The features of the Siberian Husky (particularly its pointy ears) make it a stunning dog. Some say Huskies are difficult first dogs as they are hard to train due to their stubbornness. But how much of this is down to the owner’s inability to read communication signals from their Husky – from vocalization, body language, and even ear position?
A dog’s ears speak volumes but have you ever wondered what a Husky’s ear positions mean?
A Husky’s ear position can mean many emotions, such as feeling calm and neutral, relaxed, playful, joyful, submissive, alert, anxious, nervous, stressed, aggressive, excited, dominant, or frightened. A sudden movement of the ears can also mean the Husky conveys a change of state of mind.
For example, the ears will prick when alert, aggressive or curious, whereas friendly intrigue leads the ears to a backward arching position.
Ultimately, your Siberian Husky ears position announces his mood reasonably accurately. Still, each position can mean a few different things, and you have to look at the context before judging why your Husky’s ears are in a certain position.
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Aside from covering why most Huskies have pointy ears while occasionally some remain floppy, this article covers how to confirm the following:
- Your Husky pricks his ears means he is alert or aggressive.
- Your Husky puts back his ears as a social gesture.
- Your Husky is afraid when he puts his ears down.
Developed as sled dogs, many people fall in love with the Husky’s attractive looks, from gorgeous blue eyes to impressive facial masks and wolf-like features. Although they have a few qualities that can make them difficult Siberian Huskies are still a wonderful breed.
Nonetheless, you’ll want to get good at reading their body language, starting with their ears.
- Why Do Huskies Move Their Ears?
- Why Do Huskies Ears Stand Up?
- Pricked Ears
- Ears Changing Position
- Why Do Huskies Ears Go Back? (Dropped or Pinned Ears)
- Why Do Huskies Put Their Ears Down? (Extremely Pinned)
- Husky Ear Positions Chart
- What To Do If Your Dog’s Ears Move Position
- Why Does My Husky Have Floppy Ears?
- Final Thoughts
Why Do Huskies Move Their Ears?
Before we get into specific Husky ear positions that indicate different emotions, we must address why dogs move their ears. Dogs’ ears, unlike human ears, are controlled by voluntary muscles. Simply put, their ear movements aren’t involuntary reactions but instinctual attempts at communication.
Huskies move their ears to hear better and indicate interest, submissiveness, or hostility. Several subtle movements indicate more complex emotions, and sometimes various emotions overlap regarding their corresponding ear position.
You should look at your dog’s ear position alongside other body language and behavior cues in the context of his environment when deciding why he behaves a certain way. You may come to the wrong conclusion if you rely solely on ear positions, as each position has at least two meanings.
The following sections will go over the general possibilities for each of your Husky’s ear positions. You’ll also learn a few more signs to help you figure out which of the options is the actual cause of your dog’s ear movement.
Why Do Huskies Ears Stand Up?
Since most Huskies’ ears are erect and pointy, yet others are floppy, one can wonder what causes this difference.
A Husky’s ears stand up because of robust cartilage and strong ear ligaments. A prominent feature of the Husky is pointy, triangle-shaped ears. A puppy’s ears are floppy as the cartilage is still soft. However, their ears should be erect once teething is finished at around five months.
Ears In A Neutral Position
You shouldn’t confuse standing ears with pricked-up ones, which are prominent stiffening and have more to do with the canine’s mood.
When your Husky is relaxed, his ears will sit in a neutral position. A neutral position means the ears are not pricked forward, hanging down, or pinned to his head. For Siberian Huskies, it is natural for their ears to be standing upright.
So, how do you decipher a neutral position?
You can tell a chilled-out Husky with neutral ears by observing other body language cues. For example, signs that tell you a dog is at ease are relaxed body posture, happily panting, big, open mouth, relaxed tail often wagging, and relaxed, hanging tongue.
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Since Husky ears aren’t typically floppy (aside from the exceptions discussed later in this article), you can barely notice the movement whenever their ears become pricked or attentive. Still, it is essential to know why Huskies prick their ears.
Huskies prick their ears whenever they are alert, interested, focused, excited, or curious about what they’re hearing. Since sudden alertness is sometimes followed by canine aggression, Huskies’ ears also prick up when they’re about to attack if they feel endangered.
To know whether your dog is alert or aggressive, you should look for other body language signs, such as growling, showing teeth, and sniffing. Also, take into account the dog’s current environment. Your Husky may merely prick his ears forward and tilt his head if he hears a cat outside or if you make a peculiar sound.
When a Husky pricks up his ears and looks around or sniffs, you can deduce that he is alert. You should tighten your grip on his leash. This way, you can ensure he doesn’t suddenly become aggressive towards another animal or person. If the dog is growling, showing his teeth, or raising his hackles while his ears are pricked up, you should assume he’s in an aggressive state.
Please note that Siberian Huskies aren’t prone to aggression. However, they may show hostility if they are unsocialized, untrained, or previously neglected or mistreated. This is through no fault of the dog, and only humans are to blame, as the dog just does not know how to behave and is showing signs of fear aggression.
Ears Changing Position
When your Husky’s ears are quickly changing positions and twitching back and forth, it means he is a little unsure of the environment and is trying to figure out what is happening around him by carefully listening to the sounds he hears.
You may also witness your doggo tilting his head from one side to the other, and overall, it’s pretty cute to watch, especially when you talk to them, and you can see they’re trying to figure out precisely what you’re telling them.
Why Do Huskies Ears Go Back? (Dropped or Pinned Ears)
Unlike pricked-up ears, this is a more subtle movement where your dog puts his ears pinned back and are positioned tightly towards his head. I’m not talking extremely pinned back ears as this comes next and has a different meaning.
There’s a valid reason for this behavior.
Huskies put their ears back (dropped or pinned) as a sign of nervousness or submission. However, this ear position doesn’t ensure these emotions, as your dog can also bring his ears back when feeling happy and social. You should look at the head position, body, and tail for more clues.
If your dog displays submissiveness, his ears will go back, and he will lower his head. In some instances, the dog puts his tail between his legs, which results in the related figure of speech.
If other indicators are absent, but your dog’s ears are still pulled back, you can assume he is just in a social mood, especially if he has a loose or wiggly body.
In the below photo, the Husky’s ears are dropped back. Is he nervous or happy?
This Husky is content as he is sitting nicely with a relaxed body posture. His mouth is open and his tongue is hanging loose. He is not displaying any signs of being submissive or uneasy.
Why Do Huskies Put Their Ears Down? (Extremely Pinned)
Finally, there’s the flat ear position, where the ears will appear extremely pinned back and held tight to the dog’s head. Many people assume that this indicates that the dog is ill. This isn’t totally accurate; while sickness may be linked to the ear position, it isn’t always the case. So, why do Huskies put their ears down?
Huskies put their ears down (extremely pinned) because of fear. If your dog is afraid of his environment, another person, or an animal, you will notice his ears flattening and pinned tight to the head. Other signs are a hunched and stiff body, cowering, whimpering, bent legs, and tail between legs.
Check out the Husky in the below photo. His ears are down and extremely pinned flat against his head. He is cowering and trying to hide and is clearly anxious or afraid.
Husky Ear Positions Chart
Here is a roundup of dog ear positions and their meanings:
|Husky Ear Position||Meaning|
|Neutral (pointy, triangle-shaped)||Relaxed|
|Ears Changing Positions||Unsure or confused|
|Pricked/Attentive Ears||Alert, attentive, focused, curious|
|Dropped Back/Pinned Ears||Either nervous or happy|
|Extremely Pinned Ears||Fearful|
What To Do If Your Dog’s Ears Move Position
Now that you know what Husky ear positions mean, let’s discuss how you should act whenever you notice such sudden shifts. The idea is to make your dog feel secure while keeping him under control.
What To Do When Your Husky Pricks Up His Ears
When your Husky pricks up his ears, you should prioritize this ear position above all others as it can mean your dog is alert and may be about to become aggressive towards another person or dog he feels threatened by. More so if he displays other body language mentioned above.
Your Husky is protective of you and might act as an alarm and alert you to something he finds threatening. In particular instances, he will want to safeguard you and your property. In certain cases, though, it may simply be a false alarm. When your dog pricks his ears, you can interrupt him by engaging him.
I wouldn’t advise using treats to hack your dog’s alertness, which only incentivizes him to give false alarms. Simply changing the direction of your walk or bringing up a new activity can sufficiently interrupt your canine’s focus.
What To Do When Your Husky Puts His Ears Back
When your Husky puts his ears back, he is either submissive, nervous, or just being friendly. Again, look for other signs, but you’ll soon get to know your own dog’s body language. Pay him more attention, show him the affection he deserves, and reward him with treats.
This ear position isn’t something to be concerned about. The only exception is if your Husky displays this behavior around most strangers and you adopted him to be a watchdog! If that’s the case, you might need to bring him a sibling who is less of a social butterfly or get a German Shepherd!
What To Do When Your Husky Puts His Ears Down
Whenever your Husky exhibits fear by flattening his ears and tightly pinning them to his skull, you must ensure you give him enough attention and talk to him in a soothing voice to reassure him and help him calm down.
If he acts this way around a particular path on your walk or before certain activities, you must consider whether teaching him to overcome those fears is worth it.
My dog has an unusual aversion to the sound of small school children. Their loud voices and high-pitched shouts appear to irritate her. She becomes agitated and instantly lowers her ears, cowers her body, digs her claws into the ground, and tugs on the leash in an attempt to flee. I’ve decided to avoid going for walks at school times!
Why Does My Husky Have Floppy Ears?
If you love Huskies and have their classic look in mind, you might be worried about adopting a puppy and realizing that his ears are floppy.
But there’s no need to worry…
Huskies are born with floppy ears. Puppies’ ear ligaments in their ears aren’t strong enough to make them stand up, and the cartilage is still delicate, causing them to be floppy. When Huskies are about 5 months old and have finished teething, their ears should be stood up.
Breed-defining characteristics are influenced by genetic variants, such as the Siberian Huskies’ pointy ears. When they pass the teething stage, their ears stand up as long as their genetics aren’t mixed, producing different ear structures.
Huskys with completely floppy ears are rare – those with partially floppy ears are more common. But if your dog is past twenty weeks and his ears are still floppy, it may be due to one of these reasons:
- Poor diet (check out the best diet for Huskies here)
- Medical condition
- Bite wound
- Fungal ear infection
- Inflammation of the ear
Or maybe your Husky isn’t purebred after all! Talk to your vet if you are concerned about your pup’s ears not standing up after teething.
Huskies are intelligent and expressive, and their ear position will often display their mood. When trying to figure out what your dog is telling you, the key takeaway is that you should always look at his overall body language.
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