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Why do Dogs’ Ears Have Pockets? A Fascinating Canine Anatomy Explained!

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Dogs are amazing creatures, and there are things about them that fascinate every pet owner.

Their ability to sniff and locate almost anything, the way they go for a hunt, or when their ears turn when they hear any sound making them the best-guarding animals, is absolutely amazing.

But there are some things that a pet owner discovers after having and caring for them over a period of time.  When you bathe them or pet them or while cleaning them, there are things you discover about them that are absolutely fascinating and sometimes a mystery you have to seek answers for.

One such interesting fact of dogs’ anatomy is the ear pockets they have just at the bottom corner of their ears. Those ear pockets even have a name; interesting, no?

In this article, we will learn all the information pertaining to this fascinating canine anatomy, including why dogs have ear pockets, which breeds have them, and how to take care of them.

Curious already? Let’s begin reading.

What is Henry’s Pocket?

What is Henry’s Pocket

A Henry’s pocket, also known as a cutaneous marginal pouch, is a small area making a deep pocket-like structure around the outer side of the ear pinna. This Henry pocket is found in dogs with erect ears, and there are some specific breeds that have Henry pockets.

Dogs with thin coats and upright ears are usually seen with these Henry’s pockets. The exact purpose of the Henry pockets is still unknown, but experts say it helps them in listening and navigating in tough terrains and is very helpful in hunting.

The Henry pockets in dogs are considered a weak spot by many pet owners as it is very prone to infections and other diseases. The area is very much moist and hard to clean, which attracts fungal infections and bacterial germs, causing a lot of trouble.

A dog’s Henry pockets are a very convenient option for veterinarians to use when they require skin tissue for biopsies of the ears. If a dog is diagnosed with pemphigus foliaceus or small vessel vasculitis, the skin from the ear is used to determine the disease.

Henry’s pockets are also checked in every physical examination or check-up of a dog as ear mites and tricks tend to hide in the pouch there, often ignored in the cleaning process.

Why do Dogs Ears Have Pockets?

Why do Dogs Ears Have Pockets

This has always remained a mystery why dogs’ ears have pockets and what are its specific functions. Experts vary in their thoughts and explanations about what an ear pocket does. Let us know some probable reasons why dogs have ear pockets.

It is said that Henry’s pockets help in locating the prey while remaining very still. The pockets help dogs detect sounds coming from various regions. They can hear sounds from 80 feet away; without turning their head, they just rotate their ears to gather sound. Head turns can alert the prey, and hence Henry’s pocket is very helpful in navigating the prey.

Henry’s pockets help the dog fold and flatten its ears, and their ear’s movement also communicates with the emotion they are having. Flattened ear to side may be because they are in pain or scared, whereas a flattened ear pointing to the back tells you they are in anger.

4 Dog Breeds with Henry’s Pocket?

Dog Breeds with Henry’s Pocket

There are not many dogs that have Henry’s pockets. Dog breeds with thinner coats or erect ears are known to have these fascinating pouches.

Dog breeds with Henry pockets are

  • Chihuahuas
  • Boston terriers
  • Corgis
  • Pugs

It is to be noted that dogs from the above-mentioned breeds may still not have a cutaneous marginal pouch. It may vary from dog to dog. Henry Pockets are even influenced by genetics and the mixing of breeds. An interesting fact is almost all cats have them.

How to Take Care of Your Dog’s Ear Pockets?

How to Take Care of Your Dog’s Ear Pockets

If you have discovered that your pooch has a cutaneous marginal pouch, it’s your duty and responsibility to keep it clean.

It is moist and deep, which makes it a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus; it is very important to keep it clean every once in a while. Do not let it stay wet, as many parasites are always finding a place to stay. Cover the ears when bathing and clean them separately in grooming sessions.

When your pooch comes from a playing session or goes outside for a walk in rainy or cold weather, clean their ears with a cotton cloth when they return home, as dirt can be equally infectious if stayed in the pouch.

Get it checked every once in six months, and get a thorough physical examination of your dog’s health, including its cutaneous marginal pouch. Sometimes the bacterial infections rise from the cutaneous marginal pouch and get into the ear, causing pemphigus foliaceus or small vessel vasculitis.


Which dog breeds have a cutaneous marginal pouch or Henry’s pockets?

Breeds like Chihuahuas, Boston terriers, Corgis, and Pugs are some breeds that have Henry’s pockets. Generally, breeds with thin hair coats and erect ears are known to have a cutaneous marginal pouch.

Do other animals have Henry’s pockets?

Yes, dogs are not the only ones with Henry’s pockets. Cats, Foxes, Weasels, and Bats also have them. Ultimately, they are all known to have good ears and listening abilities, creating a common narrative that Hnery’s pockets help in clear sound detection from a good frequency.

How do I treat an infected Henry’s pocket?

Take a soft cotton cloth and clean the area gently with an antiseptic; iodine is a good choice. If it is not cleaned and the infectious signs stay, do visit a veterinarian as soon as possible to avoid any major issues.


If you have just found out about your dog having a pouch at the corner of its ear, you will be as surprised as me. This article provides you with insights into what it actually is.

It is called Henry’s Pockets, and this read will provide you with information regarding what it is and why dogs have pockets, along with what breeds of dogs have them and how to care for them. Take this article as a guide and learn about this fascinating canine anatomy.

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