The adult Doberman pinscher stands 26 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 60 to 100 pounds. The Doberman has a wedge-shaped head and the ears may or may not be cropped. Uncropped ears naturally hang and the tail is docked. To learn more about the Doberman pinscher, go to Choosing a Doberman Pinscher.
Doberman ear cropping is very common. Ear cropping is a surgical procedure in which a portion of the dog’s ear is removed, producing ears that stand erect. The procedure is most often performed on Doberman puppies at around 8 to 12 weeks of age. The ears are trimmed and the edges are stitched. The ears are then taped to a hard surface for several weeks while they heal. This is done so that the ears will stay upright. The ear cropping should be done by a veterinarian with experience in ear cropping. To learn more about the ear cropping procedure in dogs, go to Ear Cropping for Dogs.
A Doberman whose ears are not cropped takes on a very different appearance. In Dobermans, ear cropping contributes to the breed’s identity and character. It is customary to identify a Doberman pinscher with having cropped ears. Many feel it adds to the breed’s striking appearance. The ear crop style can vary in shape or length. For instance, ear cropping styles include the short crop, the medium crop and the longer crop that is known as the standard show crop.
The Doberman Ear Cropping Procedure
Ear cropping surgery is done under anesthesia and takes about a half hour to complete. The ears will usually stand upright after being taped for 5 or 6 months, although some Dobermans may take up to one year before the ears will fully stand erect. This is especially true with the longer ear crop. The long healing process is more uncomfortable for the dog than the surgery itself, another reason people see the process as cruel and unnecessary. After ear cropping surgery, proper after care is essential to prevent infection and to ensure that the ears will stand upright. If the owner is unwilling to commit to such a lengthy after care, they should not engage in the ear cropping procedure.
To Crop or Not to Crop
When the procedure first began it was done for functional reasons. The Doberman was a guard dog. Having ears stand upright allowed for increased sound. This was an important feature for a watchdog. Today, ear cropping in Dobermans is usually done to comply with show standards or simply for the owner’s personal preference.
Ear cropping is an elective surgery for dogs. It’s a choice. It has no known health benefit and is done solely at the dog owner’s preference. Ear cropping in the Doberman breed has long been routinely done to achieve a certain appearance. Ear cropping is outlawed in some countries. And while this routine procedure is not banned or regulated in the United States, it is becoming more controversial. Some states are considering legislation to ban ear cropping, but they have not yet done so.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) says that ear cropping is “integral to defining and preserving breed character” in certain breeds like the Doberman pinscher, but the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) opposes ear cropping in dogs. Because the procedure is purely cosmetic, they believe it poses unnecessary risks to the dog.
Ear cropping is becoming less common. It is not taught in many veterinary schools. Fewer veterinarians are willing to perform the surgery, and dog owners are becoming more aware of the controversial nature of the surgical procedure. If your Doberman competes, you should know that the AKC says dogs without docked tails or cropped ears are just as likely to win at dog shows.
To learn more about the Doberman pinscher, go to Everything Your Family Needs to Know About the Doberman Breed.