dog ear positions meaning

15 Dog Ear Positions Meaning Chart With Pictures

Wondering, What does Your Dog’s Ear Position mean? Understanding Your Dog’s Ears Positions Language and Signs

It is difficult to know what your pooch is thinking. However, by looking at its ear positions, you can tell what is in your canine’s thoughts. Whether it is drooping down or perking up, there are many facts about ear positions. Every canine has different ear sizes and relevant positions for the different things they might feel.

In today’s article, we will see different dog ear positions and what they mean. However, first of all, let us see what dog ear positions can mean.

dog ear positions meaning

What does the dog ear position mean?

  1. Sign of insecurity
  2. Sign of concentration or deep thoughts
  3. Just finished something
  4. Have an idea of doing something
  5. Need sympathy
  6. Daydreaming

5 Main Dog ear positions You Must Know


When your canine is released, its ear stays in the neutral position. This means that its ears are just resting, not drooping down, not pricked forward, or stuck to the head. 

Dog breeds like Husky, German Shepherd, and Boston Terrier have naturally pointed ears. However, in some breeds the pointed ears indicate something. When a canine with pointed ears is relaxing, its ears get angled slightly.

Dog breeds like Beagles, Golden Retrievers, and Cocker Spaniels have folded and floppy ears. The base of the ears is in a neutral position and the outer ear hands loosely.

Attentive or Perked

When your canine hears something, the muscle tension in the face increases and you will see perked ears. Attentive or perked ears also represent that your canine is alert and ready to do the action. Moreover, canines also move their ears to attend to the best position of the ears to fully use their ability to hear. 

To summarise, your canine has perked ears to hear better. Your canine’s ears respond to the sounds that your canine finds interesting. 

Dropped back

Dropped back ears look like a friendly ear position. It is a way of asking for something like playing, treating, and going for a walk. If your canine is wagging its tail, it is ok to understand that your canine wants to go for a walk. Some canines drop back their ears to get some love.

Flat ears

According to the wildest, the reason for a canine to have flat ears is submission or fear. You will see this when the ears are flat and close to your canine’s head. Canines highly depend on their sense of hearing. Therefore, canines can get easily disturbed because of loud noises. 

Extremely pinned ears

When a canine moves his ears from the back and drops the low, this is a fair chance that the dog is scared of something around him. When the ears are extremely back, this means that the canine feels that there is danger.

In situations like these, it’s time for you to be your canine’s guard. This is because he can easily turn aggressive in such situations. 

  1. Erect ears: When a dog’s ears are fully upright, it usually indicates that they are alert and attentive to their surroundings. This is a common ear position for dogs who are listening for sounds or on guard duty.
  2. Half-erect ears: Dogs who hold their ears partially upright may be feeling curious or interested in something, but not necessarily on high alert. This ear position is common for dogs who are exploring a new environment or investigating a new object.
  3. Folded-back ears: When a dog’s ears are flattened against their head, it can be a sign of fear, anxiety, or submission. Dogs may adopt this ear position when they are feeling threatened or intimidated by a person, animal, or situation.
  4. One ear up, one ear down: Some dogs may hold one ear upright while the other ear is partially folded or relaxed. This can indicate a relaxed or playful mood, but may also indicate that the dog is feeling a bit uncertain or tentative.
  5. Droopy ears: Some dog breeds have naturally droopy ears, but even dogs with erect ears can hold them in a droopy position when they are feeling sad, tired, or relaxed. This is a common ear position for dogs who are feeling content and at ease.
  6. Pricked ears: When a dog’s ears are pointed forward, it usually indicates that they are interested in something or excited about a potential reward or activity. This is a common ear position for dogs who are anticipating playtime, food, or attention from their human.
  7. Relaxed ears: When a dog’s ears are in a relaxed position, it indicates that they are feeling calm and content. This is a common ear position for dogs who are resting or being petted by their human.
  8. Rotated or tilted ears: Some dogs may tilt or rotate their ears in different directions, which can indicate a variety of moods and intentions. For example, if a dog tilts their ears back while wagging their tail, it may indicate that they are feeling playful and ready for interaction.
  9. Raised hackles with ears back: Dogs who have raised hackles (the fur along their spine) and flattened ears may be feeling threatened or fearful. This ear position may indicate that the dog is preparing to defend themselves or retreat from a perceived danger.
  10. Tucked ears: When a dog’s ears are tucked tightly against their head, it can be a sign of extreme fear, anxiety, or pain. Dogs may adopt this ear position when they are feeling overwhelmed or in distress.
  11. Alert ears: Dogs with alert ears have their ears perked up and directed forward. This position indicates that the dog is paying attention to something and may be on high alert. This ear position is common for guard dogs or hunting breeds that are monitoring their environment for potential prey or threats.
  12. Folded forward ears: Dogs who fold their ears forward may be expressing a sense of curiosity or interest. This position can indicate that the dog is focused on something, such as a new smell or sound.
  13. Backward-facing ears: If a dog’s ears are pointed backward, it may be a sign that they are feeling submissive or afraid. This ear position can indicate that the dog is trying to make themselves appear smaller or less threatening to other dogs or humans.
  14. Perked-up ears with relaxed body: When a dog’s ears are perked up but their body is relaxed, it can indicate a sense of interest or excitement without any sense of anxiety or stress. This is a common ear position for dogs who are anticipating something good, such as a treat or a play session.
  15. Ears pulled back with exposed teeth: Dogs who pull their ears back and expose their teeth may be feeling aggressive or defensive. This ear position can be a warning sign to other dogs or humans to back off and give the dog some space.

Overall, dogs use their ears in many different ways to communicate their emotions and intentions. By paying attention to your dog’s ear positions, you can better understand their needs and desires and respond appropriately. If you are unsure what your dog’s ear position means, it’s always a good idea to observe their overall body language and consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist if needed.

Why are dogs’ ears so expressive anyway

A canine’s ears are very expressive because –

  • The ears help the canine communicate
  • Express anger, fear, happiness, etc.
  • The shape of the ears tells about a dog’s breed
  • Ears act as a protective shield against wind and sun
  • Canines have a great sense of hearing

What does it mean when a dog’s ears go down when they see you?

Ears down and at the lower back means your canine is being submissive. Also, this means that they’re ready to be petted. But while ears are down and different body signals, consisting of bared teeth, are present, it may be a signal that your canine senses threat and is ready to enter defence mode.

How do dogs express their love?

Your canine may bounce at you, and lick your face. Additionally, they may simply wag their tail. Being excited and glad to look at you is one way you may be confident they love and miss you. They are looking for bodily contact. This can come in the form of a cuddle, or the lean.

What does it mean when a dog’s ears are to the side?

The most common position your canine’s ears should be in is the neutral place. This is when they may be angled to the side, not pricked ahead. They additionally do not slump or pull flat against the head. This is an indication that your canine is comfortable and taking it easy.

How do you read a dog’s ears?

As a standard rule, a canine’s degree of attention can be decided by looking at their ears: Erect ears facing ahead imply that they may be engaged, and barely pulled-back ears signal that they may be feeling friendly; however canine ears laid tightly back against the head advise an apprehensive or timid reaction.

How do I know if my dog’s ears will stand up?

A top-notch manner to test is to call your pup or make a sound that receives their attention. If the ears perk up in a way that indicates they may be looking to stand, there is a great chance they may go up over time. 

At what age do puppy ears stand up?

A pup’s ears standing is an extraordinarily sluggish procedure that develops over time. It normally starts about 2 to 3 weeks after birth and may take as much as 7 or 8 months to stand absolutely upright.

What does it mean when a dog’s ears are tilted back?

When puppies pin their ears back or flatten them in opposition to their head, this will represent that the canine feels submissive, afraid, or anxious. The flattened position is a protective role for puppies, and the tighter he holds his ears back in opposition to his head, the more anxious he is.

How do I know my dog is happy?

When a canine is happy, its complete body and tail will look comfortable, and they wiggle pretty regularly! A satisfied canine’s whole body can wag along with its tail. A wriggling canine showing you its stomach is probably to be a completely happy and snug canine.

How can you tell a dog’s emotions?

Canines with their tails pointing down to the floor or maybe tucked among their legs are feeling worried and stressed. Canines with their tails held up are feeling confident, possibly even aggressive. Relaxed canines keep their tails in a neutral function, however neutral relies upon the breed.

What does it imply when a dog puts one ear up and one ear down?

Erect ears may want to imply that your canine is listening carefully and is in an alert position. On the other hand, pinned-back ears imply worry or intimidation. Combining both, one ear up and one ear down probably means that your canine is cautiously curious.

Final words

Your canines’ ears are very capable of communicating and listening. With main behaviours and emotions being consistent in all breeds, you can know what your dog needs or wants in a specific situation. The standard ear positions vary from neutral to fearful. Your canines have a lot of emotions in them. Cropping Dog ears has become quiet a culture among many dog lovers but it depends on which breed you’re going for such as Dobermans.

I have listed the most common dog ear positions and their meaning. As a responsible dog owner, you must know what your canine is trying to tell you.

I hope you enjoyed the article. I will be back soon with more informative and interesting pieces of writing. Till then, stay connected. Thank you