Let’s be honest, one of the most endearing features of French Bulldogs are their adorable bat ears! A common fear and concern for new Frenchie owners is wondering if their Frenchie is destined to have floppy ears or only one ear that is erect.
Each puppy is on his or her own time table, even when from the same litter. We had one puppy that was virtually born with erect ears and another that took almost 4 months to stand up straight. However, there are a few puppies (less than 10%) which have stubborn ears which don’t want to stand up on their own. In these cases, a little training of the ears for 5 to 7 days by taping them (as explained below) will take care of it. Very rarely, it will be necessary to tape them up a couple of times. However, the majority of the time they are up between 5 – 14 weeks.
When they do start to go up, they frequently don’t go up at the same time. Their ears do all kinds of wonky things in the teething stage. For example, one ear might be up and one might be down, then the next day opposite ears will stand and lay down. One or two ears might start going up, and then the next day they both might be down. One ear may be up weeks before the other ear stands up. Also, when they do start standing up they are often not completely erect (they look more like airplane wings). The point is, when he/she is done teething, his/her ears will almost always stand correctly. Have patience and let nature take it’s course, and when he or she is ready his/her ears will be straight and beautiful!
If your Frenchie is over 14 weeks old and his/her ears are still not up or showing signs of going up, it is time to start thinking about taping them up so that they will be nice and straight in adulthood. When we purchased our little Ayla at 7 weeks, her breeder had her ears taped up. Though Ayla was still very young, she wanted to assist her since her siblings already had erect ears. In our personal opinion, it was not necessary and a little premature in Alya’s case, and was probably the reason her ears did not stand up directly on top of her head but were actually canted a little to the side in adulthood.
The best way we have found to tape the ears is to start by taping each ear individually with 1.4 inch wide masking tape and then connecting the two ears with the same tape. Start by tearing off a small piece of tape just long enough to loosely wrap around the ear one time (front and back) towards the base of the ear. Make sure that the ear is kept flat when wrapped or when you take the tape off you will see the folds where the ear was bent and crinkled. Do the exact same thing on the other ear. Once both ears are wrapped, orient them properly on the top of the head where they should stand once erect (envision the ears standing at 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock). Then tape a bridge from one ear to the other. Do so by tearing off a piece of tape that is just long enough to reach from the outer side of one ear to the outer side of the other. Do this on the front and back sides to provide more support and so that the sticky sides of the tape are stuck together. It is hard to explain in writing and I’m pretty sure even harder for you to understand. Hopefully the pictures will help give you a better idea.
Leave the tape in place for several days (up to a week) and then gently peel it off. If the ears were close to being ready to stand up on their own they should stay up indefinitely. If the ears were still far from the time when they would have naturally gone up on their own, they may need to be re-taped a week or two later.