Why Crop A Great Dane’s Ears?

Great Danes are majestic and regal dogs known for their impressive size and friendly demeanors. One distinctive feature that sets these gentle giants apart is their cropped ears.

Great Dane Ear Cropping Pros and Cons

But why do some Great Dane owners decide to crop their dog’s ears? Is it just for aesthetic reasons, or are there other factors involved? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the practice of ear cropping for Great Danes and explore the pros and cons of this controversial procedure.

Cropped ears on a Great Dane are not required to conform to the AKC breed standard.

The Historical Background of Ear Cropping

great dane cropped ears

Ear cropping dates back to ancient Rome, where it was first performed on large dogs used for hunting and fighting. The idea was that cropped ears would make the dogs appear more fierce and intimidating.

Over the centuries, ear cropping became more popular among certain breeds, including Great Danes. The American Kennel Club (AKC) standard for the Great Dane breed calls for “ears cropped and carried erect,” but it’s not mandatory.

AKC Breed Standard

Having cropped ears is still a part of the AKC breed standard for the Great Dane. But, so are floppy earsAnecdotallyaly, it seems Great Danes with cropped ears do better at dog shows.

This means that if a Great Dane is to compete in AKC-sanctioned shows (and win), they’ll likely need their ears cropped.

However, if you are not planning on showing your dog (which is probably everyone who has ever read this article), then ear cropping is a personal decision that needs to be mconsidering for the animal’s well-being.

Ears shall be high set, medium in size and of moderate thickness, folded forward
close to the cheek… If cropped, the ear length is in proportion to the size of the head and the ears are carried uniformly erect.

per AKC

The Right Age for Ear Cropping

Most Great Dane puppies have their ears cropped between 6 and 12 weeks of age. This is the optimal age since the puppy’s ears are still soft and haven’t fully developed.

There is some debate about the best age for ear cropping, with some veterinarians advocating for waiting until the puppy is 5-6 months old. However, most agree that the earlier the procedure is done, the easier it is on the dog.

Choosing the Right Vet

Ear cropping is considered a surgical procedure, so it should only be performed by a qualified veterinarian who is experienced in the procedure.

Dog owners should research potential vets thoroughly and ask to see examples of their previous work. It’s essential that the vet you choose is skilled and experienced in the procedure, as complications can arise if the surgery is not performed correctly.

Post-Op Complications and Recovery Time

Like any surgical procedure, ear cropping comes with some risks, despite being routine. Some common complications include ear infections, scarring, and uneven or tilted ears.

Dogs will experience pain and discomfort after surgery and will need pain medication for the first week or two. The recovery time is about three weeks for the surgical site to heal, but it can take up to six months for the ears to stand upright.

Humane Consideration of Ear Cropping

The question of whether ear cropping is humane is one that has been debated for years. While it’s true that dogs have been bred for certain traits, including their physical appearance, critics argue that cosmetic surgery for pets is unnecessary and cruel.

Some even question whether the practice is done for the benefit of the dog or their owner’s personal preferences.

In some countries, including parts of Europe and Australia, ear cropping for cosmetic purposes is illegal. In the United States, the procedure is still legal but is becoming less common as more pet owners are opting to embrace their pets’ natural appearances.

The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes all docking and cropping procedures that aren’t medically necessary.


In conclusion, while ear cropping remains a controversial topic in the pet world, there is no denying that it has deep historical roots and is a preferred choice among Great Dane owners.

Ultimately, the decision to crop a Great Dane’s ears should be made with consideration for the breed’s history, the welfare of the individual animal, and the pet owner’s personal preferences.