What Causes a Puppy to Be Deaf?

Adrienne Farricelli

All puppies are born deaf, but certain puppies may be born permanently deaf.

Congenital deafness is the medical word used to depict deafness that is present from birth. While it's true that all puppies are born deaf, this deafness is only temporary. As puppies mature, they will gain their sense of hearing within two weeks. Problems occur when certain puppies never start hearing because of some underlying problem. In many cases, the problem occurs when the puppy is still in the womb.

Congenital Deafness in Puppies

Congenital deafness occurs during the early fetal development when the sound receptor cells fail to properly form. Recent studies suggest there is a link between the genes for certain coat colors (white and merle) and congenital deafness. According to this theory, congenital deafness has breed predispositions. It is estimated that over 30 dog breeds have high risk of manifesting congenital deafness.

Affected Dog Breeds

Dog breeds with a history of being affected by congenital deafness include the following (this is not an inclusive list).


English Setters

Border Collies

Australian Shepherds

white Boxers

white Bull Terriers

Dappled Dachshunds

Old English Sheepdogs