Ear cropping is the surgical removal of a portion of the puppy’s ear and training the remaining part of the ear to stand erect creating a polished look for the dog. Ear cropping is solely done for cosmetic purposes to give schnauzers a certain look.
So, is it necessary or cruel? Ear cropping is a controversial topic that has created many heated debates over the years.
Some argue that ear cropping does not have any health benefits while others claim that cropping your puppy’s ears minimizes chronic ear infections, especially if your dog likes swimming and spends more time in the water.
This article will give more details about schnauzer ear cropping to help you decide whether you should crop your puppy’s ears or not.
At What Age Can You Crop Your Schnauzer’s Ears?
Cropped ears on your puppy may look great but you need to ensure that the procedure is safe and comfortable for them. Therefore, you need to know when ear cropping should be done for your schnauzer puppy.
Most people believe that cropping their schnauzer’s ears when they are a puppy will make their ears stand up. There is much truth to this because ear posting is needed for the formation of the ear’s hardened cartilage.
Based on this, most vets recommend that an ear cropping procedure should be done before your schnauzer reaches the age of 12 weeks, preferably between the ages of 7 and 12 weeks. At this stage, the ear cropping surgery is less painful and traumatic for the puppy.
What Do Schnauzer’s Ears Look Like?
All schnauzers including giant, standard, and miniature have a floppy, V-shaped, mobile and medium-sized ears. This is the natural look of the ears. They are floppy and loose when relaxed but perk up at interests and sounds.
When the dog is alert, the ear is carried forward and breaks at the skull level with the inner side near the cheeks. Some schnauzers may need help during the teething period so that they retain their attractive and correct shape.
The Reasons Why People Crop Schnauzer’s Ears
During ancient times, ear cropping was performed because people believed that long-hanging ears were likely to become damaged, get infected, or swell with blood. There was some evidence for this because back then dogs were used as sheepherders or for hunting.
There was also the belief that cropping your dog’s ears will make them hear better as they could point to the direction of the sound easily.
Today, people crop their schnauzer’s ears purely for cosmetic reasons. The following are the reasons why people crop their schnauzer’s ears:
Sharp and Clean look
Some schnauzer owners prefer their puppies to look a certain way. Cropping your dog’s ears can give them a different look which you desire, and it is purely a preference.
Clean and Healthy Ears
Schnauzers with cropped ears are less likely to have an issue with ear infections that may be caused by ear mites, bacteria, yeast, or ticks that like to grow on the underside of the ear. Cropping your puppy’s ears will help you to easily clean them as you can see where to clean.
The Show Ring
If your schnauzer is a show dog, getting their ears cropped will accentuate their heads and improve their presence in the ring.
Is It Cruel to Crop Schnauzer’s Ears?
The biggest problem with ear cropping is that it is a non-essential procedure and unnecessary mutilation on the dog.
If a schnauzer owner performs traditional cropping on their puppy, the procedure is stressful, painful, and dangerous for both the owner and the dog and may lead to infection or loss of hearing.
Even if the procedure is performed by a vet, ear cropping comes with its share of risks. The following are the cons for ear cropping:
Expensive – to get a good ear cropping for your schnauzer, you may end up spending up to $800, which is expensive.
Menacing appearance – some people believe that dogs with cropped ears look more aggressive than those with natural ears.
Dangers of anesthesia – though rare, some owners have experienced issues during the procedure and lost their puppies.
Aftercare – there is a lot of care needed after the procedure including the taping of the ears to stand correctly. If taping is not done well, the ears will not have the ‘alert look’.
The stigma of cropping – some people think that owners crop their dog’s ears because they fight them.
The Ear Cropping Procedure
Ear cropping is a surgical procedure that should be performed by a licensed vet under anesthesia. The vet should have proper surgical equipment, a sterile surgical environment, is a trained surgeon and most important knows the different styles of cropping for schnauzers.
Like all surgeries, your schnauzer is required to fast for 12 hours prior to the surgery. Therefore, do not feed your puppy any water or food as they may vomit when sedated.
You will then take your puppy to the vet in the morning, and they will likely spend the night at the clinic.
During the procedure, the vet will measure the ears and mark where the cut will be made. After cutting and shaping the ears, the vet will disinfect and stitch them.
An inverted paper cup or a rack is then put on the head of the puppy with some cotton to protect the ear.
The rack or the inverted cup is then taped around and over the head to secure the ears. Taping correctly will train the ears to stand in an ‘alert’ position.
Schnauzer Ear Cropping Style
There are different styles that you can crop your schnauzer, from the shortest to the tallest ear crop. They are explained below:
This is a low cut of the ears and the shortest ear cropping available. Because of the low cut, the ears will not be able to protect your schnauzer from insects and dirt.
This is a slightly longer ear cropping than the battle crop. By the end of the short crop procedure, only around two-thirds of the original ear will be left.
This is a medium crop and is slightly taller and longer than the short crop. This crop gives your puppy an ‘alert look’ and is mostly requested for show dogs.
This style of the crop comes with a lot of time and attention. You will be required to spend more time posting and wrapping the ears as they are at risk of not standing correctly.
This is the longest ear cropping with only three-quarters of the original ear left after the procedure.
How to Find a Good Vet That Can Crop Your Schnauzer’s Ears
For most vets, ear cropping is not a typical routine surgery. It is very crucial to find a vet that is familiar and comfortable with doing ear cropping for schnauzers.
You should choose a vet with skills and experience in ear cropping so that your puppy’s ears are not cut too short or too long.
The following tips will help you find the right vet to crop your schnauzer’s ears:
- Do your research by calling all the vets in your local area to find one that regularly does ear cropping.
- Find a vet that mostly does show crops because they will be familiar with the proper techniques for ear cropping.
- Search for local show breeders on the internet and ask them to recommend you to a vet in your area that does ear cropping.
- Before purchasing your schnauzer, you can ask the breeder if their vet can crop the puppy’s ears at an extra cost before you can take them home.
- Call the local breeders and ask them to recommend you to a vet that does ear cropping for them.
- If you see a schnauzer with cropped ears at the park, pet store, or the clinic, you can politely ask the owner where they got the puppy’s ears cropped.
Can You Crop Older Schnauzer Ears?
Most vets refuse to perform ear cropping to schnauzers after a certain age. Typically, the cut-off age gap for ear cropping is between 12 and 16 weeks. Older schnauzers may take a longer time to recover, and the experience may be painful and uncomfortable.
However, some vets may be willing to crop puppies as per the owner’s wishes, but the cropping may not come out right. Consult with your vet before performing any ear cropping to your older schnauzer.
Ear Cropping and Legal Aspect
According to the American Kennel Club, ear cropping is an acceptable practice when enhancing the good health of a dog or/and preserving and defining their character. However, this procedure should be done by a qualified and licensed vet.
Note that dogs with cropped ears may not be allowed to compete in the events of the United Kingdom Kennel Club.
The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes cosmetic ear cropping because it is seen as a procedure with potential risks on the dog including distorted position or shape of the ear, discomfort during healing, and the effects of anesthesia which is given during the procedure.
Schnauzer Without Cropped Ears
Schnauzers without cropped ears are seen to have a softer facial expression. However, some puppies from some lines of lineage can have natural ears that stand, giving them a ‘bat ear’ which is not very desirable.
Not all schnauzer ears are the same, they are created differently, and some need more care than others. Sometimes, natural ears may need to be glued to fold and lay correctly over the head.
They need expertise that most schnauzer owners do not have, that is why there is a lot of puppies with undesirable ears.
Schnauzer Ear Cropping Prices & Recovery Time
On average, the price for schnauzer ear cropping ranges from $25 to over $1000. However, it does not mean that a more expensive vet will provide a better crop than a cheaper vet.
A fair price to pay for a good ear crop is around $350 and $400. The price should include the cropping surgery, follow-up check-ups, and any medications needed such as antibiotics and painkillers.
The recovery time from ear cropping is minimal with the following aftercare tips:
Follow all the vet’s instructions on how to care for your schnauzer after the ear cropping.
Put the cone on your puppy especially when you are not supervising them to prevent them from removing their stitches needed for the healing process.
Keep the ears clean to prevent any infections by using peroxide or Neosporin.
Remove any scabs that may be on your puppy’s ears as they can interfere with the ears standing up properly.
Watch out for any signs of infections such as pain, swelling, smelly or oozing discharge.
Feed your puppy a healthy and balanced diet to ensure they get all the nutrients for healing.
Schnauzer Ear Cleaning & Health
Most schnauzers do not like the cleaning process of their ears it is important and necessary. The hairs inside your puppy’s ears should be regularly plucked because long hair encourages the build-up of dirt and wax.
The following are the steps to follow when cleaning your schnauzer’s ears:
- First, prepare all the grooming supplies you will need for the ear cleaning. They include dog ear powder, dog ear wash solution, hemostat or pair of tweezers, and cotton balls.
- Inspect the ears for any excess wax, mites, debris, fleas, discharge, or inflammation by looking at both the inner and outer ear flaps.
- Use a hemostat or tweezers to carefully pluck out the inner ear hair. You can also use your fingers with the help of dog ear powder to get a hold of the hair. Only remove a small amount of hair to allow for air circulation and prevent matting and knotting.
- The next step is to use a cotton ball moistened with dog ear wash solution to wipe the earflap and canal opening, as far as you can see.
- Finally, dry your puppy’s ears using a blow dryer (lowest setting) or a soft towel.
Some people may view ear cropping as cruel while others support it because of cosmetic and health reasons. However, before cropping your schnauzer’s ear, research the guidelines and regulations that apply to your area about it.
Consult with your vet about the procedure to know whether it is the right time to crop your puppy’s ears or not. Ear cropping should be done by a vet to avoid any infections and damage to your schnauzer’s ears.
Hopefully, the above article has given you information on schnauzer ear cropping and how you can care for your puppy after the procedure to ensure that they heal properly.