Isn’t it interesting how much we can tell about a dog by the way they hold their ears? Just as a dog can become adept at reading human body language, we can also read theirs. Chihuahua ears can tell us a story. This particular breed of dog is said to look alert most of the time, which is partly due to the position of Chihuahua’s ears. A Chihuahua should have ears that are large and erect. They will be held upright when the Chihuahua is more alert.
Chihuahuas have big ears, but you should not crop them. The Chihuahua’s body language and ear position can help us understand the dog on a more meaningful level. A newborn Chihuahua will be a floppy ear Chihuahua. This is normal. When Chihuahuas are first born, they do not have strong enough muscles at the base of their ears to hold them up. By 8-12 weeks old, they should stand up.
When your Chihuahua Is Teething
Teething can affect the position of a Chihuahua’s ears. When the puppies are teething, ears that were erect may begin to droop. It may affect one ear or both of them. It seems odd that teething would have a connection to the ears, but there is a valid reason for this.
During teething, a puppy will want to chew a lot. Since the jaw muscles connect to the ear muscles, the chewing intensity can overwork the muscles and weaken them, causing the ears to droop. The change caused by teething is usually temporary. Once the puppy has his adult teeth and the chewing phase is over, the muscles will strengthen, and the ears will become erect again.
Long-haired Chihuahuas and short-haired Chihuahuas are a little bit different. A long-haired Chihuahua will take a little bit longer for its ears to become fully erect.
The Role Of Genetics
Genetics also plays a role in the development of a Chihuahua’s ears. Why do people care so much about their ears? Erect ears are a breed standard. It is a desirable trait, so if you intend to have a Chi as a show dog, you will want one with erect ears. If your Chihuahua has droopy ears, it is not a purebred, or it has a fault.
How To Encourage Ears To Stand
The experts are split when it comes to taping Chihuahua ears to encourage them to stand up. Some say that it is a suitable method and others say that the ears would have stood up on their own if given the time.
Another popular method of getting Chihuahua ears to stand is to massage the ear at the base. Massage is a way to encourage muscle strength. Again, the jury is out on the effectiveness, and there is no proof that it works, but some owners have said they had positive results.
Another possible way to encourage erect Chihuahua ears is to give the dog calcium supplements. Extra calcium is said to promote the ear cartilage to build up. Again, there are some conflicted feelings about this, as some research suggests that it could contribute to hip dysplasia if you are giving supplements to puppies in their early stages of growth.
Reading The Ears
Can you wiggle your ears? Your Chihuahua can! Chihuahuas have 18 muscles in each ear, and they can move their ears independently of each other. But what does all of this movement mean?
- Relaxed ears – When a Chihuahua is calm, his ears will be in the resting position. The resting position may be floppy or erect, depending on the dog. When they are relaxed, the Chihuahua ears will be in the usual position.
- Slightly back – When the ears appear somewhat tilted back, it means the Chihuahua is friendly and in a good mood.
- Slightly back with a tight face – If his ears are slightly back but accompanied by a taut mouth, the Chihuahua is likely feeling anxious and may be defensive.
- Pinned back ears – A Chihuahua may have his ears pinned back if he is afraid of something. If you see him in this state, try to make him feel safe.
- Ears back and pointed low – Chihuahua ears pointed low and to the back means that he is feeling submissive. This may happen if the Chi is around a pack leader, and he senses authority. It does not necessarily mean that he is scared, but he knows he is not the leader or the one in charge.
- Pricked-up Ears – If his ears are up and slightly forward, he is interested in something. His attention has been caught, and he is curious.
- Splayed ears – When a Chihuahua has his ears splayed apart, and out to the sides, this signifies aggression. You can tell a Chi is aggressive if the ears are in that position, and he holds a forward stance like he is ready to attack.
Chihuahua Ears Demystified
Whether you have a purebred Chihuahua with erect ears or a mix with droopy ears, your Chi will be your best buddy. It’s like having a baby – you don’t care what he looks like, you are going to love him no matter what.
Knowing a little bit about the ears and how they develop gives you the peace of mind that your Chi does not have any abnormalities. And knowing how to read their ears will help you understand his wants, needs, and feelings a little better!
Of course, you do everything you can to make your little furry friend happy. That is a much easier process when you can read his body language and know what he is trying to tell you. You will know when he is happy, but you will also be able to tell if he is anxious or afraid, so that you can do what you can to put him at ease and make sure he feels protected and safe!
Stephanie was born and raised in Saskatchewan and currently lives in Alberta, Canada. She started her career as a school teacher twenty years ago and has taught English Language Arts to students in grades three through twelve. She is currently exploring her love of writing and exploring topics she is interested in while also learning more in her field of expertise. She is passionate about lifelong learning.