When Do Westies’ Ears Stand Up? Westie Ears FAQ’s

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West Highland Terriers, affectionately known as Westies, are lovable, sociable dogs, recognized for their white coats and upright ears.

If you just adopted a young Westie puppy, you may be wondering, “When will my Westie’s ears stand up?”

In this article, I will answer this question along with several more questions related to your Westie’s ears.

Let’s get started.

Westie puppy with floppy ears

When Do Westies Ears Stand Up?

Typically, Westie puppies are born with floppy ears, and as they grow, the cartilage in their ears begins to firm up and develop.

For some Westies, their ears may start to stand up as early as 12 weeks old.

However, for others, it might take a few more weeks or even months for the ears to fully stand upright.

Why Are My Westies Ears Not Up?

The transition from floppy to upright ears is gradual and influenced by a multitude of factors like genetics, nutrition, and individual growth pace.

It’s quite common for puppies to have one ear stand up before the other. But rest assured, both ears usually find their way upright in due time.

Let’s explore some of the key elements that might delay your Westie’s ears from standing up:

Age: The optimum age for the development of cartilage is 12 weeks, at a very young age of puppyhood the ears are floppy and develop gradually as the puppy grows.

If your Westie is still a young puppy, there’s a good chance that their ears will eventually stand up as they continue to grow and their ear cartilage develops. Some puppies’ ears may take longer to stand up than others.

Nutritional Deficiencies: Proper nutrition is crucial for a puppy’s growth and development, including the development of strong ear cartilage. A balanced diet with adequate nutrients can support the healthy development of your Westie’s ears.

Make sure your puppy gets adequate calcium and Vitamin D in diet. Glucosamine and Chondroitin sulphate are essential components of developing cartilage, and should be supplemented if needed.

If you have a Westie puppy, it’s essential to give them proper care and nutrition during their growing stage to support healthy ear development.

Genetics: Ear size, shape and standing are influenced by genetics. If your Westie’s parents have floppy ears, there’s a possibility that your dog has inherited this trait.

Breeding for specific physical characteristics, including ear shape, can influence whether the ears stand up or remain floppy.

Teething: The puppy ears may revert back to floppy during the time the teeth development is at peak.

There is a theory, which explains that there is enhanced migration of calcium from the body to strengthen the teeth.

This usually happens at 3 to 5 months of age.

Ear infections or injuries: Sometimes, ear infections or injuries can affect a dog’s ability to hold their ears upright. Infections can cause inflammation, and injuries might lead to damage in the ear cartilage.

If you suspect an issue like this, it’s essential to have your Westie checked by a veterinarian to address any potential health concerns.

Westie puppy with erect ears

Why Is Only One of My Westie’s Ears Standing Up?

If you’re noticing that one of your Westie’s ears is standing erect while the other remains floppy, you might be wondering why.

This phenomenon, often referred to as the “one ear erect and one ear tipped” condition, is not uncommon.

The reason for this asymmetry generally comes down to variations in cartilage development, potential infections, or genetics.

Here’s a deeper look into the factors that may contribute to this asymmetrical ear development:

Genetics: As with many physical traits, ear position and shape can be influenced by genetics. It’s possible that your Westie inherited genes that result in one ear standing up while the other remains floppy.

Cartilage development: The cartilage in a dog’s ears stiffens over time, allowing them to stand upright. In some cases, one ear’s cartilage may develop faster than the other, leading to asymmetrical ear positions.

Injury or trauma: If your Westie experienced an injury or trauma to one ear, it could impact the ear’s ability to stand up.

Damage to the cartilage or muscles that support the ear could result in a floppy appearance.

Ear Infection/ Otitis: Otitis is a condition that involves the inflammation of outer, middle or inner ear caused by infectious agents like bacteria or ear mites.

Characterized by exudation of pus, excessive wax, pain and inflammation that affects the cartilage growth.

Ear Hematoma: A traumatic condition of the ear that damages the blood vessels of the ears leading to inflammation, accumulation of exudative fluid mixed with congested blood.

This condition is often repaired by surgery and complications are weakened cartilage that results in a floppy ear.

If you have any concerns about your Westie’s ears or development, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian.

My Puppy’s Ears Won’t Stand Up. What Can I Do?

You’re observing your puppy’s ears. They haven’t stood up yet. What’s next?

Step one is identification. What might be causing this? A visit to your trusted veterinarian is in order. Provide all the necessary information. Your puppy’s age, the breed history of their parents, their nutrition, and any previous ear conditions like infections or hematomas are all relevant.

What if the cause is genetics? Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do in that case. Your Westie’s floppy ears might just be a unique part of them.

Is nutrition the issue? In that case, you can take action. You might consider adding supplements to your puppy’s diet. Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate are good options.

They can help with the development of your Westie’s ear cartilage. You can find these components in natural sources, too. Try feeding your puppy chicken shanks or beef trachea.

Exercise is another essential factor. Regular exercise and muscle training can support your puppy’s ear positioning.

Finally, there are supportive measures you can take. Ear braces or taping can provide support to your puppy’s ears as their cartilage matures.

Your veterinarian can guide you on how to use these tools safely and effectively.

In short, don’t panic if your Westie’s ears are not standing up yet. Patience, proper nutrition, and the right supportive measures can go a long way.

And remember, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice.

Is It Possible for a Purebred Westie to Have Floppy Ears?

Yes, it is possible for a purebred Westie to have floppy ears due to a genetic defect that impairs the strength and rigidity of cartilage that ultimately affects its ability to bear the weight of the ears making them floppy.

This mutation may occur spontaneously where one sibling from the litter may have it while others may not have it and have normal erect ears.

Other causes that doesn’t have to do anything with genetics, like trauma, infection and otitis.

Are Westie Ears Cropped?

No, Westie ears should never be cropped, there is no breed standard that requires cropping. Ear cropping without any medical need, solely for cosmetic purposes is against animal welfare and such practices should be discouraged.

A Westie puppy ears are small and erect. Standing of ears does not require any cropping, it can be supported using ear braces if necessary.

Are Westie Ears Tipped?

West Highland White Terrier laying down. Westie ears are tipped.

Yes, Westie ears are tipped, some dog breeds have less hair on the top third of the erect part of the ear, that gives the impression of sharpness and pointedness.

The West Highland Terrier is among those breeds having tipped ears that adds to their unique look.

What Does It Mean When a Westie Pins Their Ears Back?

Observing your Westie’s body language can provide great insights into their emotional state. When a Westie slightly turns back their ears or pins them, it’s generally a sign of friendly behavior.

This action communicates affection, calmness, and submission. They are conveying feelings of comfort and sociability.

However, it’s a different story if the ears are tightly held back against the head. This action is typically a manifestation of fear or nervousness.

Under such circumstances, a Westie might be reacting to an anxiety-inducing situation. If their stress threshold is exceeded, this fear might even lead them to bite.

Understanding and interpreting these behaviors in your Westie are part of building a trusting and secure relationship with them. Being attentive to their body language enables you to respond effectively to their needs.

Westie Ears Takeaway

In summary, the development of your Westie’s ears can be influenced by various factors such as age, nutrition, genetics, and health conditions.

It’s crucial to understand that variations are common and, in most cases, not a cause for concern.

Always remember that if you have any questions or concerns about your Westie’s ear development, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian who can provide expert advice tailored to your pet’s unique needs.

Dr. Shahzaib Wahid DVM

Dr. Shahzaib Wahid, DVM, currently works an Associate Veterinarian at an animal clinic in Islamabad, Pakistan. As an experienced veterinarian, Dr. Wahid has a passion for providing advice and helping pet owners.

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