Great danes, cropped or natural ears
Picture of giant dogs will surely appear in one’s mind when talking about Great Danes. But they are not only known as large dogs. Another distinctive characteristic of Great Danes is their cropped ears. Ear cropping began centuries ago as a preventive measure. Yes, you read it right. Ears were a problem in hunting that is why they are cropped to prevent wolves and wild boar from grabbing hold of the ears.
Cropping refers to the removal or amputation of the ears. So why deem it as a preventive measure when the process itself induces pain to the animal? Since hundreds of years ago, different dog breeds were used as hunting dogs. Ears were a problem in hunting and one way to address the problem is to have the ears cropped. Cropping of the ears was done to prevent wolves and wild boar (often the objective of Great Dane hunt) from grabbing hold of the ears.
But despite of its original purpose, many people have come to question the need of cropping the ears of dogs. To them, ear cropping is a painful and mutilating process for any animal. Its no use allowing a dog to experience such pain because they believe that the process has no medical, physical, environmental or cosmetic advantage. The surgical procedure, the subsequent taping and bandaging that is sometimes necessary after the surgery are just methods of animal cruelty. Others believe and argue that there are other benefits a dog can derive from cropping of the ears. According to them, cropped ears will prevent ear canal infections and is just like spaying and neutering.
The process is still common and exercised in the United States. However, it is banned in some European countries like United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany and in parts of Australia and New Zealand. Today, there are no longer scientifically proven reasons to crop ears. Ear infections may occur in all sorts of breeds whether they have cropped ears or not. Great Danes are no longer used to hunt wild boar. The decision largely depends on the owner. It’s their choice whether they want their dog’s ears cropped or left natural. If they really like the looks of cropped ears, better do the process as early as six weeks of age in the larger breeds and not more than nine weeks in the smaller ones.
Great Danes will still be Great Danes regardless of their ears. So long as the process is alright with you, go for it.