While we, as humans, have had our ears stood up or pointed our entire lives, our little Westie pal here might have a different story to tell.
As adorable our little fella can be with their floppy ears that bounce, as they run majestically to and fro, you might wonder (or at least, at some point in time), will your Westie’s ears ever stand upwards?
Are they bound to stay floppy for great eternity (*gasp*)?
Is there any way we, as owners, can help? Well, we’re glad you asked because we, too, wondered the exact same thing!
The good news is, we got you covered.
When do Westie Ears Stand Up?
Every single dog is an individual, and as individuals, we are all unique in various ways. In short, the answer to the question is that it depends. On what? Their surroundings.
For instance, if they are playful or excited when you take them to the park, their ears will straighten up, but if they feel nervous or anxious, that’s when their ears start to shy down.
For West Highland Terriers, it’s quite the labyrinth to tell when exactly their ears will start to stand more erect.
But, typically, it should be somewhere between eight to twelve weeks old. Other Westies, however, may even take up to six months to finally get their ears straight. Quite a labyrinth, huh?
The good news is that we have just what you can do to help you get a better estimation and how to take care of your pal’s ears in this very article!
So enough chatting for now, let’s get down to furry business, shall we?
Ask the breeder
One way of doing this is by asking the breeder themselves (as they know your pal and their whole fam bam the most). There are two things you might need to ask from your breeder:
To keep things official and verified, just like the star your Westies are. This is a crucial step to identify and better understand your dog’s breed and characteristics that affect whether their ears were meant to stand or not in the first place. These can be indicated from their wolf ancestry.
When do the ears of most of their pups stand?
If your furry friend happens to have brothers, sisters, or cousins who have had their ears stand in, say, less than 3 months, then chances are, your pup will too! However, if their ears don’t stand within 8 months, then it’s unlikely that it will happen at all.
What physically makes a dog’s ears stand up?
It is no surprise when we say it has to do with a dog’s body structure, and in this case, it is their Cartilage. In general, our furry pal’s ear cartilage should begin to mold and harden itself when they reach four-to-six weeks old.
If it still refuses to stand, do not push the panic button just yet! It could even take up to six months to get your dog’s ears to be strong enough to stand on their own. However, if your little pal happens to have thick and heavy ear leather, there is a good chance it will stay that way for the rest of its majestic life.
Why do some people tape their Westie’s ears?
Ear-taping is one of the most commonly used techniques many dog owners have used to get those ears standing tall and proud. What this does, is that by using a medical cloth tape, it aligns your dog’s ears and keeps it at a steady position to “train” those ears to stand on their own.
It is crucial to remember that this procedure must be done correctly and adequately. We wouldn’t want our Westie to experience any trouble. A few important reminders to take note of before taping those furry ears to ensure it is done effectively and safely.
Does teething affect dog ears?
You might be surprised when we tell you this, but as a matter of fact, teething does have an effect on dog ears (who knew, right?). As pups develop and grow, teething is only a natural part of maturing as they grow a new set of teeth. An explanation, please? You bet.
When your unbearably adorable Westie starts teething, their bodies naturally need calcium to help those new sets of teeth grow and ready for munching those treats. Since some of the calcium is lent for teething, this may cause the previously erect ears to fall back down. So if your pup had standing ears before their teething phase, it should stand straight back up once teething is over (may all pups rejoice at this time).
Should I be worried if my Westie has one ear up and one ear down?
Take a deep breath and relax. It is entirely normal for a Westie to have only one erect ear as they develop over the joyful years. But why, you might ask? Well, here are several explanations for this:
Born this way
Again, it is essential to remember that the “when” depends on the breed itself; some may have it early on while others may take longer. Plus, it may very well be a cuteness-enhancing feature.
As mentioned above, most puppies will have both ears fully upright when they are about 8 months old, where teething can finally be put to the past. And as emotional as it can be, like watching a child take their first few steps, try your best to hold those tears as those ears graduate from standing school.
Dogs’ ears are naturally sharper than ours, which means they can pay more attention and be alerted to their surroundings. So when one ear stands and the other remains asleep, this could be a usual way of showing off their awareness skills.
Possible Health Roadbump
Westies are commonly known as breeds with pricked ears, so if you notice a floppy ear, say after their development stage. We do recommend a visit to the vet to check up on your pup from the following health concerns:
- Injury. Scan for any possible wounds, as your dog may have gotten hurt venturing around the local park, for example.
- Ear infections. Otitis media, a bacterial infection in the ear, typically causes inflammation in the outer, middle, or even inner ear. This may be indicated by a floppy ear and constant head-shaking (not their rockstar mode, though).
- Abscess. These usually form due to dirt build-up in the ear, which can be painful as it may cause swelling and itchiness.
- Ear hematomas (what the hema is this?). In a nutshell, this is when ear blood vessels burst, and blood makes its way to somewhere in between the dog’s ear cartilage and skin. This is often caused by nasty mites, nesting in your dog’s ears, or a prior infection that caused your pal to scratch them.
We hope none of these ever happens to your beloved Westie, but always keep your eyes and ears wide open for any of the mentioned symptoms. Getting timely help is crucial once it has been identified by the knowledgeable dog owner you are.
Westie Mix Breeds (that don’t have erect ears)
If your Westie happens to be a non-purebred or mixed breed, not all can have erect ears! With that being said, we have listed a few of them that may not have erect ears for your reference (you’re very welcome):
- Westie Miniature Schnauzer Mix or Wauzer (love the name btw)
- Westie Beagle Mix (West of Argyll Terrier)
- Westie Bichon Frise Mix (Wee-Chon)
- Westie Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Mix or Cavestie (oh fancy)
- And more!
Some of these breed mixes may or may not have erect ears. So, whichever ear shape Mother Nature decides, just know that your furry pal will forever and always be adorable just the way they are!
How to care for your Westie’s ears?
Now, taking care of these enticing ears is super important, especially to avoid those frightening health issues (not something to look forward to). One of the best practices to do just that is through Tipping (common for Westies). Which is essentially carefully trimming the hair or fur around the ear’s edge to a nice little “V” shape. It is crucial to take note of and follow proper instructions to finesse this, and of course, to give your pal a sharp look.
Unfortunately, tipping does not, in any way, help your Westie’s ears to stand, but it does keep them cared for.
As much as we would love to give you an exact time, we are no fortune-tellers. Depending on their breed (mixed or purebred), Westies have varied development processes and surroundings. This makes it common for each pair of dog ears to rise and shine in their own time, just like the sun and the moon in the sky. So be patient! After all, patience is indeed a virtue.