Doberman Puppy Ear Cropping: History, Reasons, Risks, and More

doberman puppy ear cropping

The Doberman Pinscher is a unique breed of dog that has many distinguishing features, one of which is cropped ears. Ear cropping is a practice that has been carried out on this breed for many years.

It has no known health advantage and is only done at the dog’s owner’s request. Ear cropping, which has long been performed in the Doberman breed to obtain a certain appearance, is still practised today. In some countries, ear cropping is prohibited.

In this article, we will look at the history of Doberman puppy ear cropping and the reasons why this procedure is still carried out today.

We will also discuss the possible risks and side effects of the procedure.

Ear Cropping in History:

The practice of ear cropping can be traced back to the early days of the Doberman Pinscher breed. It is thought that the purpose of this procedure was twofold: to give the dog a more intimidating appearance and to help protect their ears from injury in battle.

The practice of ear cropping became increasingly popular in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This was likely because the American Kennel Club (AKC) began recognising the Doberman Pinscher as an official breed in 1908, and cropped ears became an official part of the breed standard.

Today, cropping is still carried out in many parts of the world, though it is no longer a requirement for show dogs in the United States. Some breeders continue to crop the ears of their puppies for aesthetic reasons, while others believe that it provides health benefits or protects the dog from injury.

Reasons for Cropping Today:

There are a few different reasons why breeders may choose to crop the ears of their Doberman Pinscher puppies. Some do it for aesthetic reasons, as they believe it gives the dog a more regal or intimidating appearance. Others believe it helps protect the dog’s ears from injury, whether in battle or in everyday life. Still, others believe that ear cropping can provide health benefits for the dog.

Clipped Ears – Maintaining Breed Standards?

As mentioned earlier, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes cropped and uncropped ears in the Doberman Pinscher breed standard. This means that, for show dogs, either type of ear is acceptable.

That said, many people believe that cropped ears give the dog a more “traditional” look, and they may be more likely to win in the show ring. This is simply a matter of personal preference, however, and ultimately, it is up to the owner to decide whether they want to have their dog’s ears cropped or not.

Doberman Natural Ears:

The Doberman Pinscher is born with long, floppy ears drooping down its face. If the owner decides not to have the dog’s ears cropped, they will eventually stand up on their own as the puppy grows older.

Many believe that natural ears give the Doberman a softer, gentler appearance. Others feel that cropped ears are more aesthetically pleasing and in line with the traditional look of the breed.

While some people prefer the look of natural ears on a Doberman, there are a few potential downsides to leaving them uncropped. Uncropped ears can be more prone to infections, providing a dark and moist environment for bacteria to grow. Additionally, the wax build-up can be a problem in uncropped ears, as it can lead to a condition called cerumen impaction.

Can Doberman Ears Stand Up Without Cropping?

In some cases, yes. The Doberman Pinscher’s ears are attached to the side of its head with a piece of cartilage, and as the puppy grows, this cartilage will eventually stiffen and stand up on its own. However, this process can take several months; sometimes, the ears may never stand up completely on their own.

For this reason, many people choose to have their dog’s ears cropped, ensuring they stand up straight and tall. If you decide to crop your dog’s ears, it is important to note that a qualified veterinarian should only perform the procedure.

At what age can you grow your Doberman’s Ears?

The ideal age for cropping a Doberman Pinscher’s ears is between 8 and 12 weeks old. This is because the cartilage in the ears is still soft at this age, which makes it easier to shape. Additionally, puppies heal quickly at this age, making them less likely to experience complications from the procedure.

If you decide to wait until your dog is older to have Doberman’s ears cropped, it is important to note that the procedure will be more difficult and may take longer to heal. Older dogs may sometimes experience complications such as infection or tissue death. For this reason, it is generally best to perform the procedure when the dog is a puppy.

The Ear Cropping Process And Aftercare:

A veterinarian typically performs the ear cropping process, which involves numbing the dog’s ears with a local anaesthetic before making incisions. The vet will then shape the cartilage to create the desired look and sew the ears up with stitches. Finally, the ears will be bandaged to protect them as they heal.

The whole process usually takes less than an hour to complete. After the procedure, your dog must wear a protective headcollar to prevent it from scratching or rubbing its ears. The headcollar should be worn for at least two weeks, and the ears should be kept clean and dry.

Once the stitches have been removed, and the incisions have healed, your dog’s ears need to be taped to hold them up correctly. Taping should be done every day for at least two months, and in some cases, it may be necessary to tape the ears for up to six months.

Risks of Ear Cropping:

As with any surgical procedure, ear cropping has some risks. Here are some of the most common risks:


Bacteria can enter the incisions and cause an infection. This is why keeping the ears clean and dry during the healing process is so important.


There is always a risk of bleeding during ear cropping surgery. However, this risk can be minimized by having the procedure performed by a qualified veterinarian.

Tissue death:

In rare cases, the tissue in the ears may die due to a lack of blood flow. This is more likely to occur if the cropping is done too late in life or if the dog has a pre-existing medical condition.


Some dogs may be allergic to the local anesthetic used during the procedure. This is why it is important to talk to your vet about any allergies your dog may have before the procedure is performed.

Doberman Ear Cropping – Pros and Cons:

As with any decision, there are both pros and cons to ear cropping in Doberman Pinschers. Here are some of the key points to consider:


1. Cropped ears can give the dog a more “traditional” look.

2. Ear cropping can help to prevent infections by keeping the ear canal dry and exposed to air.

3. Ear cropping can help to reduce the amount of wax build-up in the ears.

4. The procedure is relatively quick and easy to recover from when performed on a puppy.


1. The ear cropping procedure is painful and can cause distress to the dog.

2. Cropped ears may be more susceptible to damage and injury.

3. The procedure can be expensive, particularly if performed by a specialist veterinarian.

4. There is a risk that the dog’s ears may not stand up properly on their own, even after being cropped.

Different Doberman Ear Cropping Styles:

There are a variety of different ear cropping styles that can be performed on Doberman Pinschers. The most common styles are the “show crop”, the “working crop”, and the “pet crop”.

The show crop is the most popular style and is typically performed by a specialist veterinarian. This style involves cropping the ears to a uniform length and then taping them to make them stand straight. This style is typically used for show dogs and is the most expensive option.

The working crop is a shorter version of the show crop and is typically performed by a qualified veterinarian. This style leaves the ears slightly longer than the show crop and does not require taping. This style is typically used for working dogs such as police dogs or service dogs.

The pet crop is the shortest style and is typically performed by a qualified veterinarian. This style leaves the ears natural and floppy. This style is typically used for pets or companion dogs. When performed correctly, this style should not cause any pain or distress to the dog.

Doberman Ear Cropping Prices & Recovery Time:

The cost of ear cropping can vary depending on the style and the veterinarian that performs the procedure. The show crop is typically the most expensive option, followed by the working and pet crops. In general, the cost of ear cropping ranges from $200 to $500.

The better news is that the recovery time for ear cropping is typically short. Most dogs recover from the procedure within 2 to 3 weeks. It is also important to follow the veterinarian’s instructions for taping or bandaging the ears, if applicable.

Doberman Ear Cleaning:

It is important to keep your dog’s ears clean and free of wax build-up to prevent ear infections. Ear cropping does not remove the need for regular ear cleaning. The best way to clean your dog’s ears is with a cotton ball soaked in a mild ear cleansing solution. Dog owners can purchase an ear cleansing solution at some local pet store or online.

Soak a cotton ball in the solution to clean your dogs ears and gently wipe the inside of the ear. Be sure to avoid the ear canal as this can cause pain or irritation. Once you have wiped the inside of the ear, use a dry cotton ball to remove any excess solution. Repeat this process once a week or as needed.

If you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge in your dog’s ears, it is important to contact your veterinarian, as this could be a sign of an infection.

Doberman Ear Taping:

Ear taping is often used with ear cropping to help the ears stand straight. Ear taping involves attaching tape strips to the inside and outside of the ear to hold them in place. The length of time the ears need to be taped will vary depending on the style of crop performed. Generally, the ears will need to be taped for 4 to 6 weeks.

If you are interested in having your dog’s ears taped, it is important to find a qualified veterinarian with experience performing the procedure. You can ask your regular veterinarian for a referral or search for a specialist in your area. Once you have found a qualified veterinarian, you must schedule a consultation to discuss your dog’s best ear taping option.


Doberman puppy ear cropping is a hotly debated topic. Some people believe it is cruel and unnecessary, while others believe it is a necessary part of the breed standard. Ultimately, deciding to crop or not crop your Doberman puppy’s ears is personal. If you are considering cropping ears, be sure to research and talk to your veterinarian to ensure it is the right decision for you and your dog.

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