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When Do Border Collie Ears Stand Up: Complete Ear FAQ Guide

  • Vet Approved Content

Last Updated on May 18, 2023 by The Puppy Mag

Many owners are eager to know when their border collie’s ears will eventually stand up if they will at all.

This article answers the most common questions you have about your collie’s ear development. Everything you need to know is below!

when do border collie ears stand

Border Collie Ears: What Are They Supposed To Be Like?

It turns out that most people only think of border collies as having standing, erect, triangle-shaped ears.

However, this isn’t the only kind of ear shape that collies can have…

The truth is that border collie ear shapes can vary dramatically, and there isn’t a particular shape they are “supposed” to have.

While the traditional look is two erect, triangle-shaped ears, it’s just as normal to see a collie with semi-erect ears, floppy ears, or even one standing with the other floppy!

Examples of border collie ear shape, size, and placement:

border collie ear shape and placement

When Do Border Collie Ears Stand Up?

It’s common to see your pup’s ears start moving up at around 4-6 months. But in most cases, it’s not a smooth ride to fully standing!

It’s more than likely you will notice one or both ears “dancing” around, with one standing, the other floppy, and vice versa over the coming weeks.

And yes, it’s completely normal if you notice the ears go up and down multiple times!

🎯 If your border collie is going to have fully erect ears, then they properly stand up between 6 and 8 months.

Why does it take so long?

The simple answer is teething. As the jaw is closely connected to the ear via muscles, small bones and tendones, the constant chewing that happens due to teething dramatically affects the ears and their development.

Ear movement and placement is heavily dependant on your pup’s teething habits.

What Ear Shape Will Your Border Collie Have?

Of course, most owners want to know in advance what kind of ears their collie with end up having?

Will your BC pup have standing? semi-erect? floppy? both?

🎯 Unfortunately, there’s no reliable way to know what your collie’s ears will look like until they set. Genetics play a vital role in physical appearance, so although it’s not a guarantee, you can often look to the parents to get a rough idea.

Psst! You gotta check out Brain Training For Dogs! It’s a scientifically-proven method for improving a dog’s behavior and intelligence. With these specific brain training exercises, you can help your collie become more obedient and less destructive without a fuss. Okay back to the post!

Border Collie Floppy Ears: Why?

If your puppy’s ears are still floppy, you’re likely wondering why is this?

🎯 The simple answer is that not all border collies go on to have standing ears. Many collies can have semi-erect ears, completely floppy ears, or somewhere in between!

If your pup’s ears are not standing by around 8-10 months of age, then it’s likely your border collie will have floppy ears as an adult.

Let’s take a look at the most influential factors in ear placement below.

Popular read: 101 Exotic names for border collies with meanings

3 Factors That Can Affect Ear Placement

The most influential factor of ear placement is of course genetics. Your puppy’s genes will ultimately determine what his natural ear shape and placement will be. Therefore, it’s very likely that your pup’s ears will end up looking similar to those of both his parents.

Although usually only temporary, teething does initially affect ear development significantly. As the jaw and neck muscles are closely linked to the ears, constant stimulation driven by chewing will make the ears bounce around. It is said by some vets that a lot of chewing and well-developed jaw muscles can (sometimes) lead to perkier ears.

In some cases, too much fondling of the ears by us can negatively affect the ears. In the early stages, the ear cartilage and bones will be incredibly fragile, and too much fondling or touching can potentially damage and ultimately affect future shape/growth. This has happened many times before, so although their ears are adorable, try not to touch them too much!

Interesting Read: Why do border collies stare so much?

Border Collie Ear Taping: Can You Do It at Home?

As with all breeds that typically have erect ears, the question of taping is often brought up.

Many owners who want to ensure that their pup’s ears stand upright often resort to taping them in a standing position for weeks or even months while they “set”.

Can this be done for border collies?

The answer is yes. It can be done. Many owners do this themselves at home, and it usually works out fine… But this raises an issue that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Taping the ears isn’t as simple as just popping them up and applying the tape. There are so many small and flexible cartilages involved with the ear that it is hard to know where the ear should properly be positioned…

It’s happened many times before where owners have taped their pup’s ears upright in the wrong position, which forces the ears to grow incorrectly. This damages the cartilages and may even affect hearing (in the worst cases).

Due to this reason, it’s best to have taping done by a professional. If you must tape the ears in the first place at all.

Having floppy ears or semi-erect ears does not negatively affect hearing, and many people argue why anyone should interfere with how their pup is destined to look anyway.

Of course, this is a very subjective topic, and many people have strong opinions on it. Personally, I’ve never taped my dog’s ears in the past and will never do so in the future (and that doesn’t put me on some moral high ground). If you wish to do it, that’s completely okay, but I highly advise you to get advice from a professional first instead of just taping away.

Border Collie Ear FAQs

Let’s run through some of the most common questions surrounding border collie ear placement. Each question will come with a concise answer.

Can you tell if a border collie is purebred by their ears?

In most cases, you cannot tell if a border collie is purebred just by their ears. Purebred border collies themselves can have different ear shapes, sizes, and placements. A border collie with floppy ears is just as purebred as a border collie with standing ears.

Is it normal for one ear to stay up and one flop down?

Although this is rarer, it’s still normal for a border collie to have one standing/semi-erect with one floppy ear. This doesn’t mean your collie has anything wrong with their ears, and their hearing will be the same as any other collie.

Do all border collies have standing ears?

No, not all border collies go on to have standing ears. Some have floppy ears, semi-erect ears, standing ears, or a combination. Ear placement also doesn’t distinguish purebreds from crossbreds.

My border collie’s ears are going up and down, is this normal?

It’s completely normal for your collie’s ears to be “dancing” around, going up and down for the first several months. Frequent ear movement is mostly caused by the varying stresses and muscle tension caused by teething.

Does my border collies diet affect her ear growth?

Ensuring your puppy consumes a high-quality diet that is tailored for puppies is absolutely essential for all proper growth and development. Whether or not diet will have any noticeable impact on the ears, has yet to be confirmed.

Can I massage my puppy’s ears?

Although your border collie puppy will have velvety soft ears, it’s advised NOT to touch them too much. Touching their ears too often could damage or weaken the cartilage, leading to incorrect growth.

Thank you for reading!
If I have missed any ear-related questions, please let me know so I can provide an answer!

Back to more Border Collie articles >>


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