Erect ears


Jane Kung
I had just gotten an 11wk old male maltese. Bubble is absolutely delightful with a baby doll face. However, his ears are not in low set and it is unusually erected in an alert position. I was just wondering if this physical feature is normal or anyone else who shares a similar experience.


It's hard to judge without seeing the dog, but generally speaking, erect ears in a dog's body language mean relaxed and confident. I would check the dog's facial expression, as well as what position the tail is in. If the tail is up and kind of curving inward, that's saying "I'm somebody important!". If the tail is straight up and leaning out a bit, the dog is saying, "I'm boss". I'm sure by now you've seen the facial expression with ears straight back, which means "worried". My dog's ears are floppy, but at the very top there's a little tiny curve to them. Dogs have two very accurate, finely tuned senses--smell and hearing. A dog's sense of hearing is capabable of picking up noises long before they're audible to a human, and a dog can also hear sounds in pitches outside our range. All this sometimes makes the animal seem to have a kind of extrasensory perception when in fact he's just listening very closely for a particular sound. By the way, dogs with ears that stand up have the greatest hearing ability, better than breeds with long, floppy ears. The pointed ears are natural cups for bringing in the sound, and the tiny muscles that control them allow the dog to move his ears in several directions. Dogs with long floppy ears is found mostly in hunting breeds. It may have evolved as protection in the brush to keep burrs, thorns, and other damaging objects out of the dog's ears during the chase. I've been told that the Maltese is a rat chaser.

When Sassie first came home her ears stood erect. As she grew they got big enough to begin to flop. Sassie is now 5 months old and her ears are now totally in the down position.

When I got Bridget she had one ear erect. I was concerned, but then grew to like it (she looked so cute) & then it fell! Anyway, I was also told it will fall.

Jane Kung
Thanks to everyone for their helpful answers. It really re-assured me about my concerns for "Bubble's" ears. I had taken bubble to a pet store today and the store owner also noticed about his erect ears. he suggested using vaseline on the ears to help rectify the erect nature of the cartilage. Has anyone heard of this before? if so, I would appreciate more helpful responses. Thanks to everyone

cathy brown
If I were you I'd just let the ears do their thing. Lucy's ears were up when she was little and at the "appropriate" time came down. I also had a silky terrier whose ears were also were in the "wrong" position for a full-grown dog when he was a pup but as time went on went to just the correct position, though we did go through a period when one ear was up and one down. I wouldn't worry until your little one got a little older. Vaseline sounds like an old wives' tale to me and even if not, pretty messy for both you and your furniture and your dog. Maybe Jay or one of the other breeders are more knowledgeable about this, but it seems to me that as puppies grown and change their various parts develop according to schedule. Just be patient.

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