Most Yorkshire terriers have small, pointed ears that stand upright, but sometimes, a Yorkie pup will have a set of floppy ears. While they may not fit the typical profile for these dogs, some dog owners love this unusual look. Whether your Yorkie has floppy ears or pricked ears, they're both perfectly normal.
Yorkie with floppy ears
All Yorkies are born with floppy ears. Puppies don't have enough muscle strength at the base of their ears to make them stand up. It can take a little while for them to build up the strength to keep their ears pricked up. Until they do, their ears will stay floppy.
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Most Yorkies' ears will eventually stand up, but some never do, and this is mostly dependent on genetics. While some Yorkie mixes typically have floppy ears, having floppy ears doesn't mean your dog isn't purebred.
When do Yorkies’ ears stand up?
In the first nine months after Yorkies are born, their muscles develop, and their ears rise gradually. By the time they're about 3 to 6 months old, most Yorkies' ears stand up straight. The timing of this isn't always consistent. Sometimes, one ear stands up before the other, but the other ear usually catches up quickly. As puppies develop at different rates, some Yorkies' ears may take up to nine months to fully stand up. If her ears are still floppy by then, they're probably going to stay that way.
Do floppy ears cause infections?
Some people get their dog's ears cropped to avoid ear infections. Since the inside of a dog's floppy ears can trap bacteria and moisture, they become infected more often than dogs with cropped ears. Ear infections are uncomfortable and sometimes painful, so dogs with ear infections often shake their head to get some relief.
Excessive head shaking may break blood vessels in the ear and allow blood to pool in the pinna (between the pieces of cartilage in the outer ear), forming a blood blister. This is called an aural hematoma, and your vet may recommend surgery to fix it. To avoid these consequences, clean your dog's ears once a month. If your dog has very floppy ears or goes in the water regularly, you may have to clean your dog's ears as often as once a week.
How can I make my Yorkie's ears stand up?
When your puppy is 3 to 6 months old, massage the base of his ears to help increase blood flow and oxygen to his muscles to help strengthen them. Another way to help his ears along is to cut the hair on his ears short. A Yorkie's longer hair adds extra weight and requires more strength to straighten them. Similarly, if your biewer terrier has floppy ears, that's a sign that the hair on his ears needs a trim.
The most popular method is to lift up your dog's ears manually and tape them in that position to provide support and make it easier for the dog to lift his ears himself. Use tape that's meant for dogs so that you don't damage his hair. Be gentle when touching his ears. If you bend and fold them too much, you can cause permanent damage to the nerves and cartilage.