Blue Heelers (and Red Heelers) are a very distinct look and part of that look is their pointy perky ears. This gives them an alert look and actually helps in hearing potential predators approaching by funneling sound. It also allows them to better determine the direction of the sound.
However, you may have or have seen an Australian Cattle Dog with floppy ears. This is usually when they are young dogs, but in some cases, an older adult Blue Heeler may also have floppy ears.
For a Blue Heeler that is a show dog, ears that are standing up are required under the breed standard. However, for a pet Australian Cattle Dog, it is purely a cosmetic issue.
At what age do Australian Cattle Dogs (Blue/Red Heeler) ears stand up
Usually, a Blue Heelers’ ears will stand up by around six months of age. This is due to the cartilage and muscle surrounding the ear becoming strong enough to hold the ear up. It can take up to a year for the ears to become erect.
In some cases, it may take longer for a Heeler puppy’s ears to stand. Sometimes only one ear will stand up permanently and in other dogs, they may remain floppy their entire life.
Can Australian Cattle Dogs have floppy ears?
Yes, some Blue Heelers may have floppy ears their whole life. This is purely a cosmetic issue and not a cause for concern unless you are wanting to enter a dog show. There is not anything wrong with a Blue heeler with floppy ears. They just will not meet the breed standard.
Another reason that a Cattle Dog may have ears that don’t stand up is that they are not full-breed Australian Cattle Dogs. They may have another breed in the mix that traditionally has floppy ears. If you are not sure if your Heeler is purebred you can do a simple DNA test.
What causes a Blue Heeler to have floppy ears?
If a particular Blue Heeler has floppy ears it can be due to a couple of reasons. This may be related to genetics or cartilage and collagen produced during development.
The size of the ear will also have an effect. If a dog has small ears it won’t need as much strength to stand up as opposed to larger ears. A simple way to determine if your Heeler has small or large ears is to gently pull the tip of the ear towards the eye. If the ear doesn’t reach the outer corner of the ear it is small. If the ear reaches right across the eye it is bigger than normal.
Can I do anything to make my Blue Heelers floppy ears stand up?
If your Blue Heeler is over six to eight months old and their ears are not standing up on their own it is possible to give them some help. This can be done by using some medical tape to hold the ears in place to allow the cartilage to become stronger.
There are other items you can use to give the ear support such as cardboard, or cotton buds. In some cases, a vet can perform surgery to make the ear stand up but this is rarely done. Consult your vet for more information.
Summary – Blue Heeler floppy ears
Typically, a Blue Heelers’ ears will begin to stand erect from around six months of age but it can take up to a year. Around 5 to 10% may have ears that remain floppy their entire life or have only one ear that stands up.
Don’t be concerned that there is something wrong with your Heeler if their ears remain floppy. Although floppy ears don’t meet the breed standard it is purely a cosmetic issue.