Canine ears come in many shapes and sizes, and some breeds are known by them -- consider the basset hound’s long droop ears and the Boston terrier’s “bat ears." Plenty of breeds sport relatively small ears, from the small prick variety to tiny rosebuds.
The Chinese Shar-Pei is a medium to large breed, weighing between 40 and 60 pounds, with characteristic face wrinkles and small, flat-set triangular ears. The tip of the ear folds forward and lies flush against the head. The ear shape and positioning, tight and close to the head, reduces airflow in the already narrow canine ear canal. The Shar-Pei requires regular, weekly ear cleaning to prevent bacterial and yeast infections. Small triangular ears can stand erect, as is the case with the chow chow.
Pricked ears stand triangular and stiffly erect atop a dog’s head; unlike triangular ears, they never droop forward, such as is the case with the Shar-Pei. The Shiba Inu, a Japanese breed, weighs less than 25 pounds and features a plush, reddish coat and small prick ears. A Shiba Inu’s ears are short, with distinctly rounded tips; they tilt slightly forward in line with the neck . Their open shape allows for decent airflow. Owners should check the ears weekly for dirt, redness and odor. Pomeranians resemble apricot, tan or black balls of fluff. Weighing on average between 3 and 7 pounds, Poms are spunky, curious and positively covered in thick, double-coated fur. They have small, erect prick ears that are sometimes hidden within all that fluff; rounded at the tips, the ears are slightly domed and often grow an abundance of hair from the inside out. Your veterinarian may recommend ear plucking to remove excess hair and increase airflow through the ear canals.
Bulldogs are stocky, between 40 and 50 pounds, good-natured and popular with families. Their deep-set facial wrinkles, unmistakable underbites and small, thin rose ears make bulldogs one of the most recognizable breeds around. A bulldog’s ears are set high on his head and fold outward, inward and then forward so that the inside of the ear is visible. From the side, a bulldog’s ear resembles the inside of a rose, which is where the term "rose ear" comes from. Airflow through the ear canal is adequate, though the skin and deep wrinkles around the ears require daily cleaning to remain free of bacteria and infection. Other breeds that feature small rose ears include pugs, greyhounds, whippets and Scottish deerhounds.
Button ears stand partially erect, the tips flopping forward, making each one look like the back seal of an envelope. The Jack Russell terrier, also known as the Parson Russell terrier, is an active, 13- to 17-pound fireball with small button ears. These pups need their ears checked and wiped free of dirt and debris weekly. Several breeds in the terrier group, such as the wire and smooth fox terrier, Airedale terrier and border terrier, sport these tiny button ears.
Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.