Cropping, boy did it get heated!!

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nupe's picture
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Hey guys I just got into a big back and forth on another forum (actually a dogfoodforum) about ear cropping. basically I was there defending ear cropping with a few other people but going at it with some anti - cropping people. Now I got a pretty good idea what the majority will say here, but what the big thing was over there is that it is absolutely no health benefit to ear cropping i.e...the ear infection thing is BS is what I was told and " people who get their dogs ear cropped just putting their dog througha unnecessary procedure just because they want a cool looking dog'. Your thoughts??? I am pretty sure this has been discussed before here on the forum, but just wanted to hear some feedback?

sweetpea's picture
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Ai ai ai!  The way I look at it...it's definitely a cosmetic procedure with little practical use.  I'm sure when it first started being done one of the reasons was to make the ears less grabbable by an attacker or other dog, but for the most part dobermans are now family pets or sport dogs and don't have to worry about that issue anymore.  As for infection, I can only speak for my experience but Dakota has never had an issue, and she lives on a farm with horses and other animals..and lots of dirt lol.  I clean her ears the odd time but for the most part they don't really get that dirty.  I don't hear owners of other floppy eared breeds complain about ear infections so I don't think it's really that common of a problem.

That said, I think the cropped ears totally make the breed, so to speak.  There are lots of people who say it's not painful to the pup, and I won't regurgitate all of those arguments but I agree.  I think when it's done at the right age and by the right person there is nothing wrong about ear cropping.  All this "you're being cruel to the dog" nonsense is bullshit.  At the end of the day...we are the humans, we make the decisions, and there are a lot worse things we can do to our dogs than crop their ears.  As for wanting a "cool looking dog," yeah!  So what!  Part of the appeal of a doberman is how elegant and proud they look, and a well cropped ear is part of that look.  There is no shame in wanting a dog that looks good. 

blue4's picture
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Well said Sweetpea!!

HarleyBear's picture
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My husband is getting tired of people coming up to us thanking us for keeping his ears floppy.  Telling us that they like it so much better.  It drives him NUTS.  I know they mean well and smile.  But one of these days, he might tell them off (I just hope I won't be there when it happens).  

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were out with Harley and we met a fawn doberman with her ears cropped and her Owner.  We were having a nice conversation and this woman came up to us thanking us, wanting to see Harley, take a picture of him, telling us that we did the right thing..... in front of the woman with a doberman with cropped ears.  It was so RUDE.  

I think what bothers him (us) the most is that people tend to throw their opinions at you when we didn't ask for it.  Yeah we left his ears floppy, but that doesn't mean we'll do the same thing on the next dog.  Who knows?

chris b.'s picture
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Nupe, glad you brought this up. I love the look of a dobe with cropped ears. I didn't do our two for lots of reasons...2 puppies with ears bandaged at the same time...no way.  Another big reason, and probably the main one. When I lost my other Dobe, red male named Max, it was to cardio-myopithy, my vet said she had only seen that in large breed dogs with cropped ears. now, she had only been practicing for 11 or 12 yrs, and she is a bit of a kook, and I have never seen that anywhere else.  I know there are ALOT of very knowledgable breeders on this web site, I would love to hear what you all have to say.  I really would love to hear from some of you, I hesitated to bring it up because of the controversary  (thanks Nupe).

And to agree with Sweetpea, we have also never had an ear infection, and only clean them periodically.

Happydance's picture
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I'll say right up front that I love the look of the cropped ears.  But, IMO, there's NO WAY that it doesn't cause them pain.  I've said before, if I had a show quality dog, by all means I'd do it.  But I bought her knowing she'd just be my pet (my best friend LOL) so I talked my husband out of it.  As for ear infections, look at Sweetpeas' avatar, pretty much says it all.  They get plenty of air in their ears  LOL!!  The dogs we saw most with ear infections were dogs with heavy floppy ears, like spaniels.  We did see many many dogs with foxtails in their ears that left untreated would cause an ear infection.  I remember one time I was holding a rottie for an ear cleaning.  We were doing it on the floor instead of up on the treatment table.  I was kinda leaning over him, holding his head against me and holding his muzzle with my other hand.  He threw his head back in protest and pitched me across the room.  It was hysterical.

DJ's Dad's picture
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Oh, cropping is definitely a cosmetic thing to appease the owner, not the dog.  But, I love the way a cropped doberman looks, and have always had cropped dobes. I have never ever had one with natural ears.  Yes, I'm sure it is a little bit uncomfortable to the pup when its first done and they are posted, but I have said a million times, and I sincerely believe it: my females have never acted like the cropping was any more painful or uncomfortable than their spay surgery was when they were older.  Spaying is also an 'elective surgery' but seems to be much better accepted by the general public than cropping surgery.  The place I used to buy my dog food has a Nutro salesperson that comes there once a month to promote their brand and hand out coupons, etc, and she is from London.  She always tells me what a shame it is that I had Ziva's ears chopped off.  She says it like it's something nasty.  I never paid much attention to her attitude, but I switched dog food brands and buy at a different place now where nobody says anything snide about her cropped ears. 

Q Tip's picture
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My thoughts :) Never had an infection with Q's long ears and i inspect them a couple of times a week, My biggest worry is sand getting in the eardrum as it gets blustery here at times. So we have regualar cleaning sessions. In my opinion Q's ears protect them. Cropping is banned here anyway so i didnt have the choice. I do like the cropped look ut i wonder why the breed hasnt evolved so that dogs have naturally pointed stand  up ears like some breeds do?

Hickory67's picture
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I've heard that besides the protection of the dog, ear cropping was also done to improve the dog's sound identification/direction. Especially important with SAR dogs. That said, I'm fairly convinced that most people who crop their dogs' ears, be they dobes, forties, pits, or others, is cosmetic.

We were going to crop Gideon's ears, and it was for cosmetic reasons. We ended up changing our minds because he had an ear infection at 13 weeks and we didn't want to put him through the cropping on top of it. We have since grown to really like the floppy look, but I would never begrudge someone their decision to crop. Who knows...we may end up cropping the next one, if there are any vets left to do it by then.

Along with cropping, I didn't think I would get used to undocked tails...until I saw one in person at our SCH club. They're handsome dogs, either way.

axl1911's picture
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love the cropped ears..such a shame its illegal in australia

Wolfgirl_121's picture
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Sure, cropped ears are a cosmetic decision... but so is getting your one-year-olds ears pierced... and the dobe is asleep while it's happening. How can someone sit at the jewelers and hear their babies cry and scream for COSMETIC reasons, yet tell me that cropping a dogs ears under anesthesia is cruel. 

Hickory67's picture
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Well said, Wolfgirl.

Wolfgirl_121's picture
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Thank you Hickory... I thought so too.

laith's picture
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Personal decision! We decided to keep Laith's ears floppy because I believe that it is sort of like giving a baby a face-lift. Just something I didn't really want to go through -- or put him through if not necessary. I am not suggesting it is painful but it has to be an annoyance for puppies. 

Not sure if cropped ears are like this but Laith's ears STINK. I mean within 3-4 days I am cleaning hardcore again. So that may be a positive to cropping -- just general cleaning. 

I just tell people when they comment on the ears better not-cropped that it was just my decision and it was the best approach for me as a owner. It is no doubt a doberman looks COMPLETELY different with cropped ears. But for me -- I am more comfortable with my decision to keep Laith's floppy. And I am more comfortable with people approaching my dog not scared because of his "Look". 

laith's picture
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PS Laith wanted me to add he still is badass with floppy ears and looks like a mean-man-eating machine! :p

sweetpea's picture
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Ahaha!  Don't worry Laith, I doubt anyone is questioning your badass-ness...except maybe those who know about your cuddly side ;)

HarleyBear's picture
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Harley would like to join the floppy-eared bad-a** team!

Bad a** team: Please don't spill the beans that Harley is scared of vaccuums.  SHhhh!

D and Evie's picture
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Evie and I live in San Francisco with no backyard(just a back 'area' behind our apartment). That means Evie's at the dog park twice a day for at least an hour each time(whew! yes, it's a lot of work). But I'll chime in here -- I left her ears floppy as I wanted her to be more approachable in our urban environment. What I didn't really factor in with that decision was how easily a floppy ear can get opened from rough puppy-play. Her ear has been cut 3 times in the 11.5 months that I've had her(none by viciousness, just romping).  If you've ever had to deal with a healing ear you know it's not much fun. I know of another owner who had ongoing openings and re-openings for months until he got fed-up and had to get the vet to stich a wound that normally wouldn't require it.

 

The amount of time that Evie spends around and/or playing with other dogs is probably off the charts compared to many Dobermans but if I had to raise another pup in similar conditions I'd strongly consider cropping just to protect her ears if for no other reason.

 

Incidentally, I've been meaning to write a post on raising a pup in the city and the challenges there. Hopefully it'll help people decide on whether they can handle a Doberman whilst living in the city. 

Happydance's picture
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D, I've always wondered about that.  Dobermans take a ton of dedication, but you must be off the charts! 

D and Evie's picture
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Yes, Happydance -- it's been quite a year, I'm exhausted;)

HarleyBear's picture
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D & Evie, I would love to see a thread on it.  We live in Downtown San Jose on the third floor of an apartment and it was really really hard to housebreak our first dog.  It was also hard to teach Harley to hold it until he got to the bottom to relieve himself.  These are things people don't think about.  We are planning on moving to the East Bay this winter, so hopefully things will get easier once we are in Contra Costa County with a yard.  I agree about the ears getting torn up, Harley plays rough and his ears always have scratches. 

laith's picture
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It is hard living in the city. I can't imagine if I was in a city that wasn't dog friendly or orientated. Luckily, we have soooo many dog groomers, daycares, parks and training facilities! It is different. When I go to visit family in the back-country roads Laith is a completely different dog. HE LOVES open yards, running free, and just sitting in a open field with the sun hitting him LOVES IT. And I can trust him. 

Living in a city brings difficulty from having to walk down flights of steps to let them go to the restroom, having hundreds of neighbors and driving to give him privacy and off-leash time!

Joined: 2011-07-20

Clyde had a ripped ear.  Boomer is cropped but flopped, so he had a "unique" look.  :)  They were both rescues though, so we avoided the whole ear decision.  I think if I got a puppy I would leave them natural b/c I like to have as little hassle as possible in my life!  Puppies are difficult enough.  I actually prefer adult rescues even though they can come with their own issues.

rgreen4's picture
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Jake is my 14th, and I had to make the decision on 13 of them. Windy was four months old when I got her and her ears were already cropped. Jake has his appointment with the vet next Tuesday to get his cropped. My vet now puts them up with a cup immediately after the surgery, Princess was the first one I had that was done that way and it really helped a lot.

From what I have seen, the only time I have seen one indicate any pain is if they happen to catch a stitch with a toenail while scratching the itching cut while it is healing. The cup on top of Princess' head seemed to bother her more than the cropping.

The main argument I have heard about not doing it was that putting the pup under anesthetic is dangerous, and I would have to agree with that. I had one anethesiologist tell me before I was going to have surgery that I was not paying him to put me to sleep, I was paying him to wake me up! But, we put them under for spaying and teeth cleaning. Some get their teeth cleaned annually and at least the cropping and spaying is only once.

I agree it is every one's choice. I am fortunate that I have a vet who has done the ears of my dogs for almost 20 years. Now if he retired and I got another pup, I would have to think about it. They do look less itimidating with floppy ears.

In 1985, I visited the Boy Scout National Jamboree. Now at this point I had two Dobes, a black female (Windy) and red male (Hans) and they had already had one litter, so I was familiar with them. When I was touring the Jambo, there was a young lady who had a gorgeous red male with uncropped ears, but with a docked tail. No one was paying a bit of attention to them. I walked up, commented on her Dobe and commented that they really didn't know what breed he was. She said "Let's not tell them" and I laughed and said "OK" and went on my way.

HarleyBear's picture
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Good luck little Jake on Tuesday!  I am sending well wishes from Cali!

We are currently looking to move outside the city to a house in the East Bay and the realtor was telling me to make a "pet resume" and definetly include pictures because a picture of him with his floppy ears will make it easier to find a place to rent than just the word, "Doberman" on paper.

Just a thought!

laith's picture
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Or you could just say he is a german pointer (which isn't a lie) or a mix. I was hardcore at first in stand behind the breed but realized people don't give a flip! They have their rules and don't even know why.

Everywhere I have ever ask if they will give a doberman a chance- it is a in-person interview and then just references that he/she has been trained. :) 

Every dog should have that, in my opinion.