Should your dog have cropped ears or let them hang? Both sides have compelling arguments and there are plenty of people on each side of the fence (pun intended).
No matter which side you choose, it’s important to know why you made that choice so that you won't regret it later.
Hello, my name is Amy Arthur. I breed, train, and sell, purebred Doberman Pinscher puppies for service or protection work and as excellent quality family pets. Our dogs are personality tested and certified under Tackleberry Solutions and recommended for specific tasks depending upon their individual score results.
Disclaimer: This article is written as an opinion piece only and is not to be taken as fact, legal or medical advice. Your results are in no way guaranteed and will depend on several factors including your willingness to plan ahead, study and train.
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What is a dog's "natural" ear, really?
First, many people claim that they do not want to crop their dog's ears because it isn't "natural." This is actually false. There are no known wild dogs with floppy ears and even many primitive dog breeds have upright ears. For example, Siberian Huskies and American Eskimos.
To expound further, dogs with floppy ears came about due to human intervention with breeding. This is why people are mistaken when they claim that they do not crop their dog's ears because they want it to remain "natural." There is nothing natural about floppy canine ears.
Further reading: Large Breed Dog Food: 5 Worst Myths
Health Benefits of Cropped Ears
Second, ear infections are one of those things that every dog owner fears because they’re painful and unpleasant for your furry friend. When dogs have floppy ears, they tend to trap moisture and dirt which can lead to infection.
In contrast, when your dog’s ears are cropped, you eliminate a lot of these issues. Cropped ears allow more air flow which prevents ear infections, irritation, and discomfort in general.
Further Reading: Puppy Health Guarantee: Why All of the Best Breeders Offer One
Work Benefits of Cropped Ears
Third, dogs with cropped ears can hear better than dogs with floppy ears. This makes a lot of sense; if you’ve ever seen a dog, you’ll know that their ears are pretty low on their heads. In order to hear better, they need to be closer to where the sound is coming from.
Consequently, when dogs get their ears cropped and pointed upward, they have a better chance of hearing stuff all around them. Without having floppy ears in the way, they can hear more clearly.
I've heard a lot of people scoff at the cropped ears vs floppy ears hearing notion. However, I have a question for your consideration. A bat is a species that relies heavily on the use of their ears for navigation - have you ever seen a floppy eared bat? No, because their upright ears aid them in picking up sound. Check out this article in regard to the importance of ear shape for hearing.
Most importantly for working dogs, ear crops are mainly done to prevent injury. This is especially true for those that are bred and trained for protection. If a dog has to defend itself, a canine's ears may become more difficult to grab and rip if they are cropped. (This is also why tail docking is important.)
Side note: It is also for this reason that you don't want to have a working dog's dew claws removed. The dew claws help aid the dog should it ever have to grapple with an attacker.
How Cropped Ears Can Save Your Dog's Life
Fourth, criminals look for easy targets. When your dog looks scary, he is less likely to be messed with, therefore increasing the safety of the animal since he won't have to exert as much effort protecting himself as often.
How Cropping Your Dog's Ears Can Save Your Life
Fifth, this goes back to the easy target factor. As petty as it sounds, how something looks plays a huge role. Especially when it comes to your safety.
Think of it like this, which would you be more afraid of? A cow or a lion? While a lion may be shorter. They may not even be as heavy as a cow. However, their size, their ability, and their reputation make them a more scary foe than a cow would. Yet, many would be surprised to hear that a cow can be deadly too.
In conjunction with that, the harder a target that you make yourself look, the less likely it is that anyone is going to mess with you.
The 1 Common Misunderstanding with Protection Dogs
Lastly, it's very important that you understand exactly how a protection dog works. A protection dog is not designed to solve all your problems. Their only job is to be a deterrent and a distraction. This gives you long enough time to react.
For example, if someone comes into your house with bad intentions, your dog will likely bark and growl at them. They may also try to bite them. This is especially applicable if they've got the confident personality required for an effective protection dog. Because it causes the intruder to pay attention to the dog. Therefore, giving you time to either retreat or defend yourself as the situation requires.
While this conclusion may seem like it is a bit off topic, I use it to reinforce the importance of the looks of your canine. Anything that you can do to make your dog look more intimidating will help. Frankly, despite sharp teeth and large size, floppy eared dogs just aren't as scary.
Recommended Reading: 5 Brutal Truths About Socialized Protection Dogs
What are your thoughts?
How do you feel about cropped ears? Share your thoughts with a comment below.