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13 Types of Dog Ears: An Overview (With Pictures)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Dog Ears

In the canine kingdom, there are dogs with all types of different ear shapes and sizes. From the long, droopy ears of the Basset Hound to the perky, upright ears of the Boston Terrier, no dog ears are the same.

In this article, we’re going to thoroughly explore all of the different dog ear types to help you learn more about your pup’s unique features.

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The 13 Different Types of Dog Ears

1. Erect Dog Ears

Erect Dog Ears
Image Credit: dendoktoor, Pixabay

Commonly seen on dogs that resemble wolves, such as the German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, or Alaskan Malamute, erect dog ears stand upright and point towards the sky. They are typically pointed and sharp. Smaller dog breeds that have rigid ears include Cairn Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, and West Highland Terriers.

Some people love the look of an erect ear. In some cases, owners or breeders go as far as to crop their dog’s ears in order for them to stand upright. Dobermans, Great Danes, and Boxers are among the breeds that have manufactured erect ears because they are naturally born with floppy ones.

2. Cropped Ears

Strong face pitbull
Image Credit: Pxfuel

As previously mentioned, some dog breeds undergo a cosmetic procedure known as “ear cropping” to transform their floppy ears into pointed, pricked ones. The procedure is done when the dog is still a young puppy and involves removing all or part of the ear’s external flaps.

Sometimes, a brace or tape is used to train the ear to point upright.

3. Drop Ears

golden retriever in mud
Image Credit: mis1il, Shutterstock

Drop ears hang down. They are mostly associated with domestic dog breeds. In fact, Max V. Stephanitz, an acclaimed breeder of German Shepherds, made the comment that drop ears are a sure sign that a dog has been domesticated. He believed that dogs who lived in captivity did not need perky ears because they had no need to hunt.

Some breeds commonly associated with drop ears include Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. Floppy ears on Retrievers can actually be quite functional, as they help to keep water out of the ear canal while the dog is swimming.

4. Rounded or Blunt Dog Ears

french bulldog puppy
Image Credit: Firn, Shutterstock

Dog breeders have been able to modify the pricked ears of the wolf through selective breeding. This has resulted in an upright ear with a curved tip. This ear type can be found on French Bulldogs.

5. Bat Ears

Brown and White Corgi Lying down
Image Credit: Nataliya Vaitkevich, Pexels

As the name implies, bat ears are large, V-shaped ears that resemble those of a bat. They are often outwardly inclined and extend beyond the sides of the dog’s head. Breeds with this type of ear design include the Chihuahua and the Corgi.

6. Rose Dog Ears

Whippet lies on the hay_Liliya Kulianionak_shutterstock
Image Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock

Rose dog ears are erect ears that fall to the side at the midway point and resemble a rose petal.  The American Kennel Club has strict breed standards in place for dogs with this ear type. For example, Whippets must have a small, refined rose ear shape while they are relaxed.

7. Hooded Ears

Image Credit: Pxhere

In the dog world, there are numerous variations of erect ears, including the hooded ear. This elegant variation, which is on the Basenji, features curled sides to give off the appearance of a cowl.

8. Semi-Pricked Dog Ears

Shetland sheepdog, collie, smile with big mouth_atiger_shutterstock
Image credit: Atiger, Shutterstock

Pooches that have rigid ears that flop over at the tip are considered to have semi-pricked ears. Common breeds with this ear type include Collies, Fox Terriers, and Shetland Sheepdogs.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has specific breed standards that state that Border Collies can either have pricked or semi-pricked ears. If they are semi-erect, the ears must fold forward or outwards.

9. Candle Flame Ears

Toy Fox Terrier
Image Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock

Another variation of erect ears is candle flame ears. This ear type is characterized by ears that curve inward near the base with a slight fold on the outer edge, giving them the appearance of a candle flame. English Toy Terriers typically display this ear type.

10. Button Ears

side view pug
Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay

This doggy ear type is as cute as a button! A type of semi-erect ear, button ears have long skin that covers the majority of the ear. Breeds with this type of ear include Pugs, Jack Parson Terriers, and Fox Terriers.

11. Folded Dog Ears

Image Credit: vlaaitje, Pixabay

A folded ear is a drop ear that has folds that hang down, much like a curtain. Bloodhounds have folded ears. Upon close inspection, you can see the difference between a folded ear and a regular drop ear, which hangs flat.

12. Butterfly Ears

Image Credit: reabythebeach, Pixabay

Butterfly ears, common in Papillions (papillon actually means butterfly in French), are perked ears that have long fur that is unfurled like butterfly wings and appears to flutter.

13. Filbert Ear

Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terrier | Image Credit: Kaz, Pixabay

The Filbert ear is an ear shape exclusive to the Bedlington Terrier that closely resembles the leaf on a Filbert tree.

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Final Thoughts

Dog ear types are as extensive as dog breeds themselves. From drop and erect ears to button, butterfly, and bat ears, there is a wide variety of ear variations to choose from. Whatever ear type your dog has, ensure to clean them as needed to promote optimal health.

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