The 2 Sided Debate: Great Dane Ear Cropping

(Personal note… cropping is such a huge debate I wanted to post two articles on the topic, also research to learn more.)

Today we are chatting about Great Dane Ear Cropping!

We will highlight the risks and benefits of Great Dane clipped ears and ear cropping, as well offer as a little bit of history, information on what to expect if you choose ear cropping for your Great Dane puppy, and more.

We take a neutral position on ear cropping, and understand that it is a somewhat heated and controversial topic. I have made every effort to present this blog post with honesty and truth, free of bias. Many incredible pet parents choose to investigate different ear cropping styles, while also many great pet parents opt for floppy ears. Whether you get your Great Dane ears clipped or not is a personal opinion, we are just here to present both sides of the debate!

Many anti-crop people consider the procedure of Great Dane ear cropping to be abusive, unnecessary and painfulwhile pro-crop people tend to gloss over and minimize the procedure, risks and aftercare requirements. The ‘Great Dane ears cropped vs. not’ debate has gone on for a long time! We hope that this blog post helps bring balance to extreme opinions and helps you make an informed decision regarding Great Dane ear cropping!

Please be kind to others. We welcome comments below but will not approve misleading information, cursing, bullying or inflammatory statements.


Great Dane ear cropping is a surgical procedure performed on young Great Dane puppies (7-10 weeks, typically).

The procedure is done under anesthesia by a licensed veterinarian. The ears are shaved and the flap is trimmed using a guide, an artistic eye and surgical tools such as scalpel, scissors or laser.

Roughly 40-70% of the ear flap is removed, leaving a much smaller, pointy ear. The cut edge is sutured and bandaged, and the puppy is given a long lasting pain medication and antibiotic.

The puppy is sent home the same day, often with a large cone holding their bandaged ears up.

Here is a fawn Great Dane puppy, before being cropped, and again as an adult with fully healed ears.

With proper after-care (more information below), cropped ears are trained to stand up on their own as we see below. Ears that are not cropped cannot stand as they are too heavy.


For comparison, below. An 8 month old male Great Dane with intact ears.


It is important to acknowledge that cropping is a surgical procedure involving anesthesia, cutting, blood, sutures and a healing period.

It is well tolerated, however, by most puppies especially when performed by an experienced veterinarian that offers pain medication and appropriate after-care. Were it not for that, this procedure would be inhumane and painful.

Many breeders and pro-crop Dane owners say that their puppies are all up and playing within 12 hours of the procedure, as if nothing happened at all.

Dogs do not ‘mourn’ this or worry about it, and do not know that there is any difference at all.

Many of the veterinarians that excel at ear cropping are retiring now. We’ve heard reports that many current veterinarians will NOT crop ears, but that show breeders often have connections (some of which may or may not be entirely ethical in their cropping practices).


Ear cropping is primarily aesthetic.

It is noted that as a general rule, show dogs with cropped ears often receive better placement.

Cropping may reduce the chance that a dog will develop a hematoma (a painful blister or sore on the ear flap that bleeds).

Some believe that cropped ears are less susceptible to ear infections, however studies (and the AVMA) do not currently back this theory up.

Cropping was originally performed because it helped prevent working dogs from ear injuries. Working dogs may benefit from being cropped.

As of this writing, the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) considers cropping to be cosmetic and medically unnecessary. Fewer and fewer veterinarians in the U.S. will perform it, and many Countries have outright banned it by law or by restricting cropped dogs from competing in kennel club events.

Ultimately, ear cropping is a highly personal choice and a decision that, when done by a licensed veterinarian, you should not feel bad about making.

It is not abuse, especially not when you compare it ( a procedure that should always be done under anesthesia, similar to spay and neuter) to the fact that millions of dogs are actually starved, neglected and beaten. Comparing professionally done ear cropping to abuse or torture is inflammatory and misguided.