Why do my Jack Russells ears stick up?

One of the cutest things about Jack Russell terriers is their gorgeous triangle ears. Some are ‘drop ears’ and some ‘stick up’. Both are fine and completely normal. But today’s blog is here to answer the question ‘Why do my Jack Russells ears stick up?’

So, why do my Jack Russells ears stick up?

Usually a Jack Russells ears will prick up because they are startled, or have seen something that they want – it’s a way for them to express themselves. These are situations where you might see your Jack Russells ears stick up…

  • Someone knocks at the door or rings the doorbell
  • You are out walking and your dog sees another dog
  • You open a can of food!
  • He sees a ‘prey’ animal such as a rabbit or squirrel
  • He is ready to play and brings you his favourite toy

It is normal for a Jack Russell’s ears to prick up at these things as they are an excitable breed and very prey driven.

It’s important to get your head around dog body language, as ears pricking up can be a sign of fear or aggression but also a sign of excitement. You can usually tell by the rest of his body in reaction to the stimulus. When it’s about food it will be a happy ear prick and you will see a calm disposition and a wagging tail. However, if your dog shows leash aggression, this may be a sign of fear. You can tell this because it will probably be accompanied by lunging and barking, possibly some hairs up on his back.

Positive Reinforcement Dog Training Methods

With fearful situations, you can use positive reinforcement dog training techniques to train him to understand that these things are not threats. For example, clicker training works well when you get them used to the clicker and then click treat when you start to see the trigger such as another dog or a bike.

My Jack Russells ears stick up all the time – is this normal?

Some Jack Russells ears don’t ‘drop’ but they stick right upwards permanently and that’s ok! It doesn’t usually mean that there is anything wrong with your dog, although you can always get a vet to check him or her to be sure. But for some Jack Russells and Jack Russell crosses it’s just genetic. This was the case with my black and tan Jack Russell Suzy – she always looked startled because of her sticky up ears!

Sometimes you even get some with one ear up and one ear down!

I hope that I’ve answered the question ‘Why do my Jack Russells ear stick up?’ sufficiently, but if you have any further questions, please comment on my blog!

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