I have lost count on how many social media posts I’ve seen in the last year from worried Frenchie owners asking why their puppy has floppy ears. The typical concern will be something along the lines of; “is it normal for my French Bulldog to have floppy ears and can I do anything about it?”
Most of the responses to this type of question will usually consist of people saying the Frenchie is gorgeous, it makes him unique, or he might grow out of it.
Whilst I don’t disagree with these sentiments, it’s not the most helpful of answers to a new owner who is genuinely worried about one floppy ear, or both ears still being down.
So, with that in mind I wanted to firstly explain why your French Bulldog has floppy ears, whether it will stand up to a “normal” position, and some things you can do to encourage or “fix” the situation… if you really are bothered by the situation.
French Bulldog puppies and floppy ears
Frenchie puppies aren’t born with upright and stiff ears. They will be soft and floppy when born. It’s not until the cartilage starts to form, build and harden that they will get the signature erect look that Frenchies are renowned for.
There’s a timeline of development that most Frenchie’s ears will follow, and you can see that a little lower down the page.
However, in most cases, somewhere between the ages of 5 to 15 weeks, Frenchie ears won’t be floppy anymore. But this isn’t always the case, and it’s not unusual for it not to happen by this time with some pups.
In fact, many breeders will say you should even be worried about floppy ear development until the 8-month mark (32 weeks), as puppies all develop at different rates.
But what is the reason for all of this, and what can you do about a Frenchie with floppy ears? Here’s all you need to know…
Why are my French Bulldog’s ears floppy and down?
Frenchies have very big ears when they are puppies. They look completely out of proportion as you can see in this photo of our dog Claude when he was younger compared to being an adult – he was 7 months old in this shot on the left, and 3 years on the right, and had no issue with his ear development.
As you can imagine, with ears this big and heavy, it takes a lot of strong ear cartilage to make them stand up and not flop down.
So why do some French Bulldogs have floppy ears, and other not?
According to studies, it’s mainly down to teething development. This is the barometer that Frenchie experts use with regards to floppy ears.
It’s said that as your Frenchie’s teeth start to come through, it means calcium is being heavily concentrated there leading to softer ears. As the puppy progresses through the teething stage, the cartilage grows strong enough to keep the ears standing up versus their current floppy appearance.
Handy Hint: To find out more about teething and how long it takes, read the guide to Frenchie teething that I previously published.
They can even go up and down
The floppy ears can go up and come back down again during the teething period. Don’t be concerned if you do see this; it’s not unusual and means that the ear muscles and cartilage are developing as they should – some puppies will have this, other won’t.
Just wait until your Frenchie has stopped teething – and this can be as old as 7 to 8 months – before you make any judgements. Their ears could be floppy, erect, and floppy again at during this time.
My French Bulldog has one floppy ear
A Frenchie with one floppy ear and one erect one will look cute and comical, but during the teething period it’s not something to get too concerned about.
It’s all part of up and down dance that the ear cartilage and muscle will do during this phase of your puppy’s development.
The first thing I would do is ask the breeder if floppy ears is a hereditary thing. You might find that the father or mother had floppy ears that didn’t develop until later stage.
When should you be worried?
Whilst I personally don’t think a French Bulldog with floppy ears is something to worry about, some owners will have their concerns.
If you fall into that category, when it the time to panic and take action?
Well, if your Frenchie still has one floppy ear or both floppy at the age of 8 months, then it’s unlikely that they will ever naturally perk up into the erect position.
Having said that, there are some remedies that dog owners use to make their Frenchie’s ear stand up – but you’re probably thinking it’s too late come 8 months?
Not necessarily, but it might be wise to start the fix before this date… and here are some ways you can do so – most people will start the fixes at around 5 to 6 months.
Disclaimer: I am not a vet and I’ve never had to do this with my own Frenchie. The ideas below are all ones that I have been found via social media and blog posts.
How to fix floppy French Bulldog ears
Fix is a terrible word to use, as fundamentally there’s nothing wrong with your Frenchie. But if you do want to try these, it’s up to you as long as you don’t hurt or harm your dog.
All of the methods below should be used before you consider taping. You can start doing this from the age your puppy comes home to live with you from 8 weeks and on:
1. Consult with you vet first
Assuming you have spoken to the breeder and ruled out any hereditary ear floppiness, you should talk with your vet first… before you even taking the online advice from a blog, even like mine!
Get the vet to do a health check-up to see if there are any development issues. It could be that they recommend a change to your puppy’s diet which could be the answer.
If your Frenchie’s ears still don’t stand up at around 7 months, you vet might be able to offer a calcium injection.
2. Don’t give them calcium supplements yourself
You will find people on social media who say the best way to fix floppy French Bulldog ears is calcium supplements. This isn’t true; too much calcium can lead to longer term health issues.
These can include bone spurts, arthritis and joint problems in a growing Frenchie puppy.
Instead, give your puppy small amounts of foods such as cottage cheese or yogurt. These are said to encourage calcium growth in their ears. I have heard that this could be a myth though, so ask your vet.
3. Add a cartilage encouraging supplement to their diet
Some owners swear by a supplement called glucosamine. You can buy these tablets on Amazon, which are the number 1 supplement according to vets.
The combination of ingredients in glucosamine supplements are said to help maintain and encourage the growth of your Frenchie’s cartilage and connective tissues.
4. Give them chew toys
Chewing not only helps your Frenchie with teething but the physical act can also strengthen muscle essential for ear development.
Dogs have a temporalis muscle at the top of their jaw and under their ear. Strong temporalis muscle helps ear to stand up… therefore, lots of chewing means a reduction in floppy ears.
Handy Hint: Find out what chew toys I recommend for Frenchies with this selection of the best chewing toys on the market.
5. Taping your Frenchie’s ears
This really should be the last resort to fixing French Bulldog floppy ears. Whilst I don’t have any evidence, to me it just looks uncomfortable and impractical.
I personally think Frenchies with floppy ears look cute, but, each to their own… people who have done this successfully have done so around the 5 to 6-month age.
Handy Hint: To find out how and why it works, read another blog post I wrote about taping Frenchie’s ear up to encourage them to be more erect.
Other reasons for floppy ears
Whilst most French Bulldog ears will become erect after the teething phases, there will be some cases where floppy ears, either as a pair or just one, will remain floppy after this point and will never fix.
Your vet will be able to diagnose and explain more, but here are the reasons (other than teething) I found for floppy Frenchie ears:
- Genetics and breeding: There is a small market for Frenchies with floppy ears. Also known as French Bulldogs with rose ears, breeders will try to engineer puppies with ears that never stand up. This is what it means if you see Frenchies with rose ears for sale.
- Injury: Frenchie puppies are extremely energetic and can get themselves into various scrapes, some of which could be traumatic to the ears. An ear could get cut, squeezed, or suffer some form of trauma – this can often result in a French Bulldog with one floppy ear only.
The typical stages of a French Bulldog’s ear development
And lastly, here’s how “most” Frenchie’s ear develop. Just because you dog’s ear doesn’t follow this pattern, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong, or that the ears won’t stand up eventually.
- Frenchie puppies are born deaf with sealed shut ears. After 3 weeks, their ears will start to open.
- Frenchie ears will stand up between the ages of 5 to 15 weeks.
- Frenchies will stop teething at around 7 to 8 months. During this period ears can be floppy, up, down, and in varying orders!
- Frenchie ears should, in most cases, all stand up after 8 months at the latest.
What owners are saying on social media
I also took a look on social media to see what other owners were saying about Frenchies and floppy ears, here’s a selection of the best comments.
“Our Frenchie’s ear did this while she was teething. After a couple of weeks went back up and never done again. We were really worried but it’s all fine now, and no more floppiness!”
“Please don’t tape your Frenchie’s ears. They are a living creature, not a show piece. Leave their ears alone and if one is a bit floppy, just embrace the difference as it will be part of their character!”
“Our dog is two now and her ears are still floppy. They were up and down as a puppy but eventually never went up again. We think he looks amazing though and love him to bits.”
“I heard that by massaging the ears a few times a day, it can help to get the circulation going to them and make them go erect.”
“My aunt’s dog had this on both ears. She had her dog DNA tested and he had a slight bit of pug in him!”
“Their ears will go floppy when teething. My boy’s ears curled at 6 months but only while he was teething then they turned back into bat ears.”
“Frenchie ears can go up and down for a good few months… and occasionally they stay floppy which adds to their cuteness overload! Some people tape them up but I personally think it’s a step too far if you aren’t showing them. Don’t fall for the cheese or calcium myth…calcium helps bone, ears are purely cartilage.”
“I don’t understand the issue people have with their ears not sticking up, I must be missing the point as I thought when you get a dog it’s to be loved regardless of ears, colour, stumpy tail, or no tail.”
“When I first met my boy, his ears were up but when I picked him up at 16 weeks they were floppy. They go back up with time. I don’t agree with taping them up, it can’t be comfortable for them.”
“Ear up, down, backwards or upside down, what does it matter? These dogs have difficulty breathing due to our human obsession with standards, it’s natural selection gone mad. Like ourselves, dogs are not designed to be perfect, how saddening this topic is.”
The bottom line is; French Bulldogs can have floppy ears. Some Frenchies can even have just one floppy ear… it’s doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with their overall health.
Whilst it’s not the breed standard according to organisations like the Kennel Club, it won’t make your pup any less appealing or loveable!
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I’ve been writing about Frenchies for years; below are some of the posts I think you might want to read after this, and you can also see us on YouTube!