What Does A Dogs Ears Back Mean

Dogs are lovable creatures that have been our loyal companions for thousands of years. They communicate with us in various ways, both verbally and non-verbally. Their body language is an essential aspect of their communication style, which includes the position of their ears.

As a dog owner or enthusiast, it’s crucial to understand what a dog’s ears back mean. This article will explore this topic in detail, providing comprehensive information about this behavior.

The Position of a Dog’s Ears

A dog’s ears can take different positions depending on its mood, temperament, and breed. Generally speaking, a dog’s ears can be classified into three positions:

1. Erect: This is when a dog’s ears stand straight up and point forward. It means that the dog is alert and attentive.

2. Semi-erect: This is when a dog’s ears are slightly inclined towards the front. It indicates that the dog is relaxed and friendly.

3. Flattened: This is when a dog’s ears are tightly pressed against its head. It generally means that the dog is scared or anxious.

However, there is another position that dogs’ ears can take, which we will be exploring in-depth – when they’re pulled back.

What Does It Mean When A Dog’s Ears Are Pulled Back?

If you’ve ever seen a dog with its ears pulled back, you might have wondered what it means. Well, there are several reasons why dogs do this:

1. Fear or Anxiety

One of the most common reasons why dogs pull their ears back is fear or anxiety. When dogs feel scared or anxious, they tend to withdraw and try to make themselves as small as possible. Pulling their ears back helps them achieve this posture by reducing their profile and making them look less threatening.

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2. Aggression

In some cases, dogs may pull their ears back before becoming aggressive towards someone or something they perceive as a threat. It’s their way of communicating that they’re not happy and are ready to defend themselves.

3. Submission

When dogs feel submissive, they may pull their ears back as a sign of submission. This behavior is often seen when dogs interact with other dogs or humans who they perceive as dominant.

4. Pain or Discomfort

Dogs may also pull their ears back if they’re in pain or discomfort. For example, if a dog has an ear infection, it may pull its ear back to protect it from further irritation.

5. Happiness

Believe it or not, some dogs pull their ears back when they’re happy! It’s their way of expressing excitement and joy. However, this behavior is more common in certain breeds like Greyhounds and Whippets, who tend to have thin skin around their ears.

How to Interpret Your Dog’s Ear Position

As a dog owner, it’s essential to be able to interpret your dog’s ear position accurately. Here are some tips that can help:

1. Look at the Whole Body Language

While a dog’s ear position can indicate its mood or temperament, it should always be considered in conjunction with other body language cues such as tail position, posture, and facial expressions.

2. Consider the Context

The context in which the behavior occurs is also crucial in interpreting your dog’s ear position accurately. For example, if your dog pulls its ears back when you’re playing with it, it may be a sign of happiness and excitement rather than fear or anxiety.

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3. Know Your Dog’s Breed

Different breeds of dogs have different ear shapes and sizes, which can affect the way they hold their ears naturally. Knowing your dog’s breed can help you interpret its ear position more accurately.


In conclusion, understanding what a dog’s ears back mean is crucial for any dog owner or enthusiast. By knowing the reasons why dogs exhibit this behavior, you can better understand your furry friend’s mood and temperament. Remember to consider other body language cues and the context in which the behavior occurs when interpreting your dog’s ear position accurately. And, of course, don’t forget to appreciate the joy and love that our furry friends bring into our lives!