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According to breed standards, Yorkshire Terriers should have perky, pointy ears. But not all pups like to follow the trend. If your Yorkie has floppy ears, there are steps you can take to help them stand on their own. Or you can let it all hang down—we think it’s cute either way.
Yorkie ears also need regular trimming and cleaning to ward off pests and infections. We’ll cover everything you need to know about Yorkie Terrier ears below.
In this guide:
- Should Yorkie ears stand up or down?
- Taping Yorkie ears
- Trimming Yorkie ears & keeping them clean
- Common Yorkie ear problems
Should Yorkie ears stand up or down?
Generally, Yorkshire Terrier ears should stand up. However, the answer also depends on the age of your pup.
During the first few months of their life, Yorkie puppy ears have not yet developed the necessary cartilage and muscle strength to stand up on their own. So, all newborn Yorkie puppies have floppy ears at birth. They will gradually stand up on their own as the pup grows.
When do Yorkie ears stand up?
Some puppies’ ears will begin to prick as early as three or four months of age. Others won’t have fully developed ears until eight or nine months. It all depends on the development of the muscles and cartilage at the base of your Yorkie’s ears.
It’s also possible for one of your dog’s ears to pop up sooner than the other. This may cause temporary concern for those who plan to show their Yorkie in conforming competitions, but for the rest of us, it’s just plain adorable.
In any case, both ears should align and stand fully erect in a handful of weeks or months.
Teething may play a role
Some Yorkie owners may notice their pup’s ears start to stand, only to droop again after a few weeks. This can happen due to the physical stress and nutritional demands of teething, which typically occurs between four and eight months of age.
As your pup’s jaw replaces the deciduous teeth with permanent ones, it requires a surplus of calcium that would otherwise go toward strengthening the cartilage in your Yorkie’s ears. This may halt their rise or even cause them to droop as the hair on the ears grows heavier.
This is nothing to be concerned about. Your dog’s ears should return to normal after the teething and growing process is complete.
Do all Yorkie ears stand up?
No. Although all Yorkie ears should stand up, some pups are born with permanently floppy ears. Some people call this “Yorkie floppy ear syndrome,” and it may happen if you have a Yorkie with big ears that are top-heavy due to too much hair.
Most purebred Yorkshire Terrier breeders would not use a Yorkie with floppy ears to produce a litter, but it can still occur. You may also be more likely to encounter this issue if your pup is a rescue or if you purchased it from a pet shop or puppy mill.
What if I have a Yorkie with floppy ears?
Like asymmetrical ears, having a Yorkie with floppy ears is only a serious concern if you want your dog to compete in conforming shows. If your Yorkie is simply a member of the family, floppy ears shouldn’t cause any severe issues.
You may just need to pay extra attention to keeping their ears clean and monitor them regularly for infection. We’ll talk more about cleaning Yorkie ears later in this guide.
If your Yorkie’s ears are not standing up and you’d like to remedy the situation, you do have a few options, including shaving and taping the ears. We’ll discuss that in the next section.
Should I get my Yorkie’s ears cropped?
No! Along with every other part of their body—other than their nails and hair—Yorkie ears should never be cropped.
This shouldn’t require much explanation beyond: the ears are a part of the body and it’s not okay to simply cut a part of it off for cosmetic purposes. Any advice you receive to the contrary should be carefully scrutinized.
Instead, look into taping your Yorkie’s ears.
>> Read more: Training a Yorkie Puppy: Tricks & Secrets
Taping Yorkie ears
There are a few tactics you can use to try to encourage your Yorkie’s ears to stand up more quickly. One of the most common is ear taping. Yorkie ear taping is the process of securing your dog’s ears in an upright position, so the muscles and cartilage at the base of the ears can grow into place more easily.
How to tape Yorkie ears
Before you get started, it’s a good idea to trim and clean your dog’s ears. Trimming the ears is actually its own method for encouraging Yorkie ears to stand up. All that hair can get heavy and weigh the ears down.
But more importantly, taping Yorkie ears will reduce airflow to the ear canals for a few days, so you want to make sure they’re freshly shaved and cleaned to mitigate the risk of infection. We go into more detail about trimming and cleaning the ears in the section below.
After you’ve prepped the ears, it’s time to tape them. There are two methods you can use when taping the ears. The first allows you to keep the ear leather in their natural flat position, while the second involves folding the ear to help them stand up more easily.
The flat method
Make a strip of tape about 3 inches long and three to four layers thick. Normal masking or painter’s tape will do, but you can also get surgical tape meant for sensitive skin.
After making your strip, cut out two triangles small enough to fit inside the tips of your Yorkie’s ears. These triangles will help stiffen the tips of the ears. When applying the triangles, make sure to get any hair from the back of the ears out of the way so the tape holds, and take care not to cover your dog’s ear canals.
Next, take a few inches of single-layer tape and fold it around the triangle, starting in the back and making sure to keep the ear leather flat.
Finally, you’ll want to use one strip of tape to bind the ears together. This will help them hold each other upright. Make sure the ears aren’t bent inward toward each other. They should stand straight up off of the head in their natural position.
You should leave the ears taped for three to five days, then remove them for at least 24 hours to give the ears time to air out and a chance to stand on their own. If they’re still floppy, you can repeat the process.
The video below demonstrates this method.
The folded method
The folded method involves folding the ears lengthwise to help them stand on their own, then taping them in place. Gently fold the ears in a taco shape with the tip of the ears pointing up at the center. Make sure you do not try to fold the ears tightly or crease them—this could damage your Yorkie’s ears.
Once folded, loosely wrap gauze and/or tape around the base to hold the fold in place. Finally, use a strip of tape to align the ears and hold them in place, similar to the previous method. You can keep the ears taped for three to five days before taking a 24-hour break.
The perk of the folded method is that, when done correctly, it may allow more fresh air to get to your dog’s inner ears. However, folding the ear leather is not ideal, so if you choose this method, make sure you only use a gentle fold and do not force the ear into an unnatural position.
Regardless of which method you choose, pay attention to how your pup responds. If they don’t seem particularly bothered, you’ve probably done it right. But if they won’t stop trying to remove the tape, they may be uncomfortable, and you may need to reapply the tape more loosely.
If you have more than one pup, and they like to attack each other’s tape, it may help to use a dark-colored tape that blends in with the hair.
>> Read more: How to Take Care of a Yorkie: Puppy Care from 8 Weeks to Adulthood
Trimming Yorkie ears & keeping them clean
Whether you want to help your Yorkie’s ears stand up, or you just want to stay on top of general grooming best practices, keeping your dog’s ears clean and trimmed is important.
Trimming Yorkie ears
Trimming Yorkie ears is an important first step to taping them, but it can also help your pup’s ears stand up on their own. That’s because Yorkie ears are pretty hairy, and all that fuzz weighs the ears down.
Keeping the ear hair short can also help keep your dog’s ears clean since hair collects dust and other irritants that can lead to infections.
Start by lifting your dog’s ear up and back so that the inside is completely exposed. Next, gently shave the inside of the ear using a #40 blade on a quiet pair of pet clippers.
To trim the longer hair growing from the back of the ears, you’ll need to gently fold the ears forward lengthwise and straighten the hair using a fine-toothed comb.
Keeping a close eye on the tip of the ear, which should be easy to spot since you’ve already shaved that area, carefully trim the hair to the desired length with a pair of shears. You’ll need to recomb and retrim the hair a few times to make sure the cut is blended into the rest of the face.
By shaving the inside of the ears and trimming the longer hair on the back, a Yorkie puppy’s ears will have an easier time standing on their own. And with less hair getting in the way, you’ll have an easier time taping the dog’s ears and keeping them clean.
Keeping your pup’s ears clean
Like many dog breeds, Yorkshire Terriers can develop infections and infestations if you don’t keep their ears clean. We’ll discuss some of those ear problems in the following section.
When cleaning Yorkie ears, all you’ll need is some ear wipes or cotton balls and a canine ear cleaning solution. Of course, having some dog treats on hand never hurts, either. To start, it helps to put your dog in the sink, bathtub, or in your lap—somewhere where they don’t have a lot of room to squirm.
Gently massage your dog’s ears to get them comfortable, then pull an ear back and put a few drops of ear cleaning solution into the ear canals. If your dog currently has a wound or infection, you’ll want to liberally apply the solution over those areas as well.
Your pup probably won’t like the feeling of droplets entering their ear, so be prepared to hold them still and reassure them that everything is alright.
Continue massaging the ear with your thumb to help spread the solution and loosen any dirt and gunk that may have accumulated. Your dog will probably insist on shaking out the solution, so you may want to have a washcloth or paper towel on hand.
Next, use a cotton ball to gently swab the inner ear, getting as far into the entrance of the ear canal as comfortable. It’s important to use a cotton ball instead of a Q-tip because you don’t want to actually put anything inside the ear, or you’ll risk injuring your dog. If your dog’s ears are very dirty, it may help to use one cotton ball to clean the ear, and a second to dry it out.
Once finished, repeat with the other ear. Most people like to clean their dog’s ears during bathtime when their dog already has to deal with you getting up close and personal with their intimate areas, but it’s all up to you.
Common Yorkie ear problems
Like all dog breeds, Yorkies are prone to their share of health issues and can develop ear problems from time to time. These span from common ear infections to infestations of parasites.
Yorkie ear infection can occur if your Yorkie has allergies, if you don’t regularly clean their ears, or if you allow the ears to remain wet after bathtime.
Common signs of infection include:
- A musty smell coming from the ears
- Visible signs that your dog is uncomfortable, such as constant scratching or rubbing of the ears against surfaces
- A discharge of puss
- Yelping or growling when you touch near the ears
If you believe your dog has an ear infection, you should consult a veterinarian. They will likely prescribe an antibacterial ear-cleaning solution or medication to help remedy the situation.
>> Read more: How to Treat Leather Ear in Yorkies
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Yorkie ear mites are different from an infection because instead of fungus or other bacteria growing in the ear, your dog’s ears will be harboring parasites. Signs of ear mites are similar to common signs of infection: scratching and irritation, pain or sensitivity, discharge, or a bad odor.
Ear mites are contagious, so if your dog develops them, it’s possible they picked up the infestation from another pet at home, the park, or doggy daycare. If left unchecked, the mites can also spread to other parts of your dog’s body.
As with ear infections, a veterinarian will need to diagnose and prescribe a treatment for ear mites. You’ll also need to thoroughly wash all bedding your dog regularly comes into contact with. As with all other aspects of a Yorkie’s ears, regular cleaning can help ward off infestation.