When Do Alaskan Malamute Ears Stand Up? (4 Key Factors)

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Alaskan Malamutes are known for their alert, fluffy ears, but when do Alaskan Malamute ears stand up?

Your Malamute’s ears usually take five to seven months to stand up fully. Before that time, you’ll likely see the ears transition between being floppy and erect, and they might even stall halfway at times as well.

It can happen much sooner, though, and in this guide, I’ll take you through what factors affect the time it takes them to stand up and whether it’s something to be concerned about if the ears stay floppy.

Let’s get into it.

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What Factors Influence The Time Taken For The Ears To Stand Up?

Let’s first take a look at the factors affecting how long your Malamute’s ears take to stand up.

1. Genetics

Genetics significantly affects the time it takes for your Malamute’s ears to stand up.

If they have larger ears, they will take longer to stand up. Malamutes are described as having medium-sized ears as per the breed standard, but they should be small compared to their heads, as this is ideal for less heat loss, allowing them to perform better while pulling sleds.

Other genetic factors like the size of their head and the space between the ears also play a role.

Malamutes that are woolier can also take longer for their ears to stand up as the excess fur can weigh them down.

2. Diet

Diet plays a big role in the growth of your Malamute during their puppy stage, and it is also important for helping their ears stand up.

Make sure your pup is getting enough food and the right type to support their growth. Their food should be calorie-dense and rich in nutrients that support the growth of strong joints and muscles.

You can find our recommendations for the best food here.

3. Teething

During the teething process, you’ll notice your Mal’s ears going up and down, and it isn’t usually until all of their adult teeth have come in that their ears will perk up as well.

There are several theories about why this happens, but most agree that it has something to do with the resources put towards teething (calcium and other nutrients) rather than into ear development.

4. How Often They Use Their Ears

Okay, obviously, their ears will be in use all the time; I’m talking more about how often they move their ears in reaction to different sounds and depending on how they feel.

Some Malamute puppies will use their ears all the time, and you may start to notice them becoming partially erect when they are puppies.

Puppies that use their ears more often have a better chance of their ears becoming erect earlier because it strengthens the cartilage required for the ears to become erect.

How To Tell When Your Malamutes Ears Will Stand Up

It’s hard to know exactly when your Malamute’s ears will stand up, but it usually happens after their adult teeth have come in.

If their ears have shown signs of being erect during the first five months, there’s a good chance they will become fully erect after teething, which takes 6 to 8 months.

Sometimes, their ears will become erect much earlier, anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks old.

What If Their Ears Don’t Stand Up?

It’s actually pretty common for some Malamutes to have ears that stay floppy.

A wooly malamute with floppy ears
It’s not uncommon to see working Malamutes with floppy/partially floppy ears.

Erect ears are not actually required for Malamutes that are kept as pets, as they only have benefits for certain things:

  • Malamutes who are going to be shown in competition need erect ears to conform to the breed standard.
  • Working Malamutes don’t need erect ears, but if their ears are large and floppy, it can lead to heat loss and reduced performance while pulling sleds.

One benefit of erect ears is that they tend to stay cleaner as they don’t accumulate dirt as easily as floppy ears. This can help to prevent infections, which is obviously a good thing.

If you regularly clean your Malamute’s ears (which you should be doing), then this is not an issue for floppy ears either.

If their ears are causing them discomfort, always take your Malamute to the vet. There could be an issue with their cartilage that is causing the ears to stay floppy and potentially causing them pain.

Things To Avoid While Your Malamute’s Ears Are Standing Up

When your Malamute’s ears are transitioning from floppy to erect, there are certain things you should avoid.

Forcing The Ears To Stand Up

Forcing the ears to stand up by using tape or other methods is not a good idea for several reasons.

The first of these is that your Malamute will become quickly distracted by it and try to remove any tape or other device that is used to support the ears.

The second thing is it can interrupt the natural growth of the ears and force them into an unnatural and potentially painful position.

If you aren’t going to be showing your Malamute, there is no need to force the ears to stand up at all.

Touching The Ears Excessively

Another thing to avoid is touching the ears excessively.

Wooly Malamute Toews - Sent in by one of our readers.
Wooly Malamute Toews – Sent in by one of our readers.

I know how tempting it can be when your Malamute is a pup with cute floppy ears, but you can easily damage the cartilage if you’re too heavy-handed.

In Summary

You can expect your Malamute’s ears to stand up anywhere from five to seven months on average, but it can happen much earlier than this as well.

It all depends on the genetics that your Mal has and how much they use their ears in reactions to sounds and noises or when they get excited.

It isn’t a bad thing if their ears stay floppy, either, as most of us won’t be showing our Malamutes in competitions any time soon. As long as you maintain a consistent ear cleaning schedule and the cartilage isn’t damaged, there is no need to worry about their ears if they stay floppy.

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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