Most owners have a lot of questions about their Yorkie’s ears… From when the ears will stand up, to why one is flopping down?
Ear placement is forever a hot topic, so in this article, I’ll answer everything you need to know about your Yorkie’s ears!
All Yorkies are born with floppy ears that gradually begin to stand up from 3 to 6 months of age. Ears may go up and flop down periodically all the while teething is happening. Ear placement tends to stabilize once teething has stopped.
When Do Yorkie Ears Stand Up?
3 to 6 months is the typical timeframe when Yorkie ears begin to stand up. In most cases, a Yorkie’s ears will be fully upright and standing by 6 months old.
Before 3 months, nearly all Yorkies will have floppy ears.
Yorkies experience their quickest growth and development spurt between 3 to 8 months which also coincides with stronger, more upright ears within this time.
What Are Yorkie Ears Supposed To Look Like?
Quick answer: Yorkie ears are supposed to stand upright. Their natural ear shape and position are small “v-shaped” or triangle-shaped ears that are held erect.
Although possible, Yorkie ears are not supposed to flop down.
The breed standard:
According to the AKC breed standard Yorkie ears “are small, V-shaped, carried erect and set not too far apart.”
Therefore, Yorkies with ears that flop down would not meet the criteria to compete in shows.
Why Do Yorkie Ears Stand Up Then Flop Down Again?
The truth is that ear development and placement isn’t a smooth ride to the upright position.
It’s not uncommon to witness the ears standing, only to flop down again. You may even see one ear up, and the other down… This is all normal and can be explained mostly by teething…
1. Teething affects the ears
Teething has a huge impact on ear placement. So all the while teething is happening, it’s hard to predict exactly where the ears will position themselves from week to week. Vets will tell you this.
During teething, there’s a huge amount of stress on the jaw and neck muscles. And these muscles are directly linked up to the ear. High stress and tension will cause the ears to temporarily flop down.
But why the constant change? Well, teething activity usually comes in waves. Sometimes teething pains and chewing will heighten for a week, only for it to settle the following week. Ear placement can dance around depending on how much stress is caused by teething. Go figure!
2. Tiny bones and cartilage
In addition to teething, it’s just the simple fact that the tiny bones and cartilage in the ear are still developing.
It’s often the case that a Yorkie will grow big ears before the bones and cartilage are strong enough to support them… This is why it takes at least 3 months to start seeing some action.
Can Yorkies Have Floppy Ears? (as adults)
Another super common question is whether Yorkies will keep their floppy ears as an adult… Is this possible?
Yes, it’s possible that some Yorkies will keep their floppy ears going into adulthood, albeit rare! From chatter at the dog park, I’ve heard some owners refer to this as Floppy Ear Syndrome.
If this happens it could be down a few things. Sometimes the size of the ears will just be too big for the bones and cartilage to support, it could be genetics (possible mixed genes), or an early injury.
Can You Keep a Yorkie’s Ears Floppy?
If you’re someone who particularly adores floppy ears, like me, you might be wondering if there’s a way to keep a Yorkie’s ears floppy.
Although technically possible to “train” your Yorkies ears to stay floppy with taping or gluing, it is not recommended to do so. Yorkies should have erect, upright ears.
Ultimately, forcing your Yorkie’s ears to grow in a position that they are not supposed to grow into could potentially cause pain, damage, and weaken the bones and cartilage. More info
Although their hearing is likely not impacted by taping ears downwards, it is still not a practice that is recommended or generally supported.
How Do I Get My Yorkie’s Ears to Stand Up?
If you’re someone who wants to guarantee that your Yorkie’s ears will stand up, what can you do? There are a few different ways you can help assist your Yorkie’s ears to stand upright, let’s run through them.
5 Ways to get a Yorkie’s ears standing upright:
1. Massage the base
I must emphasize here that it’s the very base of the ear to be massaged, not the middle or upper portion of the ear! This is critical.
Fondling the ears too much in the wrong area could actually weaken the bones and cartilage, not strengthen them.
By gently massaging the base, however, you can stimulate extra blood flow to the area, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to support overall ear growth. Keep the massages light and infrequent (no more than 10-15 minutes a day for each ear).
2. Remove heavy hair
Shaving the ears around the middle and top to make them lighter is another well-known method of encouraging an upright position.
It’s true that sometimes the hair can literally weigh down the ears and give the bones and cartilage a tougher time. Removing some of the hair can certainly help.
3. Encourage chewing
Chewing is a big part of a puppy’s life and is important for many reasons. A little-known effect of chewing is that it can help strengthen the ears in the long run.
Although chewing and teething may initially cause the ears to flop down, chewing, in general, strengthens the jaw and neck muscles, and if these are strong, the ears will likely be strong too.
Of course, bad chewing habits can be tough to deal with, so it’s important to have plenty of durable rubbery chew toys, and always redirect unwanted chewing to their toy.
4. Encourage rest
There’s a reason puppies sleep up to 20 hours a day! That’s because growing takes a lot of energy.
Whenever our puppies aren’t running around at a hundred miles an hour, it’s important to encourage rest.
If your puppy is napping or sleeping try not to wake them. High-quality, restful sleep allows their bodies to recover and grow properly.
I know, the one you’ve all been waiting for. You can also tape your Yorkie’s ears to help them grow in an upright position. Taping the ears upright allows the tiny bones and ear cartilage to grow more easily.
Word of caution: While ear taping is very common, it is possible to tape the ears in the wrong upright position due to how flexible and floppy they are. If you are unsure of doing this yourself, it’s best to get help from a professional.
A simple video like this one demonstrates taping: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2HqJc5q6zM
Does Taping Hurt a Dog’s Ears?
Ear taping doesn’t come without some controversy. Many owners want to know if ear taping causes any pain or discomfort for the dog… And as you can imagine, the answers are mixed.
Even veterinarians are split when it comes to taping, many of them see no harm in it and will even do it themselves. And others will not.
Ultimately, if the ears are taped in the would-be correct position, and appropriate tape is used (not pulling on the hair) then it’s extremely unlikely that any pain will be caused.
If the ears are forced into an unnatural position, however, then it could lead to some discomfort and possible pain.
If you are considering taping your Yorkies ears, it’s best to get it done by a professional and keep a very close eye on your Yorkie watching for signs of discomfort.
Owners favorite: When Do Yorkies Go Into Heat? (All Questions Answered)
Do You Crop Yorkie Ears?
The answer here is a resounding, no.
Ear cropping (along with tail docking) is a cosmetic procedure that’s quickly becoming banned in most places around the world.
In fact, the UK, Australia, Canada, and most of Europe have already banned ear cropping and tail docking. At the moment, the USA still allows it.
There is no reason to chop, crop, or snip any part of a dog’s body in order to look a certain way. It causes unnecessary pain and trauma, with many calling this inhuman.
Most Yorkies will have upright ears by 6 months old. By this time, the bones and cartilage should be strong enough to support the weight of the ear. Plus, teething would have likely stopped or will be coming to an end.
Although rare, some Yorkies may go on to keep their floppy ears throughout adulthood. If this happens there is no reason to be concerned. You may have to clean your Yorkie’s ears more regularly, but in terms of hearing, floppy ears will not have a negative impact.
Thanks for reading! Back to more Yorkie articles