To Crop or Not to Crop

Being involved with showing and breeding of purebred dogs for many years, we have first hand experience with the "crop or not to crop" issue.  This subject rages, and here is how we see this.  These are our opinions.  You are welcome to agree or disagree.

Our Background and views
We have spent over thirty years showing and breeding cropped breeds and together we have been involved in some part of the cropping progress with over one hundred dogs during these years.  To finish a Champion title on a miniature pinscher the ears must stand, cropped or un-cropped. Thus we felt for conformation dogs, cropping was necessary, since not all un-cropped miniature pinscher ears will stand. Also, since natural ears in Min Pins were not always acceptable to all judges, earning a championship was usually a very long and involved endeavor. We did earn championship titles on a couple of Natural miniature pinschers in the early 1990's. With this said, we have always told those who purchased pets that they do not need to crop their dogs, that it is their choice if they wanted to go through the cropping process.

When we got our first German pinschers we felt they would need to be cropped to compete also.  We quickly learned this is not the case, and found that enough judges accept the natural German pinscher in the show ring to title this breed. So in German pinschers, cropping is a choice for pets and show dogs.

Once a puppy leaves the breeder for a new home, it is 100% the choice of the puppy owner if they want to crop or leave the ears un-cropped "natural".

Cropping is considered cosmetic surgery. Half of the ear is removed and it is a traumatic, stressful process to the puppy. It takes several weeks for a cropped ear to heal completely, even with proper aftercare.

It can take several months of taping expertise to train the ears to stand properly. If cropped ears are not cared for properly, they will not stand, and can actually become scarred and deformed, even with an excellent surgical technique from the vet. If the owner is novice with the aftercare and taping, the vet used must commit to the long term taping needed for the finished product.

Most vets do not crop these days, and not all vets that crop, create attractive ears.  It takes artistic ability and experience to create an attractive cropped ear. The owner must find a vet with experience, and they should see their crops or photos, to be better assured of the potential outcome.


Natural ears for a show dog may also require taping to make them fold correctly.  In many un-cropped dogs there is problem related to circulation which causes the tips of the ears to get scaly, break open and bleed.  This is often related to a dog excessively shaking its heads.  Not all un-cropped dogs have this necrotic ear tips problem, but everyone should be aware that if they leave their German pinscher un-cropped it is a good possibility it could happen to their dog.  By the age of three or four part of their ear tips may be gone due to scaring.
Below are several photos of cropped and un-cropped, red and black and rust dogs.


Cropped   or    Not




Cropped   or    Not



Which do you prefer to look at?

Cropping, it is 100% your decision.

Thank you Lyn Stuby for your help in editing this document.