Floppy French Bulldog Ears: Will They Ever Stand Up?


Sweet, sensitive, and loyal to a fault, the French Bulldog is a favorite the world over. Bred to be companion dogs, French bulldogs were also used to hunt rats in Europe before becoming extremely popular there as pets. One of the most noticeable traits of the French bullie has to be their ears. They fit their funny, inquisitive faces quite well, no question, but while some Frenchies have ears that stand at attention occasionally you’ll fond one that has ears that flop to the side.

For the first weeks of their lives most French bulldogs’ ears will lay on the side of their faces in a kind of floppy manner. That’s perfectly normal and nothing at all to worry about. Usually, a French bulldog’s ears will start to stand up straight and stay that way between 5 to 15 weeks of age.

If you own a French bulldog or just adopted a French bullie pup, you probably have a few questions and maybe even concerns about their ears. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the reason behind this interesting ear experience, why it happens, and answer the question; Floppy French Bulldog Ears: Will They Ever Stand Up? Enjoy!

Why Are Some French Bulldog Ears Floppy?

If you ever see pictures of French bulldogs, you’ll notice that the majority of them have perky ears that stand at attention. However, French bulldogs aren’t born with ears that look like this.

Usually, between 5 and 15 weeks of age, a French bulldog’s ears will start to stand up straight and stay that way. By the time they’re finished teething, in most cases, both will be standing straight up at attention. Occasionally, however, this might not happen until they reach seven or eight months of age. And, every once in awhile, you’ll have a French bulldog whose ears don’t stand up at all.

Photo by Ya Ge

What Are the Causes of Floppy Ears?

Interestingly, one of the reasons that French bulldog ears don’t stand up when they are younger has to do with teething. More specifically, it has to do with the calcium that their tiny little bodies are using to make their new teeth. Until they are finished teething, their ears might remain floppy, might perk up and then go back down, and might perk up and stay up, and all due to their body using their calcium supply. Every French bulldog is different and it’s hard to say exactly when their ears, or if their ears, will stand up.

Is it One Ear or Both?

Here’s another fun fact about French bulldogs; sometimes one ear will stand up while the other stays floppy! Again, in many cases, this has to due to the amount of calcium in their body and how it’s being used, which is normally to make their teeth. Usually, this will work itself out over time and both ears will perk up. Remember, however, that it is not unusual for a French bulldog to have floppy ears occasionally and it doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with them.

The truth is, for the first few months of their little doggy lives, French bulldogs are going through a lot of changes and their ears are sort of like a barometer of those changes. One might perk up, then flop back down again while the other perks up and vice versa. In nearly all cases this is simply a natural response to the changes happening in their body.

Is it More Common for French Bulldog Puppies or Adults to Have Floppy Ears?

As we mentioned, most French bulldog puppies are born with ears that lay down on the side of their face. By the time they reach adulthood, most Frenchies have two perky ears that stand at attention. Also as we mentioned, occasionally you’ll have a French bulldog whose ears never stand up, and that’s perfectly normal too. You’ll hear from some French bulldog owners that they’ve given their pup yogurt to help their ears stand up. That’s because yogurt has calcium which, as we’ve mentioned, is needed for both their tiny teeth and their cute little ears.

Should a French Bulldog Owner Be Concerned if their Dog has Floppy Ears?

The answer to this question would be no. About 10% of French bullies will have floppy ears for life and, frankly, there’s nothing wrong with this. They will still be loveable, kind, and loyal companions. Many French bulldog owners put too much emphasis on their pet having ears that stand up but, let’s be honest, it doesn’t change the dog at all. It’s an aesthetic thing, noting more, and won’t cause your bulldog buddy to be any less loving and sweet.

Can Floppy Ears Cause any Health Issues in French Bulldogs?

Interestingly, when a French bulldog has ears that stand up at attention, they are more susceptible to infections and other ear problems. That’s because, when they stand at attention, the ear and ear canal are more exposed to things like pollen, dirt, debris, insects, and so forth. So, no, having floppy ears doesn’t cause any additional ear problems for French bulldogs and might, in fact, be better for them because their inner ear is more protected.

What Ear Problems Can French Bulldogs Have?

Most of the ear problems that you will encounter with your French bulldog are caused by infections due to things like pollen, dirt, and debris, as we mentioned above. These are all caused by the fact that your French bulldog’s ears stand up at attention and expose their inner ear and ear canal to anything that might be in the air or on the ground when they’re playing. If they have an ear infection you will see these signs:

  • Redness and/or swelling in their ear
  • They are constantly scratching their ears
  • There is an orange or brownish discharge dripping from their ear
  • Their ears smell kind of like yeast
  • They constantly shake their head as if an insect is bothering them
Photo by Ivonne Wierink

What are the Options and Costs of Getting Your French Bulldog’s Ears to Stand Up?

Typically, the best way to try and help their ears to stand up is to tape them. There are no real costs to try this except for the cost of some masking tape. Below are step-by-step instructions for taping their ears to try and get them to stand up straight.

  1. Keeping their ear flat, tape each one individually with masking tape that is approximately 1 1/2 inches wide.
  2. Be sure to keep each ear oriented in the position that they would normally be if they stood straight up.
  3. With one ear in the 11 o’clock position and the other in the 1 o’clock position, use masking tape to make a connecting bridge between them to hold them in place.
  4. Leave the masking tape in place for about five days, making sure that it isn’t causing any distress to your Frenchie.
  5. After the fifth day, carefully remove the masking tape. Do this very slowly and gently so that you don’t damage their fragile ears.

Do Some French Bulldogs Always Have Floppy Ears?

Yes, about 10% of French bulldogs will have ears that never stand up at attention. This is 100% normal and some people find it absolutely adorable as well. In almost all cases it does not indicate that there is anything wrong with your Frenchie and there’s no need to do anything about it unless you’re adamant that they have ears that stand up straight. You also might be one of the lucky French bulldog owners who have a Frenchie with one ear that stands up straight and one ear that flops. This is also completely normal and, in our opinion, makes them even more adorable.

What’s the Best Cheese to Give to a French Bulldog to Help Their Ears Stand Up?

From what we’ve read, goat cheese is the best cheese to give to your French bulldog if you want to give them extra calcium. The reason being is simply that they can digest goat cheese easier than other kinds of cheese, especially those made from cows’ milk. One thing to note, however, is that there is no scientific evidence showing that giving your Frenchy cheese or other dairy products will help their ears to stand up or not.

It makes sense if you think about it because dairy products contain high amounts of calcium. But, again, no studies have been done showing conclusively if giving them dairy products like cheese works or not. Our opinion is that as long as you don’t give them too much cheese or dairy products (which can bind up their tiny gastrointestinal tract) there’s no harm in trying it.

How Often Should You Clean Your French Bulldog’s Ears?

As we mentioned, French bulldogs sometimes have problems with their ears because they stand up straight. To reduce the number of infections and other problems their ears might have, you should clean them once a week. A gentle ear cleaning product or witch hazel can be used along with some unscented baby wipes or doggy cleaning wipes.

You can use a cotton ball soaked in the cleaning product you choose, or a wipe. Then, lightly clean the top, front, and side of their ears, avoiding the ear canal. You can also squirt a small amount of ear cleaning product into their ear canal and let them shake it out, but don’t try and swab it out or you could damage their ear canal.

Closing Thoughts

cNine out of 10 French bulldogs will have the perky, stand-at-attention ears that many people love. One out of 10 might have one stand up ear and one floppy ear, or they might have two floppy ears. Both of these scenarios are perfectly normal and, in our humble opinion, makes them even more special.

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