Why Are Some French Bulldog Ears Floppy?

Have you ever seen a French Bulldog with those adorable floppy ears?

It’s a unique trait that many people find endearing. But why do some French Bulldogs have floppy ears and others don’t?

It all comes down to genetics. Some French Bulldogs are born with a gene that causes their ears to be floppy, while others don’t have this gene and consequently have erect ears.

This is what gives French Bulldogs their signature look. But what causes this phenomenon in the first place?

It’s important to understand canine genetics in order to figure out why some French Bulldogs have floppy ears and others don’t. The FGF-5 gene, which determines how much cartilage is present in the ear flap, is found in the floppy ears.

Dogs with two copies of this gene will usually have flatter or floppier ears than those without. So if your dog has floppy ears, they could have inherited two copies of the FGF-5 gene from their parents.

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However, having floppy ears can also come with potential health risks. Floppy ear canals can trap moisture and dirt more effectively than erect ones, resulting in an increased risk of infection or irritation.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss why some French Bulldogs have floppy ears and what health risks come from this characteristic. If your pup has the FGF-5 gene, we’ll also cover how to keep their ears healthy.

So stay tuned if you want to learn more about why some French Bulldogs are born with those cute floppy ears.

The Genetics Behind Floppy Ears

The answer lies in the complex genetics of the breed.

French Bulldogs are bred to have a specific head shape featuring a wide skull and short snout, which can often influence their ears’ development. A mutation in the TGF-beta receptor three gene can cause a deficiency in the cartilage-producing cells, resulting in weaker cartilage that cannot hold the ear upright, leading to floppy ears.

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However, this isn’t the only reason why some French Bulldogs’ ears are floppy. Ear infections, injury, trauma, and excess weight can all contribute to floppy ears.

Some French Bulldogs are also bred to have floppy ears, particularly those with more rounded head shapes. Therefore, it is not uncommon for puppies to have standing ears all the time or floppy ears throughout their life.

If your Frenchie’s ears aren’t performing as expected, it’s best to consult with a specialist to rule out any underlying health conditions. By the time they reach 12 weeks old, French Bulldogs typically have their ears up firmly; however, it is not unprecedented for them to stand between 4 and 9 months of age.

To determine whether or not your Frenchie is purebred, genetic testing is recommended as testing your Frenchie’s ears will only provide a visual reference.

Other Factors That Can Cause Floppy Ears

While genetics are the primary factor in determining a Frenchie’s ear shape, there are other contributing factors that should be taken into consideration.

For instance, inadequate diet and nutrition can lead to floppy ears. French Bulldogs need a balanced diet that provides all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and protein for healthy growth and development – if they don’t get this, their cartilage will become weak and their ears will droop.

Exercise deficiency is another factor that can lead to floppy ears. French people tend to gain weight quickly, and being overweight can result in a variety of health issues – including floppy ears.

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Exercise is also important in terms of muscle development and ear cartilage strength. Ear infections are another common cause of floppy ears.

Infections can cause inflammation and irritation in the ear canal, leading to damage of the cartilage that supports the ears. Chronic infections should be treated right away with appropriate care; otherwise, they may lead to permanent damage and floppy ears.

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Lastly, trauma or injury to the ears may cause them to droop. Rough play or excessive scratching can damage the ear cartilage, so it’s essential to supervise your Frenchie’s playtime and minimize their risk of injury.

Is It Normal for Some French Bulldogs to Have Floppy Ears?

The answer is yes. While some French Bulldogs have the iconic bat-like ears that stand erect on their head, many others have floppy or soft ears.

This is mainly due to genetics, but environmental and health factors can also play a role.

It’s important to remember that a French Bulldog’s ear shape does not affect their hearing or cause any health issues. So, if your Frenchie has floppy ears, they’re still just as loved and cared for as any other dog.

One of the many unique characteristics of this breed is the presence of floppy ears in some dogs.

How to Help Your Frenchie’s Ears Stand Up

If so, you may be looking for ways to help them stand up. While some French Bulldogs are bred to have naturally floppy ears, others may have droopy ears due to genetics or other conditions such as poor nutrition or injury. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help your Frenchie’s ears become more upright.

The first and most important step is to ensure that your Frenchie is getting the right nutrition. A diet that is low in essential nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals can lead to weak muscles and poor bone structure, which can affect your dog’s ability to hold up its ears. Speak with your vet to determine the best diet for your furry friend that meets all their dietary needs.

Massaging and molding the ears is another great way to help them stay upright. Starting at eight weeks old, gently massage and shape the ears using your fingertips. This will train the cartilage in their ears to harden and make it easier for them to stand up properly. However, be sure not to apply too much pressure on them.

In some cases, using products such as kinesiology tape, surgical glue, breathe right nose strips or hair clips may also be helpful in supporting and molding your Frenchie’s ears into a more upright position. Make sure you use these products only under the guidance of a vet so as not to cause any harm or discomfort for your pet.

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Finally, it’s important to note that not all French Bulldogs will have their ears stand up due factors such as genetics or improper breeding. If you’re unsure if your Frenchie is purebred, consult with a veterinarian or breed specialist who can help determine their ancestry.

Are Droopy Ears a Sign of Poor Health in French Bulldogs?

This is quite normal for Frenchies.

The shape and position of a Frenchie’s ears are determined solely by genetics, so some dogs may have upright ears, while others may have floppy or something in between. While droopy ears don’t necessarily indicate poor health, they can make certain Frenchies more prone to ear infections or other ear problems.

When Do French Bulldog Puppies’ Ears Stand Up?

On average, their ears will begin to stand up between seven and twelve weeks of age.

However, there is no guarantee that your puppy’s ears will stand up as every pup is unique. Ear development in French Bulldogs largely depends on the hardening of the cartilage within.

If this process is slow, the ears may not stand up properly. Researchers have identified proteins that are necessary for ear cartilage development and mutations in these proteins can affect ear growth.

Other factors such as nutrition, stress, and illnesses can also impact ear growth. To ensure your pup’s ears stand up correctly, provide them with a balanced diet, regular health check-ups, and exercise.

If your French Bulldog’s ears haven’t stood up by the time it’s four months old, they may never stand up properly. Don’t worry though – if you have any concerns about your puppy’s ear development or health consult a veterinarian for advice.

They may suggest some ear-taping techniques to help train the ears to stand up or recommend other corrective measures if needed.

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Should You Breeding for Floppy-Eared French Bulldogs?

The truth is that breeding for floppy ears in French Bulldogs can lead to health issues for the dogs. This is because floppy ears can trap moisture and debris, making it difficult to keep them clean and dry.

Dogs with upright ears have better airflow in their ear canal and are less likely to suffer from problems such as ear infections, hearing loss, and skin irritations. Moreover, breeding for physical traits like floppy ears goes against the purpose of dog breeding which is meant to improve the breed’s health, temperament, and working ability.

When breeders prioritize physical appearance over the dog’s well-being, they are not doing their job properly. So what should be done if you want a French Bulldog with floppy ears?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do since genetics plays an important role. However, if your pup does have upright ears that are drooping unexpectedly due to other conditions such as ear infections or injury please consult with a veterinarian right away.

Also Read: Are French Bulldog Floppy Ears Normal? – Allfrbulldogs.com


To summarize, floppy ears are a defining feature of the French Bulldog breed.

Genetics play the biggest role in determining ear shape, but diet, stress and injury can also impact their appearance. Though droopy ears don’t necessarily indicate poor health, they can make French Bulldogs more prone to ear infections.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your Frenchie’s ears, ensure they’re receiving the correct nutrition and try massaging and molding them with your fingertips. You may also want to speak with a forensic or breed specialist who can help determine their ancestry and offer advice on how to help them.