Look at those ears! While I find them adorable, most AKC breeders crop ears of breeds such as Great Danes, Boxers, Dobermans, etc. I asked some Dane breeders at a local show why the ears are cropped, and the answer was "that's the way a Dane should look." There was no other reason, besides cosmetic, for cropping their ears. It was all a matter of aesthetics – human aesthetics!
Before we got Talos from the service dog organization, I requested that the ears be left alone. Without a good reason to crop his ears, I couldn't do it for looks alone – not a good enough reason to put a dog through all the pain and trouble.
I was thrilled to hear that Banfield, The Pet Hospital, the nation's largest network of animal hospitals, announced it would no longer dock the tails and ears of dogs solely for cosmetic purposes.
"After thoughtful consideration and reviewing medical research, we have
determined it is in the best interest of the pets we treat, as well as
the overall practice, to discontinue performing these unnecessary
cosmetic procedures," says Karen Faunt, vice president for medical
quality advancement. "It is our hope that this new medical protocol
will help reduce, and eventually eliminate, these cosmetic procedures
Standing with Banfield is the American Veterinary Medical Association who last year took the position against ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for
cosmetic purposes. The AVMA encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail
docking from breed standards. You can read their position statement here.
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) also opposes ear cropping and tail docking. They say "Ear cropping and/or tail docking in pets for cosmetic reasons
are not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient. These procedures
cause pain and distress, and, as with all surgical procedures, are accompanied
by inherent risks of anesthetic complications, hemorrhage, and infection.
Therefore, the AAHA opposes both the cropping of
ears and the docking of tails when done solely for cosmetic reasons.
Veterinarians should counsel and educate pet owners that these procedures should
not be performed unless medically necessary. The AAHA also encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking
from breed standards." You can read their position statement here.