Dog ears come in two main variety: floppy and pointy. Today we’re looking at the longest and floppiest ears on earth.
In some cases they serve an important purpose (and natural advantage). But in all cases they’re just adorable.
Why do some dogs have long ears?
Scent hounds (think Basset hounds, Bloodhounds, and Coonhounds) are famous for their floppy, drooping ears. That isn’t just a coincidence.
The main theory behind long ears is that they are lower to the ground to ‘scoop up’ scent towards their nose.
Dangling ears will also drag along the ground, stirring up any trapped scent particles so they can continue tracking for exceedingly long distances. Those specific advantages make the hound an amazingly effective scent tracker.
Non-scent hounds (such as the Cocker Spaniel) have longer ears simply due to crossbreeding many years prior.
Dogs With Long Ears
1. Afghan Hound
Beautiful and elegant, the Afghan is a unique breed with exotic qualities that some owners adore. Their lavish long coat makes them the star of their own show. Their long ears can be exaggerated even further by leaving hair long and brushed out.
The Afghan is an emotionally sensitive breed, but still remaining very independent. That makes them especially difficult to train.
2. Basset Hound
Bassets are the quintessential long-eared breed. Which is further exaggerated by their long face, short legs, and thick wrinkles.
As a young puppy their ears will far outgrow the rest of their body. Which tends to lead to them stepping and tripping on their lengthy ears. Not to mention dragging them through food, water, and dirt. Regular cleaning is essential to healthy ears and bassets.
After your Basset reaches 12 to 16 months of age they will grow into their ears and won’t trip on them as much.
There is no shortage of personality when it comes to the Basset Hound. They’re gifted with scent tracking and with a large howl or “bae” to alert you whatever they find interesting.
However, they tend to be incredibly stubborn, and training is often only possible by presenting really yummy treats.
Despite their obstinacy towards training, they’re still very much a low maintenance dog, and great for most families.
Beagles are very much a working and hunting breed. Just like their Basset hound cousins, this is a scent dog with a strong urge to track, but with much higher energy and ‘spunk’.
They were trained to bark loudly to alert their owners of prey or danger. This, unfortunately, leads to hundreds of Beagles being re-homed every year. Excessive energy and barking are often too much for the typical family to handle.
Beagles excel when given a job, it’s in their genes to have a daily purpose. That could come in the form of training, agility, hunting, or tracking.
If you can get past the training hurdles, you’ll be left with a kind and wonderful companion.
4. Black-and-Tan Coonhound
There are a variety of Coonhounds, but we’ll talk about the most common version: the Black and Tan Coonhound. Often used for its powerful nose and hunting instinct, this dog is the ideal companion for hunting and tracking. However, they make a loving home companion as well and love to relax and play with their family.
Similar to the Basset Hound, this breed is very stubborn and independent. One of the main challenges is holding their attention, as they’ll often get distracted by smells or their surroundings.
Coonhounds will serenade your neighborhood with the songs of their people. Howling is a favorite pass time, and one you should expect when adopting.
Similar to the Basset hound, they’re incredibly affectionate, loving, and a little bit silly. Although it does come with the same (if not more) stubborn attitude.
Training can prove difficult, but Bloodhounds are sensitive to scolding. So a high level of patience and gentle training is required.
Bloodhounds are renowned for their nose and often depicted in Hollywood as the ultimate tracking dog. This isn’t just for movies. They are the real deal when it comes to sniffing things out. That’s why Bloodhounds excel when having a job, it’s what they were bred for. While stubborn with training, they are eager to please their owners with the gifts they have.
We have to mention their howling or “baying”. You have to prepare your ears (and your neighbors) for hours of loud singing. It’s in their nature to bark and howl at everything, which is why this dog may be a rare sight in most neighborhoods.
6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier is a gentle and sweet soul that just wants to be apart of your day. Their often touted as being a “velcro” dog, sticking to you throughout the day.
They’re personality is endearing and it is impossible not to smile and enjoy their presence.
You’ll notice their ears grow long hair, which must be regularly brushed out to avoid painful matting.
The Cavalier are incredibly intelligent and willing to learn as long as you have something interesting in exchange (like a yummy treat). They respond best to positive training, as scolding will cause them to run and hide.
7. Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels are known for being a sweet and loving companion. And they have especially long ears that are further exaggerated by thick, long hair.
In fact, their is so much hair on their ears that groomers will remove hair from ear canals to avoid moisture and infection. They will also remove hair to reduce the overall weight and keep their head comfortable.
You’ll be tasked will regular brushing to stop painful tangles from developing, and visiting a professional groomer once every 4 to 6 weeks.
Cockers will do anything to please their owners, which makes them very receptive to training. They excel in agility, scent tracking, and obedience.
Challenges can occur with being overly timid or excessive barking (especially when left alone). Early socialization and training will help curb these unwanted behaviors.
While not the longest ears of the pack, we believe they still qualify. Dachshunds are in fact part scent hound and have strong tracking and hunting instincts. Originally bred to hunt hare and badgers, these are surprisingly tough little companions with big hearts.
The Dachshund can be described as curious, silly, alert, a little bit cautious of strangers, and always up for a good nap.
Being a scent house these dogs also carry the usual stubborn traits (notice a pattern yet?). Dachshund owners will often tell you about their struggles with potty training and excessive barking.
You can learn more about wire haired dachshunds from our expert.
One of the oldest breeds known to man, the Saluki is believed to have existed over 6,000 years ago.
These dogs are depicted in ancient scriptures, pottery, and even Egyptian tombs. Their beautiful and exotic looking features attest to their ancient history.
The Saluki are somewhat shy and content to just be in your presence. However, they may not be too keen on showing affection. They often need time to warm up to you over a long period of time.
Although they are very intelligent, training isn’t necessarily in their agenda. They may understand your commands but choose to ignore them.
Saluki have a calm and gentle demeanor, and much prefer a comfortable lifestyle that includes warm blankets and naps.
Yet another hunting breed, the Weimaraner is a loving ball of pure energy that’s looking for their next great adventure. Owners will often tell you about the nearly endless energy stores of this breed, running and playing for hours on end.
Combine that energy with their hunting and prey drive, and you have your hands full. Daily strenuous exercise is an absolute must. These dogs are quite literally party animals and are always ready for a good time.
It’s no wonder that Weimaraners excel when given a job. You can often find them out in the hunting fields or in the agility ring.