Dogs with pointy ears make up some of the healthiest, hardest working and most intelligent breeds around. And they can make amazing family pets too. Their distinctive upright ear stance gives them an alert and focussed look, but not all of the dogs that you see with pointy ears were born with them. Some breeds have floppy ears as puppies, which stiffen upwards as they grow. Others are subjected to a painful operation, to give them the look their owners want.
Many of the dog breeds with pointy ears are from sporting backgrounds. Sled dogs, herding dogs and terriers make up the majority, but there are a few other types too.
Pointy Eared Dog Breeds
Let’s get to know the breeds of dogs with pointy ears, and find out a bit more about them. Although they have a lot in common, there are a range of sizes and personalities to choose from.
The Akita is a large dog with a loyal and protective personality. They have a thick fluffy coat that used to keep them warm in the mountains of Japan! A large breed, they were originally bear, boar and deer hunters.
Alaskan Huskies are bold, fit and fast. They are bred for speed and enthusiasm, and are no strangers to hard work. Although not as well known as the Siberian Husky, this Husky has a lot of dedicated fans.
The Alaskan Klee Kai
A Klee Kai looks an awful lot like a Mini Husky! They are a relatively modern breed, which was intended to shrink down the gorgeous Husky into a more manageable package. However, the breed is known for being a little more reserved and uncomfortable with strangers.
The Malamute is a big, thick coated dog bred to pull sledges. They might look like a guard dog, but this breed is known for being friendly, playful and a very loving companion. Although they take up a lot of room, and need some serious coat care.
American Eskimo Dog
Adorable American Eskimo dogs are loving and affectionate, with thick fluffy coats. They range in size from toy to standard, and are all clever and always on the go. They shed a lot, and need plenty of coat care to stay in top condition.
Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog is commonly known as the Blue Heeler, named for their distinctive coat. Their mottled fur is incredibly distinctive, and so is their temperament. Driven, clever and focussed, this breed do best in working homes where they have active human company all day long.
The Basenji is a rare breed but a really fascinating dog. They are agile, athletic and hard working. Unusually this small breed never barks like a dog, although they do make plenty of other noises.
Praised as hard working police dogs and guard dogs, the Belgian Malinois is a gorgeous and intelligent dog. They are protective, loyal and very strongly bonded to their handler.
Often confused with the more popular Yorkie, the Biewer Terrier is a friendly little dog. They are keen to hunt and unlikely to make friends with other family pets, but equally they’ll be charming your guests in no time at all.
Border Collies bond strongly with their owners, and like to spend all of their time working with them outdoors. Active, fit and fun this dog is ideal for this type of home, but ill-suited to a sedentary indoor life.
The Bull Terrier is tough, confident and charismatic. Their rounded head gives them an unusual look, complemented by their sturdy body. This loyal, medium sized dog has a lot of appeal but needs good socialization and a close eye being kept on them around other animals.
The Cairn Terrier is a confident, relaxed yet focussed breed. They come from long lines of hunting dogs, and have a brave and exploratory nature as a result. Be ready for a keen interest in the wildlife, and a tendency to wander off!
Clever, confident and cute, the Chow Chow has a huge fanbase. They are big, powerful and also very independent in nature. A watchdog and hunting companion historically, it’s really important that you pick your Chow puppy from friendly parents and socialise them well too.
The cute Corgi is perhaps sometimes mistaken for a lapdog. But this active, intelligent dog actually has a long history as a herding dog. Although they can be uncomfortable with strangers, this isn’t their biggest downside as a pet. Very sadly the condition that gives them their adorable short legs is also linked to some nasty back problems.
An unusual yet beautiful herding breed, Dutch Shepherds are a dog that needs to keep busy. They are sweet and gentle with their families, but need high levels of activity and training to stay happy. A real working dog, they are best kept on ranches or other busy outdoor environments.
The French Bulldog has an amazing personality and incredible bat like pointy ears. Sadly though, their short muzzle has left them with an awful lot of health issues.
German Shepherd Dog
The original police and military dog, you’d find it hard to track down a more intelligent and attentive partner than a German Shepherd. They are brave with strong guarding instincts and an incredible attachment to their owners.
Medium sized yet bred to hunt large prey, the Kai Ken is a Japanese breed that is very rare at the moment. They are athletic, intelligent but not fond of strangers. And are mostly thought of as being quite independent and aloof in nature.
A gorgeous pointy eared dog breed, the Korean Jindo is a dog that bonds tightly to their owner. They are incredibly attached to their families, and will protect them with a single minded enthusiasm. If they know you they are gentle, playful and loving companions.
Beautiful butterfly dogs, Papillons have amazing upright pointy ears that have given them their name. This breed is small, fit and entertaining in character.
The elegant Pharaoh Hound is an unusual and head turning pet. Originally used in Malta as a rabbit hunting dog, they have a high prey drive and a huge work ethic. This fit and muscular dog is active and playful.
Tiny Pomeranian puppies can easily be mistaken for fluffy plushies. But don’t be fooled, they have huge personalities. They are spirited, active and stubborn little dogs. It’s important to socialize them well with strangers from a young age, and to remind everyone they meet that they are not to be treated like the toys they resemble!
The Portuguese Podengo is a dog with a lot of variety. It comes in three sizes, much like the better known Poodle. Ranging from small to large in height. And they can have smooth or wire haired coats. Their rabbit hunting history gives them a strong prey drive, and they can be reserved with strangers.
The huge, fluffy Samoyed is a strong, loyal and loving dog. They have a confident nature, large size and a very thick coat. Their huge size comes with a friendly and kind nature. Their main downsides as pets are a significant prey drive, and a need for lots of interaction.
Although rare in the West, the Japanese Shiba Inu has fans around the world. Their cute fox-like features and medium size make them very appealing. But their personality isn’t the best match for some homes, with a bolt and ever-alert nature.
Siberian Huskies are stunning sled dogs, bred for generations to pull and run. Although they fit well into very active homes, they can also have strong, independent personalities. It’s important to teach a Husky to come when they are called early on, and to keep rewarding them and working on their training.
This pretty cattle dog has a long history as a working cattle dog. They are medium sized, with a coarse coat and a confident personality. Swedish Vallhunds are often friendly and eager to please, if a little noisy!
West Highland White Terrier
White Westies are very popular little dogs. Although there are still strong signs of their hard working roots, they also fit into most modern homes with minimum fuss.
The adorable Yorkie is a great working Terrier but also a very loving little pet. A fun and friendly companion, Yorkies are outgoing, active yet easy to live with.
Natural vs Cropped Ears
There are some breeds of dogs with pointy ears you might have expected to see listed above, but didn’t. The Pitbull, Doberman, Boxer, Great Dane, Brussels Griffon and Beauceron are often seen with upright ears, but they aren’t natural. Instead surgical intervention has given them their look.
Although ear cropping is banned in many places, and frowned upon in many others, it’s still a shockingly common practice around the world. The owner takes a three or four month old puppy, from a breed that has naturally floppy ears, to the veterinarian.
This medical professional then anaesthetises their pet, and surgically removes and sutures a part of their dog’s ears. They insert a post into their ear to keep them in the position they want. This is done in such a way that when it heals, in several weeks time, the ears stand upright and pointed.
This operation is justified by saying it keeps the ears cleaner, safer or less likely to be damaged. But there is no evidence to support these claims. The sad reality is it’s not of any benefit to the dog, and in fact is normally done to make the dog look more aggressive. Or to fit into a showing standard, for which owners sometimes even request a second operation at a later date.
We personally feel that cosmetic surgery on dogs is never the ethical option. They don’t care how they look, and we shouldn’t either. And they certainly shouldn’t have to suffer surgery and recovery time for our ideas about their appearance.
Dog Ear Health
Dogs with pointy ears have a very natural ear position. One that their more wolf-like ancestors would have sported. And as with many other structural canine issues, this is debatably a healthier body type. One of the plus sides of being a dog with naturally pointy ears, is you are a little less likely to be prone to certain ear conditions.
The upright tilt of the ear gives an open clear canal that is less likely to create the nice warm, moist environment bacteria thrive in. They are also nice and easy to clean.
Best Dogs With Pointy Ears
What the best dogs with pointy ears are really depends on what you are looking for.
There is no one breed that is perfect for every home! If it’s a family pet for an active home you are looking for, then these are some of our top contenders:
If you are looking for a hard working or competing companion our favorites include:
- Border Collie
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Belgian Malinois
But the important thing is to really get to know the breed you are interested in before you bring them home. And when you do, devote lots of time to socialization and positive reinforcement training. This will give you the best chance of having a happy, well adjusted dog to share your home with.