Ears of the dog come in many shapes, sizes and settings. As with skull types, there are three basic ear types, erect, semi- erect and drop. Within and between breeds, the ears differ from dog to dog in the carriage, size, shape, thickness, placement on the skull and more.
In general, Iljins' studies suggested three alleles determined the three basic types:
Ha semi-erect, completely dominant
H drop ears, incompletely dominant
h erect ears, recessive
Other studies show that ear traits are probably more complex. Kelley found in his work with Border Collies that semi-erect and prick ears occur in the breed. Willis observed in German Shepherd Dogs the erect ear is dominant or partially so over drop or soft ears and there is a range in age when the ears become erect and both do not always become erect at the same time. Whitneys' research with ear length showed that more than two factors are responsible for short or long ears.
The results of these studies means that predicting ear
traits is very difficult to do.