Rose vs. Button Ear Australian Shepherds: Everything you Need to Know

rose vs button ear australian shepherds

There are a lot of things that go into a breed standard, and in the Australian Shepherd’s case this also includes the shape of their ears. Australian Shepherds can have either rose or button ears.

However, this will leave many new Aussie owners wondering: what’s the difference?

Technically speaking, both the button and rose ear are recognized by both the American Kennel Club and the Australian Shepherd Club of America. However, button ears are considered to be more traditional than rose ears, and may be favored in specific competitions as a result.

In this article we will be explaining everything that you need to know about Australian Shepherd ears including the difference between rose and button ears.

Let’s jump right into it!

Read Next: 10 Typical Australian Shepherd Habits

What are Rose Ears on Australian Shepherds?

The rose ear on the Australian Shepherd occurs when the ears are naturally set to the side. This type of ear is always set back, and the ears are usually level with the top of the dog’s head.

This is just one of the natural ways that dropped erect ears sit on a dog’s head. Many other dog breeds can have rose ears in addition to the Australian Shepherds as well.

This includes many different kinds of dogs such as the Bulldog, Greyhound, and Whippet just to name a few.

What are Button Ears on Australian Shepherds?

Meanwhile, the button ear on dogs occurs when the ear ears drop face forward, and the ears must also have tipped ends.

This is considered to be the most traditional look of the Australian Shepherd by both the American Kennel Club and the Australian Shepherd Club of America.

Although button ears do look to be a bit different than rose ears on Australian Shepherds, the button ear is just an alternate way that partially dropped erect ears sit on the Australian Shepherd’s head.

Like the rose ear, many different breeds of dog can be seen with button ears as well. These include but are not limited to the Giant Schnauzer, the Jack Russell Terrier, and the Airedale Terrier.

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Rose vs Button Ear Australian Shepherds

At this point you are likely wondering: which type of ear on Australian Shepherds is more common, button or rose? Well, both are technically included in the Australian Shepherd’s official breed standard.

This means that both are considered to be fine to both the ASCA and the AKC. In addition, neither ear type changes the function of the ear.

This means that the shape of your Australian Shepherd’s ear is up to personal preference even though the button ear in Australian Shepherds is technically considered to be more traditional than the rose ear.

Technically speaking, both the rose ear and the button ear are just variations of the partly dropped erect ear on dogs.

This means that all Australian Shepherds should always have partially dropped erect ears according to their official breed standard.

However, the way these ears sit naturally can be different, and this leads to either a button ear or a rose ear. As a result there is only a small physical difference between the rose ear and the button ear in dogs.

The only kinds of ears that an Australian Shepherd should not have are erect ears or droopy ears. However, it is very rare for a purebred Australian Shepherds to be born with either of these types of ears.

This is only really important if you are looking to enter your Australian Shepherd into an official AKC or ASCA competition.

Australian Shepherds with completely erect or droopy ears do not usually have any hearing or health problems as a result of this ear shape.

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Related Questions

Are their Other Types of Ears on Australian Shepherds?

Yes, there are other types of ears that can occur on Australian Shepherds. These include fully erect ears and fully drooped ears. Both of these kinds of ears are considered to be a fault by both the AKC and the ASCA. However, Australian Shepherds born with these ears do not tend to suffer from any hearing problems.

When Can I Tell What Kind of Ears my Aussie Will Have?

Most people will be able to tell what kind of ears that their Australian Shepherd will have by the time that they are a few months old. An Australian Shepherd’s ear shape should not change after they are six months old, and if they do then this is likely a sign of a problem that will require a vet’s attention.

Should Australian Shepherds Have Droopy Ears or Erect Ears?

Technically an Australian Shepherd should not have completely dropped or completely erect ears. This is because only button and rose ears are included in their breed standard. However, these dogs do not usually suffer from any hearing problems, so a pet Australian Shepherd with either of these traits is nothing to worry about, especially if you do not plan on showing that dog in any dog shows.

What Are Side Placement Ears on an Australian Shepherd?

The side placement ear is just another name for the button ear. As a result, you may see this term as a replacement for the button ear term, but they do mean the same thing. Australian Shepherds and many other dog breeds have side placement ears.

Read Also: 5 Reasons Why Australian Shepherds are so Special


“Correct Earsets.” Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute,

“Page 1 of 2 – American Kennel Club.”,
“Breed Standard.” ASCA, 3 Aug. 2016,


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