Hi, I'm a new Dobe owner, can anyone explain why the ear and tail cropping?

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Kike's Mom's picture
Joined: 2013-12-02

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Hi all,

This seems like a really great community to learn and grow as a new Dobe owner.  I'm actually new to the dog world as well, so it's even more helpful to me!

I have a 12 week old red male, and he is the sweetest thing ever!  My boyfriend wants to crop Kike's ears and tail, but I feel like it would be unecessary stress and pain for the little guy.  Is there some kind of medical reason that people do this, or is it just aesthetic?

Sorry for the stupid question, but I've been a cat person all my life and this is a new adventure for me!

Fargo'smom's picture
Joined: 2013-10-26

Pet Profiles

Hi Kike's mom and welcome to the forum/group.   I myself am new (about 5 weeks now).  This is the best place to learn about Dobies.  There is no such thing as a stupid question.   If you don't ask, you'll never learn.   

As far as docking the tail, it is done when the pups are 3 days old.  It can be done later, but is considered an amputation and full surgical procedure.   The ear crop and the tail dock were the standard when the breed was developed.  Some say it was for better ear health, but most of all for the look and presents of the Doberman.   It is now a days, just a matter of choice.   I prefer the regal look that is gives them.   I have always wanted a Doberman, but until now at my age, not saying how many years :>), I was ready to have one in my life.   And so we started the search for a rescued dobie.   We were trying for a adult, but with the farm animals that we have, it seemed that we needed to start with a pup, so he could be brought up with them and learn to protect them not stalk them.   So we found our boy, Fargo, from a rescue that just had a litter of 10.   My first question to them was, "are you okay with me having his ears cropped"?   Because it was that important to me.   It is my preference.    

Fargo had his ears cropped 2 days ago.   He has been his normal self since he came home.   He was sent home with pain meds, antibiotics and sedatives, but has not needed anything but the antibiotics for preventive care.   He is a bit annoyed with the e-collar because he cannot get thru the dog door with it on.  But other than that, he is not in any pain.    Only itching, which means that his ears are healing.   

The ears are cropped anywhere from 6 weeks (done back east in the puppy mills, from what I have seen) to 16 weeks (as per my vet).   It seems to just depend on which vet you talk to .  So if you love you boy the way he is, then that is all that matters.  The ear crop and tail dock will not change his personality, only the comments you get from the general public.   Ya gotta have some pretty tough skin to deal with that some days.   

So again, welcome and read, read, read, everything on this website, as it has the very best information on the Doberman breed.   


Joined: 2012-10-28

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The tail docking is usually done by the breeder. They sometimes do not supply ear cropping, as there are many dobie owners who don't prefer to have a cropped dog. Here in the US it is personal preference.

In other countries both cropping and docking or either one are completely illegal.

Bella is a mongrel/ dobie mix, we are thrilled she is natural. Her tail tip always points straight forward // like a scorpion!

Welcome to the forum

If your puppy is all natural at 12 weeks of age, then I would leave him that way. As someone else mentioned, tail docking is done before the puppies are 5 days old - at 12 weeks, it would be an amputation done as a surgery. 

Cropping is an art that very few vets do well - 12 weeks is about the latest I would recommend having it done and finding a good vet to do it well can be very hard. The good ones have a waiting time as they are booked in advance for cropping. In addition, there is a lot of after care for cropped ears - posting the ears till they stand can take months. 

Dobermans are traditionally a cropped and docked breed, and our written standard in the USA has no description for dogs not cropped and docked. Most reputable breeders will have all of this already done before any puppies go to their homes, and help with the ear posting process. 

Enjoy your natural puppy.

Karl Friedcich Louis Dobermann started to developed a dog that would protect him. A personal protection dog. Herr Dobermann was the tax collector and he ran the local dog pound in the town of Apolda in Prussia. Being a tax collector in the late 1800's was at best a risky occupation. Being  that Herr Dobermann had a pool of dogs at his disposal, he used dogs that had the attributes he needed in a dog, loyalty, intelligence, and ferocity . The dog needed to be a man fighter. Herr Dobermann died in 1894 before he accomplished his mission. Otto Goeller and Phillip Gruening continued on with the development of the breed that led to what we see today. I believe it was Herr Goeller that gave the breed it's name, Doberman Pincher, at the turn of the century. A tribute to the man who had a vision.  

The ears were cropped and the tail was docked to prevent the dog's adversary having something to grab hold of. There's no medical reason for either. We continue with cropping and docking to stay true to Herr Dobermann's vision.  

Being that your dog is 12 weeks old, you're pass the point of a successful crop and dock. The best thing for Kike would be for you to enjoy him in all his natural glory.  


Kike's Mom's picture
Joined: 2013-12-02

Pet Profiles

Wow, everyone has been so informative and welcoming, thank you!

We will keep Kike natural, I kind of wanted to all along, he's just so cute with floppy ears and a waggy tail!

Thank you all for the info and advice!

AGC's picture
Joined: 2013-09-14

You will find that your pups tail will tell you so much about him... When he's happy, content, aprehensive etc etc. Much easier to "read" than a docked dog.... Be happy he has it!! By the way, he looks fantastic (sweet brown boy!)

creedcash's picture
Joined: 2013-01-02

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I have a 15 month old male doberman, who needs a good home. He has been raised with kids and is good with other dogs as well. Plz contact me at


Thank you,


Joined: 2013-12-09

The breed was invented by Mr. Doberman, he created the breed with cropped ears and tail. Keeping the ears and tail raises question to whether your dog is PURE. Its not respecting the breed or creator. 

I think of it as having a dog with a boob job lol. 


tail docking affects balance/equilibrium but not noticeable to average person 

talisin's picture
Joined: 2011-02-25

I have never heard of a balance issue due to a docked tail.....dobermans do agility and search and rescue that require great balance and have no issues.....even cats that have a tail that needs to be amputated will eventually adapt with no issues....plus the puppies tails are done long before they know they even have a tail.....as a leg amputee full to the hip I know all about balance issues and unless you have a body part you know about that is then removed you have no issues; but if you do have a body part for a while and it's removed the brain will reroute and correct any issues.....do you have any research to show this????

Blackie's picture
Joined: 2013-11-30

I just wanted to respond to a comment. The docked tail is long and big enough for you to notice if he is happy or alert or anything else. If you know about your dog a shorter tail wont bother you reading his mood... It is super visible to me when he is super happy to see me... Anyways all these talk against tail docking and ear cropping. How about u dont make holes in girls ears for earings? They r born without a hole for earing. Same with them.. They were MADE with cropped ears to give them the fearless flawless and the gorgeous look. Tradition must comtinue :)


Blackie loves dobies 

elisabooth's picture
Joined: 2013-03-14

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Luna, I'm curious, how you can say that Mr. Doberman's vision is the only way to have a doberman, when now in his home country of Germany, cropping and docking is illegal?  

As well, I believe, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but it's only the USA who has a standard that calls for them to be docked and cropped, I know here in Canada the standard calls for a docked tail but cropped or natural ears are fine.  I find this argument to be rude and dismissive of those who have natural eared/tailed dobes, and I don't know why no one is calling you out on your crappy comments.  

I was explained, and I may not be completely correct, that the cropping or docking was because those are the parts of the dog most injured, and in those days, an injured dog meant a dead dog because anitbiotics for animals just wasn't done.  And since a dog was part of a person livelihood, it made sense for these preventatives.  

By the way, if you want to be true to Mr Doberman's PURE vision, you would have had your dog cropped like the photo below because none of the pretty long or medium crops existed back then. 

Time moves on even in the dog world and things change. 

So get off your high horse, bragging about how little you spent on your dog, telling people they are ugly and that their dogs look like labs.  I am just about sick of it on this forum where people are sweet, supportive and wonderful.  

To everyone else, I'm sorry, but really enough was enough. 


talisin's picture
Joined: 2011-02-25

elisa the original poster was not luna so everyone has been supportive since kike's question was just a conversational question about cropping and wondering if it was necessary for particular reasons or just for looks since they are new parents of dobes for the first time and need to know if it's a serious health issue that requires upright ears and docked tail; the support is for our new member Kike and their question. And it's not fair to Kike to sidetrack the post's original intention here as there is a very active debate elsewhere on why to crop or not I think that's it, I could be wrong but that's my take.

Maybe if the crop/dock topic needs to get more direct it should move to the other discussion on it or elsewhere off Kike's polite seriously curious question as a first time dober parent......

jkel's picture
Joined: 2013-11-17

I saw the mention of Karl Freidrich and thought that this video may be appreciated


dobie_lover91's picture
Joined: 2011-11-27

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The ears were cropped to help the doberman with "sound localization". This helped esp. During the war when soldiers would sleep and the dobermans were guarding them.