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Doberman Ear Crop Information

Discussion in 'Doberman Health Issues and Questions' started by FredC, Sep 12, 2014.

  1. FredC

    FredC Guest

    The debate on whether or not to crop a Doberman's ears is a big one. Those who oppose it usually strongly oppose it as an alternation that is against nature. Those who agree with cropping do so with the argument that this breed has been known for its cropped ears for over a century.

    natural ear doberman.jpg

    So, the question is:
    Should you crop your Doberman's ears?
    Before you make a decision, be sure to understand the facts and not the hype.

    Is it Legal?
    Is it legal to crop a Doberman's ears?
    Which countries allow cropping and which consider it an actual crime?

    Cropping is legal in:
    • Argentina
    • The United States
    • Canada
    • India
    • Mexico
    • Russia

    Cropping is not legal in:
    • Australia
    • France
    • Ireland
    • Italy
    • New Zealand
    • Netherlands
    • South Africa
    • Sweden
    • The UK
    Docking  dog    Wikipedia  the free encyclopedia.png

    What Exactly is Cropping?

    When a Doberman has their ears cropped, in countries in which it is legal, it is considered to be cosmetic surgery.

    When does a Doberman have their ears cropped?
    The general rule is to do so when the Doberman puppy is 10 - 12 weeks old.

    The dog is sedated during the surgery. The animal surgeon will mark the area of where the ear will be cut. Just as the name suggests, part of the ear is surgically removed. It is then stitched in such a way so that the ears edges heal with minimal scarring, It is the act of cutting the ear that causes many people opt out of this procedure. However, it must be noted that the dog will not experience pain during the surgery.

    A dog will have discomfort for up to 2 weeks afterwards while the ears heal. Small paper cups are usually placed on the ears to protect them in this sensitive stage. An owner is given disinfectant from the veterinarian to carefully apply to the healing ears up to twice per day.

    When an owner decides to have their Doberman's ears cropped they must make a commitment to following the very precise aftercare that is needed; if not, scarring will occur. It should also be noted that not all cropped ears will stand up.

    Why Do People Crop Doberman's Ears?

    In many countries, the Doberman is known for having cropped ears, something that has been done since the breed was introduced and owners feel that they should maintain the breed standard.

    Some believe that long, floppy ears can trap moisture which can lead to ear mites and yeast infections. However, this can also happen with erect ears.

    In countries such as the U.S. where cropping is legal, it used to be the norm for breeders to have a pup's ears cropped at a young age, before having the puppy go to his new home. However, recent trends have some breeders keeping ears natural. A large number of owners choose this and those that do not can opt to have the procedure done to their Doberman once they obtain the puppy.

    We urge anyone who is considering to have this done to their dog to choose an experienced veterinarian, as a bad cropping can lead to infection and aesthetic issues such as too much of the bell being removed, etc. which once done, is a life long feature that can ruin the dog's appearance. Please check with a veterinarian to see if he or she has experience not only with cropping but specifically with the Doberman breed since each breed (that does traditionally have the ears clipped) has different shaping and size.

    Some refer to this clipping as a "show crop" and by that, it is meant that per AKC conformation standards, the Doberman's ears should not be an outstanding feature or focal point. Rather, the size, set and shape should flatter the facial features, adding balance and lending to the overall appearance of the head.

    A couple of issues that can occur are often due to the thickness of the ear leather. Doberman ears with very thick leather may be too heavy too stand and a good veterinarian will be able to let an owner know in advance. In some cases, not wanting to take off too much of the bell, a vet will err on the side of caution, which can lead to needing a 2nd cropping down the road to gain the desired appearance.

    The price to have this done runs between $300 and $600, and additional costs may be checkups to see how the ears are healing, etc. In some locations, the cost for this procedure is tiered based on the dog's weight.

    Do Doberman Ears Need to be Cropped to Enter Dog Shows?

    The answer is no. While some may say that the Doberman standard is cropped ears, just about every recognized dog club, including the AKC accepts Doberman with or without cropped ears.

    Should you Have Your Doberman's Ears Cropped?

    This is most certainly a personal decision. Cropping is not clinically proven to reduce ear infections or reduce the chance of a dog getting ear mites. Dog shows allow Doberman with their normal floppy ears. The only valid reason an owner would have is that they prefer their dog to look a certain way. It is a myth that puppies do not feel pain...there are nerve endings in the ears. Is that worth the discomfort that a Doberman puppy will need to endure? While we must stay neutral on this subject, we suggest that an owner carefully think about this issue before deciding.

    Taping Doberman Ears
    Even with cropping, precise symmetrical ears does not always happen. It is common for 1 ear to stand more erect than another...or even both may not stand as one desired. The experience of the veterinarian has a part in this...But also the muscles at the base of the ear, if not strong enough, simply will not hold them up as one may have wished. When this happens, one wonders if taping Doberman ears is a method that truly works. The answer is: Most times. You will have the best chance of success if it is:
    • Done early
    • Done with consistency
    More Information

    To be a great Doberman owner, one must have clear, easy-to-understand Doberman information on every subject. Trainers, Behaviorists, Breeders and other Pros do not give out information that you need to know. We have this information for you ...Click here to learn about our new-endevor.
    Source: Unknown

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2014
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  2. FredC

    FredC Guest

    FYI, i started this thread for informational purposes, This is not intended to start a controversy.. We all know these debates have been known to hurt feelings and both sides have strong opinions..

    Be warned if you want to contribute or add to this discussion you are of course free to do so, but let it be known that personal attacks will not be tolerated be it overt or covert..
    • Like Like x 3
  3. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    It's good info for both options but I think some of it is outdated.
    I agree with the done early and done with consistency, but I believe it always should be done for a while, even if it's a shorter crop, regardless if they look fine to the naked eye at first or not.

    Our Boxers breeder said "get a short crop so they'll stand" when we got him as our first cropped dog before the days of the internet, but no one ever mentioned taping. We did not tape him because we didn't know it was a thing that had to be done, but wow they were short too.
    ubu outside 1987 sized for entry sized down.jpg
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  4. FredC

    FredC Guest

    Thats a pit bull crop.. (of course i know you know this) Boxers when done correctly have some of the most elegant ears of all cropped breeds..
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  5. Kitty's mom

    Kitty's mom Hot Topics Subscriber

    I personally like the look of cropped ears. My Dane had a beautiful show crop. After dealing with natural ears, ear infections, hematomas etc, posting ears for a few months to reduce the risk of chronic issues is worth it.
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  6. FredC

    FredC Guest

    Care to elaborate? if you share specifics I can append updated notes in the original post like a wiki page..
  7. shadash

    shadash Notable member

    You might want to describe the types of crops. As an example before the mid 80s medium crops were the most common. Now show crops are what everyone seems to be going for.

    Personally I like medium crops the best.
  8. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    For me, this is the most interesting part because I can't keep up with where its legal and not legal. I try and 'keep up' going by our members from each area but having it all in one place is nice.

    Wasn't there some place in Canada that banned it?
    • Like Like x 1
  9. FredC

    FredC Guest

    Yes i believe you are correct.. (although i dont believe it to be the case with Canada) some countries do not outlaw the practice however the breed standard has changed so its effectively illegal (IDC/DV come to mind)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2014
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  10. dobelover419

    dobelover419 Jr Member

    my feelings on this are Dobermans just don't look like Dobermans with Natural Ears, it takes a massive major apart of the Breed away as a whole to me, the Cropped Ears on Dobes is Iconic instead of floppy hound dog ears when left natural. I seriously don't think I would own one with natural ears.
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  11. Gelcoater

    Gelcoater Expert ThreadCrapper $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    Apparently you're not alone with your thought of not owning one with natural ears,and probably why the population of the breed seems to be dwindling in those countries where C/D is now against the law.It's sad really,the decline of the breed and that these laws are probably partly to blame.
    I agree the cropped ear is iconic for the breed,and that extends to other breeds as well.
    I would point out though the "hound dog ear" comment,some might take offense to.I don't,read it so many times now they're just words..and a rather broad paint brush.
    I guess it depends on the genes/lines of the dog.Both of mine are natural ears.
    Our male has ears that mimic that description,heck they look like wings!:D
    image.jpg Daisy,much smaller ears. image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
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  12. FredC

    FredC Guest

    Agreed.. No mistaking the Doberman in the OP for a Hound Dog.. Never really got the correlation. But i guess its like a pair of Channellock Pliers, everyone thinks its a tool and few know its a brand. I will always own Dobermans from one continent or another, just love the breed period.. However it would be a shame to lose that intense look of nobility and intimidation.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2014
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  13. Gelcoater

    Gelcoater Expert ThreadCrapper $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    I'm willing to say that it's not "would be" but "it is" a shame,there's the list(above) of places it's already gone.
    Considering some of the other things already banned in the above list of countries I guess it really isn't a surprise though.
  14. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    It was just the part I quoted on the taping. It does seem outdated when it says that you "might" have to tape your dogs ears if.... I think it's pretty much and "must" for a while anyway unless it is a super short crop like I posted above.
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  15. kashi

    kashi Hot Topics Subscriber

    I have never owned one with cropped ears, was brought up around dogs with natural ears so to me a dobermann didn't have cropped ears. Guess its all what you used too. All the dog books I had as a kid showed dobes with natural ears too except for one from the 70's which had both. I love the breed not its ears, a dog is more then a sum of its parts.

    I personally would never crop. Thats just me. I have had dogs with floppy ears and to be honest none of them have had chronic ear infections.

    I also think the hound dog comparison is complete nonsense as well bred dobe ears and all should never ever look like a hound.
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  16. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    I agree and I would never, ever make that comparison.
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  17. Casey Miranda

    Casey Miranda New Member

    I have an (almost) 20 week old male Dobie (my first one, still learning a lot every day) and he is getting his last round of puppy shots today, I live in a very small town and my vet does not do ear cropping (he personally does not agree with it) but he did recommend another vet about an hour away that does cropping, and they have told me that when his final round of puppy shots are done, bring in proof and they will do a consultation for the cropping soooo, in the books I have read and in your post, it is preferred to do ear cropping before 14 weeks, but this place won't do the cropping until all the shots are complete, which will be today (at 20 weeks) , so I am completely confused, has anyone cropped their dog's ears at 20 weeks or older? Is this normal? And also I like to take him on runs and he plays with my chihuahua all day, am I going to have to stop running or keep them separated during recovery? How long/painful was the recovery for you guys? I'm sure the vet will fill me in during the consultation but I want other Dobie owners opinions as well.... Thank you!
  18. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Wow I've never seen a vet recommend waiting that long since chances of them standing any more at that age are slim. Usually 14 weeks or so is the maximum age for cropping so I think you'll have to enjoy his beautiful natural look. :)
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  19. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    If I may, I would like to add to the reasons for cropping. Tradition, as VonDoom mentioned is certainly a true and very important reason in my opinion. For me, cropping and docking is just part of what a Doberman is, and that is a good thing. However, I think, tradition for tradition's sake is not all that important and may certainly be broken if there is good reason. More compelling reasons to crop exist though:

    It's always been my understanding, based on reading I did back when I got my first Doberman, that the main reason Dobermans' ears were cropped in the early days was so that if they were in a struggle with human attacker(s) those humans would have less to grab onto in the struggle. Same goes for the tail. I makes good sense to me.

    Related to this, if your Dobe ever gets into a scrap with another dog(s) your Dobe has less vulnerable flesh out there that can be made to bleed. (required disclaimer: Of course I have never intentionally gotten my dog into a fight.) It is conceivable though that your human attackers might have dogs of their own, and your Dobe might need to handle them (though I've not personally seen Dobes to be very good at this.)

    Cropping can help the ears stay cleaner.

    Physiognomy: (a word I learned reading Joel McMain's book "Manstopper") :) can be very important in the Doberman. If you have any interest in your Doberman being able to serve the purpose for which the breed was created – personal bodyguard – you would be well-served by the more serious, alert, intimidating appearance cropped ears provide. Cropped ears may not actually wind up enabling your Dobe to better protect you if a confrontation becomes real, but bad guys are less likely to try any funny business if the physical appearance of their potential target is stronger. Believe me, as a peace-loving man of less than 6', weighing only about 160 lbs. and driving a Prius or riding a bicycle, I know this. It doesn't matter that I have fight training and am in fighting shape. If you appear weaker, more idiots will try you.

    Finally, I'll mention something I've been noticing and wondering about: I've seen a surprising number of natural-eared Dobermans around lately. Seems it might be coming into favor? I know the Dobermans out of Europe are natural. This is not what I'm seeing here. The Dobes I've seen with uncropped ears are with younger people, and appear to just be your typical American Dobe – usually too tall and not built right. It just makes me wonder if the Doberman might be going the way of the Boxer and Great Dane. Both those breeds (Boxers especially) are currently very popular to have as pets – sometimes among the hipster set. They're almost never cropped. Please, please don't let it be that the Doberman is heading down that path. I know all things come back around again, but I hope the Doberman enjoys a bad, or scary, enough reputation that it will never again become highly popular.

    So, I'm thankful that our right to crop remains; and for all the reasons I've listed I prefer a cropped Doberman Pinscher.

    Thanks for reading, those of you who read this far!
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  20. kashi

    kashi Hot Topics Subscriber

    sigh.... you forget the average schmuck especially in South africa who's gonna try rob you or whatever knows nothing about breed standards and the pros/cons of a cropped dog. It truly is cosmetic when it comes down it. Most people are going to be leery of any large dog especially one that body blocks its owner and stares you down. I must be honest I wouldn't even go pat a goldie if it was snarling at me with its hackles up.

    If you want a reliable man stopper you have to not crop the dogs ears but rather put it through some offence training. I am also fully aware that most robberies especially here in South Africa are at gun point and this almost renders all dogs useless unless they have had really specialist training.

    We had a home invasion in Namibia where they gassed us all, it happens a lot here in Southern Africa. Not a single one of my dogs or myself or my husband woke up while they cleaned us out. We woke up to find our back door and back gate wide open, dog fast asleep in the yard (this was before I got Layla and we were fostering a Husky), my two small dogs who yap at everything were curled up in there baskets next to our bed. Not much a cropped dog or a trained dog could have done there either.

    The other serious problem is the poisoning of dogs. Now this requires real training and dedication on the owners part to train a dog to only want what its owner will feed it. In South Africa most home owners have large guardian type dogs so now they just poison them or shoot them dead.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2014
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