This is a very important topic for me as I just love minis with nice, floppy ears. Yet I have been shy to post about it in the forum since many of dogs pictured here do have ears that stick up to some degree, and I didn't want anyone to think I was being critical. I'm sure to someone who has gotten to know minis with ears like that, it looks most attractive!
I never gave it much thought at the outset. When Lane and I picked out Scout, as far as I remember they all had nice floppy ears. Same when I got Muka.
So I was a little concerned when I was getting Pukalu sight-unseen, though I had discussions with the breeder about it and felt confident I'd be happy.
All breeds of dogs were created by man, and man chose the priorities. (This is why you need to buy from a responsible breeder that will care as much about health and temperament as appearance!) And since Schnauzer ears have traditionally been cropped, ears have not been a priority. In fact, stiff, upright ears would be the best choice for ears that were going to be cropped. So if they were made a priority, it was not to be nice and floppy!
Pukalu came to me with his ears glued down, and I'm not sure if it was because they were starting to go up, or just as a precaution because I was so concerned about it. Also, Scout and Muka have very different ears. Scout and Pukalu's are smaller and fall to the front, while Muka's are much bigger and fall more to the side. So mini ears vary greatly, just as they do with us.
Muka is so rough with Pukalu that I was worried the ears might be ripped undone, and that's just what happened to one. So I fussed for four days till it was time for his puppy checkup at which time we would decide what to do about it.
I must admit that I was kinda freaking out that having only one glued down might cause them to come out different in the end! Since the one that came loose was falling down nicely, we decided just to pull the other one open.
At first the newly opened one had more of a crease, but they have pretty much evened out. I was told from the start that you could help shape them by gently holding the crease in them and pressing lightly. I do this a few times a day and Pukalu just holds very still and doesn't seem to mind.
Being the perfectionist I am, I'm always looking to see if the ears match each other. Which is just about impossible as the slightest look in one direction or the other sets them different. For sure they are both falling down nicely.
(I used to look straight into the mirror so that I could cut my sideburns to the same length. Thing is, one ear is higher than the other. So using that method, one sideburn would be longer than the other! We really aren't that symmetrical if you look closely.)
As I understand it, anytime during the puppy's growth period the ears can start to stand up and out. And if this happens, I will need to re-glue them. I have two breeder friends to help me, but I would probably drive to Salem to have Pukalu's breeder do it because she's done it for so many years and is highly skilled at it.
It takes a little skill, because you can't glue them then adjust them to perfection. It's super glue, and you just get one shot! Well, I'd always heard the term super glue. Here's what the instructions that came with Pukalu say:Dogs who do not have ears cropped may not have ears which will stay down and you will have "bat ears" or even one up and one down. At the age of 12 weeks the ears should be hugging the puppy's cheeks if you want uncropped ears.
If there is ANY lift at this age the ears are going to go up. When the ears are uncropped they are supposed to be small and v-shaped, folding close to the skull. Some people glue the ears in position to try to train them to flop properly. If you do, use the right glue, Tear Mender.
First medical grade felt was glued on the underside of Pukalu's ears so that its weight would help hold them down even if they came unglued. It's still working it's way off. If you follow the Tear Mender link, it says that you can also apply the glue alone for this purpose... not to glue them down, but simply to weigh them down.