When Do Boston Terrier Ears Stand Up? Understanding the Timeline

Boston Terrier with ears not yet standing erect close up

Boston Terrier puppies are a bundle of joy, with their tuxedo-like markings and expressive faces. If you’ve taken one into your home, you might be curious about their development, especially regarding their standout features like their ears. Typically, a Boston Terrier’s ears start to stand up on their own as they grow. This can happen when they’re as young as six weeks old, but for some pups, it may take a bit longer, around the four-month mark.

As the muscles at the base of their ears strengthen, you’ll notice them starting to perk up. This change can seem almost overnight, or it may be a gradual process where one ear pops up before the other. Each Boston Terrier is unique, so their ears might stand up at slightly different times. While most Boston Terrier ears will naturally stand erect, some may need a little help, especially if they have a particularly heavy ear or if genetics play a role.

To get into this topic properly, we need to look at the anatomy of the ear, and consult the work of expert veterinarians such as Dr. Lynette Cole, DVM, from Ohio State University who has studied dog ear physiology in depth. 

So, When Does A Boston Terrier’s Ears Stand UP?

A Boston Terrier’s ears can start to stand up naturally as early as 6 weeks, but they typically take about four months to stand up completely. This process can vary with each puppy, and sometimes gentle encouragement or taping may be needed if the ears haven’t stood up by 6 months, although it’s often not necessary for this breed.

Understanding Boston Terrier Ear Development

Four Boston Terrier Puppies with ears still developing

When it comes to Boston Terrier puppies, you might find their ears developing uniquely as they grow. This section will help explain when you can expect those floppy ears to become erect and the factors that influence this change.

Typical Age for Ears to Stand Up

Typically, you’ll notice a Boston Terrier’s ears beginning to stand up naturally between the ages of 6 to 14 weeks. However, it’s not uncommon for this to occur slightly earlier or later, depending on the individual puppy.

The Role of Genetics in Ear Shape

Genetics play a crucial role in the ear shape of your Boston Terrier. If the puppy’s parents had perky ears, there’s a good chance their offspring will too. It’s a natural trait passed down through their lineage.

Physical Components of Ear Standing

Two main physical components contribute to dogs ear standing: cartilage and muscles. As your puppy grows, the cartilage in the ears strengthens and the muscles at the base become firmer, helping the ears stand erect.

Factors That Affect Ear Development

Factors influencing ear development include overall health, genetics, and whether the ears were cropped. Proper care is vital, and this includes checking for signs of ear infection, which can be caused by bacteria or yeast and result in pain or floppy ears.

Identifying Common Ear Problems

Be on the lookout for symptoms like head shaking, ear odor, or scratching, which could indicate an ear infection. Ear infections can affect the cartilage and skin, hindering proper ear development.

Teething Phase and Ear Position

During the teething phase, which typically occurs between 16 weeks and 6 months of age, your Boston Terrier’s ears may appear more floppy due to the discomfort and pain they experience. This is temporary and should correct itself after teething is complete.

Nutrition’s Impact on Ear Health

Lastly, your puppy’s diet plays a significant role in ear health. Ensure they receive adequate nutrition, inclusive of calcium supplements if advised by your vet, to support healthy ear cartilage and muscle development for those signature perky ears.

Remember to consult your vet before adding any supplements or making significant changes to your Boston Terrier’s diet.

Practical Ear Care for Your Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier puppy with erect ears looking at adult Boston Terrier with erect ears

Taking care of your Boston Terrier’s ears is important to prevent discomfort and ear infections caused by bacteria and moisture. Keeping the ears clean and dry is key.

Regular Home Ear Cleaning

You should routinely check and clean your Boston Terrier’s ears to remove any dirt or wax build-up that can harbor bacteria. Use a vet-approved ear cleaning solution and gently wipe the outer ear with a cotton ball or a soft cloth. Never insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the parts you can easily see. If you notice a lot of wax or an unpleasant smell, it’s time for a deeper clean.

Professional Veterinary Care

At least once a year, take your Boston Terrier to the vet for a thorough ear examination. This can help catch any early signs of ear infections or other health problems. Your veterinarian might recommend special treatments or ear cleaning methods if they spot issues like ear trauma.

Understanding When to Consult a Vet

If your Boston Terrier is scratching their ears, shaking their head, or if the ears look red and swollen, these are signs you need to consult your vet. Ear infections can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, so it’s important to get professional care quickly to avoid more serious complications.

Ear Taping Techniques and Considerations

Boston Terrier with ears not standing up yet

If your Boston Terrier’s ears are not standing up, ear taping is a technique commonly used to help correct this. This process, however, should be done with understanding and care to ensure the safety and comfort of your pup.

Pros and Cons of Ear Taping


  • Supports ear structure: Proper ear taping can provide the necessary support for ears to stand erect and potentially improve muscular strength to maintain the position.
  • Temporary measure: It’s a non-permanent intervention, acting as a support system until the ears naturally stand up, which often happens as your dog grows.


  • Discomfort: If not done correctly, ear taping can cause discomfort or even pain for your dog.
  • Risk of trauma: Incorrect taping techniques can lead to ear trauma, affecting the ears’ ability to stand up naturally in the future.

How to Tape Ears Properly

Materials Needed:

  • Medical tape or cloth tape; and
  • Foam inserts or proper taping supports.


  1. Prepare the ear: Make sure the ear is clean and dry. Any moisture can cause issues like infection.
  2. Apply the tape: Using either vertical taping or horizontal taping methods, apply medical or cloth tape gently along the ear. Ensure the ear is in a natural position.
  3. Check for comfort: Observe your dog for any signs of discomfort and adjust as necessary.

Potential Risks of Ear Taping

  • Ear trauma: Applying tape too tightly can lead to trauma or permanent damage.
  • Infections: Taping can create a warm, moist environment perfect for bacteria and yeast to grow, leading to ear infections.
  • Allergic reactions: Some dogs may react to the adhesive in certain tapes, which can cause additional problems.


Always monitor your dog’s behavior and comfort level. If you notice any signs of pain or distress, remove the tape immediately and consult a veterinarian. Remember, ear taping should not be painful and if you’re unsure about how to do it, seek professional advice.

Exploring the Ethics of Cosmetic Ear Alterations

When you think about Boston Terriers, you might envision their distinct tuxedo-like coat and friendly faces, but their ears can be a focal point too. Some owners decide on cosmetic ear alterations, and it’s important to understand what that entails and why there might be controversy surrounding the practice.

The Practice of Ear Cropping

Ear cropping is a surgical procedure that involves cutting and shaping a dog’s ears to make them stand erect. It is often done for aesthetic reasons, to conform to certain breed standards. You should know that the American Veterinary Medical Association considers this procedure to be purely cosmetic, seeing as it does not have any health benefits for the dog. In fact, the procedure can pose risks such as infection and pain. A number of countries have banned ear cropping, labeling it as animal cruelty, and it’s a very contested issue in many dog communities.

Boston Terrier Breed Standards and Ear Appearance

The Boston Terrier breed standard, as defined by the American Kennel Club (AKC), does provide clear guidelines on what a Boston Terrier’s ears should look like: small, erect, and either natural or cropped. It’s important for you to realize that the AKC does not require a Boston Terrier to have cropped ears, which means leaving them in their natural state does not put the dogs at any disadvantage in AKC conformation shows. Furthermore, their standards emphasize the prevention of any practices that could be harmful or cause discomfort to the dogs. In the debate surrounding Boston Terrier ears, you’ll find strong opinions, but the well-being of the dogs is paramount and should always be a top priority.

Managing Expectations and Understanding Variations

Boston Terrier Puppies with half erect ears folded at top point white background

When it comes to Boston Terrier ears, some variability exists in when they might stand up. It’s not the same for every puppy, and certain factors contribute to whether your Boston Terrier will have erect or floppy ears.

Natural Variability in Ear Standing Age

Different puppies have their ears stand up at different times. Typically, you can expect a Boston Terrier’s ears to start standing erect anywhere from six weeks to four months old. Genetics play a big role here, so look at the pup’s parents if you can.

Implications of Floppy Versus Erect Ears

If the ears of your Boston Terrier haven’t perked up by the time they’re four months old, they might just have naturally floppy ears, which is nothing to worry about. Floppy ears don’t affect a Boston Terrier’s ability to hear but might influence grooming needs and potential for ear infections.

Personality and Expression Through Ears

The ears of a Boston Terrier can add a lot to their personality. Erect ears might give a more alert and perky look, while floppy-eared Bostons might appear softer or more approachable. Remember, it’s the unique quirks, like whether their ears stand up or flop, that give your pet their special charm!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In this section, you’ll find answers to common queries about the ear development of Boston Terriers, which is an important aspect of their growth and health.

At what age can you expect a Boston Terrier’s ears to start standing up?

You can typically expect a Boston Terrier’s ears to start standing up between the ages of six weeks to four months. However, each pup is unique, and this timeline can vary.

Is it common for all Boston Terriers to have ears that stand up or can some have floppy ears?

Most Boston Terriers have ears that stand up naturally, but it’s not uncommon for some to have floppy ears. The breed standard calls for erect ears, but genetics and individual development can result in variations.

What can be done if a Boston Terrier’s ears are not standing up as they typically should?

If your Boston Terrier’s ears aren’t standing up, you might consider methods to encourage this natural process, such as massaging your dog’s ears, or consulting with a vet for guidance.

Are there specific reasons why a Boston Terrier’s ears might remain floppy?

Numerous factors can cause a Boston Terrier’s ears to remain floppy, including genetics, poor nutrition, or weak ear cartilage. If floppy ears persist, it might be a trait they’ve inherited.

What does it mean when a Boston Terrier’s ears are positioned differently or fold back?

If a Boston Terrier’s ears are positioned differently or fold back, it could be a simple expression of mood or feeling. Ears that are not erect don’t necessarily indicate a health issue.

Is ear cropping a practice used on Boston Terriers, and if so, for what reasons?

Ear cropping is not a practice used on Boston Terriers; their ears typically stand erect naturally without the need for cropping. This practice can be seen in other breeds though for various historical or cosmetic reasons.

Final Thoughts

When you’re eagerly waiting for your Boston Terrier’s ears to stand up, remember that patience is key. Typically, their ears will begin to stand anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months of age. It’s quite a range, but each pup is unique!

  • Around 6 weeks old, you might notice some ear movement.
  • By 4 months old, if the ears are not up, they often need a little help.
  • By 6 months, most Boston Terrier ears are standing.

If your pup is taking a little longer, don’t stress out. Genetics play a role, and sometimes ear cartilage strength varies. You can support your Boston Terrier with a proper diet and chewing toys to help strengthen those ear muscles.

In the chance that your pup’s ears haven’t perked up as expected, chatting with your vet is a smart move. They can offer advice or check for any issues.

Remember, while perky ears are a breed trait, your Boston Terrier’s health and happiness are what truly matter. They’ll be just as lovable, floppy ears and all!

Source :

Dr. Sara Kim, DVM

Dr. Sarah Kim combines her veterinary expertise with her passion for Boston Terriers in a warm, engaging manner. Alongside her own Boston Terrier, she offers heartfelt advice and insights drawn from personal experience. In her book, she welcomes readers into the Boston Terrier Hub world, sharing her professional knowledge with the warmth of a friend to both pets and their owners.

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