One of those really difficult decisions for many purebred dog owners is the one relating to ear cropping.
Some breeds of dogs through the ages have traditionally been recognized partly by the distinctive look of their head; cropped ears have been a trademark for these breeds. Doberman Pinschers, Boxers and Great Danes come to mind right away. And even many of the smaller breeds such as the Miniature Schnauzer have traditionally had their ears surgically changed to give them a distinctive appearance.
In our modern times, many people have come to question the need or advisability of cropping the ears of dogs. The aspect of animal cruelty comes into play in that many people will argue that there is no medical, physical, environmental or cosmetic advantage for the dog to have the pinnas (the ear flaps) surgically altered. And to subject any dog to the "disfiguring" and unnecessary surgical procedure and subsequent taping and bandaging that sometimes needs to be done after the surgery amounts to animal cruelty and is indefensible. There are others that will argue that for some dogs, the cropped ear will help prevent ear canal infections and make the opportunity for pinna trauma and infection much less likely. They will state that the ear cropping is no different philosophically or ethically than any elective surgery such as spaying and neutering or removing protruding dew claws.
The fact is that ear infections are common in all sorts of breeds whether they have cropped ears or not. As a veterinarian with 32 years of experience treating hundreds of thousands of dogs during that time, I cannot find medical justification for cropping a dog's pinnas. So the choice to crop a dog's ears is a personal decision that a purebred dog owner needs to weigh carefully... partly because what you think you will get may not occur. I refer to the disappointing cases where the pup's ears have been cropped and yet, no matter what everyone tries to do, the ears won't stand erect!
Potential reasons for cropped ears not to stand erect...
NOTE: Supplementing a pup's diet with extra calcium in the hope that it will "build up" the ear cartilage is not scientifically or biochemically valid. Adding additional calcium above the usual balance of that mineral with phosphorus and Vitamin D has actually been shown to cause growth problems in dogs. Don't add calcium to a dog's diet in the misguided hope that it will "strengthen the cartilage".
There are all sorts of methods of taping the ears up after the surgery and helping to support the pinnas while they heal. You can do everything right and yet in some dogs the ears will not hold that erect posture... which was the goal of the surgery in the first place! Adding extra Calcium to the pup's diet won't work and can actually be detrimental to the pup's growth. Massaging the pinnas won't help. The pup "loosing it's teeth" has no impact on the strength or rigidity of the pinnas either. Of course all pups should be eating an optimum diet to begin with so supplementing an already high quality diet will have no additional benefits.
As your pup's caretaker, you have a choice. Weigh all the pros and cons, and then make your decision. Expect to be criticized by those who disagree with your choice. I was criticized by a number of breeders for NOT doing the surgery... they seemed put-out by the fact that they had to find another veterinarian to do it. But just as the decision not to do the surgery in my practices was my personal decision to make, so it is your choice whether or not it will be done on your dog.