Why Does Your Dog’s Ear Stand Up?

4 minutes to read

Ever noticed a dog with one ear up? Isn’t it the most adorable thing ever?

As pet owners, we appreciate it when our furry friends have a distinguishing trait that makes them unique. For felines, it could be a silver-grey coat with sparkly blue eyes. For dogs, having one ear up is just as cute!

But like many dog lovers, you might be wondering why your dog has one ear up. To answer the question ‘Why my dog has one floppy ear?’ we have to consider two things;

  1. Does the dog have one ear up occasionally?
  2. Has your dog had one ear up and the other floppy since birth?

Did you know..

Puppies lose the habit of raising one ear as they grow up?
So you better take the best photos of that adorable mutt while the stunt lasts.

Puppies exhibit this behavior more than adult dogs. This is because the ‘one-ear up’ phenomenon is driven by muscles in the dog’s ear. We explain this further below.

 

How does my dog have one ear up?

Dogs control their ear-movement with the help of muscles located in the part of the ear known as pinnae. In puppies, these muscles are not yet developed. This is why the young mutt has both ears floppy when born.

As the dog grows, pinnae muscles grow stronger allowing the canine to move the ears. A dog with fully developed pinnae muscles can move both ears independently.

But for some dogs, this process can take months. It all depends on that particular dog’s ear and head size

- Sarah Cookson, Pet Insider

Why are my dog’s ears not standing up?

It is also possible for your dog not to have the pinnae muscles fully developed. When this happens;

  • Your dog will only be able to get one ear up
  • The floppy ear will only raise partially and not fully.
  • Your pup may not be able to raise both ears. Hence why some dogs have both ears floppy

Fun Fact

If your pooch has one or both ears directed at you, he is curious!

 

Why my dog has one floppy ear?

Dogs have various ways of communicating. One of their body language cues is moving one or both ears. The emotions commonly expressed with the ears include;

  1. Happiness- a happy pup can have one ear up while the tail is wagging. He will also wear a big smile and have his tongue out in excitement.
  2. Fear- if the pup is afraid, it will have one ear up facing the source of threat. The tail will be between its legs and he may produce a fearful whimper.
  3. Anxiety- a dog suffering from pet anxiety tends to whine a lot. He will wear a sad face and one ear up trying to listen if his favorite is coming to his rescue.
  4. Aggression- an aggressive dog will have one-ear up to perceive the source of threat. The hair on its back and neck will be raised and his whole body will feel stiff.
  5. Submission- a dog will show submission in the presence of a dominant canine. He will lower his body, not maintain eye contact, and possibly have one ear up.
  6. Curiosity- dogs are naturally inquisitive. If something catches your pup’s curiosity, he will put on his detective hat and have one or both ears up.

 

Why does my dog have both ears floppy?

It is normal for a dog to mature with one ear up and the other down. Also, it is okay for your pooch to have both ears floppy.

This can happen if your pooch belongs to the breed of dogs that grow with droopy ears. These breeds include;

  • Bloodhounds
  • Basset hound
  • Cocker spaniel
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Irish Setter
  • Beagle
  • Poodle
  • Dachshund

These breeds grow with floppy ears that only move slightly to perceive sound and the direction it is coming from. You will also agree that they look extra cuddly with fluffy droopy ears.

Can floppy ears cause health problems in my dog?

The only time you should worry about your dog with one ear up is if he constantly gets ear infections.  Dirt, bacteria, and fungus tend to collect under the floppy ear leading to infections. Make it a habit to clean under your dog’s ears to prevent disease and infection.

When cleaning your dog’s ears;

  • Lift and hold the tip of the ear to access the inner part better
  • Use a soft wet cloth or cotton swab to gently clean wax and dirt
  • Use pet-approved medication to clear ear infections
  • Do it in intervals if your pup does not like his ears getting touched

Important

Always reward your pup when you successfully clean his ears.
When they know a reward awaits them at the end of the grooming session, they are more likely to cooperate.

 

The Takeaway

We hope this article helps answer your question “Why my dog has one floppy ear?” Remember;

  • Dogs move their ears with the help of strong pinna muscles
  • Your dog can grow with both ears floppy and it is normal
  • Only be concerned about your dog’s floppy ear if it leads to infection

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