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Discover Button-Ear Dog Breeds: One Is A Surprise

As you probably already know, dog ears come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each adding a unique touch to a breed’s facial expressions. Common types include erect ears like those seen on the German Shepherd, droopy ears typical of the Basset Hound, cropped ears often found on the Doberman and the button ear which are commonly found in the terrier group.

What Are Button Ears?

Button ears are characterized primarily by their shape, size, and position on the head:

Shape: The most defining characteristic of button ears is their forward-folding nature. Unlike ears that stand erect or droop down, button ears fold forward so that the tip of the ear flap points toward the eye, covering the ear canal entrance. The fold typically occurs at about halfway down the ear, giving the top half a slightly lifted appearance.

This fold creates a look as if the ear is buttoned down towards the eye, much like the look of a button down collar on a shirt. Hence the name button ear.

Size: They are generally small to medium in size. They are not overly large or long, which helps in maintaining the neat, buttoned appearance. The size is proportional to the size of the dog’s head.

Position: They are set high on the dog’s head, often aligning with the eye line or slightly above. This high positioning contributes to the dog’s alert and attentive expression. It allows the ears to be a prominent feature of the dog’s face, enhancing expressiveness and providing clear signals about the dog’s mood and attention through their movement and positioning.

Titled picture "Discover Button-Ear Dog Breeds - Number 3 will surprise you. with a pencil sketch of the head of a Russell Terrier.

Popular Dog Breeds with Button Ears

1. Pug

Pug dog with tongue sticking out.
  • Group: Toy
  • Size: 10 to 13 inches tall

The Pug is a small, charismatic breed recognized by its wrinkly face and curled tail. Weighing 14 to 18 pounds, these dogs are known for their playful and affectionate nature.

Pugs have a short coat in colors like fawn, black, and apricot, and require minimal grooming, though their facial wrinkles need regular cleaning. Pugs can have “rose” or “button” ears.

They love human company and are great with families, though their flat faces can lead to breathing issues. Ideal for apartment living, Pugs need only moderate exercise, making them perfect companions for less active owners.

2. Russell Terrier

tri color Jack Russell Terrier laying down
  • Group: Terrier
  • Size: 10 to 15 inches tall

The Jack Russell Terrier is a small, energetic breed known for its bold and spirited personality. Originally bred in England for fox hunting, this breed possesses a high level of intelligence and an innate drive to hunt and dig.

Their coat can be smooth, rough, or broken (a combination of both), and they are predominantly white with black, brown, or tan markings. One of their distinctive features is their button ears, which fold forward giving them a perky and alert appearance.

Jack Russell Terriers require a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation due to their high energy levels and intelligence. They thrive in environments where they can explore and play.

3. Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier puppy in the grass during autumn looking side ways
  • Group: Terrier
  • Size: 10 to 18 inches tall

Our surprise breed is the Rat Terrier. The Rat Terrier is a small to medium-sized American breed known for its agility, intelligence, and keen hunting skills.

Rat Terriers have a short, smooth coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including black and tan, tri-color, and piebald. While their ears are generally erect or semi-erect, tipped and button ears are also allowed as you can see in their breed standard.

Known for their lively and friendly nature, Rat Terriers make excellent family pets. They are highly intelligent and trainable, performing well in dog sports such as agility and obedience.

Despite their small size, they are energetic and require plenty of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They are also known for their loyalty and protective instincts, often serving as vigilant watchdogs.

4. Hairless Terrier

Hairless Terrier in brown and white skin in the grass.
  • Group: Terrier
  • Size: 12 to 16 inches tall

The American Hairless Terrier is a small to medium-sized breed that is notably recognized for being one of the only true hairless breeds originating in the United States. Developed from the Rat Terrier, the breed originated from a spontaneous genetic mutation for hairlessness that occurred in a Rat Terrier litter in the 1970s.

The American Hairless Terrier has a sleek appearance with smooth, hairless skin that can be any color or combination of colors. They are sometimes born with a fine coat of hair which they lose as they mature, although a coated variety exists, retaining a short, soft fur. The ears on a Hairless Terrier can firmly erect, tipped, rose, or button when the dog is alert. They are even allowed to have mixed ears like the one in the picture above.

These terriers are energetic, intelligent, and playful, making them excellent companions. They are known for their inquisitive and alert demeanor, loyalty, and affection towards their families. Despite their small size, they are muscular and athletic, requiring regular exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

5. Lakeland Terrier

Lakeland terrier in the field looking back towards the camera
  • Group: Terrier
  • Size: 13 to 15 inches tall

The Lakeland Terrier is a small, sturdy breed from England’s Lake District, developed to hunt foxes and other vermin. It features a wiry coat available in several colors including black, blue, red, and wheaten.

Known for their energy and confidence, Lakelands have a typical terrier temperament—intelligent, tenacious, and spirited. They require consistent training and enjoy activities that stimulate both their body and mind.

Regular grooming is essential to maintain their distinctive appearance. Ideal for those seeking an active, bold companion, Lakeland Terriers bring a lot of personality in a small package.

6. Fox Terrier

Fox Terrier in the grass standing looking
  • Group: Terrier
  • Size: 15 inches tall

The Fox Terrier is a spirited and intelligent breed, traditionally bred for fox hunting in England. It comes in two varieties: Smooth Fox Terrier and Wire Fox Terrier, both known for their keen sense of smell and ability to dig out prey.

Fox Terriers have a distinctive, alert appearance with button ears and a tapered muzzle. The Smooth variety has a sleek, shiny coat, while the Wire variety features a rough, dense coat with a characteristic beard. Both types have predominantly white coats with black or brown markings.

Renowned for their boundless energy and fearless nature, Fox Terriers require plenty of exercise and thrive in active environments. They are highly trainable but can be stubborn, necessitating consistent, patient training.

7. Welsh Terrier

Welsh terrier looking at camera with button ears and white background
  • Group: Terrier
  • Size: 15 – 15.5 inches tall

The Welsh Terrier is a lively and sturdy breed originally bred for hunting fox, rodents, and badger in Wales. It is characterized by a dense, wiry coat in black and tan that provides protection in rough terrain. The breed has a distinctive beard and eyebrows, adding to its expressive, keen appearance.

Welsh Terriers are known for their spirited and friendly nature. They are intelligent and possess a playful disposition that makes them excellent family pets. However, like many terriers, they have a strong prey drive and can be independent, requiring firm, consistent training from an early age.

8. Manchester Terrier (Standard)

Manchester Terrier outside looking up at the camera
  • Group: Terrier
  • Size: 15 to 16 inches tall

The Manchester Terrier, developed in England for rat-catching and rabbit coursing, is a sleek, athletic breed available in two sizes: Standard (12 to 22 pounds) and Toy (under 12 pounds).

Both varieties share similar traits and temperaments. They have a smooth, glossy black coat with distinctive mahogany markings and a streamlined body with a long tapered tail.

Manchester Terriers may have erect or button ears, with button ears more common in the UK. Known for their intelligence, loyalty, and lively personality, these dogs are highly trainable, make excellent watchdogs, and require regular exercise to manage their energy.

9. Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier looking straight ahead with white background
  • Group: Terrier
  • Size: 22 to 23 inches tall

The Airedale Terrier, known as the “King of Terriers,” is the largest terrier breed, originally from Yorkshire, England. Standing about 23 inches at the shoulder and weighing 50 to 70 pounds, the Airedale has a wiry tan and black or grizzle coat that requires regular grooming.

This breed is recognized for its intelligence, independence, and energetic nature. Airedales excel in roles such as hunting and guarding, thanks to their agility and strength. They are loyal and make excellent family pets, but need firm training and plenty of exercise to match their high energy and sharp minds.