How To Tell If A Dog’s Ears Will Stand Up?

How To Tell If A Dog's Ears Will Stand Up?

About the Author: Nettie Finley, the Professional Dog Trainer at MyPetDoggie. Specializing in behavior rehabilitation, Nettie leads our team with her effective training techniques. As a certified canine behaviorist, she brings transformative change to challenging behavior cases. Her experience and expertise elevate our content, providing practical, insightful training advice for our readers. Also, she loves her Cavapoo!

You are an inquisitive and caring puppy owner and the fascinating journey of your puppy’s growth is making you curious day by day. Then you have come up to the right place. You must have been intrigued by the transformation of your dog’s floppy ears into a tall and perky antenna.

That’s why the question ‘how to tell if a dog’s ears will stand up’ brought you here for the captivating and interesting information. 

A puppy’s growth is full of interesting facts. How a puppy grows into an adult and what sort of changes his body has to face, all this is nothing but a fascination. At every stage of his growth and development journey, you keep on wondering about new and little changes.

This time his ears have made you curious, but you don’t need to bother about this question anymore. I will demystify the secrets of your puppy’s cartilage world.

You will get to explore why some dogs’ ears remain floppy while others stand up tall. I will also unravel the information about the pure breed and mixed breed dogs’ ear-raising journey. So, let’s delve into this and get aware of the facts you never imagined about!

How To Tell If A Dog’s Ears Will Stand Up?

The ear-raising journey of every dog can vary influenced by several factors such as age, genetics, breed, cartilage, healthy diet, and cartilage. There is always a mystery in every part of nature. Dogs’ ears are also a unique mystery. Dogs’ ears are no different from each other but the above-mentioned factors can play a significant role in this journey.

Predicting if a dog’s ear will stand up depends on its breed and genetics. If their ears are pointy in an upward direction, the chances are high that your dog’s ears will stand up. Also, some breeds like German Shepherds have ears that stand up as they mature, while others, like Labrador Retrievers, have floppy ears.

American Cocker Spaniel
American Cocker Spaniel with floppy ears

A young puppy starts with floppy ears but once he reaches the age of 3 to 4 months, his ears start to stand up because of a strengthened cartilage. But some dogs can even take longer, so you don’t need to worry if your dog’s ears are not standing up even at this age. Give him some time.

The other key factors are breed and genetics. A pure-breed dog shows the characteristics of his breed. On the other hand, mixed-breed dogs can show a blend of traits.

Genes decide appearance. If both parents of your dog have straight and tall ears, then there is a high chance that your dog’s ears will also be tall and standing. There can also be an influence of other factors that can cause a change in it.

A healthy diet and cartilage go side-by-side. If your dog has a healthy and balanced diet throughout the development stage, it will result in the development of strong and firm cartilage. A strong cartilage spills the magic and makes ears less floppy. 

Why Do Puppies’ Ears Stand Up?

Every growing body has to go through many transformations. Standing up in a puppy’s ear is the part of his body’s growth. As the body matures and grows, it undergoes many developmental changes, and standing up of the ear is also one of them. The puppy’s ears stand up because of the presence of cartilage. You know cartilage is flexible and it gives structure to different body parts as well as ears. 

Why Do Puppies’ Ears Stand Up (1)
A pup trying to play with a football

A newlyborn puppy has soft and pliable cartilage that keeps the ear floppy. But as the puppy starts to grow, his cartilage starts to get strong, rigid, and sturdy. This change requires weeks and even months to take place. Once the cartilage stiffens up, it gives the ears an upright position. This incredible change of going from floppy ears to tall and standing ears can be different for every dog.

Should You Be Worried If Your Dog’s Ear Doesn’t Stand?

Watching others’ dogs growing up with firm and standing-up ears might twitch your heartstrings. I would not suggest you get worried about this. No need to be over-concerned about this. There are many dog breeds who are famous just because of their droopy ears. Look at your surroundings, do you find each human similar? You are already saying no to yourself, even without looking. Because you know that every human is different in appearance from others.

Similarly, dogs do have different eyes, noses, ears, shapes, and sizes. Such variations make each dog unique. The purpose of the ear is to hear, even though they are floppy or straight. It doesn’t affect the hearing ability of dogs. Also, note that your puppy might take longer to develop straight ears. Deal with him with patience and consideration. 

If your dog is from a breed of tall and stand-up ears and it’s been more than 6 months now and he hasn’t developed those ears. Then you should seek your veterinarian’s help. He will guide you about the specific problem, if any. If there is no specific problem, then you should embrace the floppy ears of your dog. Don’t think that dogs with stand-up ears are better or superior in any way than ones with floppy ears.

How Do I Train My Dog’s Ears To Stay Up?

It’s a good idea to train your dog’s ear to stay up in the early stages. It helps him to have a smooth development of an ear-raising journey. It requires extra care, time, and a lot of patience. The first thing is your dog’s diet. Make sure he is having a healthy diet. Never compromise on his food. A quality diet helps in building strong cartilage. 

Ear handling is very essential. Handle your dog’s ear from the early stages of life, it will help him to feel comfortable. But don’t fall into overdoing this. As ears are one of the sensitive body parts, it can also cause irritation. Maintain a gentle balance. You can also use ear taping methods and gentle ear massages can also be helpful. Remember that, nothing happens in a moment of time. Everything requires time and patience. So don’t get fed up with helping your dog. A little help and care of yours can do wonders for him.

Dog Breeds With Ears That Stand Up

There are many breeds of dogs. Every breed is different from others in many terms. Not all breeds have stand-up ears. Some breeds like Basset Hounds and English Setters have floppy and hanging ears. These variations in appearance make each breed of dog different from others. Floppy ears have their own charm. Just like this, there are many breeds with ears that stand up and they are effectively described below to clear all your queries. 

German Shepherd

German Shepherd (1)
A German Shepherd with pointy ears

German Shepherd is a well-known breed for erect ears. They are referred to as herding dogs and are mostly used for the protection of flocks of sheep. They can observe the faintest sound. They are very alert and attentive. Their erect ears have the ability to be vigilant. They are loyal companions and are described as excellent working dogs. Their ears add aesthetics and practicality to their personality, making them an iconic breed. 

Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky (1)
Siberian Husky with perk up ears lying down on his bed

Huskies have striking blue eyes but it is not their only distinctive feature. They are also known for their stand-up ears. These ears compliment their Arctic Heritage very well. Their ears allow them to be extremely responsive to their surroundings. Huskies’ ears also help them in thermoregulation. They can open their ears wide to release excess heat and hold them closed tightly to minimize exposure to air. Their distinctive ears also enhance their appearance.


Boxer sitting on the floor and showing his aggression stance

Boxers have playful personalities and expressive faces. But they also possess perky and upright ears that are ready to catch attention anytime and anywhere. They are highly capable of detecting any threat or potential change in the environment. They are considered excellent watchdogs because of their protective instincts. They are also used in hunting. Boxers are well-known for their fun-loving and affectionate nature. Their ears are a distinctive addition to their personality. 

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgi with stand-up ears

Corgis have distinctive stand-up ears. These stand-up ears help them to pick up any little sound and also make them attentive. Other than German Shepherds, corgis are also known as herding dogs. They are capable of responding quickly to every command or instruction.

This quality makes them an excellent herder. Corgis have fox-like faces and short legs and when those perky ears combine with their body, it makes them appear more adorable and cute. One of the distinctive features of their ears is that they express every emotion by moving their ears. Corgis are one of the favorite dog breeds among all.

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog (1)
Australian Cattle Dog sitting outside the house

Australian Cattle Dogs are also known as Blue Heelers. They are the prime example of dogs with stand-up ears. Their ears stand up straight like antennae and help them to catch very faintest sounds. They are alert, responsive, and always ready to scan their surroundings. Blue Heelers are also well-known for their intelligence. They process information quickly and respond accordingly. 

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois (1)
Belgian Malinois tries to play with a ball in a garden

Belgian malinois have upright ears. Their ears symbolize their alertness, intelligence, and unending loyalty. They have strong work ethics and they can excel in every task given.  They are used for many services like military work, police, search, service dogs, and rescue operations. Their upright ears help them to detect subtle sounds and indicate their attentiveness. 

Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier
A Rat Terrier

Rat terriers are small in size but still, they have ears that stand up firmly.  They are used in hunting and their name indicates well, they are also used to keep a check on rat population. Their alert ears always help them to chase rats by attentively hearing every slightest sound. They also have a vibrant and friendly personality.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer watching you and sitting on the foam mattress
Miniature Schnauzer watching you and sitting on the foam mattress

Miniature Schnauzers are unique because of their beards and eyebrows. These distinctive features make them different from others. But they are not only about beards and eyebrows, they have perky ears that keep them alert at every sound. They have a dignified appearance.

Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier (1)
Boston Terrier tries to hide itself on his bed

Boston terriers are also given the nickname ‘The American Gentleman’ because of their charming personality and friendly attitude. They have upright ‘bat-like’ ears and have tuxedo-appearance. They stand tall and firm making them an excellent watchdog. 

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher  (1)
Doberman Pinscher sitting on his stylish stance

Doberman Pinscher is one of the breeds of dogs that is known for its athleticism and grace.  These dogs are extremely loyal and protective. Their ears are like an exclamation mark, standing tall and straight, hearing every sound and command. Any minor disturbance or potential change alerts them. Because of their athletic nature, they can also be a good jogging partner.


Some Basenjis watching you together

Basenji is a medium-sized breed of dogs and they originated from Central Africa. They have shiny coats and sleek and muscular bodies. Their tails are curled tightly to their back and they have white chests and feet. These characteristics make them distinct. Along with these numerous traits, they are also blessed with perky and straight ears. Ears that help them to hear every slightest sound around.

Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound (1)
Afghan Hound sitting on the bed

As the name indicates, they originated from the mountains of Afghanistan. They were used in hunting. Today, they are known as the most elegant and sophisticated dog breed. Its stand-up ears serve as a crown at the top of its graceful head. But these ears are not only for adding aesthetics to Afghan Hound, they also serve as a potential purpose of hearing. They can get alert on the faintest sound even from a distance. Because of this ability, they used to serve as hunting hounds in Afghanistan. 

How to Encourage Your Dog’s Ears To Stand Up

You can always help your dog to encourage the development of his ears. Like if you have a dog who is supposed to have erect ears but is taking time to develop them, then you can try different things to enhance the development process. No need to worry, a little care and time can sort out everything.

Healthy Diet

The most basic step to this journey is a well-maintained, balanced, and healthy diet. A diet that contains all the necessary nutrients for growth. Nutrients like protein and calcium are basic requirements for dogs. Be efficient while choosing the food for your dog. If a dog is on a good diet from the start, then he is more prone to have healthy and well-developed growth. To meet the nutrient requirements of your dog’s optimal growth, you can consult your veterinarian. He can suggest a better diet plan for your dog, according to his age, breed, and size. It will also help in the development of cartilage.


Ear massages are very helpful in the development of upright ears. Gentle massages stimulate the blood flow to the cartilage. This eases the stiffening process of the ears. Prefer a quiet and relaxed time. Massages are also a source of good bonding. Always start a massage at the base of the ear and use light pressure and circular motions. Prefer the comfort of your dog. If you feel like your dog is uncomfortable then don’t continue. Massage should not be a reason for stress for them.

Reassure your dog by using a soothing tone. You can also offer treats to your dog after massage. It will have a positive impact on him. Don’t massage with hard hands or in stressful pressure. Try to stay consistent, it will lead to better results.

Ear Tapping

Ear taping can be a beneficial technique for certain breeds. It can help ears to stand up correctly. Before using this technique, it is better if you consult your veterinarian. He can provide you with better guidance. To apply this technique, use a breathable surgical tape. Make sure the tape is gentle on your dog’s skin. Clean your dog’s ears before starting. Use the appropriate length of tape according to your dog’s ear size.

The comfort of your dog should be the priority. Don’t pull the tape too tightly and apply gently. Keep checking again and again to make sure that there is no sign of irritation. Remove the tape gently without causing any damage to the hair or skin of your dog.

Consult a Breeder or Veterinarian

It is always better to seek professional help regarding your dog. Experts have more knowledge and experience. They can help you better. A veterinarian will check your dog thoroughly and identify any underlying health issue that is causing hindrance in the ear development of your dog. Consulting a breeder or veterinarian will help you to get specific guidance according to your dog. It will also be helpful to be aware of any issue at an early stage. Proper guidance and help will ensure the better development and healthy life of your dog.

Regular Handling

Make your dog habitual of regular handling at the early stage of his life. You can incorporate ear touches during the bonding sessions. Let these regular handling sessions be a good and positive experience for your dog. Regular handling can help them to prevent becoming anxious when touched. Respect the boundaries of your dog, if he doesn’t feel comfortable then quit. Give him space and time to get comfortable. Regularly check the progress of ear development. Don’t hustle things and deal with everything patiently. Be consistent, it will help your dog to reduce the discomfort.

Avoid Excessive Handling

Don’t try to rush things and avoid excessive handling. Excessive handling means rough touching. The ears are one of the sensitive parts of a dog’s body. It means if ears are being touched too much, it can make dogs anxious. It can also cause irritation and redness of ear tissues. Rough handling can cause infection inside the ear. Too much handling can disturb your bond with your dog. If a dog is not experiencing a positive interaction, he will start staying away from you. 


One of the crucial factors is time. Every individual, whether it be a human or a dog, grows at his own pace. Dogs’ ears standing up is a natural and as well as time-taking process. Don’t think that your dog is in some kind of race and he has to win by growing ears faster. Every breed has its own time period. Not alone breeding, many other factors can cause the increase or even slow down the rate of growth. 

Be supportive of your dog. Help him to grow and deal with him with great patience and consideration. His growth is a wonderful journey. Embrace the unique and exciting moments of your dog’s growth. Showing him a considerate and positive attitude will make him happy.

Will My Cross Or Mix Breeds’ Ears Stand Up?

It is easier to guess about the purebred dog by looking at his breed’s characteristics. When it comes to the mixed breed, it becomes more intriguing and exciting.

Will My Cross Or Mix Breeds’ Ear (1)
A dog watches something else while playing with his parent

Because most of the time you never know what happens next. When two breeds mix up, it means their genetic makeup is mixing up with each other. This causes genetic diversity and there is a chance to experience unpredictable ear traits. 

Have you heard about a mystery box? Mixed-breed dogs’ ear traits are the same, you never know what’s going to show up, until you unwrap the journey. You don’t need to get anxious about this, it’s the charm of crossed-breed dogs. To get the answer to this question, you have to wait for him to grow. Experience his charming growing journey with him. Even if your dog’s ears don’t stand up and show distinct traits, then still he holds his uniqueness.

Common Question:

When do puppies ear fully develop?

The development of puppies’ ears is a time-consuming process. This timeline can be different for each dog. 5 to 6 weeks is the estimated time period when a puppy starts showing signs of ear development. However, the exact timing of a puppy’s fully developed ear depends on its breed. Some breeds take 3 to 6 months to complete the process of development.

At what age do dogs ears stand up?

The exact age when dogs’ ears stand up depends on factors like breed, genetics, diet, handling, and individual development. Smaller breeds take 8 to 12 months while medium or giant breeds take 3 to 6 months and even a year to fully develop ears. For mixed breeds, there is no average time estimated, because they show unpredictable traits.

How much does it cost to have a dog’s ears cropped?

The average price of ear cropping ranges from $150 to $600 or even more. The cost can be different on the basis of location, the dog’s size, the veterinarian’s experience, and any other specific requirements of the procedure. Also, note that ear cropping comes up with post-operative care and potential follow-up visits. It can also be an addition to the overall cost.

How long does it take for puppies cropped ears to heal?

The recovery period is not fixed. The initial stage of recovery lasts about 7 to 10 days. Usually, after 10 to 14 days, stitches are removed. Weeks and even months are required for ears to stand up fully. Post-care and regular visits to the veterinarian can also be a reason for a speedy recovery. A dog can complete his entire healing process from 6 weeks to even 6 months.

Do pit bull ears stand up naturally?

Pit Bulls are more likely to have floppy or hanging ears because of their genetic makeup. They don’t have stand-up ears naturally. Their floppy ears are their distinctive characteristic. Some Pit Bulls may have slightly stand-up ears because of the influence of other factors, but it is not their common trait.

What do different dog ear positions mean?

Different ear positions define different moods and feelings of dogs. A relaxed and neutral position indicates that the dog is calm and relaxed. On the other hand, the forward and alert position shows that they are focused and attentive. Straight-up ears mean they are alert and ready for action. Just like this, every position describes the distinct mood of the dog. You also need to observe the entire body language of a dog to interpret his mood.


Dogs throughout their growth journey visualize many changes. Their mature and growing body changes a lot. One of these changes includes their ears. A little puppy has floppy or hanging ears because of weak cartilage.

But as they continue to grow, their cartilage keeps adding layers gradually. These layers act as sculptures and make cartilage firm and grip. A strong cartilage then plays a role in standing up dogs’ ears.

Not all dogs have straight and stand-up ears. Some dogs have floppy ears that mark their uniqueness. Having droopy ears doesn’t make any dog less valuable or less loveable. Every dog has its own charm and act of service.

Ear growth is influenced by many factors. So you should be clear-cut about everything before falling into any conclusion. I hope now all your thoughts regarding your dog’s ears are answered well. Spread ahead, so others can also have an insight on this valuable information.

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