When we first got our female Boston Terrier, Bridgette, her little puppy ears were floppy and drooping when she played.
I kept asking myself, “When do Boston Terriers’ ears perk up or stand up on their own?”
Boston Terrier ears stand up at the age of 2-4 months, although it can take as long as 6 months. Not all Boston Terriers have ears that stand up. Genetics plays a significant role as to whether a Boston’s ears stand up. Taping of the ears can happen as early as 6 weeks of age and will take 4-8 weeks to have the fullest effect.
I was surprised to learn about the lengths people go to for Boston Terrier ears that stand up straight. Let’s dig into the details.
When Do Boston Terriers Ears Stand Up?
Boston Terriers, like most dogs, are born with floppy ears that do not look like the adult breed standard.
The AKC standard for Boston Terriers calls for the ears to be “small, carried erect, either natural or cropped to conform to the shape of the head and situated as near to the corners of the skull as possible.”
Another term, pricked, means erect or standing up. This is the word used in the dog world to talk about ears that stand up.
Don’t fret when your puppy’s ears droop. Most Boston Terriers’ ears perk up between the age of 2-4 months, but some can take as long as 6 months.
Let’s be real. There is no guarantee that your Boston’s ears will stand erect. It depends on your puppy’s mother and father. Genetics play a huge role.
If your puppy’s ears are folded fully forward at 16 weeks of age, they will likely have folded ears for the rest of their life. So stop fretting about it and enjoy your four-legged friend.
Why Do Boston Terrier Ears Curl Back?
During their teething stage, Boston Terrier ears can curl backward for an odd look. This only lasts for a few weeks and they should return to standing at 5-6 months of age.
I have not been able to find any scientific explanation for why this happens; however, it is shared across many breeds.
Common theories include a shift in calcium to the teeth during teething. Another, more logical view is that muscles in the face and head are getting a new workout during teething and cause the curling.
That does not mean your puppy needs supplements.
Do not give calcium supplements to your dog without a vet telling you to do so. You can cause a toxic situation. Let nature takes its course.
What Can I Do If My Boston’s Ears won’t Stand Up?
If your Boston Terrier’s ears won’t stand up erect, there a couple of options.
Our favorite solution is to let it be. If your Boston ends up with a floppy ear, so be it. As long as there is enough airflow to allow for good ear health, just enjoy your pupper.
The other option is to tape your Boston’s ears. Taping your dog’s ears is something you should do only with advice from a veterinarian or knowledgable breeder.
Taping of the ears will support parts of the ear while they develop strength. Unless there is a fold in the ear or the tips are too heavy, your Boston’s ears should be standing straight in 4-8 weeks.
How To Tape Boston Terrier Ears To Stand Up?
Taping of Boston Terrier ears is a common practice with many reputable breeders.
There are a variety of methods to taping dog ears to make them stand up. The two primary ways are vertical taping and horizontal taping.
The steps we learned for taping Boston Terrier ears are:
- Shave or clip fur from the taping area.
- Clean the area with betadine followed by alcohol wipes.
- Allow the area to air dry.
- Place the tape according to the taping method chosen.
- Trim tape to size.
- Apply a second or third layer of tape onto the first layer as needed to form a splint.
Vertical Taping Dog Ears
Taping a dog’s ears vertically provides support to the ear from base to tip. This keeps the ear from falling forward or backward. It is kind of like a splint that keeps a joint from bending.
In vertical taping, strips of special tape are placed vertically on the inside of the ear. Do not tape the outside (fur side) of the ear as it will cause irritation and may pull the fur when removed.
Taping inside the ear also has the benefit that it is less likely the dog will be able to scratch or pull the tape off themselves.
Preparation of the ear is important before placing the tape. Removing all wax, oils, dirt, and other substances off the skin inside the ear is essential.
Clean the inside of the ear with betadine wipes and then alcohol wipes. Let the skin fully dry before placing the tape.
Sometimes, two or three tape layers are needed to provide enough stiffness to hold the ear straight.
Horizontal Taping Dog Ears
Another method of taping dog ears to help ensure that they stand up is the horizontal method.
Preparation is different as the tape is applied to the inside and outside of the ear. As such, trim or shave the fur side (outside) of the ear to remove the fur.
Use Betadine wipes followed by alcohol wipes to clean the oils and debris from both sides of the ears.
In this method, placement is critical to success.
Precisely covering the fold area, the tape is applied and wrapped around the ears in a fashion that holds the ears erect without being too tight.
What kind of tape is used for taping dog ears?
There are two types of tape being recommended for taping Boston Terrier ears. Others may recommend using a type of adhesive.
Some people use BreatheRight strips. We don’t recommend these since, without constant supervision, they could fall off and be ingested by the puppy. These strips contain a thin metal piece that could cause intestinal issues.
Instead, use a porous cloth tape as it may more easily pass through the digestive tract if ingested. Of course, you want to prevent this from happening as well.
The first recommended tape is the 1” to 2″ Zonas Athletic Tape. This porous tape has good adhesion and is less likely to cause irritation.
The other recommended porous tape is Medipore-H Soft Cloth Tape. The Medipore tape allows for good air circulation and low irritation of the skin.
How Often Should Tape Be Replaced On Ears?
Follow your vet or breeder’s instructions.
It is expected that the tape should remain in place 24/7 for several weeks.
The natural oils of the puppy’s skin will cause the tape to lose its adhesive properties. This will require you to change the tape every few days.
Be sure to clean the ears thoroughly each time to are re-applying the tape.
Do puppies get sore ears when teething? Yes, puppies can have pains and discomfort when teething, just like human babies. And just like humans, teething puppies chew on anything and everything they can to relieve the pain and pressure in their gums when their teeth are erupting.
What does it mean when a Boston Terrier’s ears are back? If the ears are pinned back, this means your Boston is scared or afraid. Beware, something has them on edge.
What are common ear problems in Boston Terriers? Boston Terrier ears are subject to yeast infections. In fact, Boston Terriers entire body can be affected by an over-abundance of fungi on the skin which can cause irritation, itchy skin, and infection.