Great Dane Ear Cropping

This is a complete guide on Great Dane ear cropping.

I am going to be breaking down everything that you need to know about the procedure and also show you how it is done.

Here are some of the topics we are going to cover:

So without much being said, let’s get started.

What Is Great Dane Ear Cropping?

Great Dane ear cropping is a surgical procedure that is performed on puppies when they are 9 to 12 weeks old. The Great Dane puppy is anesthetised and part of their ear flap is removed. After the surgery is performed, splints and tape hold the ears upright.

what is great dane ear cropping

Ear cropping can be basically summarized as the process of surgically trimming the ear leathers and then training the ears to stand upright.

These procedures are considered to be medically unnecessary surgeries whose purpose is primarily for cosmetic and beautification reasons.

Many countries have banned ear cropping dogs but a few nations like the United States Of America still consider cropping to be a legal procedure.

In North America, the most common breeds that are ear cropped include:

  • Boston Terrier (ears cropped at 6 months)
  • Boxer
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Great Dane
  • Schnauzer (all sizes)

In the next sections, I am going to be explaining more about ear cropping and also show you if it is a good idea for your Great Dane.

Why Do Great Danes Have Their Ears Cropped?

There is a huge difference between the modern day reasons and the historical reasons for ear cropping a Great Dane dog.

Great Dane origins and history suggests that the dog was originally bred for hunting and fighting. The breed was typically used for chasing wild boar and other large wild animals.

During these hunts, many Danes returned with torn or mangled ears so these frequent ear injuries led many hunters to remove the ear flaps of the Great Dane. Ear cropping became a common practice for Great Dane dogs and many other breeds.

As the world progressed, hunting with dogs became less common but the practice of ear cropping continued. Many dog owners started to crop their dog’s ears for cosmetic and beautification reasons. Ear cropping is in itself a medically unnecessary procedure whose purpose is now primarily for cosmetic reasons.

A very good example is how American breeders concentrate on the stylish look of cropped ears, which they believe give the dog’s head a more appealing, sharper look.

Is It Illegal To Crop Great Dane Ears?

The practice of cropping Great Dane ears can be legal and illegal depending on the country in which you are performing the procedure.

Many European countries have made ear cropping an illegal procedure but countries like the United States Of America are yet to ban the procedure. However, in the UK, ear cropping has been banned for years and the procedure is not allowed to perform on a dog of any breed.

The ban of ear cropping is spreading in many countries. A study on the cropping of dog ears by the Journal of the South African Veterinary Association concluded that most people in South Africa are at present strongly prejudiced against the cropping of a dog’s ears.

In countries like Canada there is still a heated debate concerning the cropping of dog ears for cosmetic reasons. Organizations like the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association have released a position statement regarding this practice. The position statement states that;

The CVMA opposes surgical alteration of any animal, for purely cosmetic purposes.


A report titled “The Fight Against Cosmetic Surgery” concluded that it’s not difficult to argue that the welfare of animals must be paramount, and that surgical alteration for merely cosmetic reasons needs to end in Canada.

This increased concern about the animal welfare may lead to ear cropping for cosmetic reasons being banned completely all over the world.

Countries like New Zealand are also taking this path. A report on canine ear cropping released by the New Zealand Veterinary Journal mentioned that;

At a recent meeting, the members of the Small Animal Society of the N.Z.V.A. voted to state their unanimous objection to the practice of cropping canine ears for cosmetic reasons.

New Zealand Veterinary Journal

Ear cropping is currently being legally practiced in the U.S.A and a very few countries where many breeders concentrate on the stylish look of cropped ears, which they believe give the dog’s head a more appealing, sharper look.

Can A Great Dane Die From Ear Cropping?

It is not very common for Great Danes to die during an ear cropping surgery but death is a possibility due to the risks associated with general anesthesia. The exact figures are not available, but if your Great Dane is healthy and having a non-emergency surgery, the risk of dying is 1 in 100,000 general anaesthetics.

When Should Great Dane Ear Cropping Be Done?

The recommended age for ear cropping a Great Dane is when they are at least 9 to 12 weeks old. Ear cropping a dog when they are old can make the experience more painful for the dog and cause lasting psychological trauma.

If you have made a decision to crop the ears of your Great Dane it is important that you have the procedure performed when they are still young. In some cases 12 weeks is even considered too old so the sweet spot might be performing the procedure when the Dane is between 9 and 10 weeks old.

The Ethics Of Ear Cropping

Many veterinary organizations are against ear cropping dogs since this is a medically unnecessary procedure that is mostly performed for cosmetic and beautification reasons. There is no physical advantage for ear cropping your Great Dane so most people and societies prejudice against this procedure.

Ear cropping can affect behavior and inflict fear in many dogs due to psychological traumas associated with the procedure.

Many European countries have banned ear cropping and that is true for other world leaders like Australia, Canada and UK. The United States Of America is one of the few countries where the procedure is not regulated and dog ears are mostly cropped for cosmetic reasons.

How Much Does It Cost To Crop Great Dane Ears?

The actual costs of ear cropping a dog will vary depending on the expertise of the individual performing the procedure but you should generally expect the price to range from $300 to $600. It is also possible to find cheaper ones that cost around $150 but you should be more careful of these cheap procedures as they might cause more harm to your Great Dane.

Here are some factors that influence the price of ear cropping a Great Dane:

Style of croppingThe style of cropping is one of the major factors that influence the cost of ear cropping your Great Dane. Some styles tend to be cheaper than others depending on the difficulties encountered when performing the procedure.
AgeAge can also influence ear cropping price. Older dogs tend to require more expertise from the vet in order to reduce the psychological traumas associated with the procedure.
Reputation of vetA more experienced vet will obviously charge more to crop your Great Dane’s ear due to the high demand of their expertise and their reputation in the field.

How Is Great Dane Ear Cropping Done?

how ear cropping is done

Great Dane ear cropping is an invasive procedure that should be carried out by a licensed and certified veterinarian. The dog is typically put on general anesthesia and have the outer tissue of their ear clipped so the membrane can stand erect. 2/3 of the floppy region of the ears called the pinna is also removed during the ear cropping surgery.

As ear cropping is a cosmetic surgery, there is no guarantee on the procedure. This includes the shape, and if the ears will stand. Veterinarians can guarantee that the surgery will be done to the best of their ability and affirm that all surgical standards will be adhered to but you are not really guaranteed on things like shape and whether the ears will stand or not.

Here are some important things to take note of if your Great Dane is going through an ear cropping surgery:

  • Your Great Dane puppy must be on a vaccination program with proof of vaccines and he/she must also be free of parasites (fleas & worms). Animal clinics will not accept dogs without a vaccination record.
  • The first 7 to 10 days will be very painful to your Great Dane. The ears begin to itch as they start healing so you must be very alert during this time so as not to let the puppy harm their ears.
  • The cropped ears must be taken care of and you must return to the veterinarian that performed the surgery for the follow-up visits, whenever they are recommended.

Another crucial thing to take note of is the age of your puppy. Great Danes are generally encouraged to be ear cropped when they are between 9 to 12 weeks old.

How Long Does It Take For Ear Cropping To Heal?

Great Dane ear cropping usually take at least 6 to 10 weeks to fully heal and stand but your dog will experience the most pain in the first 7 to 10 days after surgery.

Although the ears will not have fully healed after 7 to 10 days, your dog will be experiencing less pain and the ears will also be less itchy. However, getting the ears to stand is usually a 4 to 6 week commitment that usually involves getting the dog’s ears posted every 2 to 7 days until they are standing.

Great Dane Ear Cropping After Care

The failures of ear cropping are usually the ears not standing or taking much longer than normal to stand. This is mostly caused by a poor after surgery care routine.

It is important to follow all the after surgery care recommendations for your dog to get the best cropped and rightly standing ears possible. Getting the best cropped ears for your dog will require a lot of commitment from you so it is important for you to be ready before going through with the surgery.

Here are the key ear cropping surgery after care recommendations for your Great Dane to reduce the risk of their ears not standing or scarring:

  • The dog will need to be seen or have their ears posted by a licensed and certified vet ( preferably the one who performed the surgery) every 2 to 7 days until they are standing.
  • Get back to the vet for re-wrapping and suture removal at the scheduled dates.

A perfectly executed surgery after care routine will increase the chances of your Great Dane having the best cropped and standing ears. It is important to follow any recommendations by the vet so as to reduce the chances of scarring and other complications.

Types Of Great Dane Ear Crops

types of great dane ear crops

The type of crop for your Great Dane depends on the future size, weight, head shape and general body conformation the dog will have. If you do not specify a style for the ears, they will be cropped in the standard way for the breed, with the length and width that the vet consider will look best when the dog is mature.

Here are some of the types of Great Dane ear crops to consider:

Battle Crop

This is often described as the shortest cut but it comes with a lot of disadvantages. The battle crop does not protect the Great Dane from annoying insects and dirt that can end up harming their ears.

Short Crop

The short crop type is slightly longer than the battle crop and it is usually styled to live up to two-thirds of the Great Dane’s natural ear.

Show Crop

great dane show crop

The show crop is also called the medium crop and it is slightly longer than the short crop. This style is mostly preferred by owners that own a show dog and although it is a beautiful crop, it is also one of the most demanding. It requires a great deal of posting with others and wrapping to make sure it stands appropriately.

Long Crop

great dane long crop

The long crop takes away the least portion of the natural ear of your Great Dane. Your Great Dane will generally retain three-quarters of their natural ear after surgery.

Should You Crop Great Dane Ears?

Cropping or not cropping the ears of your Great Dane is entirely up to you but many animal experts consider it inhumane to crop the ears of a dog since there is no medical necessity to the procedure. Ear cropping surgeries are mostly done for cosmetic reasons and they do not have any physical advantage to the dog.

There is so much prejudice against ear cropping in the society. A study on the public awareness and perceptions of the public on ear cropping and tail docking of dogs has so much proof to support this theory.

Here is a quick summary of the study:

The aim of this project was to: 1) assess public awareness of tail docking and ear cropping, 2) determine whether physical alteration of a dog affects how the dog, and 3) owner are perceived. In Experiment 1 awareness was measured using a combination of both explicit and implicit measures. We found that 42% of participants (n = 810) were unable to correctly explain the reason why tail docked and ear cropped dogs had short ears and tails. Similarly, an implicit measure of awareness (‘nature vs nurture task’), found that the majority of participants believed short tails and erect ears were a consequence of genetics rather than something the owner or breeder had done. The results obtained in Experiment 2 (n = 392) provide evidence that ear cropped and tail docked dogs are perceived differently than an identical dog in its ‘natural’ state. Modified dogs were perceived as being more aggressive, more dominant, less playful and less attractive than natural dogs. Experiment 3 (n = 410) is the first evidence that owners of modified dogs are perceived as being more aggressive, more narcissistic, less playful, less talkative and less warm compared to owners of natural dogs. Taken together, these results suggest that although a significant proportion of subjects appear unaware of the practices of tail docking and ear cropping in dogs, these procedures have significant impacts on how modified dogs and their owners are perceived by others.

Katelyn E. Mills, Jesse Robbins, Marina A. G. von Keyserlingk

Another reason why most people despise ear cropping dogs is that the procedure can also affect behavior since it is done on puppies that are still learning more about their environment and developing their social behavior. The pain of ear cropping can also make your Great Dane puppy afraid of handling new situations. All these psychological traumas can then affect the dog’s behavior when they become adults.

Although, ear cropping is despised by many people, it is still unregulated and legal in the United States of America so there is nothing wrong with cropping your Great Dane’s ears for cosmetic and beautification reasons if you are living in this country.

Other countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and many other European nations have banned this procedure so it is illegal to perform ear cropping for cosmetic reasons in these countries.

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This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.