Top Dog Announced in HSVMA Natural Dog-Eared Photo Contest

April 30, 2009

The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) has awarded top honors in its "Natural Dog-Eared Photo Contest" to Remington, a 5 ½-month old Doberman Pinscher puppy from Houston, Texas, for a photo that accentuates Remington's soft, floppy black ears.

"This is my best friend," wrote Remington's caregiver, Hilda Dorsett, in submitting his photo. "We had plenty of peer pressure to have his ears cropped, but had no problem saying 'no way!' He just graduated from puppy school. He was the brightest student in his class and, as you can see, he's incredibly handsome."

HSVMA hosted the photo contest to promote the beauty and functionality of dogs with their natural, as opposed to cropped, ears. The contest was open to dogs from breeds, such as Dobermans, whose ears are traditionally cropped to conform to breed standards.

The ear cropping procedure typically involves amputating a portion of a dog's ears so that they stand erect, rather than hanging naturally, and is performed on puppies just 9 to 12 weeks of age.

Willie the Miniature Schnauzer
The 2nd place winner—Willie, a Miniature Schnauzer.

Taking second place honors in the contest was Willie, a 7-year-old Miniature Schnauzer, from Asheville, North Carolina, whose caregiver, Lynn Fraser, said he has "satellite" ears.

Laverne, a 12-year-old Harlequin Great Dane, earned the third-place spot. Unfortunately, Laverne passed away earlier this year after her caregiver, Laura Demers of Brazil, Indiana, submitted her photo.

Laverne the Great Dane
The 3rd place winner—Laverne, a Great Dane.

Demers said the award was a fitting tribute for her beautiful natural-eared Dane.

HSVMA received more than 60 entries for the contest representing a variety of the breeds that are normally cropped. In addition to the breeds mentioned above, those represented included American Staffordshire terrier, Boston terrier, American Pit Bull terriers, Miniature Pinschers and Boxers.

The winners were selected by a panel of judges with a longstanding history of viewing and appreciating the beauty of natural dog ears. The judges included Paula Kislak, DVM, who serves on the HSVMA Leadership Council; Frank McMillan, DVM, DACVIM, a veterinarian who works for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah; and Candy Spelling, a dog enthusiast.

The judges all acknowledged that the task of picking the top three was one of the hardest they have faced, since there were so many photos of beautiful ears.

Winners in the "Natural Dog-Eared Photo Contest" received gift certificates to the The Humane Society of the United States' Humane Domain, which carries a variety of dog toys, leashes, bed, apparel and other companion animal items.

Thanks to everyone who submitted photos for the HSVMA Natural Dog-Eared Contest! View all entries below, or check them out on Flickr.