Very few things are as adorable as border collie puppies, so it is quite understandable that they’re so popular. However, dog owners have wondered what the deal is with their pointy ears.

Border collies probably have the most distinct ears of all dog breeds. Collies are not born with ears facing any particular direction, which is why their ears are always either down or up.

Border Collies have long ears which come in two different shapes. First, we have the “bat ear” or the “erect ear” which appears when the ears are up. The second type of border collie ear is the dropped or semi-erect ear. This happens when the ears of the collie are hanging down. When semi-erect, the tips may fall forward or outward to the side.” The ears of an average border collie are medium-sized with pointy ends.

Though some border collies are born with just one ear shape, the combination of both ear types is more common.

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Learn About Border Collie Ear Anatomy: The Basics

If you’re a dog lover, you know that every dog breed has its unique physical traits, including the ear anatomy. Border Collies, in particular, have a fascinating range of ear types that showcase the breed’s healthy mix of genes from its days as a rural shepherd’s dog.

Like all dogs, a Border Collie’s ear has three parts: the outer, middle, and inner ear. The outer ear is made up of the furry ear flap (called the pinna) and the ear canal. Border Collies have large pinnae that they can move to capture sounds better than humans.

A Border Collie’s ear is well-supplied with muscles, blood vessels, and nerves that make their hearing abilities many times better than ours.

Interestingly, every breed standard specifies the shape, position, and size of a dog’s ears, including those of Border Collies. However; Border Collies are unique in that they can have completely erect, completely dropped, or a variety of “tag,” “airplane,” or other ear types that can vary from one ear to the other or even change according to the dog’s mood.

Research has shown that Border Collie ear types may be related to certain gene variants in dogs. For many Border Collie lovers, this variability is an endearing trait that is specifically mentioned in breed standards.

However – as breeding Border Collies for show becomes more popular – some owners have become obsessed with achieving the “perfect” ear. Despite this, many still appreciate the mobile and expressive quality of Border Collie ears, regardless of the ear type.


Border Collies’ unique ear types showcase the breed’s healthy mix of genes and are a fascinating aspect of canine anatomy.
Though breed standards specify the shape and size of a dog’s ears, Border Collies can have completely different ear types that can vary from one ear to the other or change according to the dog’s mood.

The Border Collie ears shapes are not just a matter of fashion, but a fascinating aspect of canine anatomy that highlights the breed’s unique heritage and characteristics.

Can the Ear Type of a Border Collie be Pre-Determined?

It is not possible to pre-determine the ear shape of your border collie puppy. Each puppy has its distinct ear type, even puppies from one litter could have different ear shapes.

However, the ear shape of your collie could change as they grow older. The ears should begin to stand from the moment they’re 8 months old.

Border collie puppy - black and white ear

Border Collies with Tipped Ears

There have been a lot of open discussions about what a border collie ear should look like over the years. Some dog owners believe a border collie should be a working dog and so there should be less emphasis on its appearance, while there are those who believe that breeding should strictly be for appearance.

Those who believe in the working role of the collie believe that by fixating on factors like the shape and symmetry of the ears, owners are overshadowing the real purpose of the dog which is strictly for working.

How to make your Collie’s Ear Tipped:

There are very few things as cute as the tipped ear of a border collie. This could be achieved in several ways; a surgical tape is one such means. However, a better option would be to use a tear mender. A tear mender is a type of fabric adhesive without harsh chemicals so the skin is safe from irritation.

Place a tiny portion of the tear mender on your border collie’s ear tip and fold while making sure it is glued to the center of the ear. This keeps the dog’s ear tips folded for a couple of days till it eventually comes off.

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Pointy Border Collie Ears

Genetics is the major determinant of a border collie’s ear type. Not every border collie possesses pointy ears.

A collie whose parents are pointy-eared is more likely to have pointy ears. If two border collies with pointy ears have a puppy, the puppy will most likely have pointy ears too.

A puppy’s odds of having pointy ears are significantly reduced when only one of its parents has pointy ears.

Border Collie Pointy ears
Border Collie Pointed Ears

Floppy Border Collie Ears

The development of floppy ears in border collies is influenced by ear cartilage. This is not exactly a factor that is predictable and has no effect whatsoever on the collie’s quality of life. A floppy ear will not stop a border collie from raising its ears if it detects a sound.

Why is my Border Collie Unable to Lift More than One Ear?

Several factors can impede a border collie’s ability to lift both ears. It could be a result of injury or infection.

Another reason could be that the collie is paying attention to sounds from a certain direction. The lifting of only one ear could also be a sign of deafness, so you might want to get your dog tested at the vet’s if it exhibits this symptom.

How Do I Get My Collie’s Ears to Stand Up?

The ears of an average border collie become erect from ages 5 to 8 months. There’s actually no way to know if your collie will have erect ears when it gets to that age. This can only be predicted through genetics.

If by 8 months your collie’s ears are not standing you can help them achieve this feat by using tape to stand it up.

This is only a temporary solution and should not be used for more than a couple of days on each occasion. Leaving the tape on your dog’s ears for a long time can expose the dog to long-term damage.

And if genetics is the cause of your dog’s ear positioning, then taping cannot help to correct that.

Read also: Discovering the Truth: Can Dogs Really Dive?

Should my Collie’s Ears Be Taped?

Taping is a means of helping your collie’s ears stand erect if it cannot stand on its own.

Taping should not be carried out on dogs that are over 8 months old. Taping is only a means to correct the problem since a dog’s ligaments are hardly strong enough before 8 months. A tape will hold the ears until the ligaments are strong enough to support the ears.

In this case, you should use an Elastoplast or surgical tape.

How to tape my collie’s ears

Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you want to tape your collie’s ears:

  • Choose a medical tape that is gentle on your pup’s skin.
  • Choose the direction you want the tape to follow. This will of course depend on the direction of the collie’s ear. Tape the inside of the ear facing the outside, and do the same if it is in the other direction.
  • Make sure the tape is replaced every few days so your dog’s skin does not get irritated.

Cleaning your Collie’s Ears

A healthy pup should at least have clean ears. A clean pup’s ear is one whose interior is without accumulation of wax and debris. If left unattended, accumulated wax and debris could cause ear infections for your dog.

Furthermore, it is wrong to clean your collie’s ears with cotton buds. This is because, cotton buds can easily push the debris and wax down the ear of the collie which will only make cleaning harder and worse, leading to ear infections.

Alternatively, you can use a gauze or wet cloth to get rid of the debris and wax from your collie’s ear.

Pour the cleaning fluid into your pup’s ears and gently massage the ears from the bottom until the debris and wax stuck inside are released.

The cleaning fluid will come out as soon as the collie shakes its head, releasing both the fluid and other debris from the ears so there’s no need to worry about it causing any harm.

Border Collie Ear Infection

It is not uncommon to find border collies with ear infections. Parasitic invasion, and accumulation of debris and wax, are some of the things that can cause border collie ear infections.

Symptoms of Ear Infection

If you notice any unusual scratching or pawing by your border collie or discharge or if the collie keeps shaking its ear, it probably has an ear infection.

A border collie’s ear canal is pink, so if it turns brown or red, there is probably a problem. Also, if you notice any swelling around the ear canal, contact your vet.

Left untreated an ear infection can pose serious damage to your border collie, one of which could be deafness.

This is why it is not advisable to leave your collie’s ears unattended when you notice any of the above symptoms.

How to treat border collie ear infection:

The vet will likely prescribe anti-inflammatories and antibiotics if an infection is diagnosed. Regularly cleaning the ears will also prevent the recurrence of the infection.

Viable home treatment suggestions for ear infection:

There are several home treatment suggestions for border collie ear infections depending on what caused the infection.

  • Apple cider vinegar is a great home remedy for border collie ear infections. It alleviates the collie’s discomfort and irritation.
  • Soak some gauze in a vinegar and water mixture and use it to clean the outer part of the collie’s ears.
  • Insert the solution properly by squirting it into the ear canal and massaging the lower half of the ear.

If you notice anything amiss with your collie’s ears don’t wait until it becomes worse before calling a vet because dog ears are quite delicate and early detection could potentially save your dog’s life.


Border Collie ear types are a fascinating aspect of canine anatomy that showcases the breed’s unique heritage and characteristics. While genetics primarily determines the ear type, some owners have become obsessed with achieving the “perfect” ear for show purposes.

Taping is a temporary solution that can help a Collie’s ears stand up, but it should only be done before 8 months old with a gentle medical tape. In general, the ears of Border Collies are a beloved and endearing trait of the breed, regardless of their shape.

Categories: Dogs


Marco Heitner

Hello, my Name is Marco. My family has had pets since I can remember. Today we have a large aquarium and, since recently, a four-month old Labrador. I am the owner of this website, and it is my great pleasure to provide helpful knowledge about pets. Our team is constantly working hard to publish well-researched reports here.


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