Introduction: When do French bulldog ears stand up?
When you first see a French Bulldog, there is probably one thing you notice right away: the tall ears that seem to be almost too big for the dog.
These enormous bat-like ears are perhaps the most distinctive part of the French Bulldog as a breed.
One curious thing about Frenchies is that they aren't actually born with those tall ears. Newborn French Bulldog puppies have the flat, floppy ears that we might associate with Pugs or English Bulldogs.
So, when do the photogenic French Bulldog ears actually appear?
While there is some variation in every dog, you can expect French Bulldog ears to stand up when they get to be about five to ten weeks old.
In other words, by the time they can be weaned from their mother, a Frenchie should already have ears that are standing tall off of its head.
There are some circumstances where the ears won't actually stand up, and the Frenchie puppy still has ears that are flat against its head.
While this isn't a huge problem, it is one that an owner doesn't want to leave unnoticed. Flat ears can give French Bulldogs problems later in life.
What is an owner supposed to do, then, when a French Bulldog puppy is getting to be over ten weeks old and its ears won't seem to rise up like they are supposed to?
There is actually a pretty simple solution to this, which involves taping up the ears until they can grow into their normal shape.
Owners may have to tape the ears if they don't stand on their own.
Most people probably don't expect to have to use tape on their dogs, but it may be used as a practical tool for getting French Bulldog puppies' ears to stand up on their own. It is not very uncomfortable for the dog, and it shouldn't take very long for the problem to correct itself.
As discussed at the popular French Bulldog blog, Ask Frankie, taping up a French Bulldog puppy's ears is actually pretty easy.
It is best to use masking tape, as this is the kind of tape least likely to irritate the dog's skin during the process.
Owners will want to hold each ear standing up flat and tape it at the base with a piece of tape that is about 1.5 inches wide.
It is important to make sure the tape around the base is flat, as otherwise, the ear might have wrinkles in it when it finally starts to stand up.
You will want to have the ears both pointing up to the top of the head. If they were on a clock face, they would be standing at 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock positions.
Take another small piece of masking tape and use it as a bridge to attach the ears to each other. They should now be standing erect.
That's it! The tape also shouldn't have to stay on very long. Typically, taping up a French Bulldog's ears only needs to be done for about four or five days. While the puppies may take some time to get used to it, they won't be overly upset about the tape.
After four or five days, the tape should be cut and very gently pulled off from the ears and head so as not to hurt the dog in the process.
At this point, the ears should have now taken on the classic French Bulldog shape and be standing prominently off of the dog's head.
If the ears still won't rise at this point, it may be a good idea to consult with a veterinarian and ask about what other options there are to help the French Bulldog's ears get up to normal.
As most owners are not expert breeders of Frenchies, they may be uncertain as to when exactly they should go about taping the ears.
After all, no one would want to tape up ears that were about to rise themselves or to wait too long to take care of this issue for the dog.
The experienced French Bulldog breeders at Blue Haven French Bulldogs say that typically their puppies' ears have lifted as early as four weeks and as late as ten.
To be safe, it is probably a good idea to tape the Frenchie's ears up at eight weeks if they have not lifted already.
The Blue Haven French Bulldogs site also includes a set of pictures that show the best way for the ears of a French Bulldog puppy to be taped up if they have not lifted into place by the time they are eight weeks, which should help show what the taping ought to look like.
What happens once the ears are up?
So, the French Bulldog puppy's ears have finally started standing up on their own, giving the dog the distinctive profile that we expect from Frenchies.
However, once an owner has made sure the ears look normal, there is some care that needs to be part of normal grooming techniques.
While the big ears are part of why French Bulldogs are so cute, their size can also lead to some health problems down the line.
Because of their size, the ears tend to gather a lot of dust, dirt, and debris within them. Frenchie ears become very dirty in only a short period of time.
If an owner is not being careful, this buildup of material can lead to a lot of problems for the dog. The ears might become smelly because they have a lot of dirt in them and the dog can't get it out on its own. The ears might also become red or swollen because of irritation from all the dust.
While this issue should be easily preventable, if a dog is suffering from dirty ears, it is pretty easy to tell. In addition to whining from the discomfort, the dog will probably excessively scratch at its head or start to paw at its ears. If left untreated, this may lead to infection down the line.
Ear washing should be a part of the daily routine of any French Bulldog owner. As laid out by the website All About Frenchies, this is a pretty easy process.
First, use a cotton ball soaked in canine ear rise to wipe out the inside of the Frenchie's ears thoroughly. This should get out all of the dirt and dust that might be in there.
Then use a clean, dry paper towel to wipe off any excess moisture from the French Bulldog's ears.
This easy technique for washing French Bulldog ears can save a lot of trouble in the long run. You might also watch this video of Frenchie owner Laura Price with her dog, which shows how the ears should be cleaned on a regular basis.
If the French Bulldog is getting regular ear washings but still seems to be overly concerned with pawing or scratching at the ears, it may have an infection or deeper irritation. At this point, take the dog in to see a veterinarian and get a more thorough exam.
Can French Bulldog ears ever go back down?
Once the French Bulldog's ears have gone up, they aren't supposed to come back down. The lift is permanent.
However, as discussed at the French Bulldog Owner website, there are some rare cases where the dogs have issues with their ears even after they have lifted at a young age.
During the teething process, the ears that have already stood up may start to drop back down. This is not a sign of any deeper issue, and it usually will go away as the dog gets older.
The real key is to be patient with the puppies during the process. Every French Bulldog is going to be a little bit different, and there is not a hard and fast rule as to when the ears should be fully stood up. Some Frenchies even take as long as 15 weeks, but this is quite rare.
Conclusion: French Bulldog ears will stand up when they are still young
Owners of French Bulldog puppies will rightfully be nervous about if and when their dog's ears will start to stand up. Not only are French Bulldogs somewhat prone to ear issues, but it is also a very distinctive feature of the breed.
In the majority of cases, the ears of a French Bulldog will lift somewhere in the range of its being five to ten weeks old.
Some rare puppies may have tall ears as early as four weeks, or as late as 15. This will just be a little bit different for every dog.
If the ears never seem to raise, owners may want to tape them up for a few days to make sure they lift. Regular ear cleanings are then key to keeping the dog happy and healthy.
As a freelance pet writer and blogger, Shannon is passionate about crafting knowledge-based, science-supported articles that foster healthy bonds of love and respect between people and animals. But her first and very most important job is as a dog auntie and cockatiel, tortoise, and box turtle mama.