How to Get a Doberman's Ears to Stand

A military, or pet crop, is the easiest to maintain.
A military, or pet crop, is the easiest to maintain. (Image: Doberman image by Stana from

The cropping of the Doberman Pinscher's ears historically serves two functions. As a dog bred to be a personal protector, the cropped ear allows less of a "handle" for an attacking animal to grasp. In the dog's function as a search and rescue animal, the cropped ear allows the Doberman to localize a sound four times as well with a cropped ear than uncropped ear. The AKC allows both cropped-ear and uncropped-ear dogs to be shown. Many Doberman owners who keep their dog for companionship prefer to not crop the ear as it isn't a necessary procedure.

Things You'll Need

  • Surgical tape
  • BFI powder
  • Peroxide
  • Cotton balls
  • Healing ointment

Identify a reputable ear-cropping specialist. Do this as soon as you decide to purchase a Doberman puppy. Your breeder should have one or more recommendations or you can contact a Doberman show group or rescue group in your area for recommendations. Be sure to ask the vet about their experience in cropping Doberman ears.

Determine which crop style you want for your dog. Three crop styles are available: military, or pet, crop; medium crop and show crop. The military crop has a wider base and takes the least amount of time to stand. The medium crop is a little longer than the military and the show crop is the longest and most narrow of the crops and takes the most effort to get to stand.

Make an appointment with the vet for when your puppy is between 7 and 8 weeks old. Do not feed your Doberman for 12 hours prior to the surgery because your Doberman will be under anesthesia for the 30-minute procedure.

Cup your Doberman's ears according to your vet's instructions. Cupping the ears is what will cause the ears to stand as they heal and helps the sutures stay clean as healing takes place. Because your Doberman will likely want to pull the cups off, you must be vigilant in keeping an eye on your puppy.

Clean the sutures regularly with a peroxide-soaked cotton ball and BFI powder or any other specialized cleanser and cream your vet gives you to use. The sutures will be removed in seven to 10 days after surgery.

Tape your puppy's ears for another seven to 10 days, until the cut edges heal. Use the instructions your vet gives you for taping for your particular crop in order to achieve the desired ear shape for your Doberman. Continue to check the cleanliness of your puppy's ears regularly during this time.

Continue to tape your Doberman's ears, changing the tape regularly and checking for cleanliness, for another four to five months. It can take longer than that before the ears stand on their own, up to a year of age for some puppies. Some Dobermans have thin ear cartilage that resists standing and require an extra time commitment and patience on your part.

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