Great Danes are big dogs that have distinct characteristics and look very royal. They are athletic and have a lot of courage, and are hence also known as the 'Apollo of Dogs'. These dogs were bred in European countries for hunting wild boar, guarding castles, pulling carts, and to even take part in battles. They were mostly used to hunt down the unpredictable European wild boars that were known for their formidable tusks. These tusks were so sharp that they could rip the dog to shreds.
These are very tall dogs and prove to be great house pets. Puppies tend to be a bit on the clumsy side, but adults are sure footed. This is a gentle breed, and they tend to be a bit on the dominant side if not given firm training and obedience sessions. It is important to teach them some manners as improper training may create some problem for the owner owing to their huge size. Ear cropping is a procedure in which the dog's ears are amputated. In the past, it was carried out for a specific reason and not for cosmetic purposes.
Great Danes were bred in Europe as wild boar hunters. The wild boar could rip off the dogs' ears with its tusks. To prevent any kind of injury to the animals, people carried out the ear cropping procedure on these Great Danes. This gave the dogs a majestic look; this is still used as a breed standard. The standard even today states that the ears should be "identical in shape and length, with pointed tips. They are in balance with the head and not exaggerated in length. They are set high on the skull and carried perpendicularly at the inner edges, with as little bell as possible along the outer edges".
The Great Dane ear cropping procedure involves an 8 to 16 week old puppy being put under general anesthesia. Then the vet cuts off about 50% of the ear. This helps in reshaping the ear, so that it stands upright as opposed to its natural way of hanging.
After the surgery is complete, the ears have to be taped upright for at least three months, it may take longer depending on the dog. You need to change the tape every week and carefully observe if the ears are healing without any infections. However, many times, the ear cropping does not end up the way it was supposed to look. You may find one ear standing straight and the other flopping down. Or many times, both ears flop down or stand at an angle. There are many styles in the cropping procedure. The longest ear cropping styles are found in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers. This style is called the 'Doberman style' that begins at the second joint of the ear.
Ear cropping costs about 150 to 450 USD. Also, post surgery care takes about a year, so you may need to shell out more money according to the animal's healing progress.
Need for the Procedure
The ear cropping procedure helps reduce the chances of ear canal infections. It also helps reduce the chances of hematomas, that is, separation of the ear skin layers where the blood collects due to vigorous head shaking. The good thing about this procedure is that it helps in reducing these dog health problems.
Ear cropping is a very painful procedure. Ears have a complex vascular system. Thus, they can bleed profusely. It is a long procedure as you need to care for your dog's ears until they heal. It is also a type of cosmetic surgery. Many term it as a type of animal abuse. In fact, the Great Dane ear cropping procedure has been banned in most western European countries. It is only popular in North America today.
Ear cropping does make your dog look majestic and handsome. However, if you are not planning to enter your dog in dog shows, then there is no point in making it go through this process unless recommended by a vet. If you want to prevent ear infections, take good dog care and avoid any type of ear problems. If you feel that ear cropping will help your Great Dane, then it's your personal choice. Please visit a vet who is qualified and experienced in this procedure to get it done without any complications.