How To Keep Boston Terrier Ears Floppy

One distinguishing characteristic of the Boston Terrier is their erect ears. They appear alert and interested in what’s happening around them.

Puppies will begin life with adorable floppy ears, and at approximately four months of age, those ears should begin standing up.

Some may even be precocious and begin at six weeks of age while others may take a little longer with ears standing straight up closer to six months of age.

How To Keep Boston Terrier Ears Floppy

Why Are Boston Terrier Ears Floppy or Erect?

A piece of cartilage within the ear, known as the pinna, is attached to your pup’s head with muscles. It is covered in skin. It will differ somewhat in size and shape depending on the size of your dog.

All canine breeds are born with floppy ears, and depending on the specific breed, will remain floppy or eventually stand up. Boston terriers are among a variety of canine breeds that feature naturally erect ears.

However, while some Boston Terrier ears may stand straight up, others may bend at the tip, or simply flop down.

Ears that remain floppy into maturity may do so for several reasons:

1.) Ears may remain floppy because the size or the weight of the pinna cartilage is too heavy for ears to stand erect

2.) Following a trauma to the ears where muscle or the pinna suffers damage

3.) Temporary floppy ears during teething (Then they return erect!)

When Will Boston Terrier Ears Stand Up?

When Will Boston Terrier Ears Stand Up

Naturally Boston terrier ears may stand erect as early as six weeks of age or as old as four months of age.

A few will stand up later than four months, but this becomes less likely as your pup continues to mature. One ear may also stand erect sooner than the other, but the floppier ear will eventually catch up.

Boston Terriers ears are supposed to stand up naturally as your dog ages. For dogs that continue to have floppy ears, this condition can be remedied if caught early enough. If at four months they are not erect consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Can My Boston Terrier Compete with Floppy Ears?

In dog shows, no. A Boston Terrier must meet certain aesthetic parameters to compete in a dog show, among which, erect ears.

American Kennel Club standards state that ears be “small, carried erect…” 

Can Floppy Ears Cause Problems for My Boston Terrier?

Yes, they can. With erect ear positions, air circulation will maintain ear canals dry reducing the risk for ear infections.

Floppy ears do not permit much circulation of air. These ears retain more moisture and can increase the risk of infection.

Moist ear canals become an ideal location for the proliferation of bacteria and yeast that develop into infections. Floppy ears should be cleaned regularly because of this.

Consult your vet for a proper cleaning solution and schedule. Boston Terriers are susceptible to yeast infections.

See also: Why Is My Boston Terrier Doing So Much Shedding?

What If I Want My Boston Terrier’s Ears to Remain Floppy?

What If I Want My Boston Terrier’s Ears to Remain Floppy

Ears are an important piece of the canine anatomy. Even if dogs communicate through vocal expression particularly with other species when dogs speak to other dogs much of their communication is through body language.

This body language will include posture, tail movements, facial gestures, and ear movements.

A canine’s exceptional hearing ability is also aided by ear movement. By rotating the ear pinna in a specific direction, they hear better.

Because ears are so crucial to communication, modifying them for aesthetic purposes may include poorer communication skills. This is particularly true in the case of ear cropping which has not been shown to be of benefit to the dog.

A dog’s breed will determine if ears are erect or floppy. There are a few cases where a dog may have one erect ear and one floppy ear but this is generally attributable to medical conditions such as otohematoma.

Some pet parents may prefer to keep a Boston Terrier’s ears floppy and use the “taping down” technique to do so.

Why Do Owners Tape Down Dog’s Ears?

Some canine owners maintain that taping down ears will aid in preventing injuries, particularly in fights.

Working dogs may have their ears taped down to prevent damage from wild prey when hunting or when traveling in underbrush or thickets.

Most however will tape down dog’s ears for aesthetic reasons because they like the appearance.

As the Boston Terrier is a companion dog, the only motive for insisting on maintaining floppy ears will be aesthetic.

Methods Used to Maintain Floppy Ears

Taping a dog’s ears down will require pulling erect ears downward and taping them as far as possible with the tape generally being latched underneath the chin. Tape is also used as a brace around the ears that are then folded onto themselves. 

Taping can be difficult with young uncooperative pups. Others may use puppy ear glue on shaved areas to keep an ear down. Once hair grows back in, however, the glue will fall off. 

Still, others may try wrapping the ears snugly with bandages around the skull to keep the ears flat as they grow. This will be uncomfortable, and stressful, and will affect a puppy’s personality and hearing abilities in the developmental stage.

Surgery is also a possibility, but veterinarians will usually only perform surgery for medical issues and not for aesthetic purposes. Surgery comes with the risk of anesthesia. 

Plus, there is no proven medical benefit that might imply that the dog itself would opt to keep its ears floppy. 

See also: How Much Food Does a Boston Terrier Need?

Taping a Boston Terrier’s Ears Limits Communication Capabilities

Allowing a dog’s ears to develop naturally and properly, will aid in the dog’s communication capabilities and pit bulls are a prime example. These dogs often have their ears unnaturally cropped.

As a result, other dogs and humans may not see the warning signs of aggressivity. Taping a dog’s ears can result in the same type of problem.

In Conclusion

Taping your Boston terrier’s ears down will cause it distress, as it is unnatural and uncomfortable. Taping down ears to direct development of the ear will interfere with a puppy’s period of exploration and socialization, limiting ear movement communication.

It also may be painful and traumatic for your Boston Terrier puppy. There really is no medical or ethical justification other than for an owner’s aesthetic tastes.

Elizabeth Smith
Elizabeth Smith is an American Italian freelance writer living outside a small town on the island of Sicily in southern Italy. She resides on a country hillside with her husband, two cats, and six dogs. Both she and her husband dedicate a portion of their free time to studying their canine family. Elizabeth has completed courses as both a dog handler and dog trainer and in canine first-aid. She is also part of a local volunteer group in support of stray and abandoned dogs.

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