Small Basset Hound puppy and adult dog with prominent big ears

10 Small Dog Breeds with Big Ears

Little dogs, big ears. It's always an extremely cute combination. While this will mean paying extra attention to the care of their ears - failing to care for a dog's ears can lead to all kinds of health problems - these pups are a lot of fun to have around too, even if you can't even open a container of anything without them hearing (as their ears are so big).

But which small dog breeds have the biggest ears? Here is a look at ten small dog breeds with big ears. 

10 Little Dogs With Big Ears [+Pictures]

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A toy spaniel adult dog

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is famous for its long, silky, curly furred ears. And while it is named more for the long-ago Royal patron who loved it - Charles II of England - its ears do resemble the long, curled hairstyle of which that monarch and other cavaliers were so fond.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is often mistaken for a newer breed - the English Toy Spaniel - who also has those same big ears, although not as long. Although closely related the two are not the same. The latter was the result of crossing the Cavalier King Charles with pugs and other toy breeds to meet the desire of Victorian ladies - including Queen Victoria herself - to have an even smaller lapdog as their companion. 

2. English Cocker Spaniel

A cocker spaniel dog - dogs that don't run away!

Image by Ilona Krijgsman/Pixabay

The English Cocker Spaniel also has long, furry ears that hang straight down, although theirs are not as long and lustrous as those of the Cavalier King Charles. Their ears, like the other breeds with similar traits, will get matted and messy if not brushed frequently, so for their pet parents ensuring their pup gets regular grooming is a must.  

English cocker spaniels were not bred to be ladies' lapdogs. These tough little guys are hunters and gun dogs and are tougher and far from as delicate as their extremely cute appearance makes them seem.

3. Beagle

A beautiful beagle dog playing outdoors

Beagles are small, highly intelligent dogs known for their howl, their excellent sense of smell and for their adorably long floppy ears. They are also notable for their many appearances in pop culture over the years. Snoopy is a beagle of course, but even in Tudor times beagles were often seen in plays and caricatures.

Because their long ears sit so close to the side of their head less air gets into them, and moisture is more easily trapped, which can lead to ear infections. For this reason, good ear care is a must for beagles, especially after they have been out in the rain. To do this you should gently dry and clean their ears with a soft cloth or cotton balls, and never Q-Tips, as they can cause damage on their own. 

4. Basset Hound

Small Basset Hound puppy and adult dog with prominent big ears

The basset hound also has long, straight ears. So long that in many cases they almost reach down to his feet, as basset hounds are rather short - on average 12 inches - and may even drag in the mud when they walk. Again, good ear care is a must, as are plenty of ear cleaning baths after outdoor adventures. You might also want to consider adding a few drops of coconut oil after bathing, via a child's ear dropper, as that can help keep debris and germs out of the delicate ear canal.

Some people confuse basset hounds with beagles, but they are quite different. Their name - the basset part, comes from the French word bas, which means low, with the addition of est meaning low. They were bred in Europe as companions for the much larger bloodhounds and used by hunters to venture into hedges and under bushes where bloodhound could not go to root out smaller prey. 

5. Papillon

A beautiful papillon dog with a long white silky coat outdoors in the grass

Their ears are very much a part of a papillon's appearance, and their unique butterfly shape is what gives this toy breed pup their name, as papillon” is French for “butterfly.” They are very small dogs - usually little more than eight inches tall and weighting under ten pounds - but they are hard to miss, thanks to their big, beautiful ears.

Although they look like delicate lapdogs - and can be excellent at serving as such as they love attention - a papillon is a tough competitor, and representatives of the breed excel in athletic competitions. Their ears do need careful grooming - as does the rest of their long fluffy coat - but most attention loving papillons do not mind that a bit. 

6. Toy Poodles

A red and white toy poodle sitting on grass

Bred to be a miniaturization of the much larger standard poodle the toy poodle kept the long, large ears. Because they are so fluffy and curly in general, it can be hard to spot these long ears on a natural coated toy poodle as they blend in with the rest of their coat, but they are there.

Poodles are often shorn and trimmed so that their ears become the focus of their appearance, along with ruffs around their paws. Doing this is often a style choice on the part of a pet parent, but it can also help safeguard their ear health, as less fur means less chance of ear infections. 

7. French Bulldog

A cute black French bulldog puppy with big ears sitting in his dog bed with a rubber toy

A smaller variant of the larger English bulldog it is hard to resist the cute charm of a French bulldog, especially their big bat ears!

It was those ears - and their loving but very playful nature - that made the French bulldog the talk of the town in 19th century Paris. Artists Edgar Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec owned them and featured them in their paintings, and they were often to be seen out with their very fashionable pet parents in the most fashionable Paris dance halls, where they no doubt lapped up all the attention received! 

8. Boston Terrier

Adorable Black and White Boston Terrier leash walking in the park wearing a red harness

The Boston Terrier also has very distinctive big ears that stand straight up. As dapper as they are - Boston Terriers are also famous for their tuxedo markings - the breed came about when those involved in dog fighting in the 19th century experimented in crossing all kinds of stocky dogs - usually terriers and hounds - in search of the perfect small fighting dog.

One American took a fancy to these dogs, then without a formal name, and brought some home to Boston after a business trip across the pond. He and others developed them into a friendlier, less aggressive breed, the Boston Terrier we know today, but retained those big ears as they give these pups such a distinctive profile. 

9. Chihuahua

They may be small, but as any chihuahua pet parent can tell you they can also be very mighty, and that does not just refer to their big ears.

Often considered the perfect pet for city apartment dwellers, as they neither need or really desire a huge amount of walking, chihuahuas can be big barkers when strangers come around, and many a bad guy has been scared away from their planned crime by the feisty reaction of one of these tiny, big eared pups. 

10. Dachshund

A beautiful long haired dachshund wearing a pink harness in the great outdoors

The German 'sausage dog' is adorable in all kinds of ways. With its little, short legs, long body, and big ears it cuts a very distinctive figure wherever it goes, even if it is quite small.

Although the modern dachshund is happy to stay home and occasionally play at the dog park its ancestors were fierce hunters, employed across Germany taking on dangerous prey.

Dachshunds have several types of coat according to their breed variant - smooth, coarse, or long haired (pictured above) - and while all need grooming it is especially important that a long-haired dachshund's ears are well taken care of. Fortunately, they love attention and will not mind regular brushing and grooming sessions. 

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