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Great Dane Ear Cropping 101

A dog’s ears are arguably their most adorable feature. You just can’t top the cuteness of a dog’s ears perking up when they hear your footsteps or see a treat coming their way. Great Dane ear cropping is one way to ensure just the right look.

Ears come in many different shapes and sizes, much like dog breeds themselves. Usually, dogs keep their naturally shaped floppy ears intact.

However, there are some breeds including Great Danes, Pitbulls, Dobermans, and Schnauzerswhere ear cropping is common.

Great Dane ear cropping

What is Great Dane ear cropping?

Great Dane ear cropping is a veterinary procedure involving the removal of part or all of the pinnae, which is the externally visible flap of the ear. Post-surgical care requires a process known as posting to help the ears maintain their vertical appearance.

Why are Great Dane ears cropped?

With that in mind, you may be wondering why exactly the cropping process is used. Let’s take a look at both the historical and modern reasons for it.

Historical Reasoning

Ear cropping is an ancient practice. It was first seen in Great Danes when the breed was used primarily to hunt wild boar in Europe.

A boar is a pretty ferocious beast and hunting them is a challenge and often dangerous task. When more and more dogs began to suffer severe injuries from being bitten, cut, or torn from the sharp teeth and tusks – something needed to be done.

It was decided that part of the ear should be removed to prevent damage during boar hunting.

Humans also cropped Great Dane’s ears because they believed it prevented certain health problems, like ear infections. Although not supported by studies, some believe that dogs with shorter ears suffer fewer ear infections.

It is claimed that when a Great Dane’s ear hangs down over the ear canal, moisture can get trapped inside, allowing bacteria to grow and increase the possibility of infection.

When the ears are standing, moisture is more easily wicked from the ear through evaporation. Thus, more people opt to have their Great Danes cropped so they can minimize their risk of contracting infections.

Modern Reasons

The need of wanting to achieve a certain look plays a big factor in whether a Great Dane owner should crop their pup’s ears.

Since ear cropping no longer serves the purpose of protecting against other animals while hunting and breeding fighting dogs is a (hopefully) discontinued tradition, cropping ears nowadays is merely a personal preference.

Through the ages, certain breeds like Great Danes, Dobermans, Schnauzers, and Pitbulls have been recognized by the distinctive look of their heads and ears.

Many people enjoy the aesthetic look of shorter ears on a Great Dane. Some even decide to crop in order to convey a more aggressive or athletic appearance.

It is a fairly popular opinion since approximately 130,000 puppies a year in the United States get their ears cropped.

When is Great Dane ear cropping done?

With Great Dane ear cropping, it’s earlier the better. If you choose to crop your Great Dane pup, it should be between 7 and 10 weeks old.

If your puppy is older than 12 weeks, it’s almost too late. When a puppy is this old, the procedure is more painful for the dog and will have lasting psychological trauma.

How is cropping done?

To put it simply, cropping is the process of cutting the dog’s ears to obtain the desired shape.

Licensed veterinarians will perform the procedure on a puppy of the appropriate age. During the process, general anesthesia is used to numb and sedate the pup allowing the vet to remove over half of each ear.

Afterward, the ears are either wrapped up with gauze or held in place with foam and glue after the surgery. This helps train the ears to stand erect.

After about 10 days, the stitches will be removed by the vet. The puppy’s ears will then be taped up in an upright, firm position. Once the stitches are removed, your puppy will be cleared to go home.

As with any surgery, it is important to remember that there are risks involved with putting an animal under anesthesia.

There is also no guarantee on the results of the cropping in terms of size, style, or quality. All puppies heal differently and skill level varies from vet to vet.

Post-Surgery Care

As many come to find out, the process doesn’t end after the surgery. Cropping is a time-consuming commitment that requires months of care.

Average duties include wrapping, posting, and bandaging your dog’s ears. The average healing time can range from six weeks to ten months. It takes quite a patient soul to care for a post-surgery crop pup!

If their ears are not cared for properly, it is likely it will not look how you intended. It can even result in bent or disfigured ears that will be scarred for life.

Also, despite proper caring, it is important to note that there is no guarantee that the ears will stand correctly, or even stand for that matter! It is a risk that you take when choosing to crop your Great Dane.

For more information about caring for your Great Dane, make sure to take a look at my book “The Great Dane Puppy Handbook” which packages everything together into one easy-to-read guide!

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Ethics of Great Dane ear cropping

Including some vets, many believe that continuing the practice of ear cropping is inhumane. Cropping has no significant medical justification and it is done largely out of personal preference or tradition.

Some argue that that is not a valid reason to put an animal through the pain and trauma of cutting their ears in half.

The aspect of animal cruelty comes into play since surgically altering a puppy’s ears has no advantage to the dog. Some vets will even refuse to perform the procedure, citing that they are looking out for the dog’s wellbeing.

Although it is not regulated in the United States, ear cropping is illegal in Australia, Canada, and most of Europe.

What kind of Great Dane ear crops are there?

While there are many variations of Great Dane ear cropping, they all fall into two main categories. The show crop and the pet crop.

Show crop

Great Dane show crop example.
Great Dane show crop example.

The pet crop is elegant and beautiful. It gives the appearance of longer and taller ears. With this type of crop, wrapping and posting the ears is crucial in order for them to stand erect.

This style usually has a greater risk of not standing and is a lengthy process that requires a lot of love and care. 

Pet Crop

Great Dane pet crop example.
Great Dane pet crop example.

The pet crop is usually the most common and popularly depicted. It gives the puppy a very clean and nice appearance. It’s also easier to maintain than the show crop.

Most Great Danes require a few months of posting until their ears are ready to stand on their own.

To crop or not to crop?

Ultimately, cropping your Great Dane’s ears is your decision. However, it is not one that you should take lightly.

Once you consider the risks and decide to move forward, be sure you will be able to give your Great Dane the love and attention it needs throughout the healing process.

Regardless of your decision to keep the ears natural or cropped, your pup will always be a beautiful companion and bring endless joy into your life.

For more Great Dane-specific information like this, make sure to take a look at The Great Dane Puppy Handbook. This short book compiles all of the need to know puppy information into a single simple guide.

We hope that you found this information helpful. Before you go, make sure to take a look at our favorite products for Great Danes!

9 thoughts on “Great Dane Ear Cropping 101”

  1. I can’t believe ear cropping is not yet banned in the US.. It honestly disgusts me that people still do this to their dogs.

      • I disagree, permanent modifications of any creature other than yourself such as cropping, scarification, tattoos or chipping are considered inhumane. If this was a child being chipped, tattooed or scarred for cosmetic reasons the lynch mob would be called in. The only reason this is being viewed as acceptable is because this is an animal. It is both barbaric and unnecessary. To modify anyone other than yourself for cosmetic reasons is indeed inhumane. Could you picture someone grabbing you off the street, drugging you and than you wake up hours later with parts of you removed or tattooed?

  2. Hello! I’ve been reading your website for a long time now and
    finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from
    Porter Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic work!

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