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Home > Dogs > 11 Fascinating Facts About Your Dog’s Ears: Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQs

11 Fascinating Facts About Your Dog’s Ears: Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQs

Interior of dog’s ear being held open for cleaning

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs have a lot of unique traits, but one of the things about their anatomy that stands out the most is their ears. They can be long, short, pointy, folded, or flappy, but one thing is for sure—dog ears look adorable regardless of their shape and size.

Of course, the primary purpose of a dog’s ears is not to be cute but to help dogs hear things around them. Besides providing your dog with outstanding hearing abilities, your dog‘s ears also hide some interesting facts that make canines distinctive from other animals.

Read on to learn more about your dog’s ears and what makes them so interesting.

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The 11 Fascinating Facts About Your Dog’s Ears

1. All Puppies Are Born Deaf

While most animals are born with a sense of hearing, that’s not the case with dogs. All puppies are born functionally deaf, with their ear canals closed. Hearing is the last sense that gets developed in dogs, and it starts when your puppy is around 3 weeks old.

The canine sense of hearing keeps developing until your puppy is 2 months old, which is when its hearing should be completely developed. Once they get the ability to hear, puppies are able to hear a wide range of different frequencies.

Newborn basenji puppies
Image By: Rosa Jay, Shutterstock

2. Dogs Hear Better Than Humans

While dogs take a long time to develop their sense of hearing, once fully developed, their hearing is quite impressive because their ears are sensitive. In fact, canines are able to hear things four times better than humans, and they can pick up on various frequencies we can’t hear. The average frequency range for a human is 20Hz up to around 20Khz.  With dogs hearing higher frequencies ranging between 40Hz to 60kHz.

Canine ears are always functioning as our furry friends can hear so many things in their surroundings that we won’t even notice. So, even when your dog is sleeping, it’s still able to hear you breathing, hear the clock on the wall, or a fly that’s flying around your home.

One thing to mention is that, like with humans, a dog’s ability to hear can decline with age, and some dogs can experience hearing issues.


3. Dogs Can Filter Specific Sounds

Due to their excellent hearing abilities, dogs can hear frequencies and sounds we can’t. However, this ability in dogs can probably become tiring for your pup, especially as canines hear things even when they’re sleeping.

Well, nature has made sure to help dogs that don’t want to hear specific things. Dogs are capable of filtering specific sounds, which allows them to concentrate on things they actually want to hear.

This feature of dog anatomy is especially important in chaotic situations with a lot of different sounds, as your furry friend will be able to tune out other noises and concentrate on your voice.

Dog near the mountains
Image Credit: Los Muertos Crew, Pexels

4. Dog Ears Have Multiple Muscles

When you look at your dog’s ears, you may probably think they don’t contain any muscles as they’re typically soft. However, dog ears have multiple muscles, typically at least 18 in each ear.

Those muscles are essential for dogs to move, raise, tilt, and rotate their ears and hear and identify different sounds in their environment. Because each dog’s ears have muscles, canines also have the ability to move one ear independently of the other ear.


5. Dogs Can Express Emotions Through Their Ears

Dogs have many different ways of expressing emotions—they can move their tail, bark, or even use their ears! Canines use their ears for better communication, so your dog can tell how it’s feeling by making different ear movements.

For example, if your dog has its ears slightly pulled back but is wiggling its tail, it can indicate that your puppy is happy and ready to play. Similarly, if your dog has its ears pinned back or to the side, it may mean that your furry friend is stressed, scared, or anxious.

Of course, just observing the ears is not enough to entirely understand how your dog feels. However, in combination with other physical movements, you should be able to sense your dog’s emotions and know how your beloved friend feels.

Dogs Pin their Ears Back on blue background
Image Credit: Tom Harper Photography, Shutterstock

6. Ear Infections Are the Most Common Health Problem in Dogs

While dog ears serve an essential purpose in a canine’s life, they can also cause some health problems. In fact, ear infections are the most common health problem in dogs, and they’re the most frequent reason for vet visits.

All dogs are susceptible to ear infections, although this health problem is more common in some breeds with long, floppy ears, including:

  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Miniature Poodles
  • Old English Sheepdogs
  • Basset Hounds

These infections can be pretty annoying and painful for your dog, so it’s vital to react promptly and take your canine to the vet to get the needed treatment.


7. Dogs Have an L-shaped Ear Canal

One of the main reasons why dogs are so prone to ear infections is because their ears have an L-shaped ear canal. This shape prevents dirt and debris from entering your canine’s ears, and it also prevents yeast and bacteria from reaching the inside of the ear.

However, due to the shape of their ear canal, dogs frequently get things such as grass seeds stuck inside, which can cause some ear problems. Also, due to the L-shape, ear examination can be more challenging.

Girl whispering in her dog's ear in the park
Image Credit: Ivan Mateev, Shutterstock

8. The Dog with the Longest Ears Is a Coonhound

It’s common that all Coonhounds have long ears, but one Coonhound has ears so long that it got its spot in the Guinness World Records book. A Coonhound named Lou has the longest ears, which are 13.38 inches long.

The owner of this dog claims that even with the extreme length, her dog’s ears are easy to care for.


9. There Are Multiple Types of Dog Ears

Dog ears come in many different shapes and sizes, and there are multiple different types of dog ears. They can be short, long, point, or flappy; the possibilities are endless.

Some of the most common canine ear shapes include:
  • Bat ears
  • Pricked ears
  • Round/blunt ears
  • Cocked ears
  • Button ears
  • Rose ears
  • Drop ears
  • V-shaped ears

It has become common practice in certain breeds to have the ears cropped/cut soon after birth to change them from natural floppy ears to short pricked up ears. This is a controversial topic.

Cute Beagle Puppy dog near underpad with wet spot on floor
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

10. Dog Ears Have the So-Called Henry’s Pocket

All dogs have a small, cute flap on their ears, commonly known as Henry’s pocket. Precisely, this flap is located on the skin at the margin of your canine’s ears. Nobody knows what exactly the Henry’s pocket does, but there are different theories, including:

  • Some believe that the Henry’s pocket allows dogs to better locate sounds around them
  • Some believe that Henry’s pocket helps dogs enhance the sounds they hear in their environment
  • Some believe that Henry’s pockets help dogs flatten their ears

11. Dog Ears Have Pheromones

Doggy ears are truly unique, and one of the things that make them so special is the fact that they contain sebaceous and ceruminous glands with pheromones. That’s one of the most common reasons why dogs like to sniff each other’s ears when they meet for the first time.

These pheromones have a lot of similarities with the pheromones released by a mother dog that makes puppies recognize her. They also serve an important purpose in dog communication and socialization, which is why many dogs greet each other by sniffing their ears.

Woman showing treats to a dog
Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

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Conclusion

Your dog’s ears are an essential tool for hearing, showing emotions, and releasing pheromones. They come in various types, shapes, and sizes, making them extremely cute. However, due to the shape of their canal, many dogs suffer from ear infections, which is why you should practice regular maintenance and keep your canine’s ears in good shape.


Featured Image Credit: 9gifts, Shutterstock

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