Types of Border Collie Ears (Up or Down)

Border Collie Ears. Photo close-up of a Border Collie with its ears erect.

Border collie ears are one of the most distinctive features about these dog breeds. Some people may wonder why border collies have either up or down ears, but this is because they are not naturally born with their ears pointing in a specific direction.

Border Collies are known for their long ears. Border Collies typically have two types of ear shapes.

One is the erect or “bat ear,” which is when the Border Collie’s ears are up. A Border Collie with erect ears is said to be “pricked.”

The other Border Collie ear type is semi erect ears or dropped ears, which is when the Border Collie’s ears hang down.

Border collies can also be born with just one type of ear shape, but it’s more common to see them with both types combined in different ways, up, down, or up and down at the same time.

Below we’ll explore more about both types of ears and how to take care of a Border Collie’s ears.

What type of ears will my border collie have?

Border Collies are not naturally born with their ears pointing in a specific direction. Their ears can be up, down, or a combination of the two.

Determining which ear shape your Border Collie will have as a puppy is not possible. Each puppy’s ears, even from the same litter, may have different shapes.

Your Border Collie puppy’s ears shape can change as he or she matures and they grow older. Your border collies ears should stand up on their own when they reach 8 months old.

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Why do some border collies have pointy ears?

Not all Border Collies have pointy ears, but some do. The type of ear a Border Collie has is determined by genetics.

Pointy ears are more common in Border Collies when their parents also had pointy ears. If both of a Border Collie’s parents have pointy ears, there is a good chance the pup will also have pointy ears.

If only one of the Border Collie’s parents has pointy ears, there is still a chance the pup will have pointy ears, but it is not as likely.

What are floppy ears on Border Collies?

Floppy ear on Border Collies happens due to their ears cartilage development. It’s a fairly common trait in Border Collies.

There is no way to predict if and when a Border Collie will develop floppy ears, and it doesn’t reduce the health or quality of life for them either. Your Border collie will still raise its ears when it detects a sound just as normal.

Why does my Border Collie only lift one ear?

There are many reasons why a Border Collie may only lift one ear. It could be because the pup is deaf in that ear, or there could be an infection or injury.

It can also mean that he or she is trying to listen to the sound coming from a specific direction.

Although, if your Border Collie only lifts one ear, it is best to take him or her to the vet to get it checked out. You may also want to get his or her hearing tested to ensure he or she is not deaf.

How do you tell if your dog’s ears will stand up?

Border Collie’s ears stand on their own by 5 to 8 months old. The only way to predict if your Border Collie pup will have fully erect ears is by looking at its parents. Other than that, it is not possible to predict.

How to get your Border Collie’s ears to stand up

If the ears of your Border Collie are not standing up by 8 months old, you can try to help them stand up by taping them up.

Make sure you only use this ear correction method as a temporary solution and do not leave the tape on for more than a few days at a time. You can cause long-term damage if you leave the tape on for too long.

If the ears of your Border Collie are incorrectly positioned due to genetics, then taping will not correct the problem.

Should you tape your collie’s ears?

If your Border Collie’s ears are floppy and not standing up on their own, then you should consider taping them.

This is only a temporary solution and should not be done for more than a few days at a time.

Taping the ears is only recommended for dogs under 8 months of age. It can help correct the problem until their ear ligaments become strong enough to hold their ears up on their own.

What type of tape should I use?

If you do decide to tape your Border Collie’s ears, make sure to use surgical tape or Elastoplast. Do not leave the tape on for more than a few days at a time.

How to tape a Border Collie’s ears?

If you decide to use taping to correct your their ears, there are a few things you need to know:

  • First, you’ll need some medical tape. There are a few different types of medical tape available, so you’ll need to choose one that is gentle enough for your pup’s skin;
  • Next, you’ll need to decide which side of the ear you want to tape, depending on the direction the ear is bending. If it is bending to the outside, tape the inside and vice versa;
  • Now just place a small piece of tape where you want, and that’s it.

You’ll need to make sure you replace the tape every few days to avoid any skin irritation.

How to make my Border Collie’s ears tip

How cute is a Border Collie with tipped ears? There are many ways to make your Border Collie’s ears tip. You can use surgical tape and more to achieve this.

But, a great and easy way is to glue the tip of its ears with Tear Mender, which is a fabric adhesive that does not contain any harsh chemicals and does not irritate the skin.

Just put a tiny pea of Tear Mender on the tip of your Border Collie’s ear and fold, gluing it to the center part of the ear. The Tear Mender will keep the tip of the ear folded for a few days until it starts to come off.

How to Clean a Border Collie Ears

Taking care of their ears is the first step to having a healthy pup. Wax and other debris accumulate in the interior of your pup’s ear. If left unattended, it can cause a painful infection on your Border Collie’s ears.

First, do not use cotton buds to clean your dog’s ears. You may think this is the best way to clean them, but it’s not. You can actually push the wax and debris further down into your pup’s ear, which will make it harder to get rid of and could potentially cause an infection.

Instead, use a damp cloth or gauze with ear cleaning to remove any wax or debris from the exterior of your pup’s ear.

Then you can fill your pup’s ear with the cleaning fluid and massage the bottom of the ears helping release some of the wax and debris stuck inside.

Do not worry about cleaning the fluid because your Border Collie will shake its head, and the fluid will come off along with the wax and other debris.

Ear Infection in Border Collies

Ear infection in Border Collies is a common problem. It can be caused by wax and debris accumulation, contact with water, or an invasion of parasites.

Symptoms of an ear infection on Border Collies

If your Border Collie is scratching or pawing at his ears a lot, has a discharge coming out of his ears, or is shaking his head more than usual, then he may have an ear infection.

These are all signs that you need to get to the vet ASAP.

What does an ear infection look like on Border Collies?

The ear canal should be pink, but if it turns red or brown, then something is wrong. The ear canal should also look smooth and should not be swollen.

Will an ear infection go away on its own?

An ear infection on a Border Collie will not go away on its own. If left untreated, it can cause serious damage to your pup’s ears and may even lead to deafness.

So, it is important to get your pup to the vet as soon as you notice any of the symptoms, so the vet can prescribe the proper ear infection treatment.

How to treat an ear infection in Border Collies?

If your Border Collie is diagnosed with an ear infection, the vet will most likely prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.

The vet may also recommend cleaning the ears regularly at home to prevent the infection from returning.

Home treatment for an ear infection

Fortunately, there are many things you can do at home, and treatment will vary depending on the causes of the infection.

But, an excellent home remedy to treat your Border Collie’s ear infection is apple cider vinegar.

It can help with the irritation and discomfort of an ear infection. A simple vinegar and water solution is all it takes to clean the visible parts of the ear with a gauze soaked with it made out of 1 part vinegar, and 1 part filtered water.

Ensure that the solution is properly inserted into the ear canal by squirting it and then softly massaging below the ear.

What does it mean when a Border Collie holds their ears back?

There are many reasons for a Border Collie to hold its ears back, such as fear, excitement, and their herding instincts kicking in.

  • When a Border Collie is afraid, it will usually hold its ears back as a way of showing submission.
  • When a Border Collie’s herding instincts are kicked in, it will usually hold its ears back.
  • When a Border Collie is excited, it will usually hold its ears back as a way to release the energy.


Border Collies with up or down ears are equally great. If you like the natural ear shape of your Border Collie, don’t think about changing it.

However, if you want to change the way your dog’s ears point, there are some techniques that can help you improve this.

Also, pay attention to your dog’s ears. If you notice something is wrong, don’t wait until it becomes worse. Address the issue immediately in order not to put your pup at risk.

Remember, a dog’s ear is very delicate and can get infected easily. So, it is your job as a responsible pet owner to make sure that you are cleaning your Border Collie’s ears regularly to avoid any irritation or infections.

Now that you know the different types of Border Collie ears – up or down, and how to care for them, you can help your pup live a healthy life.

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Andre Neves

Hi, I'm Andre and I'm the owner of Sula the Border Collie. I love writing about this amazing dog breed here. I joined the Council to be able to reach and educate more people on the joy of having a pet dog.