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French Bulldog Floppy Ears: Is My Frenchie Healthy?

French Bulldog Floppy Ears: Is My Frenchie Healthy?

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Is there anything cuter than a Frenchie? These adorable puppies are among the most loved dog breeds all over the world.

It’s enough to take one look at Frenchies to understand why: They are small, funny, with bat ears that make them look like Yoda from Star Wars!

It is precisely these bat ears that are one of the signature traits of these adorable little doggies. But are French Bulldog floppy years possible?

Most dog owners – myself included – think of their pets as their children. The moment we suspect something is wrong, we go into full panic mode!

Seeing French Bulldog floppy ears can be one of these moments. In fact, I’m certain most French Bulldog owners would get worried if they see their pup isn’t having the erect ears he should have.

But, is it really wrong for French Bulldogs to have floppy ears, or is this a normal occurrence in this breed?

I’ve talked to many medical professionals and Frenchie owners alike to gather different experiences. Here’s what we’ve concluded:

French Bulldog Appearance

If you’re not familiar with this dog breed, you might be wondering why French Bulldog floppy ears are such a big deal.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard, Frenchies are a small dog breed with a muscular yet barrel-like body and short legs. They also have a flat face – also known as brachycephalic face – that is either adored or frowned upon.

They are known for a big variety of coat colors they come in. Blue French Bulldogs are one of the most popular variations of this breed, and they can be quite expensive.

Just like all brachycephalic dogs, these pups have large eyes that give them an alien-like appearance.

Another important feature is their bat-like ears. Frenchies are known for having pointy, upright ears that make their face look even rounder than it already is.

Can French Bulldogs Have Floppy Ears?

adorable french bulldog puppy with floppy ears

Not only is it possible for French Bulldogs to have floppy ears – all French Bulldogs have had floppy ears until a certain age!

A French Bulldog is born with soft, floppy ears. Just one look at Frenchie puppies can help you see this. In fact, this is something most dog breeds share: No matter their adult appearance, most puppies will have floppy ears upon birth.

As your French Bulldog puppy grows older, his ear cartilage will form and harden. As this is happening, his ear will perk up and become more erected over time, until it reaches the appearance Frenchies are known for.

In fact, if you look at your French Bulldog puppy, you’ll likely notice that his ears are disproportionate compared to the rest of his body. This is because ears develop faster than most other body parts.

Frenchie pup’s ears are not just big – they are also rather heavy. As such, your dog’s ear cartilage needs to be strong and properly developed to hold the entire ear upright.

French Bulldog Puppy Ear Development

If you look at the development of a French Bulldog puppy, you’ll notice that most dogs grow up at a similar pace. Their features will also become more prominent at approximately the same time.

However, this isn’t the case with French Bulldog floppy ears.

French Bulldog floppy ears will be present at least until your Frenchie puppy reaches five weeks of age. However, some dogs take longer. It isn’t uncommon for a Frenchie to reach four months of age until his ears start perking up!

Most veterinary experts agree that this is perfectly normal. There is nothing wrong with Frenchies whose ears don’t reach an erect position for many months. However, most French Bulldog ears stand up before the dog turns eight months old.

Just like human babies, puppies develop at different paces. This includes French Bulldog puppies, as well.

Why Do Some French Bulldog Puppy’s Ears Take Longer To Stand Up?

As you can see, there is a big time frame during which your Frenchie’s ears can straighten. Why is this the case?

Most experts blame the teething stage for this. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. There is a connection between floppy ears and teeth development.

While I’m sure this sounds confusing at first, it will make sense as you keep on reading.

Dogs’ teeth need calcium to develop. During the teething process, the body distributes calcium toward the development of teeth, and the other body parts don’t get the same amount of this important mineral.

As such, your dog’s ear cartilage cannot develop properly until the teething period is over.

Once your dog grows all of his teeth, the body can distribute the calcium back to the other body parts, helping cartilage development. This will finally harden your Frenchie’s ears, lifting them up.

Full Grown French Bulldog With Floppy Ears

the french bulldog lies outside

Most French Bulldogs will have their ears erect by the time they are fully grown. However, exceptions always exist.

French Bulldog floppy ears don’t necessarily mean that there are some ear issues that can ruin your dog’s quality of life.

In fact, some breeders focus on breeding French Bulldogs with genetics for floppy ears. While this isn’t up to the breed standard and French Bulldogs with floppy ears aren’t overly popular, there still is a market for these dogs.

Disclaimer: A breeder will rarely say their French Bulldog for sale has floppy ears. Instead, the term rose ears will be used. As such, if you see an advertisement for a Frenchie with rose ears, this is simply a French Bulldog with ears that have never been erected.

Why Has My French Bulldog’s Ear Gone Floppy All Of A Sudden?

If you’ve noticed your Frenchie’s ear has suddenly gone floppy, don’t panic right away.

If your pooch is young, this is perfectly normal. Most Frenchie’s ears will go up and down as your doggie develops. In fact, this is a normal part of the ear cartilage and muscle development.

Until your dog is fully grown, it is perfectly normal for a Frenchie’s ear to turn floppy from time to time.

If your dog is an adult and you suddenly notice one or both of his ears have gone floppy, he has likely had some ear injury that has caused trauma. Most of the time, this isn’t reversible.

How To Fix French Bulldog Floppy Ears

adorable portrait of a french bulldog floppy ear

If you’re having an adult dog with floppy ears, chances are his ears will never stand up.

Unless you planned on having your pup participate in dog shows, for which floppy ears are a disqualification, there is nothing essentially wrong with having a French Bulldog floppy ears.

However, I can understand that you likely want to give your pup an appearance that is according to the breed standard.

If you’d like to help your dog’s ear turn erect, it’s important to start on time. The cartilage will stop developing after your dog is around eight months of age, so it’s essential to act fast.

Here are a few tactics that might help:

Give Your Frenchie Chew Toys

​Chew toys are the most harmless way in which you might help your dog’s development. In fact, they are useful in more ways than one.

First and foremost, chew toys can help dogs’ teeth develop a tiny bit faster. Not to mention that they might give them relief from pain, which will likely make your day better. The teething process isn’t the most pleasant one, for canines and owners alike!

At the same time, chew toys can help strengthen the temporalis muscle located at the top of the Frenchie’s jaw. This muscle extends all the way towards the dog’s ear, helping it stand up.

As such, a dog that uses chew toys is likely to have stronger muscles. Muscles play an important part in preventing French Bulldog floppy ears, and there really isn’t any downside to this method. This alone makes it worth the shot.

Talk To The Breeder

You should also contact your breeder and ask them about the dog’s genetics. If you’ve bought from a reputable breeder, this is something you might already be familiar with, as all reputable breeders will allow you to meet at least the mother dog.

Even if the parent dogs have bat ears, maybe they are carriers of a French Bulldog floppy ear gene. A good breeder should be aware of this.

Talk To The Vet

Next, you should consult with your vet to rule out any ear problems. There are certain health issues that can prevent your Frenchie’s ear from developing properly.

For example, your dog might have an ear infection that is keeping the ear from developing properly. You can notice most of these infections by having a build-up that looks like cottage cheese.

Ear infections are troublesome as they can cause not just French Bulldog floppy ears, but much more severe health problems, such as issues with the ear canal.

If there are no health problems, you can talk to your vet about calcium injections or changing your dog’s diet.

It’s important to know that you should never give your dog calcium supplements without consulting with your vet first.

Too much calcium can lead to numerous health problems – most of which will be a much bigger issue than just floppy ears.

French Bulldogs waiting for food

Photo from: @honey_zuckerberg_

Diet Change

There are some supplements that encourage cartilage and bone growth. The most notable one is glucosamine.

Some high-quality dog foods contain glucosamine as it is. They usually don’t need additional supplementation.

If your Frenchie’s favorite dog food doesn’t contain this supplement, you can buy glucosamine tablets on Amazon. You can find them at an affordable price on many websites that are part of the Amazon Associate Program.

Once again, it’s important to consult with your vet before you make any diet change for your dog. Never add supplements on your own.

Ear Taping

Finally, you can tape your dog’s ears. This might be the most successful method – but some dog lovers would deem it cruel, which is why I’m listing it last.

Ear taping is the process of helping your Frenchie’s ears perk by using medical or masking tape. You place your dog’s ears at the 12 o’clock position, then use the tape to ensure they stay in place.

Ear taping is something that should be done when a dog is still a puppy – preferably before he is four months old. The older the dog is, the success rate of ear taping is lower.

The issue with this is that you would be required to have your dog go through this uncomfortable process before you are entirely certain his ears won’t perk up on his own.

Will Ear Cleaning Help?

a French bulldog resting on a laminate

Some French Bulldog owners claim that regular ear cleaning can help their dog’s ears be healthy, which will, as a result, keep them from being floppy.

While there is no known connection between ear cleaning and ear position, it is really important to keep your Frenchie’s ears clean. French Bulldog floppy ears are especially prone to infections, so you need to take good care of them.

If you don’t have a proper ear cleaning solution for dogs, you can make your own with a 0.9% sodium chloride solution. Soak a cotton ball with it, then gently wipe your Frenchie’s ears.

This is something you should do at least weekly, no matter the ear position.

My Frenchie’s Ears Are Floppy – Should I Worry?

On most occasions, there is nothing wrong with having a French Bulldog with floppy ears. While he won’t have the exact appearance required by the breed standard, they are still amazing dogs everyone will love.

Because of this, I even dislike the term ‘fixing French Bulldog ears’, as there really isn’t anything to fix. Your doggie will look beautiful no matter his ear position.

Still, if, for any reason, you’d want your dog to have upright ears, your best option is to give your pup glucosamine supplements from an early age. Glucosamine can help not just their ears, but their entire connective tissue.

While other, more invasive methods exist, I would always advise you to start by trying more natural remedies.

The only occasions on which you should worry is if your dog’s ears suddenly become floppy, or if your pooch is older than eight months and his ears aren’t raising up.

These two can be a sign of some severe ear injury or calcium deficiency, and this is something you need to consult with your vet.

In fact, I would advise you to contact your veterinarian before you try to change your dog’s development in any way.

Playing with dog food and masking tape while your Frenchie is still a young puppy can cause serious problems later on. Make sure you ask a professional about his advice on your individual situation.

My French Bulldog Has Floppy Ears – What Should I Do About It

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