Other than the occasional wiggle, we humans don’t move our ears much. Our dogs, however, have muscles allowing them to turn, raise, tilt and lower their ears. Dog ears have a wide range of functions and exceptional hearing is but one (looking cute is another!). The Norwegian Lundehund, for example, literally closes his ears to protect against dirt as he hunts Puffin birds. Today, let’s talk to five dogs with long ears:
1. Afghan Hound
We’re sighthounds, developed in Afghanistan from ancient Egyptian lines to hunt large game across deserts and mountains. Although my magnificent coat is glamorous, it’s also functional, protecting me in weather extremes. My pendant ears are long and covered with silky hair. The leather (lobe) of my ear reaches nearly to the end of my nose.
Regular weekly ear cleaning keeps my ears healthy, and wards off infection. If my ears bother me, you’ll likely notice me scratching them or rubbing my head. And, of course, if my ears show redness or discharge, let’s call my veterinarian. Chasing rabbits is fun. Ear discomfort isn’t!
2. Irish Setter
I’m an active, aristocratic dog with long ears. Bred in Ireland as a tireless bird dog, I’m distinguished for my energy and enthusiasm. I blend creativity (and a trace of humor!) with vigor in field work and play. I’m also celebrated for my vivid red coat — many consider me the most beautiful of all dog breeds! My long, luxurious ears are set well back and low, not above my eye level.
As my Afghan cousin mentioned, periodic inspection of our ears is especially important. Long-hanging ears tend to collect debris. The ear flaps also hinder circulation of air around my ear canal and trap moisture and dirt. Grooming my stunning coat will be a joy, but please remember to check my ears, too.
I’m an All-American trail and tree scent hound, bred to stay on track regardless of conditions or rough terrain. Possums and raccoons are no match for my astonishingly good nose. My ears are low set and well back, dangling in graceful, velvety folds that give me a regal appearance.
But my ears have more than one job. Hanging low, they gather in scents around my face, facilitating my tracking work. When they flap, they stir up the scent nicely for me.
We’re popular for our friendliness, sweet expressiveness and athleticism. Developed by hunters in 19th-century England, we flushed and sprang birds from brush. My outer coat is either wavy or flat, and my undercoat is short, soft and thick. My ears are long and fairly wide. They hang close to my cheeks, with my lobes reaching the tip of my nose.
And remember that my breed has both field and show lines. The field lines usually have shorter, coarser coats and the ears are less pendulous and set higher, too. Comb my feathered ears often so they stay mat free. Use cotton balls dampened with ear wash to clean the creases inside my ears. Ah, that feels good…
Originating in England, I gained popularity with gypsies, miners, poachers, gentry and sports enthusiasts alike. My ancestors’ lively temperaments and abilities allowed them to hunt rats, help poachers find game, and still have get-up-and-go for a race. I may resemble a lamb, but I’m a tough and tenacious hunter.
My curly coat doesn’t shed much but does require regular trimming. My triangular ears, set low and hanging, reach the corners of my mouth. And my ears are velvety in texture, covered with fine hair. Look for the exquisite silky tassel at my ear tip.
Tell us: What dogs with long ears would you add to the list? Do you have a dog with long ears? What breed or breeds is she?
Thumbnail: Photography courtesy Melody Carranza.
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