Are you wondering why your Chihuahua has floppy ears?
Chihuahuas are known for turning heads with their huge satellite ears.
The kind that picks up the frequency of your favorite radio station or can hear your local squirrel from a mile away.
However, if you own a Chihuahua with floppy ears, don’t worry – there’s nothing wrong with them.
Many people are curious how they ended up floppy and if it is solely due to genetics.
In this blog post, we will discuss the 11 reasons why Chihuahuas have floppy ears and answer the most commonly asked questions.
Why Your Chihuahua Has Floppy Ears
For starters, all Chihuahua puppies have floppy ears when they’re born.
This is because their ear cartilage is still soft and needs time to develop and harden.
There’s a strong chance that your Chihuahua’s ears may become floppy during the teething process at an early age.
If your Chihuahua’s ears are still floppy after 8 months, it could be because of breeding, poor nutrition, domestication syndrome, certain ear conditions, adrenaline levels, genetics, stress, ear injuries, or pregnancy.
Let’s go into detail about how each of these reasons can cause floppy Chihuahua ears.
11 Reasons Why Your Chihuahua Has Floppy Ears
All Chihuahua puppies are born with floppy ears.
Most people might not know this because, by the time you take your Chihuahua puppy home, their ears are already standing.
A puppy’s ear cartilage is soft and needs time to develop and harden. Bones and joints are developed first, followed by muscles and cartilage.
This is why a puppy’s ears are floppy and why they will eventually stand up once the cartilage fully develops and the muscles to hold the ears up become strong.
It is common for one ear to stand up before the other until they both become upright. Super cute!
When do Chihuahua ears stand up?
Chihuahua puppies’ ears stand up when they are between 5 to 15 weeks old. By the time they are 5-8 months old, their ears should be fully developed.
They might experience a temporary regression when teething, but their ears should go back to normal once they are done teething.
Did you know that it takes longer for long-haired Chihuahuas to have their ears stand up?
2. Mixed Breed
If your Chihuahua is a mixed breed, it’s more likely that they will have floppy ears.
This is because they inherit traits from both parents, so if one parent has floppy ears, there’s a chance that the puppies will too.
If you’re looking for a Chihuahua mix with floppy ears, these are the most common:
– Cheagle (Chihuahua + Beagle)
– Boxachi (Chihuahua + Boxer)
– Cheenese (Chihuahua + Havenese)
– Chiweenie (Chihuahua + Dachshund)
– Chi Chon (Chihuahua +Bichon Frise)
– Chipin (Chihuahua + Miniature Pinscher)
– Chi-Poo (Chihuahua + Toy Poodle)
– Chug (Chihuahua + Pug)
– Chi-Spaniel (Chihuahua + Cocker Spaniel)
– Malchi (Chihuahua + Maltese)
– Jack Chi (Chihuahua + Jack Russell Terrier)
– Labrahuahua (Chihuahua + Labrador)
– Shi Chi (Chihuahua + Shih Tzu)
This is a surprising reason why your Chihuahua puppy has floppy ears suddenly.
Teething can actually cause puppies’ ears that have already stood up to become floppy again.
It is common for them to have one ear down and one ear up one day, and the next day they could both be floppy or both standing up.
Chihuahuas start teething when they’re around 4-6 months old.
This is when they start to lose their baby teeth and their adult teeth come in.
It can be an uncomfortable process for them so they will chew everything in sight to relieve the discomfort and might cry more than usual.
Chewing uses the jaw muscles which are connected to the muscles in the ears.
So, as your Chihuahua chews intensely, those muscles will tire and weaken and won’t have the strength to hold the ears up.
Another reason teething can cause droopy ears has to do with the mineral calcium.
More calcium is being diverted toward the teeth (and growing puppy bones) during teething, which can cause the cartilage in the ears to be softer.
Giving more calcium to a teething puppy might sound like a good idea, but it has been known to cause issues like hip dysplasia, so always consult your vet before going that route.
This is only a temporary phase and once the teething process is complete, their ears will go back to normal.
4. Domestication Syndrome
Domestication syndrome is a theory that states how wild animals who have been domesticated (kept as pets) for centuries have undergone physical and behavioral changes due to human intervention.
It’s believed that floppy ears in dogs are a result of domestication syndrome which has to do with neural crest cells.
These temporary cells are similar to stem cells and contribute to the adrenal glands (fight or flight response), formation of cartilage, and pigmentation.
As wolves became more domesticated, they had less adrenaline being produced since they didn’t need to be in survival mode as often, which lead to fewer neural crest cells.
This caused the cartilage in their ears to be softer and not stand up as erect as they once did when they were wild.
Less neural crest cells also possibly lead to splotchy fur, shorter snouts, and smaller teeth.
In theory, wolves and dogs with erect ears have more neural crest cells.
5. Poor Nutrition
Another reason why your Chihuahua’s ears may be floppy is due to poor nutrition.
It’s important for your Chihuahua puppy to eat a balanced diet that is rich in nutrients and high in protein.
If they are getting an incomplete diet that doesn’t have enough vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, it can cause the cartilage in their ears to be weak and malformed.
Muscles and cartilage need protein to grow and develop properly.
If your Chihuahua isn’t getting enough protein in their diet, it can lead to floppy ears because the muscles in their ears will be underdeveloped and won’t be strong enough to keep their ears erect.
Puppy food contains more calories, protein, and fat.
It also contains the correct calcium-to-phosphorus ratio that growing puppies need for healthy muscles and bones.
So, if your Chihuahua is still a puppy, make sure they are eating puppy food and not adult dog food!
Also, keep an eye on your dog’s appetite.
They may be getting the correct puppy food but if they aren’t eating enough of it, they still won’t be getting the proper nutrition they need to grow, which could lead to floppy ears.
6. Ear Conditions
If you have a Chihuahua with floppy ears, it could be caused by a few different ear conditions.
If one of your Chihuahua’s ears suddenly starts drooping, it could be due to an ear condition, so it’s important to take them to the vet right away.
One common ear condition is an ear infection, also known as otitis.
Ear infections are usually caused by bacteria or yeast and they can be very painful for your dog.
If your Chihuahua has an ear infection, you will usually notice them shaking their head a lot or scratching at their ears.
If your Chihuahua has ear mites, it can cause their ears to become inflamed and irritable.
Ear mites are tiny parasites that live in the ear canal and feed off of the wax and oil.
If you think your Chihuahua has ear mites, it’s essential to take them to the vet so that they can be treated.
A tumor can also cause your Chihuahua’s ear to become floppy.
This is because the tumor can put pressure on the cartilage and cause it to collapse.
If you think your Chihuahua has a tumor, it’s important to take them to the vet so that they can be properly examined.
Other ear conditions to look out for are ear polyps, dermatitis, and hematoma.
Chihuahuas with their ears down can be caused by stress, anxiety, and fear.
If your dog is constantly stressed or anxious, their ears might stay lowered and floppy out of habit.
Chihuahuas are tiny dogs that are typically prone to being nervous and anxious.
Strangers, loud noises, and other dogs are all things that can trigger your Chihuahua’s anxiety and stress.
Some other causes of stress in dogs include being left alone, changes in their routine, moving to a new home, or the death of a loved one.
If your Chihuahua is experiencing any of these things, it’s important to try to keep their environment as calm and relaxed as possible.
Their ears might stay droopy until they feel more relaxed or until the stressor has been removed.
8. Low or High Adrenaline Levels
It is believed that if your Chihuahua has low levels of adrenaline then they will have fewer neural crest cells.
The cells dictate the amount of cartilage in the ears, so fewer cells mean floppy ears.
The opposite can be true as well.
If your Chi has too much adrenaline, they are in a stressed out and anxious state which can lead to their ears being droopy.
Floppy ears are caused by a gene that’s passed down from parents to their offspring.
If a parent or grandparent had floppy ears, there’s a good chance their offspring will too. This is why most Chihuahuas have erect ears, as they’ve been bred to have this trait.
The AKC says Chihuahuas should have “large, erect type ears, held more upright when alert, but flaring to the sides at a 45-degree angle when in repose.”
This means floppy-eared Chihuahuas can’t be shown in AKC events, as they don’t meet the breed standard.
While floppy ears might not be considered ideal in the show ring, many people find them to be incredibly cute and endearing.
Some Chihuahuas, however, will have floppy ears due to genetics and there’s nothing that can be done to change this.
If you are dead set on getting a Chihuahua puppy that will have erect ears or you’d like one that will have floppy ears, it’s important to inquire with a breeder about the parents’ and grandparents’ ear types.
This will give you a better idea of what to expect from their puppies, but there are no guarantees.
Can Chihuahuas have floppy ears when they’re purebred?
Some Chihuahuas have been known to have one or both ears floppy or drooping even when they’re purebred.
An even better option is to adopt an adult dog from the shelter whose ears are already fully developed.
Leo, our deer head Chihuahua from the shelter has erect ears but he would look so adorable with floppy ears, too.
Regardless of what their ears look like, they’ll love you just the same!
If your Chihuahua gets a droopy ear due to an injury, it’s usually because the cartilage has been damaged.
This can happen if they get into a fight with another dog or animal. It’s important to take them to the vet so that they can be treated and the injury can heal properly.
Pregnancy can cause your Chihuahua’s ears to become floppy, but it is just temporary. This is just one of the many changes that the mama dog’s body goes through during this time.
Pregnancy is stressful for their body and their adrenaline levels could rise which would lead to floppy ears. It can also make Chihuahuas more clingy.
They will start to nest and burrow when they are close to giving birth.
Once they give birth to their puppies, their ears will go back to standing up in most cases.
Should You Straighten Your Chihuahua’s Ears?
Chihuahuas with floppy ears are so adorable, and there’s no need to change them.
They are perfectly healthy and there’s nothing wrong with them. Let them keep their unique look!
We do not recommend or agree with taping or cropping dog ears.
Both are painful and cropping is even illegal in many countries.
Some ethical ways to encourage your Chihuahua’s ears to stand up are making sure they are eating a high-quality balanced diet, massaging the ear base, reducing stress, and making sure they are getting the proper amount of calcium.
How to Care For Floppy Ears
Chihuahuas with floppy ears are more prone to ear infections since they don’t have the same ventilation as erect ears.
To help prevent ear infections, it’s important to clean your Chihuahua’s ears on a regular basis.
Keep an eye on their ears and look for any redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice any of these signs, they most likely have an ear infection and will need to see the vet.
If your Chihuahua is a swimmer, be sure to thoroughly dry their ears afterward each session to prevent any bacteria or yeast from growing.
There you have all the reasons why Chihuahuas have floppy ears.
While most Chihuahuas have erect ears due to their breed standard, some have floppy ears due to many reasons such as genetics, domestication syndrome, stress, and breeding.
There’s nothing wrong with a floppy-eared Chihuahua especially since all Chihuahuas make perfect companions. Just be sure to give them extra care to prevent ear infections.
When Do Chihuahua Puppies Ears Stand Up?
If you’re wondering when do Chihuahua puppies ears stand up, it usually happens between 5 and 15 weeks of age. Chihuahua puppies are born with floppy ears and as they grow, their ears will slowly stand up when the cartilage starts to firm up and the ear muscles get stronger.
There might be a regression during the teething stage when one or more ears become floppy, but it is temporary. Both ears should be fully standing up by the time they are 5-8 months old.
Do All Chihuahuas Ears Stand Up?
No, not all Chihuahua ears stand up. As Chihuahuas grow, their floppy puppy ears will gradually start to stand up as their muscle and cartilage strengthens.
However, not all Chihuahuas will have erect ears. Some may have partially erect ears, some may have one floppy ear, and some may have 2 floppy ears. It all depends on the genetics of the parent and grandparent dogs.
Why Does My Chihuahua Have One Floppy Ear?
There are many reasons for a Chihuahua to have just one floppy ear. It could be due to genetics. If a parent or grandparent had one or both floppy ears, your Chihuahua inherited that trait.
It could also be due to an injury to the ear or an ear infection in one ear. Teething can also cause one ear to become floppy for a short period of time, but it is temporary.
If you notice that your Chihuahua’s ear is suddenly floppy, it’s important to take them to the vet to rule out any serious health problems.
Can Purebred Chihuahuas Have Floppy Ears?
Yes, it is possible for some purebred Chihuahuas to have floppy ears due to genetics.
Having floppy ears is a trait that is passed down from parent to offspring. So, if along the line a Chihuahua ancestor had floppy ears, there is a chance that any future offspring of that Chihuahua may have floppy ears as well.
While the majority of Chihuahuas have erect ears, some may have partially erect ears, some may have one floppy ear, and some may have two floppy ears.
My Chihuahua’s Ears Never Went Up
If your Chihuahua’s ears won’t stand up, it is okay. Most Chihuahuas will have erect ears, but some will not.
Chihuahua ears not standing up by the end of the first year will most likely stay floppy. This is not a sign of poor health, it’s simply a matter of genetics.
A floppy-eared Chihuahua is just as cute as any dog!