FAQ About Yorkshire Terriers With Floppy Ears

By Rebecca Epstein

Yorkshire Terriers, also known lovingly as Yorkies, are one of the smallest breeds of dog, and are very popular as pets. Like a few other dog breeds, they have what are known as "prick ears," meaning that their ears point upward. When Yorkies are born, their ears are floppy, or lie flat against their heads, and begin to stand up as they age. There are a number of questions that are frequently asked about Yorkies' ears.

At What Age Do Yorkshire Terriers' Ears Normally Stand Up?

A teething Yorkie tends to have floppy ears.

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Typically, a Yorkshire Terrier's ears will begin to prick between the ages of 6 and 8 months. Yorkies tend to begin teething between 3 and 4 months old, and during this time period, their ears may flop down because of the stress of teething on their jaws and bodies. Erupting teeth can be painful, and their jaw muscles use up a lot of their energy. Whenever a Yorkie is suffering from an illness or stress, its ears may flop.

Why Is It Better For a Yorkshire Terrier's Ears to Prick?

A Yorkie with pricked ears is preferred because a Yorkie with floppy ears does not meet the American Kennel Club breed standard and is not eligible to be shown at dog shows. If you are not planning to show your Yorkie, or if it is otherwise not eligible, it is not an issue if its ears flop, so long as it is not a sign of a medical problem.

Still, I Would Like My Yorkie's Ears to Stand Up. How Can I Accomplish This?

There are several humane methods for making your Yorkie's ears prick. These include massaging the base of the ear regularly to encourage muscle strengthening, shaving the hair on the tips of the ears to reduce their weight and taping. A taped Yorkie must be kept separate from its litter mates because they will chew off the tape, and it is best to begin this process right after teething. Always clean the ears first.

How Do I Tape My Yorkie's Ears?

Fold each ear vertically so it points upward. Using gauze, wrap the base of each ear so it stands up on its own and fasten it with medical tape. Leave the tape on for three days, then allow your dog to have a day off from taping. Repeat again -- or even a few times -- if necessary.

What If Taping and Other Methods Don't Work?

Some Yorkies' ears will never stand up, no matter what you try. Whatever you do, do not resort to inhumane methods to force your dog's ears to prick, such as cutting or "docking" the ears. The state of your Yorkie's ears has nothing to do with its viability as a pet. Yorkies with flopped ears can still eat, sleep, go on walks, play and cuddle as well as any other pet dog.