The Art of Ear Cropping

Creating a Beautiful Ear Crop

Like sculptors, veterinarians that perform the ear crop must be gifted in the art of ear cropping, and their individual skills and abilities vary. They also vary in techniques and preference of cropping age. Some prefer a younger puppy, between eight and nine weeks, when the ear is less developed and not yet accustomed to laying flat. Others prefer a slightly older dog, as old as 12 weeks. At this age the ears are better developed, which provides more material to work with and a more developed head with which to match the ear.

Finding a talented veterinarian is the critical path to a beautiful ear crop. If you intend to own a Doberman puppy, and the breeder you have decided upon does crop the puppy's ears, it is wise to find this veterinarian well before a puppy is scheduled for birth. These vets will have pictures of their past work and will help you decide what style of crop to perform.

Often quality breeders will crop the ears of the entire litter. This is done because it is difficult to tell exactly how a dog will turn out. The perfect puppy may grow up to reveal a flaw in confirmation while a so-so puppy may mature into the perfect specimen. Also, regardless of the growing popularity of unaltered ears, most Doberman lovers purchasing Doberman puppies from quality breeders desire the cropped ear.

There are three general types of Doberman ear crop that should be discussed with your breeder or veterinarian. The show crop is the longest of the two and the most difficult to train. This type is popular in the show ring for its beautiful long curved shape, often described as “eagle’s wings”. Ears that are show cropped often take months of training to achieve a tall sturdy stance and are most likely of the three not to stand or to require an additional operation.

The working crop, also referred to as the military or pet crop, is performed with utility in mind rather than beauty. It is short, shaped like rounded triangles, and is simple to train.

The medium crop falls somewhere in between the show and working crop in both length and difficulty in training. It has a long curved shape like the show crop and is most popular for its beauty and reasonable training commitment.