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Why Do Chihuahuas Have Big Ears? The Truth Revealed

Why Do Chihuahuas Have Big Ears

We all know why Dumbo has giant ears, but why do Chihuahuas have big ears?

Great question 😉

In this article you’ll find out the answer.

Read on to discover:

  • If all Chihuahuas have big ears.
  • How to understand what your Chi’s ears are saying (fun fact: they can ‘talk’).
  • And more…

Why do Chihuahuas have big ears?

The reasons Chihuahuas have large ears have to do with their ancestors. These desert dogs developed big ears for a few important purposes: to have shade from the sun, to collect moisture, to serve as protection for puppies, and to communicate.

The big ears are almost parasol-like. The size and shape protect the desert dog from the sun’s rays. 

The large size and distinctive shape of Chihuahua ears also collect moisture from the air. This is a unique feature not found with most other breeds.

The moisture condenses through the skin throughout the day provide the Chihuahua with life-saving water. 

When Chihuahuas are pups, their mother’s large ears provide protection from the sun’s rays and warmth during the cold nights and winter months. 

Lastly, Chihuahua ears are communication tools. Each ear has 18 muscles, allowing them to be easily maneuvered and signal a variety of feelings. This is important in the wild as well as in the home.

As you can see, large ears had a major purpose. Even if a Chihuahua doesn’t live in the desert, the large ears developed by their ancestors are still used today, continuing to provide protection and moisture.

It’s no wonder that these built-in safety features make the pocket-sized Chihuahua one of the best breeds for warm weather.

Do all Chihuahuas have big ears?

Do all Chihuahuas have big ears

Not all Chihuahuas have big ears. Some Chihuahuas have floppy ears instead. These are not considered as characteristics of a purebred Chihuahua. Whether a Chi has big or floppy ears is determined by their genetics.

And what about puppies?

Chihuahua puppy ears might surprise you.

Chihuahua puppies are not born with large pointy ears.

They are actually born with floppy ears. This is news to those unfamiliar with Chihuahua development.

Most of the time, Chihuahua puppies will develop their large, pointy ears by 6 months of age. However, not all of them do. Why? 

The puppy can receive a recessive trait from the mom or dog that is not a Chihuahua. This will result in floppy ears. It may even have an impact on size. 

At 4 to 5 months, the ears may droop again. This is nothing to worry about. Drooping can occur when puppy teeth begin to fall out during the teething stage.

The ears should return to full erectness after teething is completed. 

Chihuahua ears can “talk”

A Chihuahua’s ears are certainly fascinating. They are always upright and alert. Aside from protection, they can also capture sounds amazingly. They have high-frequency ranges that can detect pulses. 

  • Think about it: Chihuahua ears have 18 muscles each. 

These muscles work together to move the ears around. They aren’t just for protection or hearing, though.

They can also show you how they are feeling. This is why you may see Chihuahua moving their ears regularly. 

Paying attention to movements is important. Why? Because it will give you a better understanding of how your Chihuahua is feeling.

Let’s take a look at this information chart.

EmotionState of ears
RelaxedA relaxed Chihuahua will have their ears in a “normal” position. This could be erect or floppy.
Friendly/HappyEars slightly tilted back is an indicator of happiness. They may also have their mouth open. Your Chi may bow if they wants to play.
Defensive/AnxiousA Chihuahua feeling defensive or anxious will have their ears tilted back. The Chi will also appear rigid. The tail will be between the legs.
ScaredA scared Chihuahua will have their ears pinned all the way back to their body. At this point, the Chi is likely to run away. 
SubmissiveA submissive Chihuahua will place their ears back and downward. They are likely to do so when they see their owner.
InterestedThe interested Chihuahua will have erect ears pointed forward. The Chi will be alerted to a sound or scent.
AggressiveEars apart and tipped forward show aggression. The Chi may also be show his teeth.
Worried/GuiltyA guilty or worried Chihuahua will drop their ears to their head. The ears will appear folded. They will also look guilty.

So, what does this mean to you? 

Reading your Chihuahua’s ears can help you help your pup. You can help him if he is feeling anxious about something. You can try and calm down a scared Chihuahua. You can know when it is time for playtime.

Can you help Chihuahuas’ ears stand up?

Large and erect ears are a Chihuahua staple. But sometimes purebreds can come out with floppy ears.

An owner who finds this trait undesirable may wonder if there is any option to make them erect. 

The best answer is to not attempt that. A Chihuahua’s ears should be left as nature intended them to be.

Warning: Performing procedures, such as cropping can do serious harm. It is best to avoid all types of corrections of Chihuahuas’ ears.

Taping Chihuahuas’ Ears

There are a few techniques to encourage ears to stand safely. Taping is a popular method. Many are convinced it works.

The taping method is performed when a Chihuahua is 8 weeks of age with floppy ears. This is how it works:

  • Prepare a 1.5-inch strip of tape (masking tape).
  • Pull one of the Chihuahua’s ears upright.
  • Wrap the tape around the base loosely.
  • Repeat with the other ear.
  • Connect both ears using tape. Create a bridge across the top.
  • Leave the tape for up to 5 days.
  • Gently remove.

Massage and diet 

Chihuahua Quality Food Meme

Massaging the base of the ear is also suggested to fight the flop of Chihuahuas’ ears.

Many believe it encourages ear muscle strength. This is not a proven method, but some claim positive results. 

Others support the theory that a good and proper diet for a Chihuahua is key. This is especially important during the breeding process. Many put an emphasis on calcium.

Calcium is believed to encourage the buildup of ear cartilage. 

Keeping those big Chihuahua ears clean

Well, it’s clear these ears are important. And, though they are big, Chihuahua ears don’t require any extra care. But they do need regular care, like any dog’s.

  • Use a gentle ear cleaner without alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Ask your veterinarian or groomer for a recommendation.
  • Don’t use cotton-tipped swabs. They can cause injury or push dirt and debris further into the ear. Use a cotton ball instead.
  • Hold the ear flap up in the air. Squeeze a bit of the solution into the Chihuahua’s ear. Don’t put the tip of the bottle into the ear.
  • Or squeeze the cleaner onto the cotton ball and swab that into the ear. 
  • Massage the base of the ear gently, while holding the ear flap up in the air.
  • Use the cotton ball to gently wipe away the solution and debris.
  • Repeat with the other ear, allowing for treat time in-between. 


Chihuahua ears are fascinating. They provide shade and moisture for the dog. This allows them to survive in hot temperatures.

These large ears have exceptional hearing. Plus, you can learn how your Chihuahua is feeling, depending on his ears.

They can easily move when they are scared, happy, anxious, and more.