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One characteristic that many find cute and endearing when it comes to dogs are those big floppy ears.
They frame the face in a way that just makes their eyes even more adorable. So, if you are looking to adopt a pooch, you might be looking for a dog with floppy ears.
To help you out, we have put together a list of the 10 most popular dog breeds that have floppy ears.
We will also explain the genetic origins of floppy ears and how to take care of a dog with floppy ears to ensure they aren’t plagued by regular ear infections.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- 10 Dog Breeds With Floppy Ears
- The Genetics Of Floppy Ears
- Floppy Ears Care And Cleaning
- The Verdict
- Top Picks For Our Dogs
10 Dog Breeds With Floppy Ears
If you are looking for a pup with adorable floppy ears, here as some of the most popular dog breeds that carry this trait.
These little hunting dogs are scent hounds that have been bred primarily for hunting hares, which is also called beagling. They have a great sense of smell and excellent tracking instincts.
The beagle is a small- to medium-sized dog that generally weighs between 20 and 25 pounds and won’t grow to more than 16 inches tall. They have a short coat and tend to be tri-colored, mixing white, black, and brown.
They have an even temperament and are neither aggressive nor timid. They are very intelligent, but they are also single-minded and can be difficult to control if they are distracted by a compelling scent.
Nevertheless, they make a great family pet, though they may be a bit of a scamp at times.
These are large scent hounds that were originally bred for hunting deer and wild boar. They are also famed for their ability to discern human scents over great distances, and so, are often used as investigation dogs.
You can expect a standard bloodhound to weigh between 90 and 120 pounds, so they are big dogs. They have long faces with lots of floppy skin, all framed by those gorgeous floppy ears.
Bloodhounds are laid-back and easy-going dogs that are great around other animals and children. But they are also very independent, following their super-strong nose and their taste buds wherever they lead them.
They make great family pets, though they won’t get along well in a small apartment, as they need space to stretch their legs.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These little lap dogs have quickly become a very popular pet in the United States thanks to their cute face with those floppy ears, smooth coat, and loving temperament.
They are small dogs, officially classed as toy dogs by the American Kennel Club, and generally weigh between 13 and 18 pounds.
These little guys are highly affectionate, playful, and also eager to please. This makes them great family pets as they are both fun and easy to train.
However, these pups can suffer from separation anxiety if they don’t get sufficient human attention. It is best to make sure your lifestyle suits a relationship with this kind of pup.
The Dachshund, also known as the sausage dog, is another scenting dog, originally bred to flush out badgers and hunt small animals such as rabbits and mice.
A full-grown Dachshund will weigh somewhere between 16 and 32 pounds, but you can also get small miniature versions that weigh between 8 and 11 pounds. They come in a range of colors and hair lengths, so you can get a strong wiry-haired pup or one with goldilocks curls.
While they make great pets, they do need a little bit of care. Their instinct to hunt means they will chase small animals with determination and ferocity. They can also be aggressive towards strangers and other dogs.
But, at the same time, there is nothing they will enjoy more than a bit of lap time with their human.
English Cocker Spaniel
These medium-sized dogs were bred as gun dogs and are an active and good-natured sporting dog.
They aren’t too large, tending to weigh between 20 and 30 pounds, and their ears fall around their face in a way that can look like feathery tresses.
This breed makes great family pets because they bond quickly with family members and love human company. But they can have a tendency to get depressed if they are left alone too much. And they are also intelligent enough to get into trouble if they are bored or frustrated.
If you do adopt one, be sure to teach everyone in the home about soft hands, as they don’t respond well to loud noises or rough treatment.
One of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, golden retrievers also have those characteristic floppy ears.
They were originally bred as gun dogs to retrieve waterfowl. The resulting breed is energetic, intelligent, eager to please, and natural swimmers. They are also friendly and gentle. This combination of characteristics means they are often used as working and support dogs.
They are big dogs, weighing between 55 and 75 pounds. They also need lots of exercise, a minimum of about an hour a day.
While adopting a golden retriever is very rewarding, remember that it is also a lot of work. As well as their exercise needs, they are big eaters and also big shedders, so lots of grooming is required.
These little princes and princesses are the national dog of Cuba. They don’t only have floppy ears but a long coat that looks like hair leaves them looking a little bit like an adorable Cousin It from the Addams Family.
These are little lap dogs that weigh between 7 and 14 pounds and are true companion dogs that will like nothing better than spending 24 hours a day with their human. They are obedient and also highly adaptable, which means they do well in most social situations, human or animal.
Their coats are profuse and need to be thoroughly groomed at least twice a week. While this is a big time commitment, it is also an excellent bonding experience.
It is no secret that we are crazy about labradors here, and one of the things we love about these amazing dogs is their gorgeous floppy ears.
Labradors are intelligent, highly trainable, and incredibly friendly and social. This makes them the ideal family pet but also excellent working dogs. You will often see labradors fulfilling the role of disability support.
These pups are high energy and need at least an hour of exercise every day. They are also big shedders, so prepare yourself for regular grooming and regular vacuuming.
At some point, someone stuck a beret on a poodle and they got a reputation for being posh and standoffish. But poodles were actually bred to be companion dogs and are one of the friendliest and most loyal dog breeds out there.
Poodles are also one of the most intelligent dog breeds, which means they are easy to train. They are also eager to please, so they won’t ignore your commands.
One of the other bonuses with poodles is that their tight coat does not shed, which can be important in households with an allergy sufferer. They do need to be groomed regularly, but this is something you have more control over.
Poodles come in a range of sizes, including the standard, miniature, and the toy, so you can find one the right size for you.
Poodles cross-bred with labradors or golden retrievers, labradoodles or goldendoodles respectively, are also very popular. They combine the intelligence of the dogs, and shed much less than pure-bred labs and goldens.
Setters are yet one more type of gundog, bred for hunting game such as quail, pheasant, and grouse. The most popular setters today are English, Irish Gordon, and Irish Red and White setters.
This is another happy and playful breed that makes a great family dog, as long as you have the time to care for them. They have lots of energy and need a lot of daily exercise.
The Genetics Of Floppy Ears
You won’t find a wolf or wild dog (such as Australian dingoes) that have floppy ears; they all have ears that stand up on their own.
Floppy ears are a result of the domestication of dogs, and in particular, the deliberate breeding of dogs for specific traits and to perform specific tasks.
Scientists believe that floppy ears were actually an accidental development resulting from stem cells malfunctioning for an unknown reason as a result of humans actively breeding dogs for different traits.
The trait of floppy ears then continued to be actively pursued through breeding, because they are just so cute.
Unlike other traits that are a result of breeding, like the flat face and snub nose of some dogs, which significantly hinges their breathing, floppy ears don’t seem to have any negative impact on the dog, though owners do need to spend a bit more time cleaning their pup’s ears.
Having floppy ears doesn’t affect their hearing. They can still hear you rustle their food bag from a mile away and will come running!
Floppy Ears Care And Cleaning
While floppy ears don’t hurt your dog, they do mean the ears need a bit of extra care and attention to avoid problems such as ear infections.
This is because the floppy ears both trap moisture and reduce airflow to the ear, which can make your dog’s ear canal the perfect environment for organisms to thrive and grow.
To maintain your dog’s ears, you will want a good dog ear cleaning formula such as:
- Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone
- Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner for Dogs
- Vet’s Nest Ear Relief Wash + Dry Combo
Before you start the cleaning process, remove excess hair from around the entrance to the ear canal. This will improve both your access and your visibility when it comes to the cleaning process.
Next, fold back those adorable floppy ears and gently squirt the cleaning formula on the inside flap of your dog’s ear and the entrance to the ear canal.
You will want to distribute the cleaner around the ear, so once you have applied the cleaner, gently massage the ear flap and ear canal entrance. You will probably hear the liquid moving around the ear.
Once you have left the cleaner for the amount of time advised for the brand you are using, let your dog shake out the excess liquid. Be aware that this can be quite messy.
Finally, use a cotton ball or something similar to clean out the entrance of the ear canal of debris that has been dislodged by the liquid. Remember, just like with your own ear, don’t force your finger or anything else down the ear canal.
After the process, use something to fasten your dog’s ears back so their ears can dry out naturally.
You probably need to repeat this process every two weeks for a dog with floppy ears, though you might need to do this more regularly in wet weather or if they are a swimmer, as they will have more moisture in and around the ears.
You can read more on how to clean and care for the ears of a labrador here.
What Does It Mean When A Dog’s Ears Are Floppy?
Floppy ears is a genetic mutation in some dog breeds that has occurred as a part of the domestication process. While it is considered a human introduced “genetic defect” by scientists, it doesn’t harm or hurt your pooch in any way. Just make sure to check and clean their ears regularly as the moist, dark environment can become a growing ground for bacteria.
What If My Puppy’s Ears Don’t Prick Up Naturally?
If you have a breed of dog that is meant to have pricked ears, but they remain floppy, this could be a sign of several things. Excessive petting and rubbing of the ears can actually stunt their development and it can take longer for their ears to prick. Calcium deficiency can also be a problem. This will sometimes be temporary while your pup is teething as their calcium is being used up elsewhere in their body.
Will My Puppy’s Ears Stay Floppy?
Most puppies are born with floppy ears, but at between four and seven months of age, their ears will start to prick up naturally. That is, if they are meant to have pricked-up ears. Many breeds of dogs have floppy ears as one of their characteristics, in which case, of course, their ears will stay floppy.
How Do I Keep My Dog’s Ears Floppy?
You may read many tricks online of things that you can do with the ears of your puppy to keep them floppy. But if your puppy is meant to have pricked ears, these can be harmful to them and also damaging for their health as it interferes with their natural growth.
So, if your dog is meant to have pricked ears, there is not much you can do. In fact, if your puppy is meant to have pricked ears and they haven’t naturally taken to the sky by about six months old, it is time for a trip to the vet.
Are Floppy Ears Dominant Or Recessive In Dogs?
Floppy ears are a dominant trait, which does mean it is easier to breed for than a recessive trait. Only one parent needs to pass on the floppy ears gene for it to present as a character trait in a pup. By contrast, recessive traits such as white spotting and smooth hair need to be present in both the parents for the relevant gene to be passed on to the pup.
Can Dogs With Floppy Ears Hear As Well?
The floppiness of your dog’s ears has no impact on their ability to hear. They can hear just as well as dogs with pricked ears.
Do Floppy Ears Need Special Care Or Cleaning?
Floppy ears require the same kind of cleaning and care as all dog ears, but they do need to be cleaned more frequently. While you might only need to clean the ears of a dog with pricked ears once a month, when a dog has floppy ears, you will probably want to do it every two weeks.
This is because the ears are covered, which traps moisture and limits airflow. This means that the ears are a dark, warm, moist environment, perfect for the growth of many nasties.
If you love the look of a pup with big floppy ears, there are lots of incredible breeds to choose from. You can get a little King Charles Spaniel, a large bloodhound, an intelligent poodle, or our breed favorite, a labrador retriever.
While floppy ears can technically be considered a genetic defect, they don’t pose any risk to your pup. But regular cleaning of the ears will help keep them healthy and happy.
Do you have a favorite floppy ear breed that isn’t on our list? Share your favorite with the community in the comments section below.
Top Picks For Our Dogs
- BEST PUPPY TOY
We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
- BEST CHEW TOY
We Like: KONG Extreme - Great toy for heavy chewers like our Labrador Retrievers.
- BEST DOG TREATS
We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
- BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.
For a list of all the supplies we get for our new service dog puppies check out our New Puppy Checklist on the PuppyInTraining.com blog.