The Standard on Standing Yorkie Ears

Written by on December 1st, 2012

The written standard for any AKC recognized breed describes the perfect example of that breed of pure bred dog. The breed standard for Yorkshire terriers, among many other things, calls for standing ears. While not all pure bred Yorkies will have erect ears, the standard calls for it.

Yorkies are supposed to have ears that stand erect. A Yorkie that fits the breed standard must have standing ears. While not all Yorkies have standing ears, and some people actually prefer “floppy” ears, a Yorkie does not have to have standing ears to be considered a pure bred Yorkie.

There are three general categories of ears with Yorkies – 1) ears that stand on their own, 2) ears that will stand with help while the Yorkie is young, and 3) ears that will not stand, even with help. In any of these cases, you should know by the time you bring your puppy home (at 12 weeks or after) whether or not your Yorkie’s ears will be standing. If the ears are not standing by 12 weeks, they will likely not stand on their own. The reason I say this is because the overwhelming majority of breeders will begin the process of helping the ears to stand at about 6 – 8 weeks though various techniques (mostly hair trimming and taping the ears). Also, the cartilage in the ears that hold the ears erect is, in effect, “set” by the age of 6 months, so no amount of assistance after the age of 6 months will make the ears stand. So, it is best to start working on the ears sooner rather than later, and most breeders feel they are responsible and best-suited for this task (due to their knowledge and experience).

For many Yorkies, the ears will naturally stand erect on their own by the age of 6 – 8 weeks, with some possible short periods of drooping ears due to teething, vaccinations, stress or illness.

For some Yorkies, the ears have trouble standing up on their own and a little intervention is needed. Yorkies must not EVER have their ears cropped. While cropping may be considered acceptable for some breeds, cropping the ears is never acceptable for Yorkies. There are two acceptable ways to help a Yorkie’s ears stand: by trimming the hair from the ears to reduce weight and by holding the ears erect so the cartilage can strengthen in a standing position. There are many techniques on getting a Yorkie puppy’s ears to stand (we may write a post about that later).

For other Yorkshire terriers, for some reason or another the ears simply will not stand. Or, in some cases, one ear will stand and one will not (or will only partially stand). This can be because there was no intervention early on or because the ears are simply too big or the cartilage to weak to keep the ears standing up.

Whether your Yorkie’s ears stand up, flop down, or are somwhere in the middle, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and as long as you love your Yorkie, the ears are just another part of them to love.

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15 Responses to “The Standard on Standing Yorkie Ears”

  1. Marta Rawlings Says:

    Thank you for explaining this to people. I have 4 Yorkies and only 1 has erect ears, but they are all pure bred Yorkshire terriers. I think all of my babies are beautiful.

  2. Cindy Says:

    My little Bentley’s ears stand, but Bella’s are floppy…helps me quickly identify them. And both of them are adorable!

  3. sean Says:

    I don’t understand what you are saying here. The AKC standard for purebred Yorkshire Terrier says ears must be carried erect. I don’t know why you are obviating that fact. I don’t believe the standard encompasses anything else in terms of the ears.

    Can you elaborate?

  4. Sarah Says:

    I am saying that Yorkies whose ears are not erect are still Yorkies. The standard also says that a Yorkie’s tail must be docked. This does not mean that a Yorkie whose tail hasn’t been docked is no longer a pure-bred Yorkshire terrier. The AKC standard is the ideal for the breed. Deviations from the breed are therefore not ideal, however, a purebred Yorkie is a purebred Yorkie, even if there are deviations from the standard. The breed standard is used in judging dogs in the show ring. These standards are for the ideal of the breed. Again, deviations do not mean a dog is no longer pure bred. If that were the case, then a Yorkie that gains weight and is 7.5 pounds would no longer be a Yorkie.

  5. Bonnie Says:

    I have an 8 weeks old female yorkie. One ear is up and one is down. What can I do? Any suggestions?

  6. Donna Allen Says:

    Got our yorkie on Sunday sept 7 and both ears were up Monday morning the right on is floppy but left one is up. My vet said stress can do that. I just hope it comes back up but we r already in loved with him so we will accept him how he is.

  7. marcia Says:

    Unless you are showing your Yorkie, does it matter if ears are floppy or erect? My baby has floppy ears which I love to kiss!

  8. Pamela Says:

    My 15 month old baby boy has floppy ears, we love him to pieces – he’s the sweetest little guy. Standing or floppy they all deserve to be loved.

  9. Carol Says:

    I have a rescue Yorkie with floppy ears and a docked tail. I love her just as she is!!!!!!

  10. kelly Says:

    I just got an 8 week old yorkie she had one ear up and one down,the breeder said they were both up before I got her and now one is down after she had a shot ,I taped them and it is up again hopefully it will stay up or I will just try taping one more time

  11. Amy Says:

    I am a first time Yorkie owner & my parents have her sister. The sister has different texture of fur & her ears are both up, but my baby only has one that goes up once in awhile. Though they are purebred with papers of their line, we did not get them for show (relative’s dog went into heat just before her appt. to get sprayed) and could care less whether they are AKC standard or not….we love them for their uniqueness.

  12. Liz Says:

    I need a yorkie for my grand daughter, can anyone help me before Christmas ,

  13. Brenda Fitzgerald Says:

    If your Yorkie is around other dogs they flop a ear showing
    Submission to the bigger dog.

  14. Maria-Anne mcgregor Says:

    My fur baby is 14 months old and his ears flop, I would have him no other way he’s gorgeous

  15. Mark Hoffman Says:

    I have a 4lb 12 year old girl Yorkie with her ears up. She was my mother’s best friend until she passed last year. Its been a real challenge for her to try to figure out where mom is. She has taken to me and will not leave my side. We figure that my scent must be the same as my mother’s. So she goes with me to work and the Wal Mart and Lowe’s. Having her with me all the times give me the chance to make lots of new friends.
    I was raised with these dogs all my life. Ears up or down you love them the same. All the Yorkies we have had were AKC registered. I feel this is very important to make sure the dog is a pure breed. They are the best dogs that love to please and be loved. However, its not to say they do not have a stubborn streak. lol.
    I tried to paste her picture to this post. Click on the link below and hopefully you can see her picutre.

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