Dog ears are the best, and while swirling or petting them you may have noticed a curious little slit or pocket toward the base of your dog’s ears. So, what’s the deal?
And what good is a pocket if it can’t hold snacks?
What is this dog ear pocket?
This little fold or slit in dog ears is known as a Henry’s pocket. Aww.
The less-cute but more scientific name for it is the cutaneous marginal pouch. It’s found in cats and some dog breeds. It’s located on the lower posterior part of the external ear, if your dog has it.
Which dog breeds have a Henry’s pocket?
As we’ve learned from cargo pants, pockets aren’t for everyone. Only some types of dogs have this little pouch in their ear.
In general, it’s more common in dogs with erect ears and/or less hair. Chihuahuas, Boston terriers, corgis, and pugs are commonly known to have Henry’s pockets, though not exclusively. (Almost all cats have them).
What is the cutaneous marginal pouch for?
So, why do dogs have these pockets? Well, we don’t know for sure, but here are some educated guesses:
- Helps aid in the detection of higher pitched sounds by attenuating lower pitches.
- An extra barrier/gatekeeper for sound waves for enhanced sound detection. When dogs angle their ears, they’re letting the pouch do its job more effectively.
- Helps dogs fold/flatten their ears, like a fold or pocket in luggage.
- Purely decorative (but probably not).
How can I take care of my dog’s ear pockets?
Now that you know they’re there, it’s up to you to keep them clean.
Like lots of folds, pockets, and flaps on dogs, the Henry’s pocket can be a breeding ground for bacteria and parasites. Party in the pocket! It’s dark, it’s moist, it’s the place to be. So keep an eye on it, or don’t be surprised when you see your vet checking it out.