Ear Cropping……..Good or bad?
** SEE ALSO the videos at the bottom of page “The Breed” for another look at correct & incorrect ear crop with description.
There are many different opinions on this topic out there today. Some people feel it is inhumane while others feel certain breeds have a more distinguished look with the cropping and or docking. Perhaps this is a conditioning because we have always seen certain breeds altered.
Either way it purely a personal preference. Most importantly I believe (and I STRONGLY believe this) that if you are opting to crop, it is vital that it is done at the “correct age” by a qualified veterinary! Many people don’t realize that many times when a young puppy already has its ears cropped or they are obviously healed, that the cropping was done “by the breeder” at 3-5 days old. The tail and dew claws are done at 3-5 days of age and this will be when many opt to crop the ears as well.
To better understand this process and reasoning for age and proper procedure, let me explain. When a puppy is at this 3-5 day of age period, their bone and tissue are still undeveloped, soft and have fewer developed blood vessels. This makes the process at this age less complicated, less bleeding and less pain. For example, the tail and dewclaws at this time are soft cartilage. After this time this cartilage begins to harden and becomes formed bone. On the other hand, the EARS………the ears on a newborn pup are just little nubs of tissue. The ears have not fully formed yet. As a matter of fact, they are born with their ears closed and cannot hear…..(photo)…….
Considering this, how could anyone get a proper crop on a newborn puppy? The proper time to crop is considered anywhere from 8-14 weeks of age depending on the preference of the vet. At this age, the ear is developed which enables the vet to get not only the correct shape but a straight cut as well as matching one ear to the other. ALSO, the puppy is of the age to better determine the correct size/length of the ear to fit the puppy. They must be at least 3-4 lb (depending on the preference of the vet) to undergo anesthesia. The puppy below with the blue ribbon is an example of the ear shape at approximately 3 weeks of age. Still not ready for ear cropping and clearly still in the development stage.
THE PROCEDURE: Next, please keep in mind that an ear cropping is equal to plastic surgery on humans……not all “doctors” are qualified even though they are a “doctor” hence not all vets are qualified to perform a quality ear crop. Each breed calls for breed specific shape and length ear crop. For example, doberman ear crop would look funny on a bull dog and vice verse. Ear cropping is truly a work of art and while one vet may be qualified to perform the procedure in the medical care of the dog, are they an artist that not only understands shaping an ear for an ear crop but are they educated on the breed specific “look” required for your particular breed.
Today a large percentage of pet owners are opting out on ear cropping but still prefer the tail and dew claws to be docked. My advice is to really search for the right vet if you are entertaining the idea of ear cropping. Some breeders can help with this but again remember, just because a vet does perform ear crops does not mean he does good ear crops. If your breeder says “yes, my vet crops”, ask that breeder if he/she has any dogs you can see that has an ear crop that was done by that vet.
Pro’s and Con’s; As with ANY surgery, there are always risks even if small. There are rare occasions for a reaction to anesthesia. There is always a chance for staff infection or infection afterwards during the after care time. These are things to consider. There is generally not much down time. Usually within 2-3 days pups are back to normal activity and some pups are next day back to romping around as usual however, there are some important instructions to follow and precautions to take during healing time. Depending on the type procedure done by each individual vet, there may be sutures that need to be removed. There are sometimes two separate sets of sutures to be removed at two separate times. Meaning continued trips to the vet that you must fit into your schedule. IF your pup needs ear taping after sutures are removed, that will be additional vet trips and or costs. The puppy pictured above with the green ribbon is a puppy at around 4 weeks of age.
There are those that say that due to natural ears flopping over & not allowing much air flow that there is a tendency or greater chance for ear infections. This can be true if regular grooming is not in place…….even a cropped ear can have problems if not kept clean regularly. With regular grooming, natural ears should not pose a problem. Miniature schnauzers need grooming every 6-8 weeks. Ear cleaning is something that can easily be done from home by the owner in between trips to the groomer. This should minimize any issues greatly.
In the end, to crop or not to crop is a matter of opinion! I personally like both looks depending on the individual dog. Please don’t minimize the importance of cropping properly if you prefer this look! One mistake on your dog and you will live with that look for many years like it or not.
Classic Schnauzers: Our puppies do not come with their ears cropped. We can refer you to a vet in our area that specializes in the ear cropping of miniature schnauzers and is known for his work nation wide AND he is affordable!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Remember, we are your schnauzer friends and don’t mind helping if we can!
You may also be interested to see what Britmor Schnauzers has to say on this very topic; http://britmorschnauzers.com/ears.html
BELOW: Sadly, here is an example of WHY cropping at the right age and with a qualified vet is so important………..
Here is a photo of a natural and cropped dog side by side…