Great Dane Ear Cropping: Why Are Great Dane Ears Cropped?

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Ear cropping is a procedure that is commonly done to many dog breeds. The surgery is used to remove part of a dog’s ear. For Great Danes, their ears are cropped for a variety of reasons.

Depending on what era you look at, the reasons why people choose to have their dog’s ears cropped can change.

Originally, Great Danes were bred for hunting wild boar in Europe. Due to the danger of this task, most had their ears cropped to prevent injury while hunting. Fast forward to the 21st century, and the common reason Great Danes have their ears cropped is for appearance. 

However, there is a debate on whether or not cropping a Great Dane’s ears is morally right. Some say it is unnecessary and cruel, while others believe it’s still okay.

In this post, we will take a closer look at why Great Dane’s ears were cropped in the past and why they still are today. We will also cover the history of ear cropping in Great Danes, how the practice has changed, and what the ear cropping process looks like.

Let’s dive in.

Great Dane Ear Cropping: Why Are Great Dane Ears Cropped?

What Is Ear Cropping?

Ear cropping is the surgical removal of a puppy’s ear flaps between seven to twelve weeks old. It is done for both cosmetic and practical reasons. 

A veterinarian is normally the one to complete this procedure. However, some breeders will crop their own puppies’ ears. It is considered major surgery and requires general anesthesia. 

Great Danes’ two common ear croppings are show crops and pet crops. 

Show Crops

A show crop is done to give the dog the traditional “look” of a Great Dane. This is the most common crop style for Great Danes and often appears in competitions. This type of ear crop leaves the dog with erect, long, pointed ears. These cropped ears preserve the total length of the Great Dane’s natural ear.

Pet Crops

A pet crop is also called a medium crop and gives the Great Dane a regal appearance. This type of ear crop leaves the dog with the shortest style of ears. The cropped ears are usually about one-third to one-half the length of the natural ear. 

Note: There are also medium crops and other variations between show and pet crops. Everyone that performs an ear cropping can do this slightly differently.

Great Dane Ear Cropping History

Great Dane Ear Cropping

The practice of ear cropping can be seen all the way back to ancient Greece. It is also mentioned in many Roman texts and artwork. In these early times, it was done for both practical and cosmetic reasons.

In war times, many dogs had their ears cropped to prevent their enemies from grabbing them.

As time went on, the practice of ear cropping became more refined. In the 1800s, it became popular among European nobility to have their dogs’ ears cropped. By the mid-1900s, many American Kennel Club (AKC) breeds were cropped. 

Great Danes were one of many dogs bred in the 1800s in Europe. However, they were specifically bred for hunting wild boar. During these hunts, their ears were often injured. So to prevent this from happening, many people chose to have their Great Dane’s Ears cropped.

Is Ear Cropping Illegal?

As of recent times, ear cropping has been deemed a thing of the past and is illegal in many countries. While there is controversy over this practice, many believe it is inhumane and should not be done. 

However, there are still places in the world where this is a legal practice. 

Here are the countries in which ear cropping is illegal: 

  • Australia 
  • Czech Republic
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • South Africa
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom

Here is a list of countries where it is still legal:

  • Argentina
  • Parts of Canada
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • United States

Even though some places still consider ear cropping legal, many veterinarians and animal welfare organizations are against the practice. So even in legal states, some of these professionals refuse to do these surgeries (my family’s clinic is one of them).

What Age Do Great Danes Have Their Ears Cropped?

Six to eight weeks is the most common age for Great Danes to have their ears cropped. This is because, at this age, it is easier for puppies to recover, and their ear cartilage has not fully developed.

A great Dane’s ears will be mostly done development at ten to twelve weeks. In addition, the cartilage in their ears is almost fully formed. Therefore, completing this procedure after ten weeks can lead to an increased risk of complications and longer healing time.

So if you are considering having your Great Dane’s ears cropped, make sure to do your research and consult with a professional.

Why Do Great Danes Have Their Ears Cropped? (5 Reasons)

Great Dane Ear Cropping

Now that we’ve shared the history of ear cropping, why do Great Danes have their ears cropped today?

Here are 5 reasons Great Danes will have their ears cropped:

#1 Breed Standard

The first reason is because of breed standards. In the show ring, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes Great Danes with natural and trimmed ears.

So how could this be a reason?

Well, many breeders prefer to crop their dogs’ ears to conform to the ‘traditional’ appearance of the breed. Some argue that cropped ears give the Great Danes a more regal and powerful appearance. 

In addition, people believe there is still a slight bias toward Great Danes with cropped ears in the show ring, though this seems to be changing with the evolving times.

#2 Protection & Safety

Another reason Great Danes have their ears cropped is for protection and safety. When working or playing, dogs can sometimes accidentally hurt their ears on things. This can cause cuts, scrapes, or even rip a dog’s ears.

Great Danes are less likely to sustain these types of injuries by having their ears cropped. This is especially important for working or hunting dogs.

Cropped ears can give Great Danes an advantage while hunting or working, as they reduce the ability to be injured or grabbed.

Ears are delicate, and they are more susceptible to injury when they are large and floppy, like the Great Danes. 

#3 Apperance & Cosmetics

While some people may think cropped ears look worse, others simply enjoy the look better. This is especially true for those looking for a traditional-looking Great Dane.

Some breeders crop Great Dane ears simply for aesthetic reasons, as it gives them a more appealing look. In addition, some people want their Great Danes to look intimidating. This is often seen when people use them as guard dogs for protection.

A large Great Dane that looks intimidating and almost aggressive can help deter intruders or protect property.

#4 Reduce Infections

Great Dane Ears

Another practical reason Great Danes have their ears cropped is to reduce the risk of infection. A dog with floppy ears can create the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.

This moisture can also lead to yeast infections, which can be painful for dogs. So, Great Danes may be less likely to suffer from these types of infections by having their ears cropped.

In addition, when a dog’s ears are floppy, it can be challenging to clean them properly. Unfortunately, this can also lead to more infections. 

However, with all this said, there is no scientific evidence backing the idea that ear cropping prevents infection. Instead, it seems to be an assumption people have made. But there is no evidence supporting ear cropping reduces infections. There is, however, information showing dogs with long floppy ears being prone to ear infections.

This is often seen in dogs with very long and floppy ears like the Basset Hound and Cocker Spaniel. So, is the assumption that cropping a Great Dane’s ears could reduce infections valid? It’s possible.

It is important to note that all dogs, regardless of whether or not their ears are cropped, are susceptible to ear infections. While cropped ears could reduce the risk of infection, it is not a guarantee.

#5 Improved Hearing

Some people believe that cropped ears improve a dog’s hearing. This is because when a dog’s ear flops over, it can block sound from entering the ear.

If something is blocking sound waves from entering the ear, their hearing will be reduced. So cropping a Great Dane’s ears could be to improve their hearing. 

It’s the same concept as covering your ears when you hear a loud noise. It helps to block out the noise.

Why You Might Not Want to Have Your Great Dane’s Ears Cropped

There may be several reasons for wanting to trim a Great Dane’s ears, but there are also certain drawbacks. Consider these factors before deciding whether or not to crop your Great Dane’s ears:

Surgical Risk

Any time your dog undergoes surgery, there is a risk involved. There is always the potential for complications or infection.

Even after successful surgery, many dogs end up with sensitive ears that can cause them pain when touched. This is one of the risks associated with cutting part of a dog’s ears off.

Reduces Natural Function

Great Dane Ears Floppy

Some people believe that ear cropping can affect a Great Dane’s natural function. When you crop a Great Dane’s ears, you are changing the natural structure of their ears.

In fact, one of the main reasons the United Kingdom first banned ear cropping in 2006 was because it affected the natural movement of the dog’s ears.

When a Great Dane’s ears are trimmed, their movable parts do not function the same way as their natural ones. They can’t pull or push their ears back, lower them or flatten them in the same way they could before the procedure. So it technically reduces their ability to communicate effectively.

A dog’s ear movements give a lot of information, so a significant deterrent to ear cropping is this reduced communication. Dogs use body language, including their ears, to communicate. So without their ears properly functioning, you are giving them a handicap.

In addition, floppy dog ears are known to help dogs with their sense of smell. When a dog’s ears are down, they can direct more air into their nose, which gives them a better sense of smell. So this is another function of a Great Dane’s ears that is lost when they are cropped.


Ear cropping is a surgical procedure that necessitates general anesthesia. This implies it may be costly, with costs ranging from $300 to $700. Some surgeons may even charge more. Therefore, you should consider the cost when considering whether or not to crop your dog’s ears.

Not Required For Competing

If you have a Great Dane with uncropped ears, don’t worry – both the AKC and the United Kennel Club (UKC) permit cropped and natural ears as the breed standard. So, you can successfully show your dog in AKC and UKC Conformation.

In fact, Great Danes with cropped ears are less common in the UKC show rings. This is due to the ear cropping ban in the United Kingdom. So since it’s uncommon in the UKC and fully prohibited in the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), judges will favor a dog with natural ears since it conforms more closely to the region’s typical appearance.

The FCI breed standard specifies that Great Dane dogs should have natural ears of appropriate size. Therefore, a Great Dane with cropped ears would be at a significant disadvantage in the show ring and unlikely to win any blue ribbons.

Is It Cruel To Crop Great Dane Ears?

The answer to this question is controversial. Some people believe that ear cropping is cruel, while others do not think it is a big deal. There are pros and cons to cropping a Great Dane’s ears. Therefore, it is important to educate yourself on the topic before making a decision.

This is often seen as cruel if a Great Dane’s ears are being cropped for purely cosmetic reasons. However, if the ears are being cropped for medical or practical reasons, such as to improve hearing or protect them while hunting, it is not considered cruel.

The main argument against ear cropping is that it is unnecessary and painful for the dog. In addition, many people see it as mutilation. They believe it serves no purpose other than to make the dog look “tough” or “threatening.”

When a Great Dane gets their ears cropped, it can cause trauma and sensitivity and reduce some of the ears’ natural functions. However, it is also important to remember that ear cropping is an elective surgery that is not required for the dog’s health or well-being.

So when it comes to answering ethical questions about whether or not ear cropping is cruel, it really comes down to the reason for the cropping and personal opinion.

Great Dane Ear Cropping Procedure: How Is Cropping Done?

Why Are Great Danes Ears Cropped

The Great Dane ear cropping procedure is usually done when the dog is between seven and twelve weeks old.

The vet will start by putting the dog under anesthesia. Then, they’ll clean and disinfect the area before making an incision on the edge of the ear. Once that’s done, they can begin to remove any excess skin.

After achieving the desired shape, the vet will stitch up the ear. The process usually takes thirty minutes to an hour, depending on the vet’s experience with ear cropping.

How Long Does Ear Cropping Take To Heal?

The incision on the ears heals fairly quickly. However, it takes about two weeks for the scabs to fall off and for the stitches to be removed.

Cartilage takes longer to heal than other tissue, so it can take several months for ears to fully recover. Some people will tape their ears to help the cartilage heal in an upright position.

How Much Does Ear Cropping Cost?

The cost of ear cropping will depend on a few factors, such as the vet you use, the location, and whether or not both ears are being done simultaneously.

Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $700 for the procedure. 

Some breeders include ear cropping in the puppy’s price, while others will charge an additional fee. So it is important to ask about this before you make your purchase.

Great Dane Ear Cleaning After Cropping

Why Are Great Danes Ears Cropped

After the Great Dane ear cropping procedure is complete, it is important to clean your dog’s ears regularly and watch for any signs of infection.

You must purchase an ear cleaning solution from your vet or pet store to clean your dog’s ears.

Then, soak a cotton ball in the solution and gently wipe the inside of their ears. Be careful not to go too deep into the ear canal as this can cause damage.

After cleaning their ears, you will need to apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment to the incisions. This will help to prevent infection. This is often prescribed to you by the vet who performed the ear cropping.

You should also check for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or incision discharge. Please take your dog to the vet immediately if you see any of these signs.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Do Great Dane Ears Need To Be Cropped To Enter Dog Shows?

No, Great Danes no longer require their ears to be cropped to participate in dog shows. In fact, some show rings now discourage cropped ears.

While there are still some people who prefer the look of cropped ears, it is no longer a requirement. This means that you can show your Great Dane regardless of whether or not you decide to crop their ears.

Can Your Crop Older Great Dane’s Ears?

Yes, it is possible to crop an older Great Dane’s ears. However, it is generally not recommended.

This is because the older a dog is, the more difficult it becomes to crop their ears. This is due to the fact that their ear cartilage has already started to harden.

Additionally, adult dogs are more likely to experience complications after the procedure. Therefore, it is generally best to crop a Great Dane’s ears when they are a puppy between the ages of 7 to 12 weeks.

What Is Great Dane Ear Taping?

Great Dane ear taping is a process that is sometimes used to help Great Danes’ ears heal in an upright position. The vet will put tape on the dog’s ears after they have been cropped. This helps to hold the ears in place as they heal.

Ear taping is not required for all Great Danes. Some dogs’ ears will heal just fine on their own without the need for taping. However, for others, it may be necessary in order to achieve the desired results.

Final Thoughts

While it’s never been required to crop a Great Dane’s ears, many people still choose to do so in certain parts of the world.

It may make sense for some people to crop their Great Dane’s ears, while others may prefer to keep them natural. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and what you think is best for your dog.

The reasons for ear cropping today vary, but it’s often for cosmetic purposes or to conform to the traditional look of the breed. Whatever the reason, it is important to understand the procedure and what it entails before considering cropping a Great Dane’s ears.

When it comes to risks, the surgery is typically safe and simple when performed by a competent veterinarian.

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