Dog Ear Types, Common Issues, & How to Clean

Dog ears range in a variety of shapes and styles! They may hang downward, fold backward, or even stay up and alert like two TV antennas. And while all dogs’ ears need to be cared for, there are certain types that especially require attention.

We break down the types of dog ears, common issues, and how to clean dog ears properly.

Common Types of Dog Ears

Dog ear types differ from breed to breed. Some dogs even undergo “cropping,” or the surgical trimming and reshaping of the ears, when they are puppies. These modifications are usually made to stay in line with breed standards, though they are declining in popularity.

Before you learn about dog ear care, find out which of these common dog ear types your pooch has:


Bat Ear: Erect ear, broad at the base and rounded at the top. Example: French Bulldog.

french bulldog

Button Ear: Semi-erect with a tip that folds over. Example: Pug.


Drop Ear: Ear that hangs down over the side of the head. Example: Basset Hound.

basset hound

Prick Ear: Pointed ear that stands erect. Example: German Shepherd Dog. 

german shepherd

Rose Ear: Ear that folds backward. Example: Bulldog.


Semi-Prick Ear: Pointed ear that folds over slightly on the top. Example: Collie

border collie

V-Shaped Ear: Long ear that hangs down and ends in V-shape. Example: Vizsla.


Common Issues in Dog Ears

person holding a dogs ears

So, what can go wrong with your dog’s ears?

  • Allergies
  • Ear mites
  • Infections
  • Trauma
  • Excess moisture

Any of the above issues can upset the ear’s natural pH balance, which can lead to discomfort for your dog. Plus, dogs with drop ears and folds are especially prone to excess moisture in the ears due to the ear structure. These types of breeds will need cleaning and care more frequently!

Check your furry friend’s ears often to make sure they look healthy and are free of debris. If you notice a strong odor, discharge, redness, swelling, or if your dog is constantly scratching their ears, contact your veterinarian.

Cleaning Your Dog's Ears

Learning how to clean dog ears is quite simple. In fact, it's one of the easier grooming tasks you can accomplish to keep your furry friend looking and feeling great! 

One of the top items you can use to clean your dog's ears is a gentle wash, like Healthy Promise® Ear Wash. It is specially formulated to clean, soothe, and relieve itching ears. It also helps soften and dissolve waxy buildup. Just place a few drops of this paraben-free solution in your dog's ear, or swab gently around the visible inner area of the ear using a cotton ball. Take care not to push the cotton ball into the ear canal. 

Dog ear wipes are another terrific dog ear care option. Free from alcohol and dyes, our specially formulated wipes come pre-moistened, help to easily remove earwax, and provide itch relief. All you need to do is pull one out of the package and gently wipe around the ear canal.

For best results, we recommend cleaning your pup's ears weekly and after every swimming session!

When It Comes to Pet Care, We're All Ears

Not only does cleaning your dog's ears often keep your furry friend happy and healthy, but it's also a fantastic bonding experience that can bring you closer together. Your pup may even find it to be relaxing... just remember to scratch behind their ears!


Do you know the difference between dog ear mites vs ear wax? Learn now!