3 Reasons French Bulldog’s Ears Are Down

by Sonya | Last Updated:   June 4, 2021

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French Bulldogs are well renown for their iconic “bat ears”, standing straight on top of their head. For a very young Frenchie puppy, however, you might probably see that their ears are down.

It may surprise you to know that French Bulldogs aren’t born with their ears standing up. For the first few weeks or months of their lives, their classic ears can have a life of their own!

It’s perfectly fine for a Frenchie puppy’s ears to perk up and then drop again within the first few weeks. It happens several times during their teething process. This is a sign that the cartilage and muscles in and around their ears are in the development stage.

During the first few months, if your French Bulldog puppy’s ears aren’t erect yet, there is no need to panic. Frenchies with “down ears” are perfectly normal.

Some common things I hear from Frenchie owners include:

  • Only one ear is standing up!
  • My puppy’s ears were standing up yesterday but now they are down again!
  • The ears are droopy at the top!
Two french bulldogs laying down, one with floppy ears one french bulldog with ears standing up

Why Your French Bulldog’s Ears Aren’t Standing Up

There are few things that can cause French Bulldogs ears are down and struggle to stand up.

1. Teething:

Teething is one of the main reasons for Frenchie’s droopy ears. This is temporary and, after teething, your Frenchie’s ears should stand up on their own.

2. Genetics:

This might be due to the genes passed on by their parents. There’s not much you can do about your Frenchie’s genetics. When selecting a puppy, ensure that you choose an ethical breeder to reduce the risk of genetic abnormalities. 

There’s also some great dog DNA tests out there that can give you a lot of valuable information.

3. Trauma:

Between birth and 8 months of age, your puppy’s ears are still developing. Any major trauma to its ears will cause permanent damage and may lead to “wonky looking” or droopy ears.

You should be cautious about the following:

  • Keep your Frenchie puppy away from overly playful or aggressive dogs who may bite and tug their ears.
  • Keep your Frenchie puppy away from kids who will likely rub or play with your Frenchie’s ears.
  • Do not let your Frenchie puppy sleep with its head wedged up against the wall of its crate.
  • Never neglect your Frenchie’s ears or clean them too aggressively or in the wrong way.

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

If by 7 or 8 weeks, your French Bulldog puppy’s ears still aren’t standing up by themselves, you might need to give them a little bit of help. 

Taping French Bulldog Ears:

Taping your Frenchie’s ears is not a cruel process if done correctly. Here’s how you can tape French Bulldog’s ears to train them to stand up by themselves:

  • Tear off a 1.5-inch piece of masking tape. Don’t use duct tape or electrical tape as they are too sticky and might hurt your Frenchies ears.
  • Pull one of the Frenchie’s ears upright.
  • Loosely wrap the masking tape around the base of the ear.
  • Repeat the process with the other ear.
  • Now use another strip of tape to connect both ears together in a “bridge” fashion across the top of the head.
  • Leave the tape on your puppy’s ears for no more than 5 days, then gently remove.
  • If you see the masking tape unravel or fall off during the 5 day period, make sure you repair it wherever possible.

In most cases, one 5-day taping period should be enough. If you don’t get the desired results, go through the process for another 5 days.

CAUTION: Do not remove or tear the tape aggressively, that would be uncomfortable for your French Bulldog and you might end up harming the inside of your Frenchie’s ears.

Diet:

Feeding your French Bulldog puppy high-quality food should be something you should always do. Food has the biggest impact on the development of your pup’s body and brain.

Parasites:

Parasites can hamper the development of your Frenchie’s body and will also affect its ears. They steal the nutrients from the food your puppy eats, causing malnutrition if left untreated. These critters also prevent the absorption of the nutrients that remain.

Make sure you are staying up to date with your puppy’s vaccination schedule, flea and tick medication, and worm medication to avoid any potential issues. If you suspect that your puppy is suffering from a parasitic infestation, do not delay taking him to the vet to be assessed and treated. 

Chew Toys:

Chewing on chew toys is a great way to make your Frenchie’s adorable ears stand up. Chew toys also help to alleviate discomfort and pain throughout teething. Make sure you are selecting a high quality, durable chew toy that will not flake off or be digested by your puppy. 

Yogurt, Milk, & Cheese:

Some people suggest that yogurt, milk, and cheese can help encourage a Frenchie puppy’s ears to stand up. This is due to the high calcium content in these foods, and some pet parents like to add these foods on top of dry dog food.

However, you must be cautious when attempting this type of “folk cure” with your Frenchie. Be aware that there is no proven research or scientific data to suggest that yogurt, milk, or cheese will help a Frenchie puppy’s ears to stand up.

If you still decide to try feeding your puppy dairy anyways, be careful and offer a small amount to start, as these foods can upset the puppy’s stomach. Adding excessive calcium to your Frenchie’s diet may also eventually have lasting negative effects.

Veterinary Care:

Have your French bulldog puppy checked by a vet regularly. These routine visits are to make sure that your puppy isn’t suffering from an ear or any other underlying infection. Sometimes worms and intestinal parasites can also be an underlying cause of your Frenchie puppy’s ear issue.

To avoid high unforeseen vet bills as your puppy grows up, it is always a good idea to sign up for Pet Insurance from the outset. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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When Should a French Bulldog’s Ears Stand Up?

In most cases, a French Bulldog’s ears will be standing up by the time you take them home from the breeder. However, there is no hard and fast rule here.

Once the French Bulldog has finished teething, their “down ears” will usually stand up on their own. This process starts when the French Bulldog is about 4-6 weeks old (at which time they should still be with their mother at the breeder except in the case of an unusual extenuating circumstance). Usually, Frenchie’s ears will stand up, perk up, and stay up permanently around three months of age. 

As previously mentioned, this is not a “given” and sometimes it takes a bit longer. In some cases, the process can begin at three months or even at 7-8 months, depending on the factors outlined above.

Should I Clean My Frenchie’s ears? 

Ear cleaning is a necessity for Frenchies. They are prone to demonstrate allergies to different environmental allergens such as pollen, mites, and dirt. French Bulldog’s ears are wide open and are prone to collect a lot of debris and dirt. This makes them susceptible to developing infections if they don’t get regularly cleaned.

You should clean your French Bulldog’s ears at least twice a month. Don’t overclean your Frenchie’s ears as a certain amount of natural wax is beneficial for ear protection.

What is the Best Way to Clean French Bulldog Ears?

Here’s how you can clean your French Bulldog’s ears:

  • Frenchies are not usually thrilled with the ear-cleaning process. You need to teach your dog to stay calm by showing affection and a lot of praise. Don’t make a big deal about your Frenchie’s ear cleaning.
  • Take a dog wipe and wipe the upper part of your Frenchie’s bat ears.
  • Gently open your Frenchie’s ear canal and massage the inside of the ear with the cotton ball. Use a cotton ball soaked in a canine ear cleaning solution.
  • Look inside their ears with a flashlight to see if there is any dirt or debris missed.
  • Use a soft hand towel or a paper towel to gently dry off their ear after cleaning is finished.
  • Make ear cleaning a positive experience. Treats and praises are always appreciated after ear cleaning!

In Closing

Remember, French Bulldogs are amazing the way they are, whether their ears are up or not. Nature will take its course, whether that’s with standing up ears, droopy ears, or ears that fall back – they are all adorable!

Watching your French Bulldog’s ears develop in their early stages can be funny. As we have mentioned, they can be up one day, and down the next, and sometimes in random orders and configurations.

The bottom line is; once your dog has finished teething, in the majority of Frenchies, their ears will stand up independently in the “bat ear”, pointed fashion that the breed is known for.

Sonya is a software engineer by day and recently earned her MBA degree, but she also loves spending her free time writing about her favourite passion, dogs! Click here to read more.
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