Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dog Ears - Shapes and Sizes

Statistical analysis of dog ear shapes
h2meyer photography
I've done a lot of obscure research about dogs during the last 20 years, most of it while writing my dissertation.  Quite honestly, I've been collecting and analyzing data that few people really want to know.  But if you're one of the few, you might find this interesting, or at least mildly amusing.
Ear shape of 374 breeds of dogs
Of the 374 breeds described in The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World

232 have drop ears 

78 have erect ears 

 17 breeds have rose ears

18 have semi drop ears

Ear flaps are traditionally docked in 18 breeds
(If left as nature intended, the ear shape would vary, as it's a trait not selected for)

And 10 breeds have ears anyway they want to be.

Another obscure ear shape fact: When Europeans first explored the new world they noted in their journals that all of the Native American breeds had prict ears and vocalized by howling, not barking.

If you want to know more about dog ear flaps, or just cool stuff about dogs, here are some sources:

Allen, G. M. (1920).  Dogs of the American Aborigines.  Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology,  Harvard College, 43 (9).

Brackman, J., (2001).  Engineering Pedigreed Dogs:  A Semiotic Perspective.  Semiotica Journal, 133-1/4, 141-155.  (Doctor Barkman's dissertation)

Wilcox, B., and Walkowicz, C. (1989).  The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World  (5th ed. rev.). Neptune City, NJ:  TFH Pub. Inc. 


  1. That is fun to know about. Mine has all of them, lol. It depends on his mood and sometimes one ear folds.


  2. Never heard of rose ears - how interesting!

  3. What are prict ears? Can't wait to mention a few of these facts at the first Christmas event!!! Alas, my dogs ears are the hum drum drop ears of 62% of the 374 dog breeds.

    1. Mimi - Prict ears are the same as erect ears. Yes, it's good to have these facts for cocktail chatter - as long as you're cocktailing with dog people.