Thursday, December 30, 2010

Yorkshire Terriers Ears: Floppy or Not?

Like German Shepherds and Pomeranians, Yorkies have typical "prick" ears. They're meant to stand up in a triangular point but sometimes they need a little help. If your Yorkie pup's ears are floppy, here are some tips on getting them to stand.

When are Yorkie ears fully developed?

Sometimes it can take 6 to 8 months for your Yorkie pups ears to stand upright. However, starting around 3 or 4 months old, Yorkie puppies begin teething and that usually means their ears flop down, or don't start to stand up. Don't panic - this is perfectly normal during teething.

Why would teething affect ears? 

I haven't studied this closely but it seems ANY illness can cause puppy-ears to "wilt".
Just like babies, teething is a real challenge for puppies. It puts a strain on the dog's overall health because:
- the jaw itself is growing quickly
- the baby teeth are re-absorbed into the gums
- bone & enamel is being deposited for the permanent teeth
- and there are possible gum infections along the way
The body fights a new tooth like it is a full-blown infection. And no wonder: a new tooth that's getting ready to emerge is usually covered with a red, swollen lump and looks very painful.

"Can I help the ears stand up" 

YES! What to do if your puppy's ears "flop". If your dog isn't teething, then there are three things you can take to help your Yorkie's ears stand up:

1. Trim or shave the hair on the ears, which reduces the weight, so they can stand up (this is part of "true" Yorkie grooming anyway). This is actually part of regular Yorkie grooming anyway, but will certainly help your puppy's ears to "learn" to stand up. Trim the top half of the ear on both sides - with an electric hair clipper such as a Wahl. Take it very slow - and don't expect your puppy to like the sound and vibration of the clippers at first.

2. Massage the ears daily to stimulate growth. Massaging your puppy's ears every day will not only help them stand up, but your Yorkie puppy will love the attention.
Just 3 or 4 minutes twice a day when the puppy is 3+ months old, has helped many Yorkshire Terrier ears.

3. Tape them for up to 3 days at a time. Breeders often do this if the puppy's ears don't appear to be standing on their own (and the pup isn't teething yet)... you can do it too; look up "yorkie ears" on YouTube and you'll see several videos with detailed instructions, or talk to your breeder for more help.

The Floppy-eared Yorkie

Rarely, you'll find a flop-eared Yorkie puppy whose ear cartilage is just too weak to support upright ears. You can try one of these methods to get them to stand, but sometimes they just don't. That's OK too. After all, there are dozens of types ears in the dog world, including Blunt-Tipped, Button, Candle-Flame, Flying, Folded and Heart-Shaped!

Cropping Yorkies ears

Are Yorkies' ears cropped to make them stand up?
NO, never! Yorkies ears are never, ever cropped.
Although their tails are usually docked or cut short -- and that's a very controversial subject these days -- ears are never cropped.


Dogs ears have up to 18 muscles; ours have 2.
  • dogs have ear mobility which allows them to rapidly pinpoint the exact location of a sound
  • eighteen or more muscles can tilt, rotate, raise, or lower a dog's ear
  • a dog can identify a sound's location much faster than a human can, as well as hear sounds at four times the distance.
In conclusion, most Yorkies ears will stand upright at around 6 to 8 months; although teething or illness can interfere with this development. If your Yorkie is lagging, you can trim the hair on the upper half of the ears (both sides); massage them or tape them temporarily to help them stand.
But most breeders advise the best thing to do: be patient. Your Yorkies ears will almost always develop into bright pointy triangles as your dog grows.


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