close up of a Dobermann with cropped ears

Why Do Dobermanns Have Their Ears Cropped? (Lets Keep Them Floppy)

A lot of people are curious about why Dobermanns (Doberman Pinscher) have their ears cropped. Some people believe it’s cruel and causes 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 ear’s cropped as it’s believed to be for their safety as a working dog; however, this is questionable for a family dog. It’s a cruel and painful process to crop a Dobermanns ear. Some countries have outlawed the act of cropping dogs ears, yet this practise still exists in some parts of the world.

What is ear cropping in dogs?

Cropping is the removal of part or all of the external flaps of an animal’s ear. It’s a surgical procedure performed by veterinarians to alter the appearance of a dog. The surgery is carried out under general anaesthesia on a puppy between 6 and 16 weeks old. A dog then has to go through the pain of healing for weeks after the procedure. 

Is ear cropping illegal?

In most countries, ear cropping is illegal, such as most of Europe and Australia. However, in Canada and U.S. is unrestricted. See below list. 

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, individual states are left to 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 that are not for the dog’s benefit and merely for cosmetic purposes.


Ear cropping in Australia is illegal, but only if your dog has been injured or fallen ill. If this is the case, then a veterinarian with permission from an animal welfare officer will operate as long as they have given their consent first.

Countries That Ban Dog Ear Cropping

Australia Banned
Austria Banned
Bosnia and Herzegovina Banned
Brazil Banned
Czech RepublicBanned
New ZealandBanned
Northern IrelandBanned
South AfricaBanned
Virgin IslandsBanned
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. “There is no evidence to support this theory.”
  • Ear cropping gives the dog a perceived as being more aggressive, fierce and dominant.
  • It’s the correct standard for the dog breed to be entered into competitions.
  • Removing the outer ear can improve hearing. “There is no evidence to support this theory.”
  • Protects the dog ears from getting caught whilst out hunting or guarding, less grabbing hold of or getting or caught 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. “Dobermann dogs are very loyal, protective and friendly.”
  • 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. All governments should banish the barbaric procedure, and dog owners, breeders, handlers should all love the born Dobermanns floppy ears once and for all.

Dobberman 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 on top that will darken over time as they mature into adulthood.

Cropping The Dobermann Ears 

The puppy is sedated, and the floppy part of their 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 the ears stand erect on their own. And this could take up to a year. The wounds can bleed quite a bit, and regular dressing changes are required to prevent infection.

Puppies are 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 that are inserted into the ears need to be looked after and can get in the way of playtime and learning.

Is it cruel to crop a dog’s ears?

Yes, this procedure is painful and unnecessary. Cropping does not provide any benefits for the animal—it can be detrimental to their health, behaviour and welfare. That’s why many countries have banned the ear cropping of dogs.

Cleaning A Dobermanns Ears

With the false claim that not cropping a dog’s ear can cause an ear infection, let’s learn how to safely clean a dog’s ears. Like any dog with floppy ears, you should always clean the ears and dry them off when wet. Don’t overcomplicate the process. See below.

  • Gently wipe the ear with a piece of damp cotton wool to remove any dirt or wax. Complete this on the inside of the floppy ear, the ear pinna and the ear canal entrance.
  • Never use the same piece of cotton wool on both ears. Use a new and clean piece of cotton wool for each ear. Using a new piece of cotton wool on each ear will cut down the risk of possible infection.
  • Complete this every few weeks. Or, if there is minimal build-up, then complete this only when wet and once a month.
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 indicates 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, which is 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 vets! 

Excess wax build-up

It can be a problem if you find more than usual wax or very dark in colour. However, wax in a dogs ear is standard and can be of orange to brown colour. If you believe there is a problem, your dog will need veterinary attention. 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 make sure you dry the ears off to avoid any bacteria growth. Use a clean cloth and gently wipe the ears inside.

Ear Cleaning Solution

Depending on your dog’s ears, you could use an ear cleaner. However, over-cleaning can irritate the ear canal, and this can lead to infection. Most dogs have healthy, clean ears and never need to have their ears 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 if they have floppy ears. 

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


Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann first created the medium-build 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, more elegant and less aggressive looking.

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

Common Dogs breeds that have their ears cropped

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


Ear cropping is now 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 lets keep them floppy!

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

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