Cropping is an issue of great debate. Our purpose here is not to take a pro or con stance, but rather to educate you should you be trying to decide if you want to crop your Doberman puppy's ears. We would like to stress that cropped ears vs. natural ears are only a matter of cosmetics. Please consider a natural eared Doberman in rescue should it be the perfect fit for you. Like it's color- the Doberman had no say in the matter.

We'll start with some facts about ear cropping:

Ear cropping is strictly for cosmetic purposes. There is no medical benefit to cropping.

Ears MUST be cropped before the age of 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, the cartilage has set and cropping will most likely not be successful.

Ears will NOT automatically "stand" once cropped. It takes a period of months of taping and "posting" the ears to achieve the desired effect. You should plan on having your puppys ears posted weekly until they stand. Although this procedure may appear simple in nature, aftercare plays a *major* part in the finished look. (See photos below of littermates cropped at the same time by the same vet. Aftercare is the only difference in their finished. appearance.) Posting of ears should be done by an experienced individual (Doberman fancier or vet). Lack of dedication, not taping for a long enough period or poor posting technique may result in "cropped and flopped" and leave you wondering why you cropped the ears in the first place.

There is no way to tell how long you will have to post ears. Genetics (cartilage) and the length and style of crop all make a difference.

There is no guarantee that your dogs ears will stand. Sometimes despite the crop and aftercare, your dogs ears may not stand.

Ear cropping is done under full anesthesia. As with any surgical procedure, there may be risks. Some dogs have died due to anesthesia reactions. Others have bled to death due to clotting disorders that were not known before surgery was performed.

If you are still considering cropping your dogs ears, here are some word of wisdom:

Research the vet thoroughly. Many vets may offer this procedure, but not all vets produce the style of crop you may desire. Each vet tends to have it's own style. Make absolutely certain you speak with the vet and staff BEFORE you make your appointment. Ask to see photos of crops they have done. Discuss the length of crop in detail with the vet. Once cropped, the ears cannot be changed!

Here are some photos so you will plainly see what we mean by "style difference":

Dogs above have what we call a Pit Bull crop. We doubt many owners really had this
chopped look in mind when they took their puppy in to be cropped.


Dogs above are "cropped and flopped".


These dogs ears were literally cut off with scissors. Note that these ears were not done by a veterinarian, but rather a callous human.


These are what are considered "pet" crops. This is typical of most veterinarians.

Above is cropping by some of the best veterinarians in mutiple states. These are "show dog" crops. Please note that cropping of this nature is a literal artform. Your vet may offer a "show" length, but their technique may not equal this caliber.

Obviously, above dogs have "natural" ears. They illustrate that Dobermans can be beautiful the way they were born.

The bottom line is that it is up to you if you want your dog to have cropped ears or not. It is simply a matter of personal preference. We hope you have found this information educational in some manner.

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GCDR is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization operating in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast of Mississippi to rescue, rehabilitate and place unwanted Dobermans.

Gulf Coast Doberman Rescue, Inc.
P.O. Box 231051
New Orleans, LA 70183