ears.

      • I’m surprised Germany originated the dobermanns and does not crop and dock for years, I guess Americans are still into cruel torture.

    • I can’t agree more! I have my second natural eared Dobie and I have 0 doubt that she would protect me just like he would have. Natural ears and all

  15. I am not going to get personal but to me ear dogging and tail cropping is one of the most cruel and inhumane acts a dog owner can make. It tells me that that dog owner is considering his dog his property to do as he wish. A dog should be a companion not a peace of the property you own. Personally dog owners that do cropping and docking on any breed is selfish, irresponsible and vain people that should not be allowed to have dogs. What’s next remove one eye because you like it and it is your to do as you like?
    IE; Your map on docking and cropping are way off base and out dated. I live in South-Africa and ear cropping was outlawed and ban in 1995 and tail dogging was banned and outlawed in 2001.As a vet I can loos my license and get banned from practicing if I perform any ear docking or tail cropping. It is animal cruelty and baste. Does not matter how many icing you put on a rotten pie, it still is rotten and will stay rotten. You can sweet talk as much as you like as it only proof that you are actually trying to convince yourself. It is animal cruelty and that is the fact.

    • Dobermans are working dogs and were intended for that. Not just to be a companion. Dobermans are bred (artificially created by people) to serve and not just accompany your master or owner. Is it cruel to breed a serving dog rather than a companion? Rhetoric question. Don’t bother to answer.

    • I am a disabled individual. I am in the process of acquiring a dog and training it for service work. I’ve decided on Dobermans for a number of reasons, including their intelligence, size, strong bonding to their human, and need for a job. And I’m going to crop my dog’s ears. I’m cropping for a few reasons:

      1. Dobies are amazing dogs with a great capacity for learning and need to have a job!
      2. Dogs such as Golden Retrievers, Labs, Poodles, and even Border Collies have a big approachable quality to them. That’s fantastic! However, this proves to be constantly problematic for handlers, as parents do not reign in their children (and adults are guilty too!) There is something about a floppy eared Dobie versus a cropped ear Dobie, People are a lot less likely to distract a cropped Dog. They look INTIMIDATING. Distracting a dog and having them miss a signal or cue could mean life or death, literally.

      Say what you want about it, say I’m cruel for needing to dock tails and crop ears, but this is also not fair to the dog. Dogs that get distracted and miss cues frequently (again, sometimes through no fault of their own) can be retired and cannot work. If you are like me and live in places that the only dog you are allowed is a service dog, and cannot keep retired dogs as family pets, what becomes of them? They are surrendered to rescues and shelters.

      Cropping to me is essential in saving my life.

  16. >>>>. . . for working dogs, a shorter ear prevented either humans or other animals from grabbing hold of their floppy ears during an attack.<<<<

    Comments re: personal protection are spot on. I love the Doberman because people that "case" neighborhoods see that dog and go elsewhere. Like you, my wife is small. But would be troublemakers see and readily recognize the breed. They recognize the iconic Doberman Pinscher and they know better than to touch.

  17. Dingos are the best example of the natural evolutionary advantage for canines’ erect ears. A domestic dog, left to survive in the wild, will resort to the best solution for survivability through survival of the fittest. No canine species, anywhere, has floppy ears.

    For the Doberman, the posting process is a chance for bonding like none other.

    It’s not cruel, or painful. Ours came home after surgery, with his stupid cup taped on his head, and proceeded to molest the cats, then devour a big bowl of food…before wondering what was for desert.

    Now, he has ears that will locate sounds, express emotions, and remain clean…just as nature intended.

  18. Pro for cropping – it’s not amputation as is docking. Depending on the type of crop, only ear leather is removed. Healing is very quick because: 1. the pup is very young when the procedure is performed so healing is quick. 2. The ear’s leather is, typically, quite thin. Healing is fast because not much injury has taken place. So, coupled with fast puppy growth and the ears heal within days. It’s the long term posting that most of the public sees and objects to.

  19. What is posted is correct as it’s a dog owners choice….but my 2 cents worth is actually an important addition. We chose to not doc me RedBulls ears but did have one that was…living in a humid area when I get my next pup I will definantly doc its ears…2 reasons…
    1) infections espetually since he loved to swim
    2) the thin ears are extremely subject to boxers ears which did happen to my Red sadly and this is irrepairsble as it is broken vessels…this happens from the ears getting infected and the air moisture even with regular care from myself and my vet…the itching and head shakeing cannot be controlled….docking the ears is the most humane way to go!!!!

  20. People say it’s not natural for a dog to have cropped ears. They completely ignore the fact that domesticated dogs aren’t natural to begin with, and may actually be helped by the “cosmetic procedures” that are done to dobermans, boxers, great danes, Bull dogs, and so on. For example, what canine in nature has long droopy ears? None that I can think of. Humans bread floppy ears into the mix for our own reasons. It’s safe to say that while breeding to reach a certain look, or service of a dog, it’s not an exact science, and some things just don’t go as planned. I.E. they would’ve bread the Doberman to have short, working dog ears, and a shorter thicker stronger tail, if possible, while retaining the other features that were desired. They couldn’t, but a thin brittle tail, and floppy ears on a watch dog are in no way a tactical advantage, so they go. and to this day, even if your doberman is a family pet, their instinct will be to protect you and your family if an attacker or intruder comes at you. Isn’t it better to have your dog who’s instinct it is to react, and help you, be prepeared by not having a tail that easy to grab and break, or ears that are easy to grab and therefore control your beloved pet with? It seems the pros, largely outweigh any short term negatives, and that in a way your doing a disservice to this breed if you have the oppertunity to get these things done but don’t. It’s not always possible depending on how you end up with your new friends, but if it is, I see it as a much better thing for you and the Doberman. That’s just me though, and each is entitled to do as they see fit, as long as there isn’t undue suffering for the dogs.

  21. Dogs are not meant to be used for personal protection and ears have zero impact on it. I own Rottweilers and don’t have any firearms, so use ADT for personal protection. It would be totally irresponsible for me to rely on my dogs for “protection” dogs are animals and unless you have them seriously trained by a professional (which is out of question for most people due to cost and commitment) a dog can’t do anything if somebody shows up on your property with a shot gun. What are you going to do, send your dog out to attack him?, yeah right, good luck with that, perhaps that’s the best way to get the poor dogs killed.

    Please people stop thinking dogs are meant to protect you, and that they need “mean looks” to accomplish this. This only increases breed specific legislation… get an alarm system instead.

    • Dobermans are a crime deterrent not a defense against a firearm. If a thief has to choose between breaking into a house with no dog and a house with a dog, they’ll go to the easier house, criminals are lazy cowards that way.
      And you cannot deny that the cropped Dobe looks more intimidating than a floppy ear Dobe. Also, I’ve heard that home alarm systems just encourage criminals to break into your home when you’re there with alarm turned off. Not good.

    • These dogs will react to protect their family whether you want them to or not, it is their instinct, and bread into Dobermans. Domesticated dogs are not natural to begin with, but bred for our different desires or needs. Cropping ears, and docking the tale in the case of a Doberman, is to give the dog the ability to do what it was bred to do. Whether you want your dog out of harms way or not, if you are attacked, a Doberman will almost always try to defend you, and with a long thin brittle tail, and floppy ears, you are leaving any potential attacker, or dog you dog may accidentally get tangled up with easy targets to grab, injure, and control your dog. I’m not saying youre a bad owner if you don’t crop and dock a Doberman, but that if there is the potential that it may ever have to defend you from a human, or stray dog, or dog who shouldn’t be at the dog park, and so on, that the breeding of the dog was unable to do what the breeders intended, and give the Doberman a watch dog/defense dog shorter ears and a shorter tail. It’s a personal choice, but to say it’s cruel, or unnatural is wrong. If it will even slightly help prevent the painful hematoma my dog recently had in his ear, then that alone is worth it.

    • I have to comment on this reply.I have a year old female.I got her for protection.and she has done just that.I’m a single mom with 3 small kids. She has stopped a robbery in my home from just barking and growling at the man who was trying to get in a back window.if someone breaks a window and comes in a alarm doesn’t go off.they have to lift the window.or step in front of a motion detector so the alarm will go dog has way better ears then we have.she stopped the intruder before he got in our home,with her looks. I rather stop someone from breaking in completely.not have them break in,a alarm go off,they grab what they can and run.that’s just stupid.why not get a dog who can stop it from happening. The 2nd time someone broke in ,my dfog jumped down off my done bed,and started pacing the floor.I heard someone outside.I looked out and someone was trying to get in my truck.I simply opened the door and let my dog out.and I grabbed the gun,and the phone.I ran outside my dog at him cornered and he was to scared to move. I kept the gun on him until the cops came. I can’t imagine our life without kids and I sleep very well at night knowing she is with us.

    • Please research domestic dogs in the lives of humans. You are terribly mistaken. Most canines were bred to be protective of flocks, herds, farms, property, children… Many breeds do so naturally – no training needed. Only guidance is shown the pup. Even the small Shih Tzu is a palace guard.

    • Man domesticated dogs for many reasons, one was protection. While we own a Doberman currently, in the past we have had Rotties. Great family dog & 1st rate protection/guarding instincts. These traits are bred into these dogs for a reason. And yes I own guns. But knowing I had a pet that could see, smell, & hear danger to/in our home before I could was priceless.

    • Yes they do. That was the intent. There is a reason to classify dogs into toys, hunters, working and others. Your rottweilers are classified as working dogs. Pampering them is cruel. By breeding intentions they are supposed to be trained and to work for people. If you pamper your rottweilers you are a cruel individual and should look for another breed. I feel sorry for them.

    • ADT is great for letting the police know where to find your body. Dogs to protect you cost more than most cars. Weapons and the training to use them is your best bet.

      My dogs are both cropped and docked. I don’t care what people think about my dogs. I hate that people think their dog or an alarm will do anything to actually protect you when it’s go time.

  22. I have two dobermans: one B&T buy with cropped ears and one Red lady with natural ears.
    Knowing what I know now, if I could go back in time I would have two Dobermans with cropped ears. Accordingly, I would recommend anyone getting a puppy eligible for cropping to make the investment of care and money needed to crop.
    While I confess the aesthetic of cropped ears is appealing, I base my opinion not on looks, but on health issues.
    First of all, I have literally spent days holding my females ears trying to get them to stop bleeding. Even tiny scratches on her ear can result in nonstop bleeding. Not only is it difficult to get the cuts to heal, I get the added benefit of countless hours scrubbing blood off my walls and out of my clothes.
    In addition to the bleeding issue my female’s natural ears requires a LOT MORE cleaning. They also consistently attract more tricks.
    One other problem is that her ear regularly get stuck open. While it does give her a somewhat comical appearance, the real issue is that she’s obviously uncomfortable when they get stuck that way and often has difficulty getting them to flop back.
    By now you’ve probably realized that my male has had zero problems with his ears. Almost no need for cleaning, rarely any ticks on his ears and those that do attack are very easy to remove. Best of all he has never had a single problem with cuts or bleeding.
    If cropping were a purely cosmetic procedure I would probably be against it, but after seeing first hand the many, many benefits cropped ears have for both dog and owner, I cannot recommend having it done strongly enough.

  23. Hi there, what a lot of people may not know with today’s modern medical technologies is that ear cropping is now done by most Vets via a Laser. Under anesthesia, a Laser not only seals the ear, but it sanitize’s the incision. It seals the nerve endings and blood vessels and causes no pain or discomfort to the puppy. There is no bleeding, no swelling, no redness, and the sutures are removed 10 days later with the incision completely healed. As a breeder, I can tell you first hand that EAR LASER SURGERY causes these puppies no pain or discomfort. They are not only under anesthesia, but given pain medications during the procedure and sent home with pain medication as well. As a breeder of Dobermans, I can tell you that they never need the Meds they are sent home with as they never show any signs of pain or discomfort after Laser ear surgery. The outer ears edge is so thin at 8 weeks old and with a Laser sealing it so well these puppies carry on playing and running and jumping just a few hours after the surgery as if nothing has ever happened! Without getting into all the scientific proof there is, ear cropping is actually very beneficial to these breeds as they continue performing there jobs today as police dogs. Guard dogs, search and rescue dogs, tracking, dogs, and so on. It is preventing ear injuries and infections and it has been in there breed standards for hundreds of ears. Genes are very tricky and if they could of created these purebred dogs with erected ears they would of!!! Food for thought, every canine and cat in the wild have Erected Ears or pointed ears and history proves that the long, covered ear or floppy ear is actually a mutation to these purebred dogs. Do the research as it is there! But ear cropping is a simple procedure, taking 30 minutes or less and the puppies go home the same day and a few hours later are running around and playing like nothing ever happened! Some people say that it’s only for looks, but looks is part of there form and function in what they were designed to originally do which they continue to do today as police and military dogs, protection and guard dogs, search and rescue dogs, and so on. Each and every dog owner should have the rights to free choice in decided on whether or not to have there dogs ears done as we need to start educating the public on why and how these procedures are being performed by liscensed veterinarians instead of just listening to the untruths as every story has two sides to it! Bans forced on some countries had also created a devastating black market for ear cropping and those are the puppies that are truly suffering .

    • Hello, I was wondering where you live, please? I am in B.C. Canada and I am looking for a black and tan male Doberman. We are Fundraising for me to be able to get a “Seizure/Mobility Service Dog” as soon a possible. Hopefully one that is between 5months old and 2 years old….or one that is already trained for “Epilepsy”.
      I am on a very small disability pension. I just turned a young 60 , LOL and live alone. Many beaches and parks as well as nature around me, and my “Shadow” would be with everywhere, always….never left outside!! Can you please help me?

  24. I just had my dogs ears cropped and im happy. I live in Mexico and I surely needed to look menacing because right now that he is a pup, youngsters confused it with a chihuahua lol

  25. I was told with my 1st Doberman years ago it was a piece of cake. So I had his ears done. First night he ripped out his stitches. Got an Elizabethan collar & ears restiched. Night #2. He somehow got his back legs around the collar & ripped them out again. That morning took him back to the vet, had them restitched. Then had the same Elizabethan collar, with the addition of his back legs taped with enough tape between them so he could walk, but not get to his stitches. This was horrible. My little puppy was absolutely miserable. I had him in puppy kindergarden to socialize him. He couldn’t play with the other puppies because everytime they would bump his ears, he would yelp. I looked at my little puppy with his taped ears, collar, back legs taped, not being able to just be a puppy & said never again! Then came trying to get those long ears to stand, 1 kept flapping & the vet suggested we could get these plastic implants put in his ears. I said no way. They eventually stood on the last taping. I have not done this since swearing I never would so many years ago. I had a flapper & she never had 1 ear infection her whole life. The rest of my Dobers since have had cropped ears. Only because I’ve hotten rescues since my flapper. Though I think it looks better, I think it’s cruel to the puppy, so not worth it. I wish the people who do have their dog’s ears done could sit in on the surgery. I wonder how many people would never do it again.

    • That does sound like a terrible experience. Personally, the surgery (with anesthesia) doesn’t bother me, it’s the complications afterwards, like your puppy had, that’s worrying.
      And I’ve never heard of plastic implants! That sounds extreme.

  26. Having loved 3 Dobermans, one for 11 years rescue, 2years old ears cropped, didn’t stand. Second one 10 years, rescue, 1year old
    Ears stood. And my 3rd dobie, 8 years, purchased at 8 weeks, I’ be had 29 years of experience with both cropped and cropped. I always loved the appearance of cropped ears. I did have several visits to the vet to remove foxtails from my cropped eared dogs. In 2007 I purchased my puppy and decided to forgo the ear cropping. I was very happy with my decision. We hiked Several miles a week, and she followed me all over BLM land on horseback for 8 years. She only had problems with her ear one time, I treated it with vetericyn and took her to the vet to check for a foxtail. No foxtail, vet gave antibiotic cream and ear cleared up quickly. Sabrina loved having her ears cleaned out with a baby wipe after every bath. I wouldn’t turn down a rescue Doberman with cropped ears, but after having both types I prefer not to crop.

  27. I have a seven year old dobe with cropped ears. The crop was done by two veterinarians at the same time. One, a close family friend, who recently had retired from veterinary medicine and was known for his Doberman cropping. The other a younger vet who had done a few crops using the lazer technique. The younger vet asked our family friend, the retired one for a few pointers a I agreed. Probably the best decision made. They seemed to heal quickly via the lazer method. And both vets provided pointers on how to post them at home. Posting is and art in itself. Love the look of a cropped and docked dobe.

  28. I have a dobe puppy and i get every day people saying how beautiful she is then right to the crop or not crop.. and yes very rude and strongly opinionated people. One lady got me so mad i asked her if she had a son, she said yes …why… i asked did she have him circumsized and if so i said Why? And also noted they do that with NO anesthesia. Its my buisness and my choice. …. maybe the day i see one at a major dog show and win i may consider it.. im just saying …

  29. Having had dogs of 2 breeds with drop ears that had ears cropped in adulthood due to ear infections that were difficult to treat, Yes, it can reduce infection, injury, AND it does improve hearing.

    Not just locating sounds but overall sensitivity to sound. It might be interesting to see what Baer testing of sounds on uncropped dogs with ears raised or down might show.

    Having owned, trained and bred Dobermans for 31 years, and worked with several other breeds, drop eared dogs are far more likely to get injuries from another dog even in play. D

    Drop ears are NOT natural but a side effect of domestication, the Russian fur fox experiment clearly showed this. No wild canine nor any wild animals except elephants have drop ears.

    The only possible con I see not listed is that the anesthesia in puppies may affect the brain in ways not yet understood. Such information on infants and children indicates that there may be long term cognitive, mood and behavioral effects due to the growing brain. I’ve not read anything on this with domestic companion animals or livestock but species used for research such as rodents, appear to have long term effects of early anesthesia. In adults, anesthesia may have some long term effects but AFIK this is due to taking weeks or months to totally clear the body.


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