CROP AND DOCK..or Not?

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missdoglover's picture
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Hi All,

 So on Monday I was getting my car an oil change (meaning I took it in for an oil change) While I was waiting, I walked across the street to Alpine Animal Clinic (one of Helena's Vet Clinics) I went in there to talk about becoming a vet tech and volunteering at the humane society. I also was curious about what one of the vet staff thought about cropping and docking. The lady who I talked to was the hopsital manager. She thinks that docking and cropping is the utmost cruelist thing ever. I like to hear both sides of the pros and cons.

Personally I think if it's done by a reliable and reputable vet it's no problem. Same goes for the care of the breeders and owners. I think dobermans are beautiful regardless, I just prefer the look of the cropped ears and the docked tails. I'm very well aware that docking and cropping is described as cosmetic surgery for dogs.

Cropping and docking has been around for centuries and has rich history. In the AKC, cropping and docking has been in the breed standard for about 100 years now. Nothing is wrong with cropping or docking unless it's done professionally and the aftercare is top priority. Cropping ears for the wrong reason for ex: for dog fighting...now I'm totally against that! Docking has its benefits, most often tail injuries are common in working and active breeds, a docked tail would most likely prevent injuries. For the cropping, its more common because we like the way it looks.

 

One person in my doberman magazine quoted "Well I agree that any Doberman is a beautiful dog." Marshall says, "in my opinion, the dog is just not the same with natural ears". So I'm wondering what y'all think?

Do you think the AVMA is going to take this right away?

HarleyBear's picture
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We have a doberman pup with natural ears and a docked tail.  We went back and forth over whether or not to crop the ears when it was the time to do so, and made a vet appointment and everything, and ultimately decided not to because he's a rescue, and our vet wasn't positive he was a pure bred, and it seemed like a silly thing to do to a doberman who wasn't well breed and might even have some mixed blood in him.

However, ear cropping has some consequences to a doberman.  I have heard (and people may have more information than me on this subject, all i know is just through hearsay) that doberman pinschers have very sensitive hearing and that cropping a dobermans ears helps this substantially. I've also heard that, because their hearing is so sensitive, cropping their ears gives them perpetual headaches and makes them more ornery than dobermans with natural ears.  I've never observed that personally, and I posed the question to a breeder one time who said he had never observed it and that it was probably not true.

Also, I read somewhere (and it may have been on this forum) that dogs with upright ears almost never get ear infections, and that a single ear infection is more damaging and more painful to a dog than the entire cropping procedure.  I've also heard, that when two dobermans play, they play really rough, and that they can hurt each others ears if left natural, and this is mostly eliminated if the dogs ears are cropped, and Harley does play very rough and has little nicks from dog teeth all over his floppy ears so I believe that this is probably true.

Also, for working dogs I think it's important to have the ears cropped because if a dog is actively working as a police dog or a protection dog, an uncropped ear is a handle that could be injured by a person or another dog while he/she is working.

In terms of tail docking, I think it's less controversial.  I've heard that dobermans are very enthusiastic tail waggers and that they give themselves rudder tail if their tails are left undocked, and our pup does wag his butt really enthusiastically when he's happy, but since his tail is so short, there's no risk of him hurting himself.  Also for working dogs, a tail is another thing that can be injured by a dog or a person if it's actively working as a personal protection dog or a police dog.

I guess what I'm saying is that tail docking and ear cropping are most important for working dogs. However, there are benefits to cropping/docking even our pets and that it's not purely cosmetic. Also, the dog was envisioned at creation as being a dog with a bob tail and docked ears, that's what the standard has called for for a hundred years.  Therefore, if we want to have our dobes cropped or docked, people should leave us alone and let us do it.

KevinK's picture
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I am pretty neutral on this topic.  Meaning, I don't really care either way, and would never base any of my decisions around whether or not a dog was cropped/docked.  If it is done properly, at the right age, it is so NOT cruel.  I think most people don't understand what's involved, they just imagine someone taking a pair of scissors to a dogs tail.  But the reason why it is done at 2-3 days old is because it is all soft, and it's done before it hardens.  Ears as well, are done at a young age, before the cartilage stiffens, so it's a pretty minor procedure.

If I was getting a dobe from a breeder who cropped, I would be fine with it.  If I was getting a dobe from a breeder who didn't crop, I would leave them natural, unless I had a very, very competent and experienced cropper.  Seen way too many bad crops and ears that don't stand when people take their dogs to a vet as opposed to the breeder handling it.

Lady Kate's picture
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I have to echo Kevin's statement.. He put it perfectly as far as I'm concerned..

A lot of the people who spout off about cropping and docking are totally clueless about the whole procedure. 

It is not painless, but it is not the huge deal that people make of it either. Tails and dewclaws are done by 5 days of age - if later, they have to be done by a vet with pain meds.  Puppies are born with an incomplete nervous system - docking of tails and dews IS felt, but as soon as the puppy is returned to the whelping box, they are totally over it. Part of their issue is the fact that they are being restrained on their back and they really don't like that. 

 

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Honestly, i am not exaggerating one single bit, but Ziva didnt seem to feel as much discomfort after her ears were cropped and posted than she did when she was spayed.  That's the truth. Maybe she was in a small percentage of pups that didn't have any adverse reaction, I dont know.  She didn't have to wear a cone, because she didnt bother her ears.  She played and ran and jumped and acted as if nothing at all had been done to her ears.  When she was spayed, though, she layed around for almost two days, looking as pathetic as possible and walked in a way that I knew she was uncomfortable....she took pain meds for two days immediately after her spay surgery.  No pain meds were needed after her ear crop.  Yes, like mentioned already, tails and dewclaws are cut when the puppy is 3 - 5 days old (my vet prefers 3 days) before the nerve endings have completely developed in those areas.  It's quick and they heal fast, and momma dobe takes such good care of the babies, they forget about their little procedures almost immediately upon returning to their mother.

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As Fitzmar said, being restrained is far more upsetting to little pups about to be docked than anything else.  When I've had litters docked, it was noteworthy that very few of the puppies ever reacted at all at the actual moment of docking.

I'd never say that cropping was pain free, but I've never seen it slow a puppy down for a red hot minute, either.  They're back playing and being puppies almost as soon as you bring them home from the vet the day they get it done.

In this day and age, cropping is done for primarily cosmetic reasons, and I feel no need to justify that to anyone.  It's a decision that should be left to me and my vet.

I'm not interested in owning anything but a cropped/docked doberman. 

missdoglover's picture
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Cropping is definitely not "pain free" although a good vet will try to my the procedure as less painfull as they can. A puppy will most likely suffer from itching.

missdoglover's picture
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Unless it's not properly treated and cared for then a lot of problems can arise.

von Cosack Dobermann (not verified)
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Both procedures are a part of the breeds Standard the ears original for the dogs security while working and the style was prefered for exhibitions. The tail was definetely for security, if the tail can be grabbed by intruders the intensions are to swing the dog or bring him up in the air at arms length either way the dog is in a dangerous position. As far as exhibiting a dog with an all natural look theres no problem for me. If you can't see the head as a result of a hanging ear you should be in the stands watching not judging. How a long tail impairs a judge also would be ridiculous. There are faults recognized with a natural tail but those infractions are the same in a variety of breeds.

My personal taste is to have the dogs cropped and docked, however I have owned and co-owned natural eared dogs and the look doesn't bother me at all. I don't like the natural tail, the security reason is number one along with "damage" control hahahaha, I owned Great Danes for many years at the same time as Dobermanns and the Dobermann tail would be a slightly less damaging weapon but a weapon non the less hahaha!!! No thanks!!! Von

Most surgeries are not pain free - but in young puppies, the pain is gone quickly and they forget quickly..... just as a baby boy does not remember being circumsized.  

I've cropped two litters and seen them right after cropping - they are running around like a herd of shriners playing and eating within hours of being cropped.  Getting used to the cup on their head takes about one day and then they pretty much ignore it.  I use BFI powder for the edges of the ears - helps with itching and dries them up quickly. 

It really amazes me that so many people make such a big deal about cropping and docking when they apparently think nothing of all the cosmetic enhancements the people all around them do.... tatoos, body piericing, nose jobs, boob jobs, etc, etc.....   Done correctly, it is really not a big deal to the dog. 

This is my last litter within a couple of days of being cropped: 

 

 

Lady Kate's picture
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Shriners!!!  LOL I love it.. thanks for posting such cute pics and for your comments

Kate

missdoglover's picture
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Love the pictures! so cute!

rgreen4's picture
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Many people who oppose cropping the ears on a Doberman do so on the basis of the fact that anytime you have to anesthesize a dog, there is a risk. (As there is when it is done to us. I had one Dr. tell me that I wasn't paying him to put me to sleep, but to wake me up.)

Yet, these same people strongly advocate the spay/neuter program. The spaying is far more invasive and both require anesthesia the same as a cropping does.

All of my previous Dobes were cropped, and Princess, my only current on is as well. For the future, I don't know. I am fortunate in that I have a local vet here in S. Georgia that does a good job, and has done 7 of my 13, a vet in Virginia did four and two came to me cropped (one as a 4 mo. old, and one from the breeder).

Will I crop my next one? I honestly don't know. It is probably 60% yes 40% no. We shall see.

But I disagree with at vet, or pet care professional saying to a prospective customer what that one did. It tends to disrupt the trust between the pet owner and the vet professional. They can simply say that they will not crop or dock and leave it at that. I do know that not all vets will crop, and we have seen that not all who do, should.

Fitzmar - have you ever considered red cups - then you could have a parade.

No red cups, but I did draw a Christmas tree on Velma's when she was a puppy!

HarleyBear's picture
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Fitzmar, you have great looking pups!  Thanks for posting the pics!

Control_Freak's picture
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I actually had a receptionist ream me up one side and down the other when I asked if they did cropping. Very unprofessional in my opinion, not to mention she was not qualified to make any medical decisions

jeshykai's picture
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CF... people don't understand things and then they jump on bandwagons.  I lost a friendship of 8 years over our decision to crop Steve's ears.  She was a fellow tech and flipped OUT on me for "daring to do that to your dog".

Honestly?  I'd do it again, too.  It really didn't phase him - outside of the anethesia.  He doesn't do well with it, period.  Didn't with his neuter either.  He'd go to sleep when I would repost his ears in the morning before school, so goes to show how much it bothered him!

Proper handling of a pup when getting dewclaws removed makes it over so quickly they don't even know what happened, as has been said.

Loved the conehead pictures, btw.

missdoglover's picture
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Breeders who do the ears, do they pick the crop length or can you?

von Cosack Dobermann (not verified)
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They do. Von

Lady Kate's picture
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Fitzmar... I loved the little shriners and Velma is your therapy dog isn't she? Lovely lovely girl

DJ's Dad's picture
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What spins me around is the people here in the States that are so against cropping and/or docking, but are HUGE advocates for spay/neutering.  Both are elective surgeries.  Both are decided on by the dog owner, not public opinion.  Ziva didnt show as much discomfort or annoyance about her ears being cropped as she did about being spayed.  I think some people just love to gripe.....about anything.

sweetpea's picture
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 "I think some people just love to gripe.....about anything."

You are right on the money there Paul!  I really feel sorry for people like that.  I think it would make me completely miserable to be always complaining, always pointing fingers, always blowing things out of proportion.  In the end what they don't realize is that their comments are brushed off by those who hear them, and it is their own lives and attitude that are being poisoned.   

missdoglover's picture
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You would think it would be exhaustings to alwasy gripe on things. It's a owner's choice. I'm pro choice. :) As long as it is done humanely, nothing is wrong with cropping and docking.

@Von- What kind of crop styles do they usually choose? I like the show and the medium.

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When we made the appointment to have Harley's ears done (we didn't go through with it), the vet had a photo album of different lengths and we got to choose.  I liked the military cut and my husband liked the show.  We were going to with medium then, LOL.  Anyway, I heard a good breeder will already have it done before you take them home.  

missdoglover's picture
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If I went with a breeder who lives in a different state would he/she recommend somebody to help me with the aftercare that is closer to me?

Wolfgirl_121's picture
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Breeders usually do show or medium/pet crops.

A good breeder would most likely recomend someone if you asked.

Wolfgirl_121's picture
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I like the look of doberman ears either way... its a doberman... its ears aren't what made me love the breed.

HarleyBear's picture
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I second thatWolfGirl!

von Cosack Dobermann (not verified)
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The crop is part of the Standard and should be done by using the pups head size to ensure a balanced look. The ear is stretched down to the inside corner of the eye for a longer cut length. The slightly shorter length would be to the outside corner of the eye. That length would be the tip of the crop and should tapper down to a half bell. Half meaning not all the way cut off like the newer style of show cuts but not as much bell as the 40s thru the 60s look. This approach assures the pups ears will grow as the head develops and will give the dog a nice balanced look. The length of the show dogs of today catches my eye first and for me is a distraction just as a tail docked beyond the second joint looks like a hunters (hound) length. The cropping is just about the only Standard application that I have concerns about these days. Most vets are not very good and the excuse that its not taught is just saying "I have no artists talents at all" hahahaha!!! Which in a ways is not my priority with my vet, I need to know and trust them in surgery. For years there were lay people known as "Croppers" that did the brreds that called for ears to be cut. They were outstanding and as safe as a vets facility because many were trained by surgeons who had the talents needed to do it correctly.That said the breeders who have current dogs that are in vogue as to whats finishing in todays exhibitions will cut them long. The breeders who can grade their pups at 5 to 7 weeks will adjust their pet puppies cuts if they have quality homes who prefer a medium cut. Lots of "depending" as to croppings.

I like the crop and the natural look, I do not like the natural tails on Dobermanns for security reasons. The dogs security and mine too hahahaha!!! Good luck. Von

missdoglover's picture
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A natural dobe tail would hurt when he wags. My lab her tail is deadly! watch out! that thing will smack ya!

HarleyBear's picture
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Oh my goodness, if Harley still had his tail it would never stop hitting things.  He is a vigorous wagger!

missdoglover's picture
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yeah you would have to wear a body guard and remove nice fragile items from his tail. lol

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on a side note here... we once had a yellow lab come in to the hospital that i worked at, got the tip of his tail cut off, slammed in a door.  Being the labs that they used to be, happy no issues dogs, coming into the hospital and seeing new people was like the BEST THING EVER, HAPPY DOG!  That dam dog wouldn't stop wagging his tail.  It took me and another employee an hour to clean the exam room, BLOOD EVERYWHERE. doors, cabinets, ceilings, lights.  I grew up with Labs, I forgave him and gave him a big smooch. Labs need their tails to "throttle" while they're swimming, but I don't see a need in Dobes.

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on a side note here... we once had a yellow lab come in to the hospital that i worked at, got the tip of his tail cut off, slammed in a door.  Being the labs that they used to be, happy no issues dogs, coming into the hospital and seeing new people was like the BEST THING EVER, HAPPY DOG!  That dam dog wouldn't stop wagging his tail.  It took me and another employee an hour to clean the exam room, BLOOD EVERYWHERE. doors, cabinets, ceilings, lights.  I grew up with Labs, I forgave him and gave him a big smooch. Labs need their tails to "throttle" while they're swimming, but I don't see a need in Dobes.

Happydance's picture
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sorry about the double post, I have an explanation but nevermind, got something to do about daughters and and dobermans LOL

missdoglover's picture
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No worries happydance!

Karissa

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Thank you @Ziva's Dad in bringing up neuter/spay vs. crop/not. I have nothing against the crop ear and I have a dobie with natural ears and docked tail. I read not docking the tail can cause pain. 

My personal choice was to not crop. To us it was like giving a baby a face lift. It wasn't because of pain or this or that. It was simply personal opinion that if "it isn't broke, don't fix it". 

I love the cropped ear and the look it gives dobermans. But I am in love with Laith and his floppy look. 

Someone always has something bad to say about someone else's decisions sometimes. (that was a mouthful) Make the best for you and your doberman after research. I get gripe all the time about Laith not neutered yet. And even about his ears natural. I just smile really big while they listen to themselves talk! :)