When Do Chihuahua Puppies Ears Stand Up?
I think most Chihuahua parents must have wondered about this at some point or the other. You see, all Chihuahua puppies are often born with floppy ears and we all want them to stand up and be ‘perky’ as they’re meant to be.
After all, this dog breed is known for their perky ears and it is also a must-have feature for show-ring Chihuahuas.
So, if you are wondering whether your Chi puppy will have floppy ears all its life, then worry not. This usually won’t be the case and most puppies develop erect or perky ears by the time they are fully grown.
Read on! I have important information for you in this regard.
When Do Chihuahua Puppies Ears Stand Up?
Chihuahua puppies’ ears usually begin to stand up by the time they are 5 to 15 weeks old.
All Chi puppies are born with drooping or floppy ears. The cartilage in their ears hasn’t firmed up at this age. But as your pet starts growing and receives the nutrition it needs, then the bones and cartilages in the ears firm up and stand as expected.
This gives Chihuahuas that characteristic perky ear look that the breed is so famous for.
So worry not! If your floppy eared Chihuahua will surely have firmer ears by the age of 4 and 7 months. And even if they don’t perk up by this age, then they might do so by the time your pet is a fully grown adult.
Only in rare circumstances there could be permanent drooping ears in Chihuahuas – like weak or damaged cartilage.
Let us dive deeper into the reasons why Chihuahuas might have droopy or flopping ears.
Why Do Chihuahua Puppies Have Drooping or Floppy Ears?
Following are the reasons why a Chihuahua puppy tends to have non-erect or flopping ears:
1. The age factor
If your pet isn’t a fully-developed Chihuahua, then you should not be too surprised that its ears are drooping. After all; all pups are born with drooping ears.
So just let your dog be and at least let it grow and develop fully before you start worrying about its ears not being erect. Some late bloomers might continue having droopy ears even at 6 to 8 months of age.
But by the time your Chi is an adult and its growth stops – which is at about 10-12 months – then its ears should be erect too.
Depending on your dog’s bloodline and lineage, it may or may not have erect ears. Reputed breeders avoid breeding Chihuahuas that do not have perky ears at adulthood to avoid producing litters with the same characteristics.
Responsible breeders are also aware of the fact that erect ears are prerequisites for show ring Chihuahuas. That is why it is very important that you meet your pup’s parents before choosing your puppy.
3. The teething and ear drooping link
Many pet parents aren’t aware of the fact that there is a link between ear drooping and teething.
Have you ever chewed something hard and felt the movement in your temples? This is because of the connection between the teeth and the ear cartilage. The same thing occurs in your teething Chihuahua as well.
When your little puppy is teething, the muscles and bones in the mouth, nose, jaw, and ear region are constantly working. Also, the teething process needs a lot of nutrients so every nourishment in the body goes towards it.
And that is why puppy’s ears tend to droop during the teething phase because the overworked muscles and bones simply aren’t strong enough to support perky ears. Once your pet has developed all of its adult teeth, then its ears should perk up again provided it gets the nourishment it needs.
How to Tell if a Chihuahua Puppy’s Ears will Stand Up?
There is no simple answer to the question: ‘how to know if my Chihuahua puppies’ ears will stand up?’
This is because there are simply too many variables at play and they all have to be ‘favorable’ for the ears to stand up erect.
Yes, as already mentioned, your puppy’s age is the biggest variable in knowing if its ears will become perky or not. All pups tend to have drooping ears at birth. But by the time they are about 4-5 weeks old, their ears start opening up.
Not all puppies will have stronger or more erect ears at the same time. Some dogs tend to have floppy ears even at 5-6 weeks of age. You might even notice these differences in puppies belonging to the same litter too.
So, the age for ears becoming erect and perky in Chihuahuas varies from individual to individual.
2. Breed and genes
If your Chihuahua has a mixed breed lineage, then that too can impact its ears’ appearance. In Chihuahua mixes, with proper nourishment, the ear cartilage might strengthen around 6-7 months and become strong enough to hold the pinna but it all depends upon the parent dogs too.
Some purebred Chihuahuas on the other hand, might show ear perking around 5 months. But for most dogs, the ‘cut-off’ age for ear perking is approximately seven months.
Chi puppies, in general, are known to have their ears come out between 5 and 15 weeks but it isn’t uncommon for some late bloomers to have perky ears only after 8 months too.
3. Domestication syndrome
Some experts believe that domestication of dogs has led to floppy ears among other things like dogs with juvenile faces and patches of white fur.
In the wild, dogs (whose ancestors are wolves) always have erect ears and they never had these issues like ears flopping or drooping or one ear perky and the other drooping down etc.
Erect or standing ears are very important for dogs in the wild since their survival greatly depends on their ability to hear.
4. Soft and thin pinnae
Dog ear bones or pinnae grow differently in different dogs. In Chihuahuas, the entire dog’s body is thin and delicate. That is why the ear bones or pinna bones might be delicate too.
If your puppy’s ear pinnae are very soft or thin, then chances are that its ear-strengthening might be delayed a bit.
5. Placement of the ears on the head
If your Chihuahua pup has ears closer together or higher up on the head, then chances are they will stand up. Wolf-like ears in dogs are more likely to stand and become erect.
What Can I Do to Ensure That My Chihuahua Puppies Ears Stand Up?
Here are different factors that you could consider to ensure that your puppy’s ears stand up:
A. Feed it a good diet
Did you know that there are nearly 18 different muscles holding up your Chihuahua’s ear cartilage? Unless these muscles develop properly, they won’t have the necessary strength to hold up the ears.
Your Chi puppy needs a healthy and well-balanced diet with proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids for overall development.
It also needs optimum calcium, phosphorus and other bone building materials. However, too much calcium could interfere with the absorption or other minerals.
That is why it isn’t necessary to add any calcium supplements to a puppy’s diet, instead feed it yogurt, cottage cheese, broccoli etc. to ensure proper bone development and ear cartilage strengthening.
B. Prevent rough play and excess petting
If yours is a multi-pet household, then avoid letting the pets play roughly with each other.
During your Chihuahua’s developing phase, its ear bones and cartilages are very delicate and excess handling, pawing, or roughing about could damage them permanently.
Also refrain excess petting or handling of the ears by your kids and family members.
C. Deworm your Chihuahua
Internal parasites or intestinal worms like pinworms, hookworms, ringworms, and tapeworms steal your dog’s nutrition which could impact its growth and development.
Therefore, regularly deworming your Chi is imperative.
D. Try ear taping
Speak to your vet about taping your Chihuahua’s ears. This method is used for German Shepherds and Shelties or other working dog breeds. The taping process ensures that their ears remain erect which is extremely important for these working dogs.
Erect ears are beneficial to enhance hearing in dogs and also reduce medical complications and injuries.
However, before you tape your Chi’s ears, please consult your vet. Your dog’s ears are extremely delicate and improper taping could have adverse reactions as well.
6. Provide sturdy chew toys
Chewing on the appropriate chew toys during the teething phase could strengthen the muscles at the base of the ears giving your dog stronger ear cartilage too.
7. Trim excess ear hair
In long haired Chihuahuas, the hairs inside the ears could weigh down the ears, so regular trimming of the excess hair could prevent this from occurring.
What Does it Mean in the Long Run if a Chihuahua’s Ears Remain Floppy?
Some dog breeds are simply meant to have drooping ears. However, the Chihuahua does not belong in that category.
In the long run, drooping or floppy ear sometimes makes the pet more susceptible to infections of the ear canal since the moisture remains trapped inside. Additionally, drooping ears are often more prone to injuries.
Experts also say that dogs with flopping ears may not have the same hearing ability as those with erect or standing ears.
However, it does not really matter. The above concerns are mainly for show ring dogs and working dogs.
There is little doubt that floppy ear Chihuahuas look extremely cute and, with proper care and nutrition, most will not have the problems mentioned above.
Will My Chihuahua Puppies Ears Stay Floppy Forever?
No one can tell for sure if Chihuahuas’ ears will stay floppy forever.
Sometimes, the ears may perk up only to start drooping again. In other cases, even drooping ears have suddenly perked up at the age of 11-12 months.
In general, if your dog perks up its ears as if they are ‘about to stand erect’ then there is a good chance that they will perk up by adulthood.
Also, if your Chihuahua puppy is still teething and hasn’t developed its adult teeth fully, then there is a good chance that the ears will stand up once the teething is complete.
Why is My Chihuahua’s One Ear Always Flopping?
Many factors can cause one ear to flop or become droopy in Chihuahuas:
1. Teething process
It is very common during the teething process for one ear to flop down and the other to perk up. In most dogs, this will rectify on its own as soon as teething is completed.
In fact, the teething process can cause the ears to take different positions – and sometimes they might even curl backwards.
2. Your dog’s hearing
Some dogs tend to keep upright ear to enhance their hearing in that ear.
If your dog has one ear naturally stronger than the other, then too it might lift its weaker ear for more enhanced hearing.
3. Ear infection
In rare cases, your dog’s one ear might droop if it has mites or ear infections. Ear infections can impact the middle, inner, or outer ear and that could cause varying degrees of drooping.
4. Malformed cartilage
One ear drooping looks very cute in Chihuahua puppies but it could indicate malformed cartilage. One drooping ear and one standing ear could sometimes indicate a hearing problem too, so please speak to your vet.
FAQs on When do Chihuahua Puppies Ears Stand Up?
1. Is ear taping in dogs a cruel process?
Dog’s ear taping strengthens and trains the cartilage to stand up erect. It is usually not painful for dogs and, in fact, is a vet-recommended technique for German Shepherds and other working dog breeds to get standing ears.
Ear taping could be useful for show dog Chihuahuas too. However, it does need expertise and maintenance. So, it is best to do the process under an expert’s guidance.
2. Can purebred Chihuahuas have floppy ears?
Yes, many Chihuahuas with floppy or drooping ears are still purebred and, although drooping ears are not the breed standard, not all purebred Chis have erect or standing ears.
3. What does it mean when a Chi with erect ears puts its ears down?
Putting the ears down could be an act of submission especially when done in front of another dog.
Conclusion – When Do Chihuahua Puppies Ears Stand Up?
Chihuahua puppies, like all breeds, go through several growth phases on their way to developing erect or standing ears.
In rare cases, cartilage damage, genetics, poor diet etc. could cause one or both ears to droop. In general, most Chihuahuas will develop fully erect ears by the time they are 5 to 15 weeks old. In some late bloomers, the ears could get erect after 8 months.
There are many ways to fix drooping ears but if you are not showing your Chi in the ring, floppy or drooping ears shouldn’t really be a problem.