Have you ever noticed how cute a pooch looks with pointy ears? It gives them an almost surprised yet excited expression that will not cease to make you laugh. You may be surprised to know that this is not just a happy accident of genes and evolution, either.
Dogs that have pointed or pricked ears have been gifted through generations of ancestors. These upright ears were used to pick up sounds from food, prey, and other family members. It is what helped them stay safe and survive in the days of wild dogs.
In this day and age, though, they no longer need the uprights for protection, but they still serve a purpose. Let’s look at some awesome pups with pointy ears.
Breeds With Upright Ears
1. Siberian Husky
This medium to large size dog features the upright pointed ears we all love. They are a bushy furred, cold-weather pooch that loves their family, is affectionate, and great with kids. They also need a lot of exercise and do not do well with long absences. On the other hand, the Husky is happy to meet new people and other dogs.
2. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is another pointed eared pooch that is known for its police dog work and service dog position. They are a large-sized breed that is intelligent, full of energy, and obedient to the right handler. This pup can be dominant and does not take kindly to strangers or other dogs. They are also territorial of their space, home, and yard.
3. West Highland Terrier
Our next pointed eared contestant is a small, robust, and agile pooch that is well known for its white coarse fur. Also called “Westies” these little bundles of trouble are full of mischief. They can be great family pets as long as they are trained with a firm hand correctly. Otherwise, they can wreak havoc in your home.
4. Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog, or ACD, is a medium-sized pooch that is muscular, agile, and energetic. Typically multi-colored, this prick-eared pal has an abundance of intelligence, energy, and friendliness. They have been bred as herding animals, but they make good guard dogs and are loyal family pets. This pup is also wary of strangers and other dogs they don’t know.
5. Akita Inu
This large fluffy pooch has cute triangle ears that stand at attention on a massive head. This is a very loyal dog that makes a great family protector. They have a lot of energy, dignity, and courage. The Akita originated in Japan, and they are at their best with a close human companion to play with and protect. To balance out their tiny ears, they have a beautiful upward curling tail.
Our next pup with pointed ears looks like a giant white fluff ball. This happy pooch is a medium-sized breed that was used to herd reindeer. They also make a great guard dog, are very friendly, and have what is known as the “Sammie Smile”. The Samoyed needs daily exercise, and they will bark consistently if left alone for long periods.
7. Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is one of four Belgian herding dogs. This fast, obedient pooch is loyal and is another breed that has been used in police work. They make great family dogs as long as a lot of space and exercise are available. The Malinois is also extremely intelligent, but they do require a firm leader to follow.
A tiny upright-eared pet is the Chihuahua. Considered a toy breed, this little ankle biter is full of personality, love, and intelligence. Although this breed is small, it can have a dominant side that works better with an owner that can take control. They also require a good bit of playtime, but since their little legs only go so far, even apartment play is enough for them.
9. Swedish Vallhund
Honey, we shrunk the German Shepherd! This adorable pup is a small-sized breed that resembles, you guessed it, a German Shepherd. With their pointy ears, this little pup was used in farm work, and he has his fair share of intelligence. This dog is a good family pet, has a lot of personality, and enjoys games that promote their mental stimulation. Besides that, the SV loves to work with you and is eager to please.
10. Bull Terrier
Also well known as the “Frankenweenie”, this is another pooch featuring pricked ears. The Bull Terrier comes in either standard size or miniature. Both are friendly, protective, loyal, and energetic. This breed can also be aggressive with strangers and other pets. Eary obedience training is recommended. Other than that, this is an affectionate, well-rounded little muscle dog.
11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a friendly, lovable, and intelligent pet that is eager to please and play. Equipped with pointed ears, a big smile, and a nubbed tail, they are easy to train. The Corgi also makes a great family pet. As smaller sized pups, they have great patience with kids and can adapt to apartment living, although, they still require a lot of activity.
12. Portuguese Podengo
This next pooch is a highly active pet that also comes in a small or large size. They have short, coarse fur and have an alert, playful, and friendly disposition. They are also funny and will make you laugh with their antics. This little rascal is harder to train due to their independence, though. Other than that, they are skilled at agility contests and other similar activities.
The Pointy Ear Groups
As we mentioned above, the reason why a dog’s ears stand at attention has a lot to do early day survival techniques. Pups were also bred to have this type of ear to assist them in their responsibilities. If you noticed, many of the pups listed come from a few specific canine families.
Nowadays, breeders and those who enjoy dog shows and other purebred events, have specific “sub” terms for ears. For example, there are the “candle flame” pricked ears that are meant to look like the flame of a candle. These are things judges will consider when choosing the winner.
To get back to upright ear families, let’s take a look at the different groups of canines that have this distinct and cute feature.
The Herding Family
Herding dogs, such as the Australian Cattle Dog and the Corgi, were bred to help farmers keep their sheep, cattle, and other barnyard animals together while moving them from place to place. They were also in charge of keeping the group together while grazing and doing other stationary activities.
This type of helpful pooch is very intelligent and obedient. Their pointed ears would allow them to hear low signals from their owners and the distinct sound of an escapee. Although the herding dog still does this job all over the world, they have taken on other functions, as well.
Breeds like the German Shepherd have become K9 police dogs, and they are often used as service animals. Also great family dogs, many of them also excel at protective duties, too.
The Toy Family
This tiny group of dogs was also though to be bred for working purposes, but not all of them. The Chihuahua, for example, has ancestors dating back to ancient Egypt, and their original purpose is well-debated. It is believed they were used as companion dogs, plus they may have been buried as a sacrifice when a well-to-do person was mummified.
That being said, many other toy breeds were bred to catch small rodents and vermin in the house and on the farm. Their upright ears would help them hear the tiny pitter-patter of mice feet. Their erect ears would also help them catch dinner.
In our modern world, small toy breeds typically live a life of luxury. They make great companions and lapdogs, although, many still enjoy an active lifestyle.
The Terrier Family
This breed of dog has 31 different variations. They are small to medium-sized pups, and many of them feature pricked ears. Like some pups from the toy family, this pooch was also bred to chase and hunt small vermin on the farm. While there is some debate about whether the smaller toy breeds were originally bred to work or be companions, with the Terrior there is no doubt.
With members ranging from the West Highland to the Bull Terrier, these energy-packed pups got the job done right. They would be able to keep the farm and gardens free of mice, rats, rabbits, possums, raccoons, and other similarly sized rodents. Tougher and slightly larger breeds, like the Bull Terrier, could even take on bigger prey like foxes, coyotes, badgers, and snakes.
Although not all the members of this family have upright ears, most of them do. They would have been helpful to hear small paws, sneak attacks, and commands from their owner. This pooch is now an energetic family dog that is protective, funny, and energetic.
The Working Family
The working family is much like the herding family. In fact, the latter was originally part of the working group until the early twentieth century when they were separated due to their specific job roles and abilities. The working family includes some of the biggest and muscular dogs around. The Samoyed and Siberian Husky are two of the hardest working of the bunch.
Even though this pooch is well able to herd animals, their responsibilities extended to pulling sleds, pushing carts, protecting people, and guarding property, among many other activities. Typically, this pup is eager to help their owner and is happiest after a long day of work.
As far as their pointed ears, they would aid the dog in hearing commands, locating predators or trespassers, and finding food. This type of pooch still makes a helpful companion and is typically great with families and kids. Like their ancestors, though, they still feel the need to be protective, use a lot of energy, plus they can be territorial.
In the “pointed ear” category, there are two other families. The first is the semi-pointed family. These pups have ears that stand up, but the tip of the ear usually falls over. This is also a breed whos ears can lay all the way over, as well. There is some debate over why this happens. It could be due to evolution. No longer needing to hunt for food and be alert 24/7, the ears may have started to flop over a bit. On the other hand, it could be due to cross-breeding the species over the decades. Either way, they are super cute pups.
The second family is the faux-pointed ear family. This is a touchy area for many dog lovers, and it is a hot topic of debate in many canine circles. Basically, this is a dog that has pricked ears, yet they were not born that way.
During infancy, their ears were cropped to make them appear as though they stand straight up. Although there is no “real” reason to do this, breeders and dog show enthusiasts argue it is for aesthetic reasons and does not harm the dog either way.
Whether it is a working dog or a toy breed, a Cordi or a German Shepherd, these pointy-eared pups are fun, loveable, and great listeners. Though the erect ears once gave them the upper hand in herding, hunting, and other activities, they now serve the purpose of making them irresistible. Of course, they can still help with the whole hearing thing, as well.
We hope you have enjoyed this list of our favorite pricked pooches.
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- Breeds With Upright Ears
- 1. Siberian Husky
- 2. German Shepherd
- 3. West Highland Terrier
- 4. Australian Cattle Dog
- 5. Akita Inu
- 6. Samoyed
- 7. Belgian Malinois
- 8. Chihuahua
- 9. Swedish Vallhund
- 10. Bull Terrier
- 11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- 12. Portuguese Podengo
- The Pointy Ear Groups
- The Herding Family
- The Toy Family
- The Terrier Family
- The Working Family
- Other Families