Learn to read your chihuahuas’ ears

Learning to read your chihuahuas’ ears is easier than tea leaves. So you won’t need a crystal ball to work out what your chihuahua is thinking. Your chihuahua’s body language can tell you so much about their mood. You can read more about body language in this post.

Chihuahuas’ ears are amazing, generally upright and alert they can capture sounds from many different directions and can have amazing high-frequency range, they can even hear pulses such as the crystal resonator in your digital alarm clock!

There are an incredible 18 muscles in each chihuahua ear which work to tilt, raise and rotate their soft and furry extremities. The muscles in the ears don’t just help to hear; they can also show you how your dog is feeling, which can help you to gauge their mood.

In fact, there is so much to marvel at with your chi’s little ears, for a start chihuahua ears can move independently of each other! By tuning into your chi’s ear movements, you can tell what they’re thinking and how they feel, so you get to know your chi a little bit better.

Here are some common positions for your chihuahuas’ ears


When your chi is mellow and relaxed, and there are no loud or strange noises to tune into, your chi will have ears in a resting position. Depending on your dog, this may mean the ears are upright or flopped, but this will be their usual ear position.

Relaxed for a chihuahua is upright.


When your chihuahuas’ ears are slightly back, and their mouth is open this is a friendly and happy chi. If you see your chi like this and perhaps bowing in front on you, it means that they just want to play and are happy to see you.


Defensive and Anxious

If you notice your chihuahua with ears slightly back, mouth tight and face rigged with a tucked tail it is likely that they are feeling anxious and defensive. Be cautious and try to determine the cause of their anxiety so that you can help to diffuse the situation.



If you spot your chi with their ears pinned right back, check the exit routes as they are likely to run away as fast as possible. Having ears flat back against their body is a sign of being terrified and insecure so make sure you can keep your chi safe when you notice this valuable ear sign.



When a chi’s ears are back and pointing low, this is usually a sign of submission, and you are likely to see this when your chi recognises a ‘pack leader’. A pack leader could be you or perhaps a bigger dog when out on a walk. It is not necessarily a sign of fear but actually understanding authority.

Submissive, Minnie does this when she is not well.


When your notice your chihuahuas’ ears are pricked and in a slightly forward position, something has their attention. There has definitely been a sound or vision that has captured their interest, is that the treat cupboard door opening? Is it dinner time? Are they putting on their boots for walkies?



Often aggression is thought to be symbolised by ears pinned back but you will find chihuahuas show their aggression through having their ears splayed wide apart and a forward stance, ready to attack.

Feeling a bit chippy

Worried or guilty 

Dropped ears that are folded back against the head give a naturally guilty pose but can also be anxiety or worry, or is it just worry that they’re about to get caught?


Sorry the last one is not a chihuahua, it’s very hard to find a photo of a chihuahua looking guilty or sorry because:

A: They can do no wrong.

 B: They don’t care anyway!

We love your feedback please leave your comments below.

Other articles you may like. Telling Tails: A Guide to wagging etiquette.