What Dog Breeds Need Ear Plucking? [Paws and Reflect]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

You’ve conquered the art of house training, mastered the intricacies of canine nutrition, and lovingly tolerated the slobbery kisses.

But wait, there’s more!

If you’re anything like me, you probably didn’t even know this was a thing until your furry friend’s ears started looking like a botanical experiment gone wrong.

Our dog’s ears need special care too, and in this post, I’ll enlighten you on what dog breeds need ear plucking, why they need it, and how you can do it safely.

So, let’s dive in, shall we?

Quick note: You might want to check out this list of the most common dog grooming injuries too.

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What is Ear Plucking for Dogs?

What is Ear Plucking for Dogs?

Ear plucking for dogs is this tedious way of removing hair in dogs’ ears by plucking or pulling using hemostats

There is much gossip surrounding ear plucking for dogs.

Some argue that it’s unnecessary and only causes pain to doggies.

In fact, most professional groomers avoid plucking a dog’s ear unless requested by the fur parent.

If you wanna know more about the controversy surrounding ear plucking for dogs, read through this article because I’ve got so much to unload!

5 Breeds That Require Ear Plucking

For professional groomers, not all breeds require to have their ears plucked.

But some breeds tend to have their ear hair rooted in ear canals hence plucking is needed. 

Here are some of the breeds that require their ears plucked from time to time:

1. Maltese

Maltese are known to have very furry bodies, and they have small hanging ears too.

With all the hair around and inside their small ears, bacteria will be in a frenzy.

Thus, Maltese are often one of the dog breeds that require to have their ears plucked occasionally.

2. Cocker Spaniel

With long ears that drop over that hand over their ear canals, Cocker Spaniel traps moisture in their ears.

This moisture can be a great breeding ground for parasites and other bacteria. Hence, it’s best to pluck Cocker Spaniel’s ear regularly.

3. Basset Hound

Just like Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds also have long droopy ears that prevent air from flowing to the ear canal.

Because of this, the moisture in the ears of Basset Hounds can’t be dried out unless ear plucking is done.

Remember that moisture in your dog’s ear gives ear infections a chance to manifest.

4. Poodle

With their short, thick, and curly hair that extends to their ear canals, Poodles require ear plucking.

The dense fur makes their ear canal impossible to penetrate by the air, which lets bacteria thrive until ear infections occur.

Read this too: Best toys for poodles

5. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu is another furry pooch that easily accumulates ear wax. Wax often thrived in moist dog ears.

Hence, if you have a Shih Tzu for a fur baby, you’ll have to regularly check if he already needs ear plucking.

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Why These Breeds Need Ear Plucking

Maltese, Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Poodle, and Shih Tzu are just some of the breeds that need ear plucking.

They might be different breeds, but they have almost similar reasons why their ears need to be plucked.

First, their hair sometimes grows in the ear canal which makes it impossible for air to enter. 

When air isn’t present in the ear, moisture won’t dry out which makes your dog’s ears the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Second, ear wax can’t be easily removed in ears that are long or droopy.

With hair AND wax in the ears, any dog will develop irritation.

Third, hair rooted in the ear canal can be itchy, especially for these breeds with so much fur.

If your dog is one of these breeds, and his hair is rooted in his ear canal, you’ll see him scratch his ear from time to time.

If this hair isn’t plucked from the ear, he’ll continue itching until the irritation worsens to hearing problems.

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Should You Pluck Your Dog’s Ear Hair?

Dog’s ear hair can be plucked when needed, but you shouldn’t pluck your dog’s ear hair if you aren’t used to doing it or you have no idea what you’re doing.

Your dog’s ear is sensitive and prone to infection with just a minimal mistake from plucking.

So if you’re hesitant with your plucking expertise, better let your dog’s professional groomers do the deed.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Ear Plucking?

Ear plucking among dogs helps keep their ears clean and dry.

However, I can’t deny the fact that there are risks associated with this practice.


Excessive ear plucking can cause trauma in your dog’s ear canal which may lead to inflammation.

This inflammation, when untreated, can lead to hearing loss.

You see, plucking ear hair from the ear canal opens up your dog’s pore.

Bacteria and other debris may fall into that pore which can lead to irritation.


If you or a groomer used improperly sterilized tools in plucking your dog’s ears, it will cause irritation.

Your dog’s ears are just as sensitive as human ears.

They shouldn’t be touched with unclean objects, or probably more so.

Unclean tools can introduce your dog’s ears to external pathogens that may cause ear infections.


If handled too harshly, your dog can feel pain and discomfort when his ears are being plucked.

Forcefully and inexpertly pulling your dog’s hair from his ears can cause bleeding, and I assure you it isn’t a pleasant feeling. 

How to Pluck Your Dog’s Ear Hairs?

Step one

Bring your dog to an open and comfortable area if you’re plucking his ear at home.

Step two

Gather all the tools you’ll be needing such as the hemostat and talcum powder. It’s also ideal to gather your dog’s favorite treats to keep him behaving.

Step three

Begin plucking your dog’s ear carefully. It’s ideal to have five strands at a time.

Pause if your dog shows signs of pain, then continue after a while.

Step four

Clean your dog’s ear with a clean and dry cloth to remove all the hair that you’ve plucked. This will prevent excess hair from entering the ear canal.

Step five

If your dog shows signs of irritation after plucking, apply talcum powder to soothe the itching.

Alternatives to Ear Pluckings

Regular ear cleaning

Regularly clean your dog’s ear to remove wax and other dirt. 

This will keep his ears clean and dry, and you no longer have to pluck your dog’s ear.

Be sure to use a solution that is safe for your dog. I highly recommend this:

Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B074P6C27C&Format= SL500 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dailydogdrama 20&language=en USir?t=dailydogdrama 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B074P6C27C
Non-irritating formula
Features a low pH to ensure compatibility with other ear treatments
Effectively removes debris and excess wax, drying the ear canal
Highly recommended for pets suffering from chronic otitis externa (persistent inflammation of the external ear canal)


Trimming your dog’s fur around his ears keeps the ear canal well-ventilated even without having to pluck.

Trimming also prevents the hair from matting, which makes it easier to spot and clean ear wax and dirt.

Professional grooming

Bring your doggy to your trusted grooming place to keep his ears clean and healthy.

Groomers will know the best ways to maintain your dog’s cleanliness without having to put him through pain or discomfort.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Best dog collar to prevent matting

Reasons for Checking Your Dog’s Ears Regularly

Checking your dog’s ears regularly allows you to monitor his ear health.

This also lets you take early actions to prevent any ear infection from manifesting in your dog’s sensitive ears.

You know, most dogs develop ear infections because their ears aren’t regularly checked.

You don’t want to be the dog owner that finds out one day that your dog’s ears are already infected beyond help.

Now, we don’t want that to happen to you, so regularly check your doggy’s ear!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will ear plucking cause pain to your dog?

When done harshly and improperly, ear plucking will cause pain to your dog. This is especially true when the hair being plucked is rooted in your dog’s ear canal.

How often should I pluck my dog’s ears?

Regularly plucking your dog’s ear, say once a month, is already enough to maintain his ears’ health and cleanliness. It’s not ideal to pluck your dog’s ears more than twice a month because this might already cause inflammation.

Can I use ear plucking as a substitute for regular ear cleaning?

You can’t use ear plucking as a substitute for regular ear cleaning. Ear plucking is merely the removal of your dog’s ear hair to prevent dirt accumulation and for good ear ventilation. Meanwhile, regular ear cleaning is necessary to promote healthy ears free from any infection.

In Conclusion: Which Dog Breeds Need Ear Plucking?

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge to tackle ear-plucking like a pro, your dog will surely thank you with wagging tails and endless affection.

Don’t forget to explore our other posts for more delightful doggy wisdom and humorous insights.

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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