One of the French Bulldog’s most distinguishing characteristics is their big, bat ears. They really add to the charming expression of this popular small dog breed. 

The United Kennel Club describes Frenchie’s ears as broad at the base of the ear with a round top.

They go on to state that the ears should be: “set high on the head, but not too close together, and are carried erect, with the orifice to the front”. 

So, it might surprise new Frenchie owners to know that a Frenchie’s ears are actually floppy when they’re born, and then stand up later!

Let’s take a closer look…

When Do French Bulldog Ears Stand Up?

When Frenchies are born, their ears are usually floppy. This leads some French Bulldog owners to wonder if they’ll ever stand up! Don’t worry, most Frenchies will have erect ears when they grow up

There’s no one right answer as to exactly how long it takes for a French Bulldog’s ears to stand up. For some puppies, it can take a few weeks and for others, it can take months. Each puppy will develop at their own rate, just like humans. 

You might notice their ears start to stand up at the same time as they’re teething or just after the teething period. You may see the ears occasionally standing up and then flopping back down. 

Sometimes one ear will stand up before the other, so you’ll see an adorable mix of one floppy ear and one bat-like ear. Usually, the other ear will catch up and will stand up in time.

In a lot of cases, at 8 to 10 weeks of age when you pick them up from a breeder to take them home, their ears will already be erect. 

How is Teething and Ear Development Linked?

Frenchie’s ears often become upright during or after teething. It’s thought that there’s a very good reason for this! 

Calcium is a mineral that dogs need to develop and maintain strong bones, cartilage, and teeth, just like humans. Cartilage is a tough connective tissue that plays a big role in the shape of Frenchie ears.  

Since calcium is needed for strong ear cartilage, the high amount of calcium the French Bulldog puppy’s body is using during the teething process may also influence their ear development

Why Does My French Bulldog Have Floppy Ears?

Most Frenchies have floppy ears at an early age and this isn’t anything to worry about. As they get older their ears will almost always stand up. 

There are a number of reasons your puppies ears might not yet be in the erect position including:

1. Teething

Most Frenchie pup’s ears will stand up during or after teething. Sometimes it’s a little while after. Some owners think this is because so much of the calcium and other resources are used during teething phase to help the teeth grow, that it’s only afterwards that the body can direct those resources to other areas of the body.

2. Genetics

Just like people, each dog’s genetics will vary making them unique. Some Frenchie’s may have droopy ears because they inherited the gene from their parents. This isn’t something that can be changed. 

3. Trauma

Sadly some Frenchie puppies experience trauma to their ears at a young age which prevents them developing normally. This may be from children or other dogs playing too rough, from owners cleaning their ears too roughly, or from an accident during play.

Puppies develop at different rates so if your Frenchie is taking a bit longer to get those characteristic upright ears, don’t panic. Give it time and you should soon see the change begin. 

At What Age Do a French Bulldog Ears Stick Up?

 

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There’s no one definitive age when a French Bulldog’s ears will stand up. It varies from puppy to puppy depending on their development. You can expect your Frenchie’s ears to stand up in the first few months of their lives

This might happen in stages. For example, one ear might stand up first while the other remains floppy. The ears of a French Bulldog may stand up and then go back down, then up again! 

As a general rule, once a Frenchie puppy has gone through the teething stage, their ears should both be fully upright

Do Some French Bulldogs’ Ears Never Go Up?

The vast majority of Frenchie’s ears will stand up within the first few months of their life. However, in rare cases French Bulldogs may have floppy ears even when they’re an adult

While this might not be what you had expected, your Frenchie will still look adorable and it’s not something you need to worry about. In fact, they’ll be even more unique which is a bonus. 

It’s worth noting that floppy ears are more likely to trap moisture and dirt. It’s harder for air to circulate when a dog’s ears are floppy. 

These factors can mean that dogs with floppy ears are more likely to develop ear infections. Research by the Royal Veterinary College found that dogs with long and hanging ear flaps had a much higher risk of ear infection.

If you have a Frenchie with floppy ears, that simply means you need to regularly clean their ears and keep an eye out for signs of infection

Should I Clean My French Bulldog’s Ears?

You should regularly clean your French Bulldog’s ears, whether they are erect or floppy. This helps to ensure they stay healthy and reduces the risk of ear infection. 

You should clean your Frenchie’s ears roughly twice a month. Over cleaning can cause more harm than good, because it clears too much of the natural wax that helps to protect the ears from foreign bodies and infection. 

Vet Jeff Grognet recommends cleaning your dog’s ears by filling their ear with a dog cleaning solution, and massaging the ear from the outside. You should then use gauze to wipe out the ear canal. You can also use a cotton ball or buy ear wipes.

Never put your finger or any cleaning material deep into your dog’s ear canal, as this can cause damage. Be gentle and go slow. 

How Do I Get My French Bulldogs Ears to Stand Up?

Most Frenchie’s ears will stand up as part of the normal growth process, and this isn’t something we should interfere with. If your dog is one of the small number of Frenchies whose ears remain floppy in adulthood, it’s not something you can change

Unless you’re going to be showing your dog (it’s against the breed standard), it shouldn’t affect you or your dog significantly. It doesn’t change how wonderful, charming, and loving your dog will be so it’s something you should accept and love about your Frenchie.

While you can’t ‘make’ your Frenchie’s ears stand up, there are a few different ways people try to encourage this to happen including:

1. Extra Calcium

Some owners like to increase calcium levels in their dog’s diet by adding yogurt, crushed eggshells, cheese, cottage cheese, calcium supplements, or even calcium injections. Calcium helps dogs to develop strong teeth and bones. 

None of this should be done without the guidance of a vet to ensure it’s done safely. Too much calcium can cause damage, and a lot of dogs are lactose intolerant so adding in too much dairy is not a good idea. 

2. Providing a High-Quality Diet

In order to develop properly, all French Bulldog puppies need a quality, balanced diet. Giving your puppy a healthy diet is one of the best ways you can set them up for success as they grow up. See our best recommended French Bulldog puppy food here.

3. Providing Chew Toys

During teething, chew toys not only help to redirect destructive chewing and soothe your puppy’s mouth, they can also help to strengthen their temporalis muscle.

The temporalis muscle is the largest muscle in your dog’s head. It helps with jaw function and keeping their ears upright. Helping to strengthen this muscle may help to make the ears stand up. Although this is just a theory, it’s not hurting your dog and helps with teething anyway, so it’s a win-win! 

See our best toys for French Bulldog’s here.

4. Protecting Against Parasites and Ear Infections

It’s crucial for all dogs to have the appropriate preventative medicine to protect them against parasites. You should also keep an eye out for signs of ear infection. 

Protecting your dog’s ears can also help with proper ear growth and prevent ear problems. If a puppy has ear mites or an ear infection, they will scratch and rub at their ears a lot. Since their ears are still developing, this can cause trauma and damage the cartilage that shapes the ear, resulting in floppy or misshapen ears. 

5. Vet Checks

It’s important that your puppy has all the usual vet checks to ensure they’re healthy. If your Frenchies ears aren’t standing up and you’re concerned, a vet can rule out any health problems to reassure you. 

6. Taping

Some people choose to tape their puppy’s ears to try to ‘shape’ them in the desired position. This isn’t something I would recommend as it’s unnecessary and could be painful for your pup. There are mixed opinions on whether it’s safe or whether it’s cruel, and very little scientific research on the topic. 

The important thing is to do your own research. If you do go ahead with this method, it should be done by a professional breeder as if it’s done incorrectly, it can damage your dog’s ears.

There’s no definitive way to ‘make’ your Frenchies’ ears stand up. If this is something that’s really important to you, ensure you buy your French Bulldog from a reputable breeder who is registered with the appropriate organizations. Responsible, knowledgeable breeders should do genetic testing to ensure puppies are healthy and meet the breed standards, particularly if they are breeding show dogs. 

All French Bulldog Ears Are Beautiful!

No matter whether your Frenchie’s ears are upright or floppy, they’re all beautiful. As long as your dog is healthy and happy, this shouldn’t pose a problem. In fact, unique floppy ears in adulthood should be accepted and celebrated. 

References

  • United Kennel Club, (2022), French Bulldog.
  • Vet Compass, (2021), Now listen ear: New RVC research reveals the dog breeds most affected by ear infections.
  • Elizabeth Racine, DVM, (2019), Dog Ear Infections: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention. American Kennel Club. 
  • Miller, P. E. (2008). Ocular emergencies. Slatter’s fundamentals of veterinary ophthalmology, 4th ed. St. Louis: Saunders, 419-426.