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Doberman Ears: How to Crop and Care for Them

doberman ears

Doberman Pinschers are a famous dog breed known for their sleek appearance and loyal temperament. One of the most distinctive features of this breed is its ears. Doberman ears can either be cropped or left natural, which has sparked a debate among dog owners and breeders.

Cropping Doberman ears is a surgical procedure that involves removing a portion of the ear flap and then taping and bandaging the remaining portion to encourage it to stand upright. This practice has been around for centuries and was initially done to protect working dogs from injuries. 

However, the practice has become more controversial recently, with some arguing that it is unnecessary and cruel. On the other hand, proponents of ear cropping argue that it is necessary to maintain the breed’s appearance and that it can also help prevent ear infections.

Doberman Ear Cropping: Pros and Cons

Doberman ear cropping is a controversial surgical procedure that removes part of the ears to make them stand upright.



One of the main reasons why people choose to crop their Doberman’s ears is for appearance. Cropped ears give the Doberman a more muscular and vigilant look, which is desirable for many owners. Additionally, cropped ears are a breed standard for Doberman Pinschers in some countries.


Dobermans are often used as guard dogs because of their loyalty, strength, and intelligence. Cropped ears can make them appear more intimidating, which can be advantageous in their role as protection dogs.

Health Benefits

Some owners believe that cropped ears can provide health benefits to their Dobermans. For example, it can reduce the risk of ear infections by improving air circulation in the ear canal. Additionally, it can prevent ear injuries during activities such as hunting or working.


Surgical Risks

Ear cropping is a surgical procedure with risks such as bleeding, infection, and anesthesia complications. Additionally, the Doberman may experience pain and discomfort during the healing process.

Lack of Medical Necessity

The American Veterinary Medical Association states that ear cropping is a cosmetic procedure that provides no medical benefit to the dog. The procedure is not necessary for the Doberman’s health or well-being.


Ear cropping is a controversial practice banned in some countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association also opposes ear cropping, stating that it is a form of animal cruelty.

Difficulties with Ear Posting

After the ear cropping procedure, the Doberman’s ears must be posted to ensure they stand upright. This can be a difficult and time-consuming process that requires expertise and patience. Additionally, improper ear posting can lead to ear deformities or infections.

Reasons for Doberman Ear Cropping

Doberman ear cropping is a controversial surgical procedure that involves removing a part of the ear to make it stand up straight. While the practice is banned in some countries, it is still legal and commonly performed in others, especially in the United States. Here are some reasons why some Doberman owners opt for ear cropping:

Aesthetics and Breed Standards

Dobermans are known for their muscular bodies and pointed ears, which give them a distinctive appearance. Some owners believe that cropped ears make their dogs look more intimidating and attractive, enhancing the breed’s overall appearance.

Additionally, the American Kennel Club (AKC) and other kennel clubs recognize cropped ears as part of the Doberman breed standard for show dogs.

Functional Benefits: Improved Sound Localization and Reduced Ear Infections

Some Doberman owners and breeders claim that cropped ears improve their dogs’ ability to hear and localize sounds, making them better guard dogs.

Additionally, because the ear canal is more open and exposed, it is less prone to infections caused by moisture and debris buildup, which can be common in dogs with floppy ears.

Protection against Future Injuries

Doberman ears are naturally long and floppy, making them vulnerable to injuries during fights or running through thick brush. By cropping the ears, owners can reduce the risk of ear injuries and protect their dogs from future pain and discomfort.

While ear cropping has some potential benefits, it is essential to note that the procedure has downsides. The surgery is painful and requires general anesthesia, which can be risky for some dogs, especially those with bleeding disorders.

Additionally, the healing process can be uncomfortable and requires careful aftercare, including ear posting, to ensure that the ears heal upright.

Doberman Ear Care

Regular ear care is essential for Doberman Pinschers if they have cropped ears. Proper ear care can prevent infections and other ear-related health issues. It is essential to clean and care for your Doberman’s ears regularly to maintain their health.

Cleaning and Caring for Doberman Ears

Cleaning your Doberman’s ears should be done regularly. You can use a gentle ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian to clean your ears. It is critical to avoid using cotton swabs or other objects that can damage their ears.

Follow the veterinarian’s aftercare instructions for Doberman ear cropping. The healing process can take several weeks; during this time, the ears should be kept clean and dry. Ear posting may also be required to help the ears stand upright.

Maintenance Requirements for Different Styles of Cropped Ears

Different styles of cropped ears require different maintenance requirements. The show crop, for example, is the longest and narrowest of the three styles and requires more maintenance than the other two styles. The ears should be taped regularly to ensure they stand upright.

Breeders who perform ear cropping should provide aftercare instructions and offer support to new owners. It is essential to follow their instructions carefully to ensure the best possible outcome for your Doberman’s ears.

Health Benefits of Proper Ear Care

Proper ear care in Doberman Pinschers can prevent infections and other ear-related health issues. Regular maintenance and cleaning are critical.

In addition, proper ear care can also help maintain your Doberman’s hearing. Ear infections and other ear-related issues can cause hearing loss, harming your Doberman’s quality of life.

Doberman Ear Training

Doberman’s ears are a distinctive feature of the breed, and many owners choose to crop their ears for aesthetic reasons. However, it is essential to note that ear cropping is a personal choice and unnecessary for a healthy and happy Doberman.

Desensitizing and conditioning natural ears

If you choose to keep your Doberman’s ears natural, desensitizing and conditioning their ears from a young age is crucial. This will help prevent ear infections and make it easier to clean their ears regularly.

To desensitize your Doberman to ear handling, gently touch and rub their ears while giving them treats. Gradually increase the time you spend touching their ears, and reward them for good behavior.

Regular ear massages and exercises can condition your Doberman’s ears to stand erect. Gently massage their ears and use your fingers to help shape their ear cartilage. You can also use ear supports or headgear to help train your ears to stand upright.

Training cropped ears to stand erect

If you crop your Doberman’s ears, ear training is essential to ensure their ears stand erect. Ear cropping involves surgically removing a portion of the ear flap and shaping the remaining cartilage to create an erect ear.

After surgery, keeping the ears clean and dry is vital to prevent infection. Ear posting is commonly used to train cropped ears to stand erect. This involves inserting support into the ear canal and wrapping the ears with tape to hold them in place.

Ear posting should be done regularly for several months to ensure the ears stand upright. Working with a veterinarian or experienced breeder is crucial to ensure proper ear posting techniques are used to prevent injury or infection.

Tips for successful training

Whether you choose to keep your Doberman’s ears natural or crop them, here are some tips for successful ear training:

  • Start training early: Begin desensitizing and conditioning your Doberman’s ears from a young age to make the process easier and less stressful.
  • Be patient: Ear training takes time and patience. It may take several months for your Doberman’s ears to stand erect, so be consistent with your training and don’t give up.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward your Doberman for good behavior during ear training. This will help them associate ear handling with positive experiences.
  • Seek professional help: Seek assistance from a veterinarian or experienced breeder for effective Doberman ear training. They offer valuable guidance and support.


The decision to crop or leave Doberman ears natural is a personal choice, but it’s important to consider various factors. While ear cropping is banned in many countries and considered unnecessary by veterinarians and animal welfare organizations, natural ears require regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent issues. 

Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for overall health. The well-being and comfort of the dog should be the primary consideration rather than aesthetic or cultural preferences.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Ear cropping and tail docking do not affect a Doberman’s temperament.
  • Regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent common ear infections in Dobermans.
  • Leaving Doberman ears naturally requires regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent infections and other issues.
  • Regular veterinarian check-ups ensure the overall health and well-being of your dog.
  • The decision to crop or leave Doberman ears natural should prioritize the dog’s comfort and happiness above any perceived aesthetic or cultural preference.