An erect ear helps to prevent bacterial, yeast, & fungal infections, and also improves hearing as well as detecting the direction of sounds. Nearly all wild land mammals, and certainly every species of wild canines and felines have erect ears. Ear cropping is for not done for “just cosmetic reasons.” I posted this because in some countries the procedure is being outlawed, which is foolish.
ERECT EARS ARE MORE NATURAL THAN FLOPPY EARS - The reason all wild canines and felines have erect ears is simply because it is superior in health and function. The closest thing I can think of to a floppy ear on a land mammal is an elephant, but even an elephant's ear is not truly floppy as it is self supportive while its sways forward and rearward. Point here being; even the elephant’s huge ear doesn't droop over the ear canal.
Wild animals with erect ears only have floppy ears when they are infants. The reason the ear on so many domestic dogs is floppy is simply because breeders of dogs have selected the exaggerated neoteny like phenotype. This practice with domesticated species has resulted in the production of individuals that display youth like features even after they have matured. When the floppy ears of domesticated canines are properly cropped (during puppy-hood and with a functional amount of length), ear cropping is simply a corrective procedure that reverses the downfalls of domestication and breeding practices that resulted in the inferior floppy ear.
The longer the ear or the older the pup, the more likely it will need to be taped in order to stand. I prefer to avoid taping the ear when possible, as almost all problems with ear cropping can be eliminated if one does not need to tape the ear. Taping the ear can lead to infections or discomfort, which may influence temperament in young pups when they should be imprinting on positive relationships and behaviors.
For this reason I prefer to avoid really long ear crops and also prefer to avoid cropping older puppies. Puppies with thick heavy ears should be cropped earlier (between 6-9 weeks of age) or cropped shorter than average to avoid issues or complications with standing erect on their own. Puppies with thinner lighter ears can be cropped from 7-14 weeks of age without issues. When dogs with thin skinned light weight ears are cropped between 6-8 weeks of age, they can typically be cropped rather long and still stand without much or any taping.
I prefer the mid-length crop, which is long enough to function like the wild (natural) ear...an ear that is able to funnel sounds into the ear canal and turn like a satellite to determine direction of direct sounds. The mid-length crop is short enough that the ear generally stands in less than a week and certainly by the time the stitches are removed 7-10 days later. We now only have the shorter ear crops done when pups are older than 9 weeks of age or have thick heavy ears.
If you think the funnel like satellite shape of the ear does not help hearing or locating sounds, ask yourself one simple question...why were early hearing aids simply a dish that directed sound into the ear? And as stated earlier, ventilation is also important in terms of health.
Sincerely,H. Lee Robinson, M.S.