There has been a lot of misinformation out there floating around on Doberman discussion groups about the cost of ear cropping procedures for Dobermans. Many prices owners post on public forums are either extremely outdated, not applicable to most owners (such as the price a breeder pays when cropping many puppies at once), or misleading. That’s why we decided to get some clear (and updated for 2022) numbers as to exactly how much it costs to crop a Doberman’s ears.
It costs an average of $631 for a Doberman ear cropping procedure at a veterinarian inside the United States. Many owners will pay an average of $107 additional for recommended blood work prior to the procedure. After the surgery, owners can choose to regularly post their dog’s ears in position themselves, or pay between $15 and $65 per posting change if it’s not included in the cost of the procedure.
Doberman Ear Cropping Costs
|Veterinarian||Location||Ear Crop||Blood Work||Postings||Follow Up Exam|
|Animal Medical Clinic||Milpitas, CA||$950||Included||$65||Included|
|Boulevard Animal Hospital||Long Beach, CA||$809||$215||3 Free (then $65)||Included|
|Northeast Animal Hospital||Las Vegas, NV||$450||$180||3 Free (then $15)||Included|
|Balcones Animal Hospital Inc||Austin, TX||$550||$70||Included||Included|
|Powell Veterinary Service, Inc.||Kersey, CO||$550||$150||$40||Included|
|Animal Medical And Surgical Hospital||Tulsa, OK||$606||$86||$27||Included|
|Pet Central Animal Hospital||Minneapolis, MN||$600||Included||None||Included|
|4 Paws Animal Hospital||Tampa, FL||$370||$100||$15||Included|
|Amsterdam Animal Hospital||Amsterdam, NY||$1072||$110||Included||Included|
|Broad Street Animal Hospital||Philadelphia, PA||$550||$185||None||None|
|East Columbus Veterinary Hospital||Columbus, OH||$430||$80||1 Free (then $30)||Included|
Above is a table showing all the veterinarians we contacted and the quotes they gave for an ear cropping procedure of an 8 week old Doberman puppy (rounded to the nearest whole dollar). We called veterinarians who specialize in ear cropping all across the United States to get a fair representation of the true, and current, costs of this procedure.
Typical Cost: Included
Most veterinarians want a pre-exam of the Doberman before scheduling that actual ear cropping procedure. Most of the time the cost of this is included in the total price of the ear crop. Only one out of the eleven veterinarians above charged an additional fee for the pre-exam that was required before the ear crop surgery (since it was required, we combined it with the cost of the procedure in the table above).
During the pre-surgery exam, the veterinarian will examine the puppy and make sure they’re a good candidate for ear cropping and that there’s a high likelihood the ears will successfully stand. Much of this depends on the vet’s opinion as to the thickness of the dog’s ear cartilage. Since the ears naturally become thicker and firmer with age, it’s best to get in to see a veterinarian as soon as possible for this pre-exam.
Most veterinarians will want to perform the ear cropping procedure when a Doberman puppy is between 7 and 9 weeks old, but no later than 12 weeks old. Remember, it’s best to contact your vet as early as possible about ear cropping as they are often booked months in advance and won’t perform the procedure if your dog is too old by the time they can get him in for surgery.
Ear Cropping Surgery
Average Cost: $631
The ear cropping surgery itself is usually the bulk of the cost when getting your Doberman’s ears cropped. Most veterinarians we spoke to advised that you would drop off your Doberman puppy early in the day and pick him up in the afternoon. Only one advised that they wanted to keep the dog overnight, and one advised they wanted to keep the dog for three days post-surgery. In all situations, the length of stay was included in the cropping price.
Although it varies as to what the procedure itself includes, below is what’s most commonly included with the price of the ear cropping procedure.
- Anesthesia (general)
- Pain Medications
- Heart monitor during surgery
- Cone/E-collar (if needed)
- Initial ear wrap
- Follow up exam
- Sutcher removal
Not many of the veterinarians we spoke to advised that they use cones or e-collars after surgery to protect the ears from the dog. It seems that most preferred using pain medications and take-home sedatives to dissuade the dogs from scratching at, or damaging, their ears after surgery. Most veterinarians advised that often the cones can “do more damage than good” to the ears by pressing them down flat making it less likely that they will stand.
Another option that was mentioned on occasion was the use of a therapy laser (or “cold laser”) after cropping. This is a way to help reduce inflammation and speed up the healing time after the surgery. Of the vets who offered this, only one charged an additional price of $15 for the laser therapy.
Average Cost: $107
Blood work is often optional but highly recommended by veterinarians prior to a Doberman getting their ears cropped. Essentially it helps to lower the overall risk of the procedure by checking for certain disorders that Dobermans often have and ensuring that they’ll be able to handle the anesthesia. These are all important things for the vet to know prior to surgery.
The cost of this is almost always additional and very few vets include the cost of this in the price they initially quote for the ear cropping. So when you’re calling around, make sure you ask how much blood work will cost and if it’s included in the price they quote you.
Typical Cost: Included
The follow-up exam is essentially a chance for the veterinarian to remove the initial bandages they put on the dog after surgery, assess the healing process, and remove the stitches (sutures).
In all cases, except one, a follow-up exam was included in the price for the ear cropping procedure itself. Only one veterinarian we contacted, Broadstreet Animal Hospital, did not include this in their ear cropping package for Dobermans. They stated it wasn’t necessary since they use sutures that dissolve on their own and don’t need to be manually removed.
Typical Cost: $15 – $65
Dobermans need to have their ears “posted” (or braced) into position in the weeks and months after surgery to ensure that as the cartilage naturally thickens and hardens with age, the ears will stand in the correct upright position. This typically requires the ear posts (often call “ear wraps”) to be changed every 3 to 7 days until the ears reliably stand on their own.
This can be somewhat of an involved process and while many owners will decide to do the ear posting themselves, others want their veterinarian to do it. There seemed to be a broad range of costs here in the quotes we received. Two vets we spoke to included unlimited postings with the price of the procedure while two others advised they don’t do postings at all at their offices and it’s completely on the owners to do themselves. All other veterinarians either charged for all posting changes or included a few for free and then charged for additional postings.
Length of the Crop
Most veterinarians will charge the same amount for a Doberman ear cropping, regardless of the style (or length) of the crop chosen. Only one out of the eleven veterinarians we contacted, Powell Veterinary Service, Inc, quoted a different price based on the length of the crop. At this one vet, we were quoted an additional $100 if we wanted the long, show crop.
This is because it’s generally more difficult to get the ears to stand the longer the ear crop is. The added size and weight of longer cropped ears are what make this more difficult. This means the procedure usually requires a bit of additional skill on the part of the veterinarian. Also, it will require the ears to be posted into position for a longer period of time after the surgery before the ears will naturally stand on their own.
When to Get Your Doberman’s Ears Cropped
The best time to get a Doberman’s ears cropped is between 7 and 9 weeks of age, but it can usually be done as late as 12 weeks of age with good results. Most veterinarians won’t perform an ear cropping procedure on a Doberman older than 12 weeks of age. This is because the dog’s ear cartilage naturally thickens and hardens as they age and an ear crop after 12 weeks of age is less likely to produce standing ears.
If you’re looking to get your puppy’s ears cropped, it’s important that you begin looking for a vet to perform the procedure as early as possible since the number of veterinarians who perform this is shrinking, and the ones that do, are often booked for many weeks in advance. In other words, if you find a vet to perform the ear cropping procedure on your 8-week old puppy, and they’re booked for 5 weeks, that will put your dog at 13 weeks old by the time you could get him (or her) in for their ear cropping—too old for the procedure.
Take a look at our article all about at what age should you get your Doberman’s ears cropped for more in-depth information on when to get this done.
Where to Save Money
There are three different ways you can save a bit of money with the ear cropping process.
- Get Multiple Quotes – This is obvious with anything you are shopping for, but as you can see from the list of quotes we received above, there are some widely varying prices for the ear cropping procedure with this breed. The highest quote we received for Doberman ear cropping was $1072 and the lowest was $370. That’s a difference of $702 for seemingly the same proceedure! So if you aren’t affraid to drive some distance to get the proceedure done, it’ll definitely give you more options on veterinarians to consider and you may be able to find much lower price quotes.
- Skip the Blood Work – Most people, myself included, don’t recommend skipping on blood work before the proceedure. Not all veterinarians require it but they advised us that it helps them to gain a broader picture of your Doberman’s health before the proceedure, effectively reduing risks surrounding the proceedure itself. However, if your vet doesn’t require it and you choose to forego it, it will save you an average of $107.
- Post the Ears Yourself – This is the most common way us Doberman owners will save money in regards to getting our dog’s ears cropped. Dobermans need to have to have their ears posted in position after their ear cropping surgery until the ears stand consistently on their own, usually at 6 months of age. This will require a ear wrap (aka “ear post”) change and ear cleaning every 3 to 7 days until that time. Most veterinarians we contacted were happy to tutor owners how to do the ear posting themselves at home instead of paying them to do the change everytime. Besides saving you between $15 to $65 per posting, it will also save you a trip to the vet. There are multiple tutorials online showing how to post your Doberman’s ears yourself as well.
Less Veterinarians in the U.S. Are Cropping Ears
Despite the Doberman breed standard calling for cropped and erect ears, this procedure is becoming less common. As a result, fewer veterinarians are offering it to their clients. Often it’s the older veterinarians who have been in practice for many years who continue to offer the service whereas new vets are much less likely to. Canine ear cropping is not taught at many veterinarian schools in North America any longer which is likely much of this reason.
If you’re having difficulty locating a vet near you who performs ear cropping, try to focus on practices that have been in business for many decades. It seems the longer the veterinarian practice has been in business, the more likely they are to offer ear cropping services to their clients.
Can Doberman Ears Stand Without Cropping?
Yes, it’s possible to post a Doberman’s uncropped ears into the erect position and achieve upright ears. However, the additional weight of the longer, wider ears makes this less likely to be successful and the end result is often undesirable to owners. A Doberman who has not had the ear cropping procedure, but whose owner has posted their ears into position while they were young, will often end up with what many owners describe as “fruit bat ears”. They are large, wide, upright, and don’t resemble what most of us are used to seeing in a Doberman’s ears.
The picture below is of a Doberman who has not had an ear cropping but who has naturally erect ears (very rare). However, this is very similar to the result you’d get if you posted your Doberman’s ears in the erect position when your dog is young but did not have the ear cropping procedure done.
Undecided About Ear Cropping?
If you’re still on the fence as to whether or not to get your Doberman’s ears cropped, you’re not alone. Many owners struggle with this decision because our favorite breed looks so adorable with floppy ears when they’re young and so regal with standing ears as adults.
However, there are many other reasons this procedure is done besides just looks alone. If you want to learn more about all the reasons, see our article Doberman Ear Cropping Pros & Cons: Should You Do It. It really is a very personal decision and it’s important that owners make the decision that’s right for them and their dog.