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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Science behind dobe ears standing up

I know when dobe get their ears cropped they cut it to form it, then they post them and tape them up. The question is, what is the science on how they stay up?

I tried googling it, but I found nothing. I have a dobe and her ears ? are up (only took 2 months?). I just would like to know the science behind it. I'm majoring in Register Nurse, so have taken a few pre-reqs, so I should understand. I'm just curious on how floppy ears decide to stand up. Would like a scientific answer please.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 08:06 AM
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Cartilage builds up in the ear to keep them upright.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 10:24 AM
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I too searched the internet and couldn’t find the specifics of why a dog’s ears stand up.

I did find this, however (I’m paraphrasing).

When dogs were domesticated from wolf to dog, one of the changes that happened was that the ears started to flop. It is unlikely that people actually bred for that trait, so it is generally thought to be the result of some desired genetic change that also affected the ears as a sort of side effect.

In the German Shepherd, for example, the puppy’s ears flop, but they are supposed to standing erect by the time a dog reaches maturity. A floppy ear is considered a genetic defect, and this dog cannot be shown (disqualification) and should not be bred.

Dobes, I guess, do not have that set of genes, so we make the cartilage “freeze” in an erect position by cropping and posting them.

Last edited by melbrod; 04-16-2017 at 02:15 PM.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 04:27 PM
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My guess is that cartilage is soft when they are young and hardens as they mature. Dobes with natural ears still have a portion that is sort of firm, hence where there are so many flying nun dobes if you don't train their ears down. Again I'm guessing, but perhaps the propensity to harden is counteracted by movement of natural ears, hence why ears that are just up on a puppy can tend to "break". Maybe holding it still in the posts allows it to strengthen more because it doesn't continually break back down. Cropping also seems to remove the floppiest part of the ear - maybe so it won't pull down the stronger edge.

This is all just armchair theory. I didn't do any research
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 09:35 PM
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There was a television show on the history of dogs that said that we bred to domesticate and that was achieved by attaining a state of "permanent puppy". This explains why we get floppy ears. The cartilage hardening in the ear explains how we get them to stand.

If you look at the fox experiment in Russia, you find that the ears start to droop the more the foxes became domesticated. Neotony is the state.

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoteny

"Selecting for juvenile behavioral characteristics can lead to neoteny in physical characteristics because, for example, with the reduced need for behaviors like aggression there is no need for developed traits that would help in that area. Traits that may become neotenized due to decreased aggression may be a shorter muzzle and smaller general size among the domesticated individuals. Some common neotenous physical traits in domesticated animals (mainly dogs, pigs, ferrets, cats, and even foxes) include: floppy ears, changes in reproductive cycle, curly tails, piebald coloration, fewer or shortened vertebra, large eyes, rounded forehead, large ears, and shortened muzzle.[24][25]"


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 09:58 PM
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I’ve heard about that study. It IS interesting to see all those characteristics show up as animals are domesticated. It’s amazing to me how few generations were needed (relatively speaking) before those “side effects” started showing up.

Another thing I’ve read that I find intriguing--dogs that are bred to be lapdogs usually have better close-up vision than other breeds.

It makes sense that hunting breeds, for example, would need to be able to spot prey that is moving and far away, and tend to have better long distance vision. The corollary, though, which I hadn’t thought of, is that lapdogs are expected to make more eye contact with their owners and respond to them from close up (in a lap or on the floor close by), hence need better close-up vision.

Last edited by melbrod; 04-16-2017 at 10:02 PM.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 06:56 PM
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The doberman ears stand up after the procedure for a couple of reasons 1)The floppy part and part of the weight has been removed 2) scar tissue which is rigid unless worked has been allowed to form in an undisturbed manner 3) injured cartilage calcifies and becomes more bone like, adding strength to the standing.

In a GSD they stand because the ears seem to be thicker and therefore stronger.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 03:54 PM
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I don't have the terminology for you, but the "science" is simply a hardening or stiffening of the cartilage that occurs as the dog ages.

Floppy ears are NOT "natural"!!!! This is a very important point that a lot of folks miss. Floppy ears are a result of mankind messing around with canine genetics. So, allow me to repeat- FLOPPY EARS ARE NOT NATURAL.

You can view floppy ears as-
1) a mankind induced genetic defect that reduces a canines ability to survive in general (ear infections, minor reduction in hearing ability, increased susceptibility to entrapment or injury, etc)
OR
2) a mankind induced genetic defect that increases a canines ability to survive among humans (maintains a non-threatening, juvenile "cute" appearance throughout adulthood, clearly identifies the canine as a domestic dog and not a wolf/coyote/etc.)

Back to the "science" of the ears standing up- as the puppy grows the cartilage stiffens and the ears try to stand erect (as "nature" intended). This works just fine without human intervention in dogs that still have the genetics for natural ears. However, because mankind manipulated genetics, some dogs have unnatural, large, long ears with thin cartilage and the ears cannot stand. There is simply too much ear for the natural process to take place. If we do nothing the dog develops into an adult with unnatural, long, floppy ears.

To band-aid over or correct the correct the genetic problem we've created and bring the ears back into a "natural" upright position, we first have to get rid of unnatural length and weight by trimming off the excess ear. Then, because the ears lack the correct "natural" cartilage strength we have to help further by fixing the ears unto an upright position until the cartilage completes it's normal stiffening enough to support the ear in a natural upright position.

Somewhere in your nursing education there should be medical/scientific terminology for the process during which soft, baby or juvenile cartilage strengthens and stiffens into adult cartilage.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 08:30 PM
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The exact mechanism would be expression of bone morphogenic protein. These do a ton of regulation in all aspects of animal biology, but some specifically develop cartilage, and others calcify or strengthen it. If anyone from the doberman group wants to run gene analysis this could be a therapeutic target for an injection instead of cropping. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_m...enetic_protein
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apollothedog View Post
The exact mechanism would be expression of bone morphogenic protein. These do a ton of regulation in all aspects of animal biology, but some specifically develop cartilage, and others calcify or strengthen it. If anyone from the doberman group wants to run gene analysis this could be a therapeutic target for an injection instead of cropping. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_m...enetic_protein
Cropping would still be necessary. Remember- breeds like the Dobermann have unnatural large, long ears. Not only would such ears look ridiculous in a natural, erect position; they would also be even more prone to injury and entrapment erect than just flopping around beside the head.

BMP's might reduce the length of time needed for posting ears after cropping or possibly eliminate the need to post altogether. Unless you're putting a dollar amount on the time it takes you to post ears, the tape and post materials are relatively inexpensive. Depending on the price of effective BMP therapy it might not make sense to bother, although there is a balance point where it's worth it to pay extra to make your life easier.

The primary expense involved is for the cropping or trimming of excess, unnatural ear material. Trimming (cropping) is also the part of restoring Dobermann ears to a natural erect position that gets the PETA types stirred up.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 08:12 PM
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I keep hearing people say that floppy ears can cause infection due to the lack of circulation, which makes sense, but I've heard more cases of pointed ear dogs having ear issues over floppy ear ones..
My husky got an infection once, several friend's dogs with natural pointy ears got them.. my late dog (passed away) with floppy ears never had a problem.
My husky's ears were always clean, so idk how she got it..
makes me wonder I feel floppy ear dogs get it due to lack of circulation and pointed ear dogs get it from too much circulation.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onistina View Post
I keep hearing people say that floppy ears can cause infection due to the lack of circulation, which makes sense, but I've heard more cases of pointed ear dogs having ear issues over floppy ear ones..
My husky got an infection once, several friend's dogs with natural pointy ears got them.. my late dog (passed away) with floppy ears never had a problem.
My husky's ears were always clean, so idk how she got it..
makes me wonder I feel floppy ear dogs get it due to lack of circulation and pointed ear dogs get it from too much circulation.
Allergies, thyroid issues, diet and other things can make a dog more susceptible to ear infections no matter whether the ears are floppy or erect.

The primary issue with large floppy ears is that the ear flopping down over the ear opening creates an unnaturally warm, moist environment. If the poor dog is already susceptible to ear problems, this environment exacerbates it.

Many floppy eared dogs go through life with no ear injuries and no infections or other problems. As stated earlier- a valid argument can be made that floppy ears are beneficial to a dog because floppy ears make a dog appear cute, domestic and non-threatening.

I got sucked into posting here because I just happened across this thread at a time when the irritation with folks referring to floppy ears as "natural" was boiling over. I understand that many folks simply mean the size/shape/position of ear the dog was born with but calling them "natural" reeks of ignorance. Erect ears are natural. Floppy ears are NOT!

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 02:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adhahn View Post
Allergies, thyroid issues, diet and other things can make a dog more susceptible to ear infections no matter whether the ears are floppy or erect.

The primary issue with large floppy ears is that the ear flopping down over the ear opening creates an unnaturally warm, moist environment. If the poor dog is already susceptible to ear problems, this environment exacerbates it.

Many floppy eared dogs go through life with no ear injuries and no infections or other problems. As stated earlier- a valid argument can be made that floppy ears are beneficial to a dog because floppy ears make a dog appear cute, domestic and non-threatening.

I got sucked into posting here because I just happened across this thread at a time when the irritation with folks referring to floppy ears as "natural" was boiling over. I understand that many folks simply mean the size/shape/position of ear the dog was born with but calling them "natural" reeks of ignorance. Erect ears are natural. Floppy ears are NOT!
Well domestic dogs all together aren't natural, but we're all guilty of using words the wrong way. Without realizing it, too. Most people who refer to floppy ears as 'natural', do mean 'how they are born', and literally do not know they are using the word wrong. People view the word 'natural' as the same as 'normal' without realizing it means 'something not altered by humans/still a part of nature'.
We're all ignorant about something, considering ignorance means 'lack of knowledge' or 'not knowing any better'/'ill informed'. Best way to handle situations like this is to simply keep a cool head and let people know 'natural' doesn't mean 'how you are born' or 'unaltered' in general. Educate people in a calm and understanding manner and, with time, hopefully less and less people will use the word incorrectly.
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