Ear Erectness - What Is This Test Telling You?

Ear erectness (pricked ears versus floppy ears), variant chr10:11072007

Dog breeds show great diversity in ear morphology, ranging from pricked, erect ears to floppy, dropped ears. This variation in ear morphology is likely controlled by the combined effects of multiple genetic variants. No gene test for ear type is therefore available, but canine genetics research has already revealed genetic variants that are statistically correlated with the ear phenotype. This means that an as of yet undiscovered causal mutation or variant may reside somewhere in the vicinity of the tested variant that is showing the statistical correlation.

We test a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) on chromosome 10 (CanFam2.0 chr10:11072007) that was associated with ear type in a genome-wide association study examining 12 breeds with pricked ears and 15 breeds with dropped ears. The C (cytosine) allele of this SNP is more frequent in dog breeds with dropped, floppy ears, whereas the T (thymine) allele is more frequent in breeds with erect, pricked ears. Please note that there are exceptions to this generally observed pattern, and that your dog's final appearance will depend on the joint effect of many genetic factors that influence ear type. For this reason, this test information is primarily provided for descriptive purposes, and we advice caution in its use for breeding selections. The MyDogDNA research team is currently working on including more conformation-associated variants in the test panel to provide more comprehensive information on other traits such as body size and skull shape as well.


Reporting of the results:

C/C: Your dog is homozygous for (carries two copies of) a genetic variant associated with floppy ears. This genotype is common in breeds like English Springer Spaniel, Leonberger, Saluki, and Dachshunds. Interestingly, the C-allele of this variant is the ancestral allele frequent in wolf.

English Springer Spaniel   Saluki   Leonberger


C/T: Your dog is heterozygous for this variant. This means that your dog carries one copy of a genetic variant typically associated with floppy ears, and one copy typically associated with pricked ears. Such variation is seen in many breeds, like Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, and Finnish Hound.

Golden Retriever Labrador Retriever


T/T: Your dog is homozygous for (carries two copies of) a genetic variant typically associated with pricked ears. This genotype is common in breeds like Finnish Spitz, German Shepherd, Samoyed, Terriers, and in Collie-related breeds.

Finnish Spitz American Toy Fox Terrier Samoyed


​Vaysse A, Ratnakumar A, Derrien T, Axelsson E, Rosengren Pielberg G, Sigurdsson S, Fall T, Seppälä EH, Hansen MST, Lawley CT, Karlsson EK, The Lupa Consortium, Bannasch D, Vilà C, Lohi H, Galibert F, Fredholm M, Häggström J, Hedhammar Å, André C, Lindblad-Toh, Hitte C, Webster MT. Identification of Genomic Regions Associated with Phenotypic Variation between Dog Breeds using Selection Mapping. PLoS Genet 7(10): e1002316, 2011. Pubmed: 22022279.