To Crop or Not to Crop? A Guide to Great Dane Ear Cropping

🦴 Updated on July 14th, 2023

great danes with cropped ears

If you’re a dog lover like myself, chances are you considered getting a Great Dane among the many options. One of the decisions you’ll have to make if you choose one, is whether or not to crop their ears. 

When I learned that this was a common thing among great danes, I couldn’t help but feel sorry about it. I couldn’t stop thinking about if it was necessary and what were the risks involved. 

Once I took enough time to go over it in my head, I wondered if there were not only risks but benefits to it. I knew if this was such a trend, there had to be motives for it.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at great dane ear cropping and everything you need to know before making your decision.

Great Dane Ear Problems

Dogs with drooping ears are more prone to ear infections, as moisture and debris can quickly accumulate in the crevices of the ear. This is why many people choose to crop their dog’s ears – it helps keep them clean and reduces the risk of infection.

In addition, dogs with cropped ears are less likely to shake their heads and injure their ears. This is especially important for Great Danes, as they are already at risk for ear injuries due to their large size.

Is Cropping The Ears of a Great Dane a Good Idea?

Ear cropping is the surgical removal of a part or all external ear flaps. It’s a procedure that has been around for centuries and is still performed today on many breeds of dogs.

You should decide to crop the ears of a great danes with careful consideration. A qualified veterinarian can help you determine if it will benefit your dog and whether or not they are healthy enough for the procedure. 

However, it’s important to note that ear cropping isn’t necessary, and some dogs may do just fine without it.

If you consider this procedure, make sure you’re working with a veterinarian who has experience in ear cropping and discuss all possible risks beforehand. 

Once you crop your dog’s ears, it is essential to follow your vet’s instructions for aftercare so that they heal properly without any complications.

Is It Cruel to Crop The Ears of a Great Dane?

Some people think that ear cropping is cruel and unnecessary, while others disagree. Ultimately, the decision to crop or not should be made by you and your veterinarian after careful consideration of all the pros and cons involved. 

If it’s something you aren’t comfortable with for any reason, then perhaps another option may work better for you both!

Great Dane Ear Cropping Styles

If you do decide to crop your great dane ears, there are a ton of styles to look good on them. Here are only a few.

  • Show Crop
  • Medium Crop
  • Working Crop 
  • Long Crop
  • Pet Crop

Cropping Vs. Tapping: The Best Procedure for Your Great Dane

Ear cropping involves removing a portion of the dog’s ear to make it stand up or point forward. It is often done for cosmetic reasons but can also help prevent injury by reducing the surface area exposed to potential harm. 

Ear tapping, on the other hand, only removes part of an external flap so that it doesn’t flop down over their face while running. If appropriately performed, this procedure will not affect the dog’s hearing and may be an option if you are concerned about how ear cropping might change your pet’s appearance or behavior.

When considering whether or not to crop the ears’ of a Great Dane, it is vital that you understand both sides of the argument before making up your mind. There are many pros and cons to consider, so do plenty of research before deciding what is best for you and your dog.

Reasons a Person May Choose to Crop The Great Dane Ears

  • To prevent ear infections
  • To reduce the risk of injury
  • For cosmetic reasons

Some people may choose to crop their dog’s ears for religious or cultural reasons, while others think it looks more aesthetically pleasing. 

Whatever your reason for wanting to have your dog’s ears cropped, make sure you discuss all aspects of this procedure with your veterinarian before making any final decisions.

The Ear Cropping Procedure

The cost of ear cropping will vary depending on your veterinarian and the location where the procedure is performed. However, it typically costs between $200 and $300 per dog.

If you do decide to have your dog’s ears cropped, the procedure will generally involve the following steps:

  1. The dog is given general anesthesia.
  2. The veterinarian makes an incision in the ear flap and removes a portion of the cartilage and skin.
  3. Sutures are used to close the incision.
  4. A bandage is placed over the ears and must be kept in place for several days.
  5. The dog will need to wear a cone or Elizabethan collar to prevent them from scratching or biting at their ears.

The Pros of Ear Cropping

There are several pros to ear cropping, including the following:

  • It can improve the dog’s appearance.
  • It can make the ears less prone to infection and injury.
  • It can help keep the ears clean.
  • There are many great dane ear cropping styles
  • It can prevent dogs from shaking their heads excessively, which can lead to injuries.
  • It is a relatively simple and safe procedure when performed by a qualified veterinarian.

The Cons of Ear Cropping

There are also some cons to consider, including the following:

  • It is an expensive procedure.
  • It is painful and requires anesthesia.
  • There is a risk of infection or other complications.

It may not be necessary, as many dogs with cropped ears still experience problems with infections or injuries.

At What Age Can You Crop The Ears of Your Great Dane?

You can crop your Ears of a great dane at any age, but the procedure is typically done between eight and twelve weeks of age. If you wait longer than this, there are several reasons why it may be more difficult for them to recover from surgery, such as:

  • Their immune system isn’t fully developed yet, so they’re still more susceptible to infection.
  • They’re more likely to squirm and move around during the procedure, making it more difficult for the veterinarian to operate.
  • The ears may be larger and more challenging to crop correctly.

If you choose to have your dog’s ears cropped later in life, they will still need anesthesia, and there is always a risk of infection or other complications. So it’s always best to have the procedure done when they’re young and still manageable.

Great Dane Ear Tapping

Many people also wonder about the practice of ear tapping their great danes. A portion of the external ear flap is removed, but most cartilage and skin are left in place. 

It’s a less invasive procedure than cropping and can be performed at home by your veterinarian. There are several pros to ear tapping, including the following:

  • It is a less expensive procedure than cropping.
  • Less painful than cropping and does not require anesthesia.
  • Low risk of infection or other complications.
  • The dog’s appearance is not significantly altered.

If you are considering ear tapping for your great dane, make sure to talk it over with your veterinarian first. They will determine if this procedure is right for you and what type of aftercare will be needed afterward.

Ear Tapping Procedure

The ear tapping procedure is relatively simple and can be performed at home by your veterinarian. 

The first step involves clipping the hair from around both ears to be easier to work with during surgery. Next, the vet will inject local anesthesia into each one before making an incision down through skin about one-eighth inch wide. 

The vet will then cut the skin flap and the cartilage and excess skin removed. Finally, the incision will be closed with a few sutures.


Following the procedure, your dog will need some special care to ensure that its ears heal properly. Special care may include:

  • Keeping the ears clean and dry.
  • Applying an antibiotic ointment to the cropping incision.
  • Administering pain medication as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Preventing the dog from shaking its head excessively.

The process of ear cropping can be a little daunting, but with careful consideration and planning, it can be a successful and relatively straightforward procedure. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to speak with your veterinarian before deciding.

Finding A Good Vet

Finding a good vet can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many things you should look for when selecting one, including:

  1. The doctor’s experience and qualifications.
  2. Their reputation within the veterinary community (you want someone well respected by their peers!). – How do they treat pets under their care; do they seem compassionate about animals’ wellbeing?
  3. Their hours of operation and availability for emergencies.
  4. How many years has the clinic been in business?
  5. The cost of routine visits, as well as any special procedures or treatments your pet, may need down the road (like surgery). A good veterinarian will always make sure their clients are fully informed about all costs involved with treating their pet before starting any procedures.
  6. Are there any complaints filed against them by previous clients? You can find out through Yelp reviews or Better Business Bureau reports.
  7. Finally, ask yourself what type of relationship do you want to have with this vet? Do they seem friendly and easygoing enough that you feel comfortable calling them with any questions or concerns? Will you be able to trust them with the care of your beloved pet?

Take your time finding a good vet, and don’t be afraid to ask around for recommendations. The health and wellbeing of your pet are always worth taking the time to find the best possible care.


Here are some of the most common questions.

How do I take care of my dog after ear cropping?

You should follow your veterinarian’s instructions for post-operative care, which may include cleaning the ears and applying antibiotic ointment. You will also need to limit their activity for several weeks to prevent them from injuring their ears while they heal.

Does Ear Cropping Affect a Dog’s Hearing?

If the procedure is done correctly and there are no complications afterward, it should not affect your dog’s hearing at all. Some believe that having their ears cropped helps dogs hear better because they can keep them up rather than dropping down from the weight of their ears.

How long does the healing process take?

The healing process typically takes two to four weeks, but your dog may not be able to go swimming or participate in other strenuous activities for several months.

How often should I clean my dog’s ears?

It is important to keep your dog’s ears clean to prevent infection and irritation, but you should only do so when necessary (i.e., there is no need for daily cleaning). For example, you can use a cotton ball moistened with warm water or an ear cleanser recommended by your veterinarian.

How do I know if my dog’s ears need to be cleaned?

If you notice any discharge from the ear, it is a sign that there may be an infection, and you should take them to see their veterinarian as soon as possible. If there are no signs of infection, but the ears seem dirty or smelly, they may need to be cleaned.

Why do Great Danes have their ears cropped?

Many people believe that dogs with cropped ears look better and are less prone to ear infections. However, this is not always true – in fact, some dog breeds have more issues with their ears when cropped. This is why it is essential to do your research before deciding if ear cropping is suitable for your dog.

Is there a difference between cropping and docking?

Yes, there is a big difference between cropping and docking. Cropping is the surgical removal of part or all of the ear, while docking is a procedure that involves cutting off the tail at its base (usually just above the anus).

Should I crop the ears of a great dane or dock their tails?

If your dog has floppy ears and long hair on its head, it might be a good idea to get them cropped. However, if they have a naturally short tail, there is no need to dock it. Ultimately, it is up to the dog owner to decide if they want their pet’s ears cropped or tails docked.

Is ear cropping good for Great Danes?

Some people believe that ear cropping is good for Great Danes because it makes them look more regal and masculine. Others believe that ear cropping can cause a number of health problems, and that it’s better to let the dog keep its natural ears.

Is ear cropping cruel?

While it may not be as cruel as some people think, it’s still a surgery that can cause a lot of pain and distress for the dog.

At what age do Great Danes get their ears cropped?

Great Danes typically have their ears cropped between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks.


Overall, the cropping of the ears of a great danes is a personal decision that should be made after careful consideration. There are many factors to take into account, including the age and health of your dog, as well as your preferences. 

If you decide to crop your dog’s ears, be sure to find a qualified veterinarian who has experience performing this procedure. Make sure you follow all post-operative instructions carefully to ensure a safe and speedy recovery for your furry friend!

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Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Our resident DVM helps review every article to ensure we always provide scientifically accurate, up-to-date information. She’s proud to help provide pet parents everywhere with the info they need to keep their pets safe, healthy, and comfortable.