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Pug Ears


If you have a Pug, you most likely are wondering about the different types of ears that this breed can have..And how to keep them clean and healthy to avoid infection and other health issues.

In addition, you may have heard about the method of taping a Pug's ears and wonder if this is necessary...and if you wish to do it, just how it should be done.

We will discuss this topic and cover the issues of:
  • The differences between different types of Pug ears, AKC standard and variations 
  • What is taping, why and how is this done 
  • Providing proper care to keep away infection and other problems including ear mites

Types of Ears

While there are variations of the Pug ear and each dog will have his own unique look, one element is clear with this breed: The ear is a folded, flap-over. This breed should not have fully erect ears nor should he have full, flopped dropped ears.

In regard to the fold of the leather, this may be a bit unsteady during the first year. Also, puppies that are teething may have uneven ears during this time; in most cases this straightens out and resolves itself once the teething process is complete and all adult canines are in place.
Pug dog with button ears
The button ear is one variation that this breed may have. For this one, notice how the ears fold forward. They are nicely , pointing toward the eyes. 

In almost every recognized dog show, the button ear is the preferred look for conformance events. With this said, rose ears are acceptable.

More points will usually be given to a Pug dog with button ears (ones folding down toward the dog's eyes). For proper conformation, both will be symmetrical, basically mirrored images, with neither straying from this position. 
Pug dog with rose ears
This is the other accepted variation of Pug ears. This is the rose ear. As you can see, there is quite a difference between this and the above button. With this, the each ear has a fold. It is erect at the base...And then it folds over, in a forward direction. 

The above button type ends with the ears close to the face, this rose style allows for the ears to be off to the side. 

If they are too off to the side, they are nicknamed "flying ears" and while it gives the dog an amusing appearance, and while it is just fine if a Pug has this type, it is not preferred in conformation events.


Part of properly grooming a Pug will involve taking care of the Pug’s ears. This is not just done for hygiene, it is done for health. Proper care will help keep guard against infection, which can be problem for this breed. Dirt, debris and excess wax can lead to ongoing infections.

It is important to note that an owner will want to clean the ears enough…but not too much. Why? Because doing this too often can cause dry skin issues; too much wax removal (a certain amount is normal and needed, as it catches dirt and debris)…and over doing it can cause yeast infections.

Healthy Color

When you lift the Pug’s ears to look at the underneath of the flap and to see the entrance of the canal, the correct color of the skin is pink. If it is red, has any sores or shows any signs of irritation this often points to infection, mites or another issue that must be brought to the attention of the veterinarian.


Some owners ask questions about an odor that is coming from a Pug’s ears and wonder if this is normal for the breed. The answer is that it is not normal. Excess wax (and therefore excess debris within it) or an ear infection (mites, yeast, bacterial) can cause a strong, bad odor. 

Therefore, if your Pug has smelly ears, you will want to perform a cleaning and then if the situation does not clear up, it will be time to bring your Pug to the veterinarian.


It is recommended to do an inspection each day. It only takes a minute and can be part of your daily routine to catch any issues early. You will want to check for the above mentioned coloring and the above mentioned possible odor.

Also, you will want to feel a Pug’s ears as the temperature of them can be a clue to possible issues. They should feel warm, and not hot, to the touch.

If you notice a build-up of thick wax or if the ears are starting to get a bit smelly, you can clean them at home: 

Supplies needed:

• Solution. It is important to use the proper solution and not simply use water. Also,despite what you may have read elsewhere, please never use rubbing alcohol, as it will dry out the ears too much, causing problems. Use a chemical-free, all-natural product that is super gentle yet effective. 

• Rolled Cotton: While you may use super-sized Q-tips or another cotton element, many owners find it easiest to take sterile cotton pads and roll one up. You will want it to be just about 6 inches long (no longer!)


1) First, use one hand to lift the ears of your Pug dog.

2) With your other hand, gently squirt the solution into that ear.

3) You will now need to massage it in…This is done by having your thumb on one side of the Pug’s ear and your forefinger on the other side. Simply gently press your fingers toward each other. 

Do this 5-10 times. As you do this, you will usually hear a type of “squashing” sound. This means that the solution is working to break up hard, compacted wax…so it is a good sign. 

Do not worry if you do not hear this, as it will just mean that the ear is clean in regard to excess buildup.

4) Now, it is time to use the cotton. You will place your finger in the middle of the rolled cotton in order to keep it firm and get it to where you need for it to be. Entering no more than 2 inches, you will rotate it around several times and then remove it.

5) Do not be surprised at what you see after removing it. The solution that you just massaged in helped to loosen compacted wax and dirt. The color of the debris that you clean up may be anywhere from a yellow to a dark brown.

You will want to repeat the above steps with each ear… You will be done when the cotton is clean when you remove it.

*** For touch-ups in between these cleanings, use a quality ear wipes to swipe out the outer canal and creases; this will prevent a good amount of 'gook' from finding its way deeper inside the ear. 


Taping is a method that is meant to hold a dog's ears into a particular set in the hopes that they will eventually stay that way. Over the years, we have never seen a case of taping that actually produced results. Since this can be exceedingly time consuming and frustrating for both owner and dog, we have decided to not show the instructions for a procedure that is really just a waste of your effort.

Ear set is genetic. There is nothing that you can do to change how your Pug's ears sit. However, do note that during the teething phase, ears can get a bit off kilter. And as a Pug matures, his ears may settle in. So, final ear set sometimes will not be seen until the 12 to 18 month mark. 


Mites can happen to any dog, of any breed. This is not limited to unclean dogs…and even owners who take great care of hygiene problems can find that their Pug has gotten mites.

They are very contagious. While they live in abundance in the ear, they also travel to other areas on the dog, such as the neck, chest, back and so on. And this is often how dogs catch them from one another…

When on the body, they can be transferred when 2 dogs simply rub against another while walking past, play with each other, etc. They also have the capability to jump short distances, therefore they can pass from one dog to your Pug by jumping onto the coat when in close proximity.

The Signs of this are:
  • A dark discoloration of the inner ear flap and/or entrance to the canal 
  • A strong smelling odor coming from the Pug’s ears 
  • Discharge 
  • Itching – This usually manifests by the dog shaking his or her head in an attempt to relieve the discomfort 
  • You may see a crusty substance when looking in the canal. 
Treatment - This cannot properly be treated for at home. This will need an prescribed insecticidal medication.

it is important to apply it as long as directed, even things seem to be clearing up.

In most cases, it will need to be applied for 3 weeks to ensure that all mature mites and larvae are eradicated.

A specialized flea powder should be sprinkled onto the coat of the dog to kill any mites that have traveled outside of the Pug’s ears.
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