Health

Great Dane Ear Cropping – Is It Necessary Or Cruel

Great Dane Ear Cropping
Written by Adriana

Great Dane Ear cropping started a long time ago and is a tradition because the breed was used primarily to hunt wild boar in Europe.

Hunting boar is a dangerous and often challenging task, as they are very ferocious beasts. 

A solution needed to be found because many of the hunting dogs started to have severe injuries from being cut, bitten, or torn from the boar’s sharp teeth and tusks.

To avoid injury during boar hunting, it was decided that part of the Great Dane ear should be removed.

Even though Great Dane ear cropping is an ancient practice, many people consider as cruel toward animals.

However, other people believe that ear cropping is needed for dogs like Great Danes simply because of aesthetics. They believe that the dog may look better because had their ears cropped. 

At What Age Can You Crop Your Great Dane’s Ears

Great Dane Puppy Ear Cropping

Without a doubt, ear cropping is a painful process for your Great Dane to go through. That said, your dog’s age is crucial to how the ear cropping surgery would turn out.

In general, 6-8 weeks is the best age for Great Dane pups to have the ear cropping performed.

When the Great Dane dog gets older than 10 weeks, the ear cartilage has already developed, the latest age you should crop your Great Dane ears is 10 weeks. This is because ear cropping done after the age of 10 weeks would not give the desired look. 

The older a Great Dane puppy is, the longer it usually takes to heal. Also, when the dog becomes a bit older, the chances of complications after the surgery of a Great Dane is higher.

Additionally, if done after 10 weeks, the ear cropping surgery would be a more painful process for the dog. Therefore, you should crop your Great Dane ears before he gets too old to have it done.

What Do Great Dane’s Ears Look Like

Great Dane Ear Cropping After Care

The Great Dane naturally has downward ears but those who have had the procedure done have upside ears.

Great Danes that don’t have cropped ears are normally floppy, and they tend to look more natural. In comparison, when Great Dane dogs have cropped ears, they have a refined look with straight standing ears.

Unless he has certain medical problems, you would scarcely find a European Great Dane with his ears cropped.

Conversely, the Great Danes in America. that are awarded as champions at major competitions are dogs who have cropped their ears. Many aspiring Great Dane owners decide to have the procedure done because of this.

The Reasons Why People Crop Great Dane’s Ears 

This practice continues for many reasons, which are:

They Were Initially Bred As Hunting dogs

Great Danes were used as hunting dogs in times gone. Because the dog’s opponent during hunting may target the ears, many dog owners believe that ear cropping will reduce the likelihood of damage to the dog’s ears while hunting.

And since hunting is not done on that scale anymore, it would lead some to question why this is still a common practice.

Some Dog Shows Require It

In their efforts to adhere to rules and in attempts to win, numerous dog parents that take part in competitions for dogs and feel like they need to perform an ear-crop on their Great Dane.

But this is slowly changing because until recent times if certain breeds didn’t have their ears cropped, they were prohibited from competing or probably wouldn’t win if they did.

For Certain Breeds, It is Standard

Breed Standards is the reason why many dogs are subjected to this surgery. The way the dog looks is often of more importance than the dog’s wellbeing and health purposes.

This is because the way the dog looks seems to hold more weight than how he will function after ear cropping.

It is no secret that, many people still believe that certain dogs should look in a particular way to be accepted. For this reason, certain breeds have an ear cropping standard. 

Great Dane Puppy Ears Cropping

To Avoid Infections

Though not substantiated by research, many people believe that the chances of infections may be reduced by ear cropping in some breeds.

They think that dogs who have ears that are floppy would be more likely to be infected because they tend to hold on to more moisture. However, the research shows that infection is not caused by floppy ears. 

To Improve Hearing

Ear cropping was also thought to have aided in the hearing of dogs. However, the research shows little to no evidence of this.

Is It Cruel To Crop Great Dane’s Ears? 

People have mixed feeling on the subject of ear cropping and numerous people feel that it is a cruel practice, but others do not. These are the negative effects on your Great Dane:

Life-Long Trauma – The ordeal that dogs must undergo is agonizing and it lasts for weeks. This can be very distressing.

There is no real way to tell how animals, deal with pain and distress. Due to this hurtful experience, your Great Dane may develop more violent or withdrawn tendencies.

Increases the Risk of Infections – The ear stays at risk for infection because it takes weeks and sometimes even months for the ear to adequately heal. Cropping a Great Dane’s ears can cause your dog to be even more prone to infections, even though many believe it will be less.

Sensitivity – The cartilage of a Great Danes contains many nerve endings. These nerve endings are even more delicate when the ears are cropped.

Your puppy will be placed on painkillers for a few days and is in such excruciating pain that even a soft bump or touch could start horrible pain to the nerve endings.

Not only that but, the ear’s sensitivity might never completely heal in many puppies therefore they must live in continuous hurt and uneasiness for their whole lives.

Cropped Ears Are Seen as More Aggressive and Dangerous – Great Danes with their ears cropped are sometimes viewed as aggressive and dangerous. The reason for is that it was a sign of a hunting dog. 

Dogs Use Their Tails and Ears to Communicate – It is important that dogs have full use of their ears and tail so that they will be able to communicate with other dogs and their owner.

For example, putting their ears down is an indication of reception and compliance. Their full ability to communicate is taken away with ear cropping.

The Ear Cropping Procedure

Great Dane Vet

An experienced and professional Veterinarian is essential to have if you want a successful ear cropping surgery for your Great Dane. Before undergoing cropping surgery, there are numerous factors that the vet must consider through analysis and examination.

The vet would need to gauge the current physical status of your Great Dane dog by doing a physical examination of his health. This is because not all dogs are fit for surgery and may have conditions that prevent a successful procedure.

After this physical examination, your vet will most likely ask you a series of questions. The purpose of this brief interview would be to inform him of any possible risks of the Great Dane ear cropping surgery.

He would also need to get some guidance from you about what you want the Great Dane dog ears to look like after ear cropping procedure.

After examining and evaluating the status of your dog as well as your expectations, the veterinarian would give your dog anesthesia and begin the ear cropping procedure.

Proper bandaging, pain medications, and care after ear cropping surgery are crucial to your dog’s healing.

Great Dane Ear Cropping Styles 

Pet Crop

Also called a medium crop, the pet crop style gives your Great Dane a regal look. It is also easy to upkeep and the shortest style. The drawback is that it is seen as the hardest crop style to do because of the shape of the ear.

Please ensure that your Great Dane is careful to hold the shape while healing. Because of this, you should ensure to consult an experienced veterinarian to have your Great Dane ears cropped.

Long Show Crop

This crop is preferred by Great Dane parents who participate in competitions. This style results in taller and longer crops when compared to the pet crop because it preserves the Great Dane ear’s total length.

The drawback is that for the long crop, you are required to wait a bit longer in comparison to the pet crop. Your dog would spend more time in post-op, bandaging long show style. The dangers are also greater and there is no guarantee of your dog’s ears standing when the ear cropping surgery is performed.

Medium Long Crop

This style is also long but not as long as the long show crop. With this style, your dog requires time to heal totally, but it usually requires less time than the Long Show style.

The medium-long style is also safer when it comes to chances of being erect.

How To Find A Good Vet That Can Crop Your Great Dane’s Ears

If you’ve concluded that ear cropping seems to be the best choice to make for your Great Dane, you should source the best veterinarian to do the surgery.

Firstly, you should research the most experienced and reasonable vet. Then you need to see your vet to ensure that your puppy can deal with the anesthesia needed for the procedure. A blood test may be required.

Great Dane Ears Care

You can also carry a picture and the names of the crops style that you want to be done. Your vet will be able to let you know if he can perform that style of the crop. These questions are important because a certain crop style may be outside the range of your vet’s capabilities.

It is a good idea to speak to your vet about what you should to prepare your dog for surgery the night before. There is usually a recommendation to stay away from foods before the surgery.

Can Your Crop Older Great Dane’s Ears?

Yes, an older Great Dane could. In theory, a Great Dane’s age shouldn’t prevent him from having his ears cropped. The truth is that this surgery can be done even if the dog is older.

The problem is that to avoid too much pain and distress, it is done when the puppy is younger. 

They do this because the cartilage gets harder with age, so a younger pup means softer cartilage to deal with. The recovery process will also be faster and more successful at a younger age.

Some vets will not do the ear cropping surgery after your Great Dane has passed a specific age even though there is no age limit to having the procedure done. Even so, some veterinarians do not care and will do the surgery despite weight or age.

Ear Cropping & Legal Aspect

The practice of ear cropping has lessened, due to the stricter laws, and the many people bringing awareness to the plight of animals. There have been efforts to stop this practice altogether by many lawmakers, organizations, pet owners, and vets, but the work continues. 

The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Canadian Kennel Clubs have not prohibited the practice with the AKC saying that it is to preserve and define breed character. Many animal rights organizations do not agree with this stance. 

On the other hand, the American Veterinary Medical Association does not agree with it. However, other organizations, like the American Humane Association, have yet to come to a conclusion on the issue.

Cropping your dog’s ear in not legal in the majority of Europe and Australia. In the USA, restrictions on ear-cropping have been met with some push back. Nevertheless,

 some provinces in Canada have put a stop to the practice, and there strict legal guidelines in others.

Great Dane Without Cropped Ears

For the dog, ear cropping is a lot of needless hurt and distress with no real benefit. Additionally, they require use of their ears for proper communication through their body language.  Also, the softer edges of the ear look great on a Great Dane, which adds to their charm.

Great Danes have downward floppy ears but those who have had the procedure done have upside ears.

Great Danes that don’t have cropped ears are normally floppy, and they tend to look more natural and light-hearted. On the other hand, when Great Dane dogs have cropped ears, they have a refined look with straight standing ears.

Great Dane Ear Cropping Prices & Recovery Time

Ear cropping could be a pricey job from a vet, especially because more and more vets are unwilling to do them because of legislation. Usually, the veterinary doctor would charge around $500-$600 to crop Great Dane ears. 

Great Dane Ears Cropping

The Great Dane’s ear cropping cost can change with your location and also the vet you have chosen to get your Great Dane ears cropped from.

Keep in mind that this depends on the skill of the vet, not the amount of money you pay. This cost will cover everything, such as the medications, anesthesia, procedure itself, and subsequent visits.

Your dog will need around 10 -14 days to recover from the ear cropping procedure, especially because it involves cartilage. He will be required to wear an ear rack or tape during this time to keep the ear in place.

Great Dane Ear Cleaning & Health

Great Dane ears in its natural state tend to develop moisture within because they are floppy, folded, and enclosed.  This along with sufficient warmth leads to infections. These conditions are viewed as major factors that cause ear problems in the Great Dane.

Since Great Dane cropped ears are typically in an erect position, it provides the ears a shape and structure that is open to the air.

Therefore, some believe that it is less prone to infections. Great Dane ear problems may be caused by other factors like ear infections and also diet and food allergies.

Many Great Danes are allergic to commercial dog food, while others have an allergic reaction to chicken.

Final Words

The Great Dane dog parents who are opposed to ear cropping because of animal cruelty are not wrong. The amount of agony, the dog goes through in the ear cropping process, can’t be understated.

Not only that but they have to go through the process of heal which requires their ears to be held up for about 6 months.

As a dog owner, you should be committed to taking care of your dog as he should be while in recovery after the ear cropping procedure. If you fail to do so, your Great Dane may have damaged for the rest of his life.

About the author

Adriana

Adriana has been around dogs since she was a little kid. It all started with growing up with a German Shepherd Lord and an English Cocker Spaniel Bady. Her dream job has always been becoming a veterinarian. She has been taking care of animals all of her life and she wants to share her experience with other dog lovers.