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Why Are Chihuahua’s Ears So Big?

Chihuahuas are small-sized, adorable dogs.

Their loyalty and fun companionship also make these breeds common among dog owners.

Among the fascinating features of Chihuahuas is their big ears.

These big ears date back to their ancestors, and they helped them adapt to high temperatures.

Read below to understand why Chihuahuas have big ears.

Why Do Chihuahuas Have Big Ears?

Before humans domesticated Chihuahuas, they were desert animals.

For this reason, they had big ears to help them adapt to the challenging desert climate.

First, the big ears protect the dog from intense sun rays.

Therefore, the dog can easily survive even under the hot and scorching sun.

Additionally, the big ears collect moisture from the air.

The humidity condenses through the skin and is stored in the body.

The Chihuahua can survive for several days with this water.

Another reason why Chihuahuas have big ears is to protect their puppies.

Puppies that are below six months old do not have big ears.

Therefore, their moms use their big ears to protect them from the sun or keep them warm when it is cold.

The ears are also used for communication. Chihuahuas’ ears have around 18 muscles that easily maneuver to show feelings.

Although Chihuahuas’ big ears helped them when living in the desert, they sustained them even after living with humans.

Do All Chihuahuas Have Big Ears?

It is possible to come across a Chihuahua that does not have big ears. As mentioned above, puppies below six months do not have big ears.

The puppies are born with floppy ears, which change after six months.

However, the puppy may fail to develop large pointy ears even after the six months.

This happens if the puppy is not a pure breed of Chihuahuas but an interbreed of a Chihuahua and another breed.

The Message in Your Chihuahua’s Ears

The 18 muscles on the ears of the Chihuahuas make it possible for them to wiggle their ears.

The movement of your Chihuahua’s ears can help you tell what he is thinking or his current mood.

Understanding what your dog is communicating is easy if you know what different ear positions mean.

Read below to learn more.

  • Happy or friendly – The ears will be slightly tilted back when your Chihuahua is happy or friendly. He may also open his mouth or bow to show that he wants to play.
  • Scared – A scared Chihuahua will have his ears pinned back to their body.
  • Anxious/ defensive – The ears will tilt back when the Chihuahua is defensive or anxious. His tail will be between the legs, and he may also appear rigid.
  • Relaxed – Your Chihuahua will show that he is relaxed if his ears are in a normal position; that is floppy or erect.
  • Worried/ guilty – When the Chihuahua is guilty or worried, his ears will drop to their head and look folded. The face will also look guilty.
  • Interested – When the Chihuahua is interested in something, the ears will be erect and pointing forward. He will be over alert to any scent or sound.
  • Submissive – Submissive Chihuahua ears face downwards and backward. The Chihuahua is likely to become submissive when he sees his owner.
  • Aggressive – In case your Chihuahua becomes aggressive, his ears apart and tip forward. He may also show his teeth when he is aggressive.

Reading and understanding your Chihuahua’s ears can help you understand your dog better.

If scared or anxious, you can help your dog calm down.

You will also know when your dog is inviting you to play.

Why Are Your Chihuahuas’ Ears Not Standing?

Normally, the Chihuahuas’ ears should be erect and standing unless they are trying to communicate to you.

However, you may realize that your dog’s ears are always down and floppy even when he is happy.

First, this does not indicate that your dog is unhealthy or abnormal.

Additionally, your dog is still a Chihuahua regardless of his floppy ears.

Luckily, there are some methods that you can use to make the ears stand.

They include:

Taping The Ears

Taping is a popular method that many dog parents use, and it has been proven to work.

It is mainly performed when the Chihuahua is about eight weeks old and has floppy ears. The process followed is

  • Get a 1.5-inch strip of masking tape.
  • Pull the Chihuahua’s ear upright and loosely wrap the tape around the base.
  • Repeat the same for the other ear and connect both ears using a tape
  • Leave the tape for about five days and later gently remove it.
  • Your Chihuahua’s ears will be standing like you would love them to


Massaging has also been proven to help make the Chihuahua’s ears stand.

You will massage the base of the ear to strengthen the ear muscle.

Although this is not medically proven, those who have used it claim to have positive results.

Proper Diet

Increasing calcium levels in your Chihuahua’s diet can help prevent the floppy ears.

The calcium-rich food that you can introduce include yogurt, milk, and cottage cheese.

This diet is more important when the dog is teething.

This is because teething can affect the shape of your dog’s ears due to inadequate calcium in the body.

How Do You Keep the Ears Clean?

Like any other dog, Chihuahuas’ ears need regular care.

Additionally, being bigger does not mean that they are more complicated to clean.

The process is still the same, and it is simple.

  1. Use a gentle ear cleaner recommended by a veterinarian.
  2. Avoid using cotton-tipped swabs but use a cotton ball instead.
  3. Hold the ear flap up in the air and squeeze a bit of the solution into the ear.
  4. Massage the base gently when holding up the ear flap.
  5. Repeat the process for the other ear.


Generally, the reasons why Chihuahuas’ ears are so big is to help the dog survive in a hot climate.

The ears also help the dog in excellent hearing and help you to understand the mood of your dog.

Learning more about your Chihuahua will help you enjoy having him around as part of your family.

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National Canine Research Association of America