Upright “bat ears” are one of the primary distinctive features of the French bulldog breed. While these large ears are almost always upright in adulthood, you might be shocked about your French Bulldog’s floppy ears.
Floppy ears in French Bulldogs happen for a variety of reasons: some normal, others not. In the article below, you’ll learn all about the reasons why some French bulldogs have floppy ears and what you can do to fix it.
Are French Bulldog Floppy Ears Normal?
While floppy ears aren’t normal in adult French bulldogs, they’re perfectly normal in puppies and adolescent Frenchies.
When they’re born, French bulldogs don’t have stiff and upright ears because the cartilage still hasn’t fully formed and hardened.
Most of the time, French bulldogs’ ears begin to move into an upright position between five and fifteen weeks of age. This is when the cartilage in their ears builds and hardens, creating the ears’ signature appearance.
During this time, some puppies may have one upright ear and one floppy ear. While it’s most common for them to outgrow their floppy ears by about four months of age, some puppies can take significantly longer to develop.
Many experts on the breed suggest that you shouldn’t necessarily worry about floppy ears being a problem until your Frenchie is at least eight months old.
Why Are My French Bulldog’s Ears Floppy and Down?
There are many reasons why floppy ears sometimes occur in French bulldogs. The following are the seven most common reasons why your Frenchie’s ears are floppy and down.
Your French bulldog is still a puppy
As mentioned in the section above, it’s normal for Frenchies to have floppy ears when they’re puppies.
When they’re still young, their ears are disproportionately large and have not built up the cartilage they need to stand upright.
While most French bulldogs have upright ears by the time they’re four months old, others take longer to develop. Floppy ears are not a concern until your puppy is at least eight months old.
Your French bulldog is teething
One of the strange things about French bulldog development is the phenomenon where their ears may become upright, only to become floppy again when the puppy is teething.
During this period of time, your dog’s ears may switch between upright and floppy while your puppy continues to grow.
When your Frenchie is teething, their body is using resources to strengthen and grow teeth that may have previously gone toward building cartilage in their ears.
This leads to softer, floppy ears. Once your dog is through the teething process, their ears will most likely stand upright again.
Your French bulldog was bred to have floppy ears
Although upright ears are one of the defining characteristics of a French bulldog (and a marker necessary for most kennel clubs), some people still prefer to see this breed with floppy ears.
The demand for floppy ears is relatively small. These ears, called “rose ears,” are a trait some breeders seek to fulfill this small market niche.
When you buy one of these Frenchies from a breeder, they’ll indicate that they have rose ears.
Your French bulldog was injured
Puppies are energetic and mischievous, something that lends to injuries during this key stage in their development. Trauma to the ear (such as a cut or bite) can cause one of your French bulldog’s ears to become floppy.
This is a major possibility if your Frenchie has one upright ear and another that’s floppy. Early injuries to your puppy’s ear can have a lasting impact on that ear’s development.
Your French bulldog has slipped ear cartilage
Sometimes floppy ears are a sign that your Frenchie’s ear cartilage slipped from the spot where it’s supposed to sit.
When this happens, the ears appear folded or floppy instead of straight and upright. This is typically caused by an injury to the ear.
Your French bulldog has a medical problem
Infections, allergies, and tumors can all cause your Frenchie’s ears to become floppy. Ear infections, in particular, can cause your dog’s ears to become floppy.
Some French bulldogs get floppy ears from allergies because of inflammation in the ear canal.
In some cases, tumors in and around the ears may cause your French bulldog’s ears to become floppy.
Because so many medical conditions can contribute to floppy ears, it’s important to clean your Frenchie’s ears and follow up with your vet.
This is especially true if your adult Frenchie suddenly develops floppy ears after having normally developed, upright ears.
Your French bulldog is getting older
As Frenchies age, their bodies grow weaker and change. The muscles that held their ears upright in their younger years may weaken, causing the cartilage to slip out of place.
This causes their ears to droop. This is a normal part of your dog’s life cycle and may be an explanation for floppy ears in your senior Frenchie.
How to Help Your French Bulldog’s Ears Stand Up
If your adult French bulldog has floppy ears, you probably want to take steps to remedy it.
For younger Frenchies, it’s just a matter of waiting for them to develop their adorable, upright ears. The following are seven ways to fix your Frenchie’s floppy ears.
Make sure your French bulldog wasn’t bred to have floppy ears
If you got your Frenchie from a breeder, confirm that their floppy ears weren’t an intended trait.
While the breeder probably advertised their “rose ears” when selling the Frenchie pups, you may not have understood what that term meant and glossed over it before bringing your lovable bundle of fur home.
In some cases, the floppy ears could be a trait that only occurs in some of the puppies in a litter.
A conversation with your Frenchie’s breeder can help you determine if genetics play a role in your dog’s condition.
Give chew toys to your French bulldog
When Frenchies are teething, sometimes their previously upright ears may begin to droop.
In cases like this, providing them with more chew toys can be helpful. These toys stimulate their teeth and gums and aid in the teething process.
The sooner your Frenchie is done teething, the sooner their body’s resources are diverted back to strengthening the cartilage in your dog’s ears. When teething is over, your French bulldog should have upright ears again.
Talk to your French bulldog’s veterinarian
It’s important to talk about concerns with your dog’s veterinarian, especially since their oversight can help you treat your dog’s floppy ears in a safe way.
Your dog’s vet can provide an overall health checkup to rule out any underlying medical causes for ear floppiness.
Please note: All the fixes listed below are possibilities you must discuss with your dog’s veterinarian. While these things are often effective for dealing with floppy ears, they must only be done with a veterinarian’s oversight.
Try a calcium supplement
Ask your dog’s veterinarian if a calcium supplement could help them develop upright ears. Too much calcium can cause medical problems for your Frenchie.
So it’s important to have your dog’s vet determine whether calcium deficiency is contributing to the problem.
Some veterinarians will even give calcium injections directly into your Frenchie’s ear. These injections can help boost development, especially if your Frenchie is still between eight and twelve months old.
Add a supplement that stimulates cartilage development
Many Frenchie owners use glucosamine and other supplements to help encourage healthy cartilage development.
Like all supplements, you should talk to your dog’s veterinarian before offering these to your dog.
Schedule surgery to address trauma to your French bulldog’s ear
If an injury causes your Frenchie’s floppy ears, surgery may be needed to address the problem.
Slipped ear cartilage and other ear structure problems can be fixed during surgery. Other medical issues that impact ear structure, such as tumors, may also need surgical intervention.
Because all surgeries carry risks, surgery should be the last resort. Complications from anesthesia and infections after surgery both make surgery a potentially risky option.
Your dog’s vet may only want to perform surgery to treat an underlying medical problem.
Ask your French bulldog’s veterinarian about ear taping
Ear taping is an often-controversial topic since long-term taping can cause added stress to your dog’s ears.
Some pet parents and veterinarians even feel that this method is cruel since it causes unnecessary discomfort to your dog.
When you use ear taping, you tape the cartilage upright with medical tape, giving extra support to your dog’s ears.
This method is typically used when your Frenchie is still a puppy since ear taping adult Frenchies’ ears is less likely to provide any lasting results.
This method is largely problematic because it causes discomfort when your puppy is still too early in their development to know for sure if they need the extra support.
Since some French bulldogs don’t develop upright ears until closer to eight months, taping their ears earlier may be a wasted effort.
You should only try ear taping under the direct supervision of your dog’s veterinarian. If you’re concerned about your dog’s development, your veterinarian may be able to put your mind at ease.
Final Thoughts on French Bulldog Floppy Ears
There’s no doubt that French Bulldogs can have floppy ears. There are even Frenchies that can have just one floppy ear. This does not necessarily indicate health issues with your Frenchie.
While it’s not standard for Frenchies to have floppy ears, according to the Kennel Club, that doesn’t make them any less adorable.
If you have any feedback or questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below.