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9 Dog Breeds With Pointy Ears

Australian Cattle dogs in the autumn
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Whether you’re scrolling pet adoption profiles to find a new best friend or watching social media reels of adorable animal companions, it’s hard not to fall for dog breeds with pointy ears.

Let’s face it: dogs with pointy ears are downright adorable. And although a number of different dog breeds have them – from Chihuahuas and Papillons to Alaskan Malamutes and Corgis.

“Dogs with pointed ears are guaranteed to provide endless entertainment, as most dogs are highly expressive with them,” says Marissa Sunny, supervisor of lifesaving and care at Best Friends Animal Society

Dogs with Pointy Ears: A Brief History

Because it’s a common ear structure, you’ll spot dogs with pointy ears (also called pricked ears) everywhere from the dog park to the pet store to the animal shelter.

This specific (and yes, incredibly cute!) type of ear spans across all sorts of dogs—ranging from big to small, black to white, and long-haired to short-haired. 

When it comes to their senses, dogs with pointy ears may hear better than their floppy-eared friends. In pointy-eared dogs, the pinna, which is the part of the outer ears that captures sound waves and directs them to the eardrum, has a larger surface area to collect sound. In fact, this might be the reason that wild dogs like wolves, jackals, and African wild dogs have pointy ears – it allows them to be more alert to potential danger.

It’s also important to note that dogs that are born with naturally pointy ears are different from dogs who have endured ear cropping. Ear cropping is a cosmetic procedure that is often performed between the ages of 6 and 12 weeks old and involves using a blade or scissors to change the shape of the ear. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association and several animal welfare organizations, including Best Friends Animal Society, oppose ear cropping for cosmetic reasons due to the limited benefits and potential risks.

9 Dog Breeds with Pointy Ears

They might differ in size, coloring, temperament, and grooming needs, but these nine dog breeds all have one thing in common: pointy ears.

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute in the forest

This breed, believed to descend from wolf dogs, is known as one of the oldest Arctic sled dog breeds. Alaskan Malamutes are strong, energetic working dogs that are protective of their families and thrive on positive, consistent training. Sunny describes the breed as “a beautiful, playful working dog [that] is high energy and does best in cool climates.”

Alaskan Klee Kai

Photo courtesy of @lifewithkleekai 

If you have a soft spot for sled dogs but live in an apartment or small space, the Alaskan Klee Kai can make an adorable alternative. This companion-sized dog breed was first created in the 1970s using four different types of dogs: Alaskan Husky, Siberian Husky, Schipperke, and American Eskimo Dog. Klee Kai have the endurance, speed, and heart of a Husky but in a smaller, pointy-eared package. Klee Kai can thrive as family pets and often develop a deep bond with their pet parents—although they may choose a favorite human. They are highly intelligent with an independent streak, thus will benefit from regular training—especially a solid recall—throughout their lives.

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog laying in a field of dandelions

As the name suggests, Australian Cattle Dogs were bred to herd cattle, nipping at their heels to get them to follow directions. These high-energy herding dogs are prized for their skills at working in warm temperatures and rough terrain across long distances. “These dogs are highly intelligent and playful,” Sunny says. “They benefit from a very involved family who can keep them busy.”


Basenji dog with cute ears

Weighing just 22 to 24 pounds, Basenjis might be small in size, but their personalities (and pointy ears) are larger than life. The historic African breed was once given to Egyptian pharaohs as gifts. “They are independent and incredibly intelligent,” according to Sunny. Basenjis need a lot of exercise and often enjoy high-energy sports like tracking and agility. 


Chihuahua dog in the grass

Thanks to their diminutive size and short hair, Sunny notes that Chihuahuas are best suited for warm climates. Their adorable appearance, sassy personality, and affectionate nature have made them popular pets. “Chihuahuas are a small, loving breed that bonds deeply with their people,” explains Sunny. “They do best with lots of attention.”


Two sweet corgi dogs in a field

When it comes to dog breeds with pointy ears, few may be more famous than the Corgi. Queen Elizabeth loved Corgis and they continue to be popular companions for all types of households. Sunny describes them as “compact” dogs that stand just 10 to 12 inches tall and weigh up to 30 pounds. Corgis are herding dogs that are affectionate with their families and good with other dogs but also have a protective nature that make them excellent watchdogs. “They are a source of endless laughter and playtime,” Sunny says.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd dog laying in a forest

Hailed as courageous, confident, and smart, German Shepherds are the quintessential working dog breed that are just as comfortable on search and rescue teams as they are on movie sets. “German Shepherds are a highly intelligent and even more loyal breed,” says Sunny. “They bond very deeply with their families [and] do best with a family who can keep up with their high energy.” This breed also needs consistent obedience training and lots of exercise to thrive.


Papillion dog breeds

Papillons got their name from the French word for butterfly due to their oversized pricked ears that stand out like butterfly wings on either side of their heads. The breed was developed during the Renaissance period as companions for noblewomen. Papillons might stand less than 11 inches tall and weigh fewer than 10 pounds, but these dogs are equal parts athletes and lap dogs. “Papillons are beautiful and athletic dogs,” Sunny says. “They tend to be very skilled agility dogs.”

Rat Terrier

Rat terrier dog breed outside

Rat Terriers were bred to kill rats and also originally excelled as well-rounded farm dogs that protected chickens, hunted, and guarded properties. With sufficient training, exercise and mental stimulation, these good-natured, affectionate, and playful dogs make great family companions. “Rat terriers are incredibly intelligent, so much that people may even see them as stubborn,” Sunny shares.

Dogs with Pointy Ears: Tips and Advice

All dogs, whether pointy- or floppy-eared, need their ears cleaned as part of their grooming routine, but Sunny notes that it might be easier for dust and dirt to get into the ear canals of dogs with pointy ears. Be on the lookout for excessive head shaking or scratching, which could be a sign of ear irritation.

You’ll also need to monitor for infections or other ear-related issues like mites, allergies, or foreign objects lodged in the ears. 

In general, though, as long as you’re providing the proper care you would to any dog, you should be good to go when it comes to keeping your pointy-eared dog safe and healthy. “Dogs with naturally pointed/pricked ears don’t typically require any special or extra care,” says Sunny.