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It's no secret that man's best friend evolved from their fellow canine the wolf, and there are still many dogs with pointy ears today that match those of their wolf ancestors. Dogs used their upright ears to listen for prey and predators and to help them perform their jobs better.
A theory put forth by Charles Darwin says that as dogs became domesticated, their ears eventually flopped over. So why do some dogs still have those distinct pointy ears?
"Research shows that there may be a connection between what dogs were bred for and whether or not they have pointy ears," says Jenna Stregowski, RVT and Daily Paws editor of pet health and behavior. "For example, dogs who were bred to be herding dogs may still possess natural couplings of traits that produce pointy ears that certain canines, like some bred to be lap dogs, don't have."
While we still don't know exactly why there are differences in ear shape across breeds, that won't stop us from rounding up some of the cutest dogs with pointy ears.
Australian Cattle Dog
Melodie / Adobe Stock With oval brown eyes and ears always standing at attention, Australian cattle dogs are ready to shower you with attention.
It makes perfect sense that these herding dogs have pointy ears. In addition to pointy ears, Australian cattle dogs, also known as blue heelers, have beautiful speckled coats that come in a variety of colors. They are also naturally intelligent and thrive in training sessions, so be prepared to spend time working their minds and bodies!
ft2010 / Adobe Stock All that Alaskan malamute floof flies year-round, but during coat blowing season the shedding can get really out of control. Keeping up with daily brushing can help.
An Alaskan malamute's ears are as active as their energy level! When they're moving around, their ears will stand upright. But when they're done and ready to rest, their ears rest, too, easing to the side of their head. Alaskan malamutes also have such a fun tail—one of the fluffiest and the curliest!
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Samoyeds are naturally stunning dogs, and their pointy ears are just the cherries on top! You can tell a Samoyed apart from other dogs by looking for bright white fur and a charming smile. With a short snout and naturally upturned mouth, they always look overjoyed.
Ирина Мещерякова / Getty Corgis are social pups who want to be your adventure buddy.
Although corgis are best known for their furry booties, they wouldn't be corgis without their perky ears. The better to hear you gush over them with, we presume. Corgis are also recognized for their short legs and thick coat.
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All it takes is one look at a bull terrier to know they're one of a kind. In fact, they're the only AKC-registered breed with triangle-shaped eyes. Bull terries also have long faces and pointy ears. They can weight anywhere from 35-75 pounds, but you can also adopt a miniature bull terrier, who can weigh as little as 18 pounds.
Daria Kusch / Getty At a glance, the Belgian Malinois might be mistaken for a German shepherd. But despite their resemblance and status as police dogs, these breeds are completely unrelated.
While often mistaken for the German shepherd, the Belgian Malinois is a breed all their own. Standing two feet off the ground—not including their pointy ears—the Mal is a sleek, elegant, and active dog that needs to be put to work. This attitude makes them a popular choice for police or military service.
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Power and grace come together in one package with these handsome pups. The German shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S., and their pointy ears act as one of their most defining characteristics. In addition to being alert, German shepherds are also incredibly energetic, requiring multiple hours of physical and mental exercise each day. You'll want to take this majestic pooch on long walks, runs, hikes, and anything in between!
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They may have bat ears, but French bulldogs are anything but nocturnal. Frenchies make great companions for humans, especially if you're the type of dog owner that always schedules in a mid-afternoon nap in addition to the zzzs you got at night. In addition to being a couch potato, this small companion is a kid lover that'll get along with the family if socialized early on in life.
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The taller cousin of the French bulldog, the Boston terrier is a playful, long-legged breed, complete with pointy ears that you're sure to love. Although a little bigger than the Frenchie, the Boston terrier can adapt to close-quartered living conditions, such as an apartment, as long as they get walks and playtime!
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Robin Hood? Is that you? The Shiba Inu is known for sporting a fox-like appearance, so excuse us for getting confused. This ancient Japanese breed is very playful and likes to tease, so don't be surprised if you struggle to get them to sit still long enough to clean their little fox ears! Make sure to brush their coats often to avoid an overload of shedding.
Westend61 / Getty German spitz are highly adaptable dogs who can thrive in any living situation—as long as they get plenty of love and attention from their human.
If you absolutely can't decide whether to adopt a Pomeranian or a keeshond (an honorable mention for pointy ears), consider a German spitz! They boast many of the same traits, including perked-up ears. The German spitz also has a bit of a lion's mane that, in dog terms, is called a "ruff," and gives these dogs a regal look, quite like the king of the jungle himself! But at the end of the day, they'll always be a canine.
Tara Gregg / EyeEm / Getty Centuries ago, corgis intermingled with Scandanvian spitz dogs to create the Swedish vallhund. Today, vallhunds are still commonly confused with their corgi cousins.
Make way! The Swedish vallhund is new around here, having only been in the U.S. for the last 50 years. Vallhund is Swedish for "shepherd dog," so it's no surprise that they have multiple same physical traits as the corgi, like pointy ears and short legs. Corgis and Swedish vallhunds are actually distant cousins! Swedish vallhunds are also very talkative, so make sure to listen for a "thank you" after you give their ears some scritches.
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Although we don't hear a ton of chatter about Pharaoh hounds nowadays, they were one of the earliest dog breeds to be domesticated in Egypt. In addition to a rich history, the Pharaoh hound has a set of very unique ears that grow up right along with the rest of them! When this elegant chestnut-colored dog is a puppy, they sport droopy, downward-facing ears. But over time, the droop disappears and two triangular, pointy ears remain!
West Highland White Terrier
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This hardy breed is a lot tougher than they look. In addition to their tiny pointy ears, the Westie also sports a tough white coat that is not as fluffy as their other terrier relatives, meaning this weather-ready dog is always down for a hike or long walk even during the winter. Just keep in mind that their coat needs to be brushed daily in order to keep them white as snow!
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Although Chihuahuas can come in many different colors and patterns, it wouldn't be a Chihuahua without the trademark pointy ears. Whether they have a short coat and can get by with minimal grooming or are long-haired and require more attention, it's a good idea to talk to your vet about how to best bathe and care for your little fur baby. After all, they're the world's smallest dogs!