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Rottweilers are known for their large, floppy ears. Their ears are one of the most distinctive features of the breed. But those big ears come with some responsibilities for owners.
This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about Rottweiler ears. For example, what a rottweiler’s ears are supposed to look like, how to clean them, when to consider ear taping, and we will even discuss rottweiler ear cropping.
Let’s dive in.
How Should Rottweilers Ears Look?
A Rottweiler’s ears are supposed to be big and floppy. The ears should start at the top of the head and lay close to the cheeks. The tips of the ear should come to a point and be level with the nose.
The inside of a Rottweiler’s ear should be pink and free of any discharge. There may be some hair on the inside of the ear, but it should not be matted down. If you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge in your Rottweiler ears, it is important to contact a veterinarian. These could be signs of an ear infection.
The Rottweiler’s ear shape is one of the things that makes them so distinctive. Generally, their ears are in a triangular pendant shape.
The breed standard set by the AKC says a Rottweiler’s ears should be “medium size, pendant, triangular in shape; when carried alertly, the ears are level with the top of the skull and appear to broaden it. Ears are to be set well apart, hanging forward with the inner edge lying tightly against the head and terminating at approximately mid-cheek.”
Do Rottweilers Get Their Ears Cropped?
Ear cropping is a procedure where the tips of the ears are removed, and the remaining cartilage is shaped to stand erect.
Many Rottweilers will have had their ears cropped in the past. However, ear cropping is not part of the breed standard for Rottweilers. Therefore, while Rottweiler’s ears cropping happened in the past, it generally doesn’t happen today.
However, you should avoid having your dog’s ears cropped because the risk of it going terribly wrong are high. Rotties with cropped ears are likely to have permanent pain and sensitivity. If you want to trim your Rotties ears, get a professional to do it. It will make the process much safer for the dog. However, even with an expert, no one can guarantee a pain-free procedure or recovery.
Why Aren’t Rottweilers Ears Cropped?
Cropped ears have become increasingly controversial in recent years as more and more dog owners question the practice. While some purebreds, such as Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes, traditionally have their ears cropped, many people now see this as unnecessary and even cruel. Veterinarians and other experts are divided on the issue, but it remains a hot-button topic among dog lovers.
Despite what many people think, Rottweilers have never had cropped ears as part of the breed standard. In fact, their floppy ears may have even been functional in aiding them in smelling and tracking cattle more effectively. Communication has always been key for Rottweilers succeeding in their roles. That’s why it was deemed important to keep the ears in their original shape so as not to interfere with hearing.
Unlike other dogs used for fighting, Rottweilers didn’t have their ears cropped to protect them. This is because Rottweilers were not used for dog fighting or battles against large animals like pit bulls. So having their ears cropped to protect them from being torn off in a fight would not have been necessary.
So most of the motivations for ear cropping have never applied to Rottweilers.
Why Do Some People Still Crop Rottweiler Ears?
The only reason people would crop a Rottweiler’s ears is for the aesthetic. People want their Rottweiler to look a certain way and think cropped ears make them look more intimidating.
Some people think cropped ears make Rottweilers look more like guard dogs. They want their dog to look like it means business and think cropped ears give off that vibe.
Whatever the reason, cropping a Rottweiler’s ears is mostly for cosmetic purposes and offers no real benefits to the dog.
What Do You Do If Your Rottweiler’s Ears Are Cropped?
If you have a Rottweiler whose ears are already cropped, there are some things you should be aware of.
Many people crop Rotty ears unprofessionally, which can cause problems. In addition, if the ear cropping is done incorrectly, it might lead to infections that can lead to additional problems.
Some Rottweilers with cropped ears will have sensitivity issues. For example, they might not like anyone to touch their ears, or they might be in pain often. So in these cases, it’s important to be extra gentle when handling their ears.
Why Do Rottweilers Get Their Ears Taped?
A Rottweiler’s ear positioning can affect their ear health. So ear taping is a strategy to hold the ears in the correct position so they can develop or heal properly.
Rottweiler puppies’ ears typically change position when they are between four and six months old while teething. Sometimes a puppy’s ears will fold back or crease during this time. Taping the ears can help prevent them from remaining in an incorrect position permanently.
Taping a Rottweiler’s ears not only helps to keep them in the proper position, but it helps shape the ear cartilage.
When Should You Consider Taping Rottweilers Ears?
When the Rottweiler’s ears are either set or carried incorrectly, this is when the owner contemplates ear taping.
For example, when a Rottweiler’s ears are pulled out so far from the head, they are called “fly-away ears.”
In addition, sometimes a Rottweiler puppy’s ears are set correctly. Still, when the puppy starts teething, the discomfort from the teething process causes the puppy to hold their ear back. This causes the cartilage in the ear to adjust and form improperly.
When a puppy is young, their ears are malleable and trainable. Therefore, if a Rottweiler puppy is uncomfortable from teething, they may hold their ears in a certain way for long periods of time.
This can lead to the cartilage in their ears forming incorrectly. By ear taping, we can ensure the cartilage folds correctly, and the pup’s ears develop correctly.
Lastly, there are situations where Rotties’ ears are set too high from their genetics. In these cases, ear taping might help them get closer, but they might still remain higher than other Rotty ears.
So generally, you should look to tape a Rottweiler’s ears during teething between the ages of four and six months old.
How To Tape A Rottweilers Ears
For Taping a Rottweiler’s ears, you will need scissors and tape.
Some people recommend heavy-duty gorilla duct tape. However, I find this leads to irritation for the dog, especially when removing it. I prefer to use softer medical tape that adheres well but is also comfortable for the dog.
First, you want to make sure the area around the ears is clean and dry. If there is any dirt or moisture on the skin, it will make it harder for the tape to stick.
Then you can follow these steps for Rottweiler ear taping:
Step 1. Cut a 4-inch piece of tape. Then cut a notch halfway through the tape, about 1 1/2 inches on one side. Then, in the same way, cut a notch 2 inches on the other side.
Step 2. You will then fold the flap of tape to itself. Those two notches you cut should have made a rectangle that you can fold in half. Make sure you fold it on the sticky side. You should be left with a piece of tape with only the ends sticky and the middle section non-sticky.
Step 3. Fold the dog’s ear inside out and hold their ear as high up as possible while it’s folded. Then put the smaller sticky side of the tape on the inside of their ear at the highest point (closest to their head).
Step 4. Wrap the tape around the ear until it sticks to itself. Do not wrap it too tight! Then pop the upper part of the ear out of the tape. The ear should lay forward, and the crease should be showing.
Step 5. Repeat these steps for the second ear.
Step 6. Leave the tape for seven days, then check to see if the crease is still present. If it’s not, re-apply fresh tape and wait another week.
Here is a great video demonstration:
Common Rottweiler Ear Problems
When it comes to Rottweiler ears, they are generally healthy. But, like all dogs, they are susceptible to ear problems. The most common ear problems Rottweilers experience are:
The Rottweiler has floppy ears, which means they do not get as much air circulation as dogs with erect ears. This can lead to a build-up of moisture, bacteria, and yeast, which can cause infections.
Ear infections are the most common ear problem Rottweilers experience. Symptoms of an ear infection include:
- Ear discomfort
- Shaking head
- Rubbing ears on floor or furniture
- Red, swollen, or painful ears
- Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge from ears
- Bad smell coming from ears
Rottweilers also produce a lot of ear wax. If not cleaned out, this can lead to a build-up and eventually an ear infection.
In addition, this wax can sometimes affect hearing if it gets too bad. So, if you notice a wax build-up in your Rotties ears, clean them out.
Allergies are also a common problem for Rottweilers, and their ears can be affected just like humans. Allergic reactions in the ear can cause:
- Oozing or crusting
Since Rottweilers are prone to certain allergies, it’s important to be aware of the signs and get them to the vet if you notice any.
Foreign Bodies In Their Ear Canal
Since Rottweilers have long and floppy ears, they are more likely than other dogs to get foreign bodies stuck in their ear canal. Things like grass seeds, dirt, and even bugs can find their way into a Rotties ear.
If you notice your dog pawing at their ear or shaking their head, it’s worth checking to see if anything is stuck there.
While tumors are not as common in dogs as they are in humans, they can still happen. The most common ear tumors in dogs are ceruminous gland adenomas (benign) and adenocarcinomas (malignant).
Symptoms of an ear tumor include:
- Swelling in the ear
- Head shaking
- Rubbing ears on floor or furniture
- Hearing loss
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take your Rottweiler to the vet as soon as possible. Early detection is key with tumors.
Though rare, some Rottweilers are born deaf. This is usually caused by a genetic defect, and not much can be done about it.
If you think your Rottweiler may be deaf, there are a few tests you can do at home to check. You can read more about them here: Hearing test for dogs.
Trauma / Injury
Ear trauma or injury is also something to be aware of. This could happen if your Rottweiler gets hit in the head, gets their ear stuck on something, if their ears dragged along the ground during a fall, etc.
Since they have long and floppy ears, they are more susceptible to injury.
How To Clean A Rottweilers Ears
When cleaning Rottweiler ears, use a cotton ball or soft cloth and wipe the inside of their earflap.
You should never insert any objects into your Rotty’s ear canal. This can damage their delicate inner ear structures and cause an infection.
Here are the five steps you can take to clean your Rottweilers ears:
Determine why you’re cleaning your dog’s ears. Is it because they’re dirty or infected? You will need the proper medicated solution to clean their ears if they are infected.
You can use a dog ear cleansing solution or a homemade mixture if they just need routine cleaning.
Make sure your dog is calm and take them to a confined space, like the bathtub, so you’re not chasing them around. But, again, the goal here is to get this done as quickly as possible.
Pull your dog’s ear straight up and slightly backward. Again, you may want to get someone to help hold your dog for these next steps.
Using your other hand, apply the medication or cleansing solution to the ear canal. Having someone help hold your dog’s head will help avoid them shaking their head and getting the solution everywhere but in their ear.
Hold the ear flap up to allow the medication to travel down the ear canal. You should pour enough into the ear canal to see a small solution pool.
Next, massage the base of the ear using two fingers for 30 seconds. Then release your dog’s ear and allow them to shake it off. Some solution and wax may come out of their ear at this point. This is completely fine.
This is the basics of the cleaning process. If your dog has an infection and needs multiple medications in their ear, repeat this process but wait about 30 minutes before doing it again.
Do not try to mix medication to get it all done at once unless your vet has mentioned it’s okay.
Further Reading: How To Clean Dog’s Ears When They Hate It: 9 Simple Steps
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Do Rottweilers Have Standing Ears?
No, Rottweilers do not have standing ears. Instead, their ears are floppy and hang down. The only rottweilers with standing ears are those that have had their ears cropped or are a mixed breed.
Why Do Rottweilers Have Floppy Ears?
It’s tough to say exactly why Rottweilers have floppy ears. However, we do know that their ears can help protect them from dirt and debris while they are working. Additionally, floppy ears have been known to help dogs smell. The long ears stimulate trapped scent particles, allowing the dogs to hunt for lengthy distances.
How Do You Massage A Rottweilers Ears?
To massage a Rottweiler’s ears, you will want to use two fingers and rub them in a circular pattern at the base of their ear. You should do this for 30 seconds. This can help loosen any wax build-up that may be present.
In conclusion, Rottweilers are a unique breed of dog with many different needs for their ears.
From ear taping and cropping to cleaning and massaging, there is a lot you need to know to keep your Rottweiler ears healthy and happy.
So long as you stay on top of their ear care, you should have no problem keeping your Rottweiler healthy and by your side for many years.
Other posts you might be interested in:
The White Rottweiler: 9 Things You Need To Know
Why Does My Rottweiler Growl At Me? (7 Reasons + Tips)
Siberian Rottweiler: Complete Breed Guide With Comparisons
Blue Heeler Rottweiler Mix (AKA The Blueweiler): Breed Guide