Thank You... I have had 3 Dobies in the last 18 years, I know this is the breed I love and want. They have all had natural ears, but I worry my last girl may have come from a questionable breeder. The way I have been treated for asking about Natural ear dogs is going to keep these questionable breeders doing what they do because they will sell to someone like me all day. I want to do the right thing and support a good cause and a line of dogs that have been tested because these dogs are my family. I have now found several Breeders that are happy to sell me a dog with natural ears.
It's a two-way street, though, in that you seem to be reading offense where there is none. We've been informing you, I think pretty nicely, that ethical breeders in this country, far and away, crop ears. They do it because it's the standard for our breed, and ethical breeders breed to the standard, because they show and title their dogs. Their breeding practices don't change for buyer preferences. So many people also say they want a 100 pound Doberman who is huge - that's not our standard, and a good breeder wouldn't breed for that, regardless of what a buyer wanted. Those dogs shouldn't be winning in the ring because they aren't the standard, and so breeders don't breed for that.
While it's true that some people prefer a natural ear, and I understand why they may feel that way, that doesn't mean that breeders necessarily need to change their practices to accommodate that preference. Puppies are cropped prior to going home - around 7 to 8 weeks old. Some breeders don't send puppies home until 12 weeks. Let's say a buyer backs out (and it happens!)...they wanted an uncropped pup, and now the pup is 10 or 11 weeks old, and it's too late to crop. Uncropped puppies are actually much harder to place. Or, let's say a breeder doesn't crop a pup, and 6 months to a year down the road, the dog really matures beautifully and should be shown, but...natural ears. Now what?
I think it's fine for you to have a preference, and it's fine for you to be willing to search out the breeders who are willing to do that. Like John, as much as I love my cropped dogs, I love the breed for who they are, though I would strongly prefer a cropped dog. But I think you have to see this from the breeder's perspective, as well as your own, and understand why most of them aren't interested, and some may be offended. If you get offended at people not wanting to sell to you, or that it's even a question, you will turn a lot of people off. Saying "this just sends people to bad breeders" is exactly the wrong perspective. The message there is "I want something that is unusual in the breed, I'm not willing to be patient and seek it out and understand it's out of the ordinary and they are accommodating me." I hope that makes sense, and I really am not trying to offend you. Again, I think it's fine to want a well bred pup with natural ears, but I also think you have to understand the nature of your request.