Why Do Pitbull Ears Stand Straight Up?

Pitbulls are popular for their muscular bodies and pointy ears. But what exactly is the reason why Pitbull ears stand straight up?

Overall, some Pitties have pointy ears while others have floppy lobes. It all depends on a variety of factors, which I discussed below.

pitbull ears stand straight up

In general, all dogs will have their ears perking up whenever they are hearing something. It’s also a body language that may indicate the canine’s mood.

Reasons why a Pitbull’s ears stand up

why do pitbull ears stand straight up
Photo by Leonardo Merlo on Pexels.com

1.    Genetics

The main reason why a Pitbull’s ears will stand up is its genetics. Some Pitties are born with perky ears even before physical modifications are done.

Still, the firmness and ‘pointiness’ of the canine’s ears will vary across Pitbull breeds. It’s because some Pitties have firmer ear cartilage than others in the same lineage.

Take note that Pitbulls were originally bred for bullbaiting. This is why they have stocky bodies, low gait, and upright ears.

This same physical appearance has been passed on to generations of Pitties, even after bullbaiting has been banned.

Aside from that, many breeders intentionally produce Pitbulls with upright ears. They do this by cross-breeding two Pitbulls with such physical attributes.

2.    Alertness

An upright ear indicates that the dog is alert. This applies not just to Pitbulls, but also to almost every dog breed.

It’s possible that your Pittie smelled or heard something that caught its attention. You’ll see its ears perking up all of a sudden together with a curious look.

Aside from that, the dog’s tail will also be rigid and steady. It’s a sign that the pooch is focused and trying to locate where the stimuli are coming from.

For Pitbulls trained to be guard dogs, this could also mean that they are ready to attack anytime. Burglars will surely think twice upon seeing your Pitbull with its intimidating gaze and alert ears.

3.    Excitement

Excitement can also make your Pitbull’s ears stand up. This can happen if you call the dog’s name, offer it a treat, or do anything that will cause anticipation.

In this case, the ears are just straight up and not really pointing in a specific direction as with being alert.

4.    Ear cropping

The most common reason why a Pitbull’s ears stand up is ear cropping. This procedure is done by cropping or clipping a portion of the canine’s ear lobes.

By reducing the earlobe’s size, it’s less likely to become floppy. It will also allow the Pitbull to hear better aside from reducing its risk of developing ear infections.

However, there are divided takes on the safety of ear cropping. Other pet owners argue that this is unnecessary and inhumane.

On the other hand, ear cropping enthusiasts counter by stating that ear cropping is necessary to maintain the look of the breed.

Overall, ear cropping is widely done by breeders. It’s also a staple requirement for dog shows to meet breed standards.

So how is ear cropping done? Basically, the dog will be anesthetized and parts of the ear will be cut off.

After that, the ears will be taped or posted for a few weeks until it heals. This way, the ears will firm up in an upright position.

Take note that ear cropping should only be done by a professional. For the best results, it’s ideal to have it done on your dog around the age of 6 to 12 weeks.

5.    Ear taping

Another practice done to keep a Pitbull’s ears upright is ear taping. This is usually done after ear cropping, but it can also be a standalone solution.

In this method, medical tape and pieces of cardboard are used to ‘post’ the canine’s ears. This will be done for weeks until the dog’s ears are upright.

Moreover, it’s recommended to replace the posting every week to prevent the risk of infection. Also, this is to check whether the posting or taping is actually yielding results.

Are Pitbull ears supposed to stand up?

In most cases, a Pitbull’s ear will stand up and then have a little flop at the top. Meanwhile, there are some Pitties with firmer ears with a point profile.

Whether a Pitbull’s ears should stand up or not depends on the pet owner. Overall, there’s nothing wrong if your dog is born with floppy or pointy ears.

If the appearance of your dog’s ears doesn’t affect its health, there’s really no reason for you to modify it. This is unless you’re intending to have your dog compete on dog shows or become a guard dog

Why do Pitbull’s ears fold forward?

While Pitbulls are stereotyped to have alert ears, some are actually born with floppy earlobes. This is normal, which gives Pitties a goofy and friendlier look.

Unless your dog’s ears become floppy suddenly, there’s really nothing to worry about. While some consider ear cropping to resolve folded ears, you shouldn’t do it if there’s no immediate purpose for you and your dog.

Why is one of my Pitbull’s ears floppy?

A misshapen or uneven ear is normal for some dogs. However, if it happened all of a sudden, your Pittie might be dealing with a health problem.

One droopy ear might be a sign of ear infections, injury, or malnutrition. If you suspect any of this, I suggest that you bring your Pitbull to the vet for proper examination and diagnosis.

Nevertheless, a single droopy ear since puppyhood might be due to an underdeveloped pinna. The pinna is made of skin and cartilage, which is the visible part of the ear.

In most cases, underdeveloped pinnas in dogs are harmless and can be left alone. If the pup is still under 6 months old, it can be corrected through posting or taping.

What Pitbull breed has pointy ears?

All Pitbull breeds can have pointy ears. For the most part, these canines commonly undergo ear cropping, which gives their ears a pulled-back, upright look.

Overall, the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier can have pointy ears. It can be through genetics or external modification.

How much does it cost to have my Pitbull’s ears clipped?

On average, ear cropping costs around $100 to $600, depending on where you take your dog. Most of the time, legitimate Pitbull breeders can perform this procedure or know someone you can contact.

But if you want to ensure the safety of your dog, you should only have ear cropping done by a licensed veterinarian. While it’s more expensive, it guarantees faster healing and better results.

Can you crop a Pitbull’s ears after 6 months?

Ear cropping is ideally done until a dog is 6 months old. So if your Pittie is already older, the vet may no longer recommend the procedure.

It’s because an adult dog’s pinna is already firm and may not produce good results. In some cases, the vet can still perform ear cropping on an adult dog but don’t expect it to be as seamless as with a puppy.

If you intend to have your Pitbull’s ears cropped, you can do so as early as 9 weeks old. This will increase the success rate of the procedure.

How long do Pitbull’s ears need to be taped?

pitbull ear taping

The process of ear taping in dogs may take up to 6 months, depending on the breed. For Pitties, it can be a few weeks to at least 3 months.

However, if your Pitbull’s ears are still slightly floppy, the vet may recommend taping for another month. But if the pooch’s ears remain floppy even after taping, it’s unlikely that it will ever stand up.


There are many reasons why a Pitbull’s ears stand straight up. It can be due to genetics, ear cropping, taping, or simply a sign of excitement or alertness.

Most Pittie owners who want to achieve this ear appearance on their pets will opt for ear cropping. If you wish to have this procedure done on your dog, you must consult a veterinarian first.

Above all, only a licensed veterinarian should perform ear cropping to ensure good results. It’s also a matter of safety for your dog.

Written By