There are three general types of Schnauzer ear crops that should be discussed with your vet:
the Utility crop, the Triangular Crop, and the Show Crop. Whichever crop is chosen, the ears
should be symmetrical, stand evenly on the head, and be easy for the dog to control.
The shortest crop is referred to as the “Working Crop”, “Military Crop”, or the “Utility Crop”.
This crop is used for dogs that will be in the working fields, and do not need the extra ear to
become torn or injured in any way. This is the most common ear cut used by breeders who
cut a pup’s ears in the first 8 weeks of life. These crops are much easier to train to stand on
their own, unlike the longer crops. The ear fold is NOT stitched at the bottom, and so when
you are looking straight on at the dog, you will see a LOT of the inside of the dog’s ear.
The “Standard Ear Crop”, “Medium Crop”, or “Triangular Crop” is used for the companion
and pet quality pups. It is also easier than the longer show crop to train to stand normally.
This crop is in-between the utility and show crops in length. The medium crop is more
versatile, and is used when a more elegant look is desired by leaving a little more length, yet
not compromising the swifter ability to stand without repeated tapings for the companion
The “Show Crop” is the longest and daintier crop. This type of crop is popular in the show
ring for its beautiful curved shape, which is often described as “angel wings”. The Show Crop
is the most popular choice. It leaves most of the ear intact, and is a long nearly tear-dropped
crop that tapers to a point at the top of the ear. Although, it is the hardest crop to make
stand, the Show Crop is the style most owners choose.
We have been blessed to have the same veterinarian for my years. Our vet does the ear
crops “freehand” (not using an ear mold), and is thereby able to custom match the crop with
the size, placement, and structure of the pup’s head.
Ultimately, it is up to each owner to make the decision to have a pup’s ears cropped or left
natural. In my opinion, neither argument is right or wrong. If you do decide to crop, and are
prepared for the aftercare, then by all means find an experienced Vet. If like us, you choose
to keep those adorable floppy ears, then enjoy them as well. But whichever you choose,
remember to always practice regular ear cleaning and maintenance.
One of the really difficult decisions for many Schnauzer owners relates to ear cropping. I see many
discussions online about ear cropping, and many times these discussions can get quite heated. People
seem to have very strong opinions on the topic, and so I have written my thoughts in an effort to help
owners and future puppy owners make this decision.
Originally, ear cropping was done on “working” dogs such as terriers or hunting dogs, to save their ears from
being injured while they were working. The practice of cropping ears has continued, because many dog
fanciers feel that the cropped ears complete the look of the dog. Today, cropped ears are no longer a
requirement by the Schnauzer Club or by the AKC (American Kennel Club) in the show ring. Many people
are questioning the need for ear cropping: The aspect of animal cruelty comes into play, and many argue
that there is no medical, physical, environmental or cosmetic advantage for the dog to have the pinnas (ear
flaps) surgically altered. They claim to subject any dog to “disfiguring” and an unnecessary surgical
procedure, subsequent taping and bandaging after the surgery, amounts to animal cruelty and is
indefensible. Others will argue that for some breeds, the cropped ear will help prevent ear canal infections,
and make the opportunity for ear infections much less likely. They will state the ear cropping is no different
philosophically or ethically than surgery such as spaying, neutering, removing protruding dewclaws or tail
Schnauzers have cute little ears, and my personal preference is the natural or “floppy ears”. If the ears are
left uncropped, they are v-shaped and will fold close to the skull. Many Schnauzer owners like this look on
the dog, and feel it gives them a softer, cuter and more natural appearance. However, some pup’s ears will
start to rise when they cut their adult teeth at 6 months of age. Sometimes you wind up with a pup whose
ears stand straight up in the air. Such was the case with our 6-pound Teacup male, Maximus, whose ears
were 4 inches long. Because his ears were so long, it took away from his appearance. Those 4-inch ears on
our little 4-pound dog, made our Max look like a South Texas Jack Rabbit. So, we made the decision to have
his ears cropped.
If you prefer the natural ear, and your pups ears do start to rise up when they are cutting teeth, there are
many good articles on “ear Taping”. My personal favorite ear taping article can be found on the Cymro
Kennel Internet site at: http://www.cymro-welsh.com/ears.html Once all the adult teeth are in, the cartilage
in the ears hardens to the point that they really can’t be changed. I have found that the best way to help the
ears stay flopped, is to leave the hair on the ears until they are 7 months old. The weight of the hair on the
ears will help the ears to stay flopped until the cartilage hardens. However, no matter what you do with
some dogs, the ears are just going to stand straight up.
If the ears are going to be cropped, they should look identical in length and shape with pointed tips that stand
straight up. Many breeders will have their Mini Schnauzer’s ears cropped before thy sell them to make sure
the procedure is done, and done correctly. It is important to understand, that ear cropping is surgery.
Consequently, a licensed veterinarian should do all surgeries. Some breeders will attempt to crop a pup’s
ears when they are only weeks old. They are not anesthetizing the pup, but only applying a local (Lidocaine)
to the outside of the ear. This is not a painless procedure, and can lead to an unflattering and sometimes lob-
sided look. The breeder may tell you that they are trying to save you, the new owner, money, or they may
even charge extra for the cropping. However, if the result is less than attractive, then little can be done to fix
According to our vet, if you don’t crop a Doberman’s ears by the time they are 3 months old, their ears will
never stand up straight. However, this is not true for the Miniature Schnauzer. At six months of age, our
Max's ears were standing straight up in the air. Obviously, “standing up straight” was not going to be a
problem. However, at 6 months old, he only weighed 3.5 lbs. Our vet opted to wait until he was 9 months old
and had gained another pound, before he put him to sleep to crop the ears. In other words, a good vet will
evaluate when to crop your pup's ears on a case-by-case basis. Be aware that if the ears are not standing
straight up, then you will need to have the ears cropped BEFORE the ear cartilage starts to harden (usually at
Many make the argument, that ear cropping is a cruel surgery. It is however, a COSMETIC surgery
performed while a pup is asleep. I highly recommend you search out an ethical veterinarian with experience
in cropping ears. Ear cropping is an art, and not all vets do a great job. Like sculptors, veterinarians that
perform the ear crop must be gifted in the “art”, and their individual skills and abilities vary. Even though it
is a surgical skill, some do them more as an artistic masterpiece than just a routine surgery. Vets also vary
in techniques, and in preference of cropping age. Finding a talented veterinarian is the crucial path to a
beautiful ear crop.
If you look at the many different ear crops, you will notice that the less than experienced vet will leave too
much “bell” on the ear. The “Bell” is the bottom part of the ear that basically bells out if too much is left.
Many more experienced vets will fold the bell over at the bottom and stitch it down. This makes for a much
tighter, tapered and cleaner ear. The ears should taper nicely, and also match the head and size of the