Many dog breeders typically describe Schnauzers with cropped ears as timeless and visually pleasing.
Although it isn’t required, many owners still prefer their dogs’ ears to be cropped to achieve the classic Schnauzer look.
Ear cropping can be done on any Schnauzer breed. In this procedure, a flap of tissue in the dog’s ear is removed and taped to stand upright. It may seem simple, but what exactly goes into this practice?
If you are a Schnauzer owner and you are planning to have your puppies’ ears cropped, this guide will walk you through all the details related to the procedure.
What Is Ear Cropping in Schnauzers?
Ear cropping in Schnauzers is a surgical procedure where portions of the Schnauzer’s outer ears are clipped based on the preferred style of the owner. This is usually followed by ear posting, which helps the ear to stand upright.
To have an upright ear and a bolder look, many Schnauzer owners want their dogs to have cropped ears. Schnauzer dogs with natural ears tend to have a softer appearance despite their alert nature.
True to other dog breeds that usually have their ears ear-cropped, it is not advisable to crop the Schnauzer puppies’ ears below the age of eight weeks. Young puppies may not be able to withstand the pain of the process.
As mentioned earlier, any Schnauzer breed — may it be a Miniature, Giant, or Standard Schnauzer — can have its ear cropped.
However, this article will focus on Miniature Schnauzers, as this is the most popular Schnauzer breed.
Nonetheless, the procedures involved in Miniature Schnauzer ear cropping are similar to those of the other Schnauzer breeds.
The only difference is that the Miniature Schnauzer has smaller and more manageable ears.
Ear Cropping in Schnauzers
Before delving into the process of ear cropping, it is essential to understand the fundamentals of this procedure.
These include the history of ear cropping, common reasons for doing it, and the right age for when it should be done.
History of Ear Cropping in Schnauzers
The exact origin of ear cropping in Miniature Schnauzers and other dog breeds is not well known.
However, some historians found that altering the shape of a dog’s ears through ear cropping has been a practice since Roman times.
During this period, ear cropping was believed to prevent or decrease the chance of ear infections in working dogs.
Ear cropping was also done in hunting, fighting, and guarding dogs to prevent ear injuries when attacked by other animals or dogs.
Miniature Schnauzers were originally bred to be working and guarding dogs on German farms.
Their natural ears are folded forward, which is believed to make them more vulnerable to ear injuries than other breeds with floppy ears.
That’s why Miniature Schnauzer owners were convinced to crop their dogs’ ears, and the practice continued to be popular until today.
Why Do People Crop Schnauzer’s Ears?
There are several reasons why some Miniature Schnauzer breeders and owners want the natural ears of their dogs to be cropped. The simplest of these would be for cosmetic reasons.
Some pet parents want their Miniature Schnauzer dogs to have pointed ears to appear more intimidating. Having cropped ears is also an advantage when other animals attack them.
Some pet owners also believe that the AKC strictly requires the Miniature Schnauzer ears to be cropped.
There are also some claims that ear cropping can enhance the hearing of a dog and can prevent ear infections.
While the AKC recognizes cropped Miniature Schnauzer ears in their breed standard, the club does not strictly require the owners to crop their dogs’ ears.
Also, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there is no strong evidence to prove that ear cropping can enhance the hearing of a dog and prevent ear infections.
When Is Ear Cropping Performed?
At this age range, the cartilage in their ears is still flexible and can be easily cut.
Some Miniature Schnauzer pups start to lose their baby teeth following the said age range. Afterward, their adult teeth will immediately develop, which consume a lot of stored calcium.
Note that the cartilage in your dog’s ears also needs calcium to stand sturdily after the ear cropping procedure. Without enough calcium, your dog’s ear would just flop after cropping it.
Because of this, your dog’s ears need to be posted and taped while it is going through the teething process.
This will ensure that the cropped ears will remain upright even if they are competing with the developing teeth for calcium.
Is It Cruel to Crop a Schnauzer’s Ears?
Some organizations believe that ear cropping is unnecessary and can be considered a form of animal cruelty. This is why many pet parents are still hesitant to have their dogs’ ears cropped.
To evaluate whether ear cropping is really a cruel practice in Schnauzers, it is critical to know what will happen to your dog before, during, and after the operation.
Will My Schnauzer Feel Pain?
During the operation, your vet will administer anesthesia to your Miniature Schnauzer.
Hence, the procedure will not be painful for your dog. However, the pain will start to kick in once the effects of anesthesia wear off.
In some cases, cropped Miniature Schnauzer ears may painfully inflame if they get infected. This is why you must adhere to your vet’s advice on how to take care of your puppy’s ears after the operation.
If you carefully follow all the instructions of your vet, your dog’s ear will easily recover in no time. Your vet will also provide some painkillers and antibiotics in dosages suitable for the age of your puppy.
What Is the Ear Cropping Surgery Like?
Ear cropping is not taught in vet schools. Because of this, it may be hard to find a reputable veterinarian that can safely crop the ears of Miniature Schnauzers.
First, the Miniature Schnauzer will be anesthetized. Next, its ears will be sterilized to prevent infection.
The Miniature Schnauzer ears will then be measured based on the preferred style of the owner, and the parts to be cut off will be marked. The marked area will be finally cut, sutured, and disinfected afterward.
The operation usually lasts between 30 and 45 minutes. After the outer corner of the ear heals, a post must be provided for the ears to stand correctly.
The vet usually teaches ear cropping to the owner before they leave the clinic. It requires a backer rod and different kinds of sticky tape, including duct tape, Elastikon tape, and Kendall tape.
Bear in mind that throughout this process, proper ear cleaning must still be observed to avoid ear infections.
You also need to replace the ear post in your Miniature Schnauzer ears once every 3 to 5 days.
This should be done continuously while your dog is still teething for its ear to stand firmly. Teething takes 4 to 6 months to complete.
Although this is time-consuming, ear posting can prevent the formation of undesirable ears.
To give you a clearer picture of how Schnauzers’ ears are posted after they healed from cropping, watch the video tutorial below:
The Downside to Ear Cropping in Schnauzers
While ear cropping in Schnauzer puppies is assumed to be beneficial for the breed, there are still some drawbacks to this practice.
A responsible breeder and owner should consider these before coming up with a decision.
Moreover, your vet must also inform you about these downsides since they will perform this procedure on your dog.
1. Cropped ears could take longer to recover
Normally, it would take about a few weeks for the surgical wound of your puppy to heal. However, its full healing may take almost half a year.
Not to mention, during the first few weeks, your pup will inevitably experience pain in both or one ear. It may also feel some discomfort and heaviness on its head.
2. Ear cropping has no proven benefits
This is one of the things that your vet must be updated on. Ear cropping is considered an unnecessary procedure by many experts due to the lack of scientific data that can prove its assumed benefits on ear health.
In fact, according to Dr. Samantha Gaines, a dog welfare expert from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ear cropping can be harmful to the health, welfare, and behavior of the dog.
3. Ear cropping might not work
Ear cropping does not guarantee that your dog’s ear will stand the way you want it to.
Sometimes, the cropped ears of Schnauzers may not stand even after the breeder or owner taped them on a hard surface.
This may be due to several factors, including the following:
- Very low calcium level
- Ear cartilage is too thin to stand
- Wrong choice of crop style
- Wrong ear posting
If your Schnauzer’s ears look strange while the ear posting procedure is ongoing, do not hesitate to call your vet.
Is It Legal to Crop Your Schnauzer’s Ears?
Cropping the ears of Miniature Schnauzers and other dog breeds is an acceptable practice in the United States.
In fact, the American Kennel Club recognizes both the Schnauzers’ natural ears and cropped ears.
In the states of Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, and Washington, ear cropping is highly regulated, and they only allow a qualified vet to perform the procedure.
As for other countries, this practice is illegal in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Scandinavian nations, and various Canadian provinces.
Breeders and veterinarians who illegally offer this service run the danger of serving time in prison.
Ethics of Ear Cropping in Schnauzers
Even if it is legal in the United States, some American organizations, like the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), question the safety and purpose of some elective surgeries in animals, including ear cropping.
In contrast, the AKC recognizes ear cropping as “integral to defining and preserving breed character” and not just a cosmetic procedure.
In fact, they have an article that aims to eliminate the negative myths about ear cropping.
Despite this, no one can dispute that it is ethical for a dog to undergo a pre-op examination and be anesthetized during the surgery.
Likewise, almost all animal organizations agree that it must be performed by a qualified vet.
Should You Crop a Schnauzer’s Ears?
Similar to other elective surgeries, ear cropping requires pet owners to exercise careful planning.
Essentially, you need to consider the reasons, risks, and laws related to this procedure before coming up with a decision.
Ask Yourself Why
Identifying the reason why you want the natural ears of your dog to be cropped is a crucial step in making the right decision for your dog. Some breeders want the ears of their dogs to be cropped due to cosmetic reasons.
They believe that having cropped ears is standard for the Miniature Schnauzer, which gives the dog a fiercer and bolder look.
Meanwhile, others want their puppies’ ears cropped as they believe it can prevent ear infections.
Whether for cosmetic or health reasons, a responsible Schnauzer owner and breeder must always consult multiple references before making a choice.
You should also get the advice of your trusted veterinarian about this surgery.
Identify Potential Risks
Some puppies may have underlying conditions which may endanger their lives while the ear cropping procedure is ongoing.
To avoid this, you may consult your vet beforehand about the potential risks of this procedure to the well-being of your dog. This step is very critical, especially if you just adopted your Miniature Schnauzer puppy.
For example, some Mini Schnauzers may show allergic reactions to the anesthesia used in the procedure.
Others may have unknown lung or heart issues that could become apparent during the actual operation.
Check Your Local Laws
As mentioned in the previous section, cropping the ears of Miniature Schnauzers and other dogs is regulated in some parts of the United States. In some countries, cropping dogs’ ears has already been outlawed.
Checking your local laws regarding ear cropping is essential to avoid any legal repercussions. For example, in some states, a breeder is not allowed to do the procedure unless that breeder is a licensed vet.
In Washington, cropping Miniature Schnauzer ears is strictly prohibited unless it is done as a part of the normal animal-raising practice. There may also be some areas that only permit ear cropping on specific breeds.
Schnauzer Ear Cropping Styles
Some people think that the Schnauzers’ natural ears look unattractive and less show-material due to their floppy appearance.
Hence, many owners opt for their dog’s ears to be cropped in various styles to become more attractive.
To give you an idea, check out the different ear cropping styles available for Schnauzer breeds below:
- Battle Crop: This is the shortest and most flat-looking ear cropping style for Schnauzers. However, this cut is prone to infections, so regular ear cleaning is necessary if you choose this style.
- Short Crop: This is a little longer than the battle crop. In this style, almost one-third of the ear is removed. Because of this, it won’t look too flat for your Schnauzer’s head.
- Show Crop: Also known as the medium crop, the show crop is the most popular style for Schnauzers. This is because it has the right length for the ears to stand correctly and for the Schnauzers to appear more alert.
- Long Crop: This is the longest ear cropping style for a Schnauzer. Here, only around a quarter of the ear is removed, and the rest is posted. This style is rarely done by vets.
Keep in mind that if the vet crops the ear too short or too long, there is a lower chance for it to stand correctly.
This is why sometimes, even after posting, the ears with long crop or battle crop would not stand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Schnauzers Have Naturally Cropped Ears?
No, their natural ears are not cropped. To be specific, the uncropped ears of the Schnauzer breed are V-shaped, always set high on its head, and typically fold forward instead of erect.
Also, because they have ear leathers with medium thickness, the Miniature Schnauzers’ ears are relatively easy to clip during the operation.
How Much Does It Cost to Crop a Schnauzer’s Ears?
The price of cropping the Schnauzer ears ranges between $350 and $1,000. Some postoperative inclusions like medications, materials for ear posting, and the like add up to the price of the operation itself.
In addition, cropping the ears of heavier puppies and those beyond 10 weeks of age may cost more, as the operation would be more difficult to perform for these dogs.
Can I Crop My Schnauzer’s Ears at Home?
No, cropping the ears of Miniature Schnauzers must be performed by a licensed vet.
It is deemed unethical to perform the said operation on puppies at home unless dog owners and breeders are legally qualified to do so.
Moreover, there are laws in some states which aim to regulate ear cropping. For example, in Massachusetts, non-vet owners who crop their Miniature Schnauzer ears by themselves will pay a $250 fine.
How Long Does It Take for Cropped Ears to Heal?
Typically, cropped Miniature Schnauzer ears heal around 2 to 6 weeks after the operation.
However, for some puppies, their ears heal properly in 4 to 5 months. New owners may take home their dogs a few days after the operation.
However, some vets highly advise that the dogs stay in their facility for two weeks to ensure proper monitoring and postoperative care.
Ear cropping in Schnauzers and other dog breeds is a procedure where the dog’s ears are cropped to a specific style and posted to stand correctly. This is performed by a licensed vet while the dog is anesthetized.
This procedure is an acceptable elective surgery in the United States. However, many organizations and areas inside and outside the United States have opposed, regulated, or banned this procedure.
Regardless of whether you think this procedure is morally just and essential, the welfare of your Schnauzer should always come first. After all, you should consider what is best for your cherished canine companions.
Now that you’ve just finished reading this guide, what do you think about ear cropping in Schnauzers? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!