Many people are curious why Dobermanns (Doberman Pinschers) have their ears cropped. Some people believe it’s cruel and cause them pain, while others think they need to do it for the dog’s safety! Let’s take a moment to explore both sides of this argument.

Dobermanns have their ears cropped for a variety of reasons. Many believe cropping the ears gives dogs a more aesthetically pleasing look. Historically, the practice was thought to make the dogs more intimidating and more able to hear potential threats. However, some animal welfare organisations have argued that cropping is unnecessary and cruel.

Ear cropping is a surgical procedure veterinarians perform on puppies between 6 and 16 weeks old. It involves the removal of part or all of the external flaps of the ear and is done under general anaesthesia. After the procedure, the dog must endure weeks of healing and pain.

Is ear cropping illegal?

Ear cropping is illegal in many countries, including Europe and Australia. However, it is unrestricted in Canada and the United States. 

The U.K.

Yes, Ear cropping is illegal in England and Wales. According to Section 5 of Britain’s Animal Welfare Act 2006, it would be against the law if an individual or vet were to crop a dog’s ears unless it’s for clear medical reasons such as cancer.

The U.S.

The U.S. government has not widely passed any law to stop the practice of cropping a dog’s ears. However, states can regulate this treatment independently and enforce it as they see fit for each state or city. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) opposes docking and cropping dogs’ ears because there is no medical benefit in changing such an animal’s appearance.


Canada has no federal law banning pet cosmetic surgery. However, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association opposes surgical alterations not for the dog’s benefit but merely for decorative purposes.


In Australia, ear cropping is prohibited except in cases where a veterinarian has obtained permission from an animal welfare officer and provided consent for the procedure due to an injury or illness of the dog.

Countries That Ban Dog Ear Cropping

Australia Yes
Austria Yes
Bosnia and Herzegovina Yes
Brazil Yes
Czech RepublicYes
New ZealandYes
Northern IrelandYes
South AfricaYes
Virgin IslandsYes
List of countries that have banned ear cropping of dogs

Argument – Ear Cropping

See below the opinions of the different sides of ear cropping.

In favour of Ear Cropping

  • Cropping protects the dog’s ears from infection.
  • Ear cropping makes the dog perceived as more aggressive, fierce and dominant.
  • It’s the correct standard for the dog breed to enter competitions.
  • Removing the outer ear can improve hearing.
  • Protects the dog ears from getting caught whilst out hunting or guarding, less grabbing hold of or getting seen on the foliage.

Against Ear Cropping

  • Cropping is inhumane because it alters the natural state of an animal. 
  • Ear cropping is painful and completely unnecessary.
  • Ear cropping can become infected after surgery.
  • The wrong impression is given due to the fierce look when ears are cropped.
  • Body language is affected, as the ear can give off emotional signs of how a dog is feeling.

Let’s Keep Them Floppy

Adult Dobermann with cropped ears and a puppy with natural floppy ears laying on the grass
The difference between cropped and naturally floppy ears

The original Dobermann breed and the Doberman Pinscher are all born with lovely smooth floppy ears. The ears of these dogs only stand up due to the cropping of the ears. However, I think they look much nicer with their original floppy ears.

Dobermann Puppy Ears Appearance 

Dobermann and Dobermann Pinscher puppies have floppy ears, lovely and wide proportionately to the size of their head. The inside is smooth and pink, with a soft, thin layer of hair that will darken as they mature into adulthood.

Cropping The Dobermann Ears 

The puppy is sedated, and the floppy part of its ear is cut off. The dog’s ears are sewn up, and foam blocks or ‘posts’ are inserted inside them to make it stand upright again. This process is usually performed on puppies between 6-16 weeks old.

After 12 weeks, the ear’s cartilage will start to harden. However, the posts could remain in the puppy’s ears until they stand erect. And this could take up to 6 months. The wounds can bleed quite a bit, and regular dressing changes are required to prevent infection.

Puppies at this age should be puppies, running around, playing, and in no pain whatsoever. When the ears are cropped, they are in pain during the healing process. The posts inserted into the ears must be looked after and can get in the way of playtime and learning.

Is it cruel to crop a dog’s ears?

The answer to this question is subjective and depends on the individual’s opinion. Some people believe that ear cropping is cruel and unnecessary, while others believe it is a necessary procedure for certain breeds of dogs. We can agree that it’s a painful procedure for any dog.

How long does it take for Doberman ears to stand?

On average, it takes Doberman Pinschers 6-10 weeks for their ears to stand. To ensure the ears stand correctly, the puppy should be seen and have its ears posted every 2-7 days until they are standing. In some cases, posting may be necessary beyond six months of age.

Cleaning a Dobermanns Floppy Ears

Cleaning a Dobermann’s Floppy Ears is important to keep your pup healthy and happy. To do this safely, gently wipe the ear with damp cotton wool to remove dirt or wax. Ensure to clean the inside of the floppy ear, the ear pinna, and the ear canal entrance. It’s important to use a new and clean piece of cotton wool for each ear to reduce the risk of infection. This should be done every few weeks or, if there is build-up, and when the ears are wet.

A a gorgeous Dobermann dog with floppy ears.
Keep Floppy Ears Clean

What should I look for when checking my dog’s ears?


Signs of redness and yellow pus indicate an infection that will need veterinary attention.


If you notice any dark, crumbly reddish-brown discharge, this could be a sign of ear mites. Ear mites also have a swampy smell. If you expect this, it will need veterinary attention, usually resolved by ear drops. Don’t be tempted to create any home remedies to get rid of ear mites in dogs, as they can do more damage than good. Always go to the vet! 

Excess wax build-up

It can be problematic if you find more than the usual wax or a very dark colour. However, wax in a dog’s ear is standard and can be of orange to brown colour. Your dog will need veterinary attention if you believe there is a problem. Do not try and stick anything in the ear canal to remove the wax. Your vet will more than likely prescribe you a safe wax-cleaning solution. 

Wet Ears

When your dog gets wet from the rain, swimming or bath, you must always dry the ears off to avoid bacteria growth. Use a clean cloth and gently wipe the ears inside.

Ear Cleaning Solution

Depending on your dog’s ears, you can use an ear cleaner. However, over-cleaning can irritate the ear canal, leading to infection. Most dogs have healthy, clean ears and never need to be cleaned by an ear-cleaning solution.

Your vet can recommend an ear-cleaning solution for your dog if needed. However, a wipe-down with just a piece of damp cotton wool is required for most dogs, even with floppy ears. 

If you notice that your dog is scratching their ears or shaking its head excessively, or the area around the ear is red, always consult your veterinarian.


Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann first created the medium-built dog around the 1870s in Germany. Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann was a tax collector who also ran a dog pound. He made these dogs assist him on his tax rounds in Germany. Later, this dog breed was commercialised and altered to become the known offspring called the Doberman Pinscher, which is similar to the Dobermann but more petite, elegant and less aggressive.

Doberman Pinscher male on a walk, he has cropped ears and docked tail in a chained slip collar.
Doberman Pinscher with cropped ears and docked tail

Cropped Ears Dog Breeds

  • American bullies
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Boston Terriers
  • Boxers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Dobermann
  • Great Danes
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Pitbull
  • Saint Miguel Cattle Dog
  • Schnauzers
  • Staffordshire bull terriers


Ear cropping is banned in many countries, and veterinarians have confirmed that it’s not necessary. Not only does this process cause pain for the Dobermann dogs, but there are also risks like infection or complications with anaesthesia, which could lead to serious health issues.

I certainly say let’s keep them floppy!

Would you like to get a Dobermann dog? If so, read this article and determine if they will fit into your family.

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