When Will My German Shepherd's Ears Stand Up?

Updated on August 8, 2017
Sam Shepards profile image

Sam Shephard is an experienced German Shepherd owner and has learned throughout the years how to optimize the breed's health and wellness.

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Classic German Shepherds have ears that stand up straight. But anyone who has ever adopted this breed knows that their ears are floppy when they are young. Some owners, especially those who want a very classic-looking GSD (German Shepherd dog), are eager to see the ears stand up right away and often wonder whether there is anything they can do to help.

At What Age Do German Shepherd Ears Stand Up Straight?

When your puppy is finished teething (around week 20), his ears should start to stick up or should be all the way up. Why does it take five months for this to occur?

As a puppy, the GSD's cartilage is not strong enough and cannot hold up the weight of his big ears. But as he grows and gets the right nutrition, he develops stronger cartilage. This process usually takes about 20 weeks.

When he starts to wean himself out of the teething phase, you will likely begin to notice his ears fluctuating between floppy and pointy. You might see them rise when he perks up in response to a noise but see them flop down quickly afterwards.

If his ears can stick up straight during the first five months (prior to the end of the teething phase), then it’s likely that they will be straight and pointy for the rest of his life.

Can This Process Take Longer?

In some dogs, the process will take longer. Every puppy, even puppies from the same litter, will develop differently. Some German Shepherds may take up to seven months. If his ears do not stand up by the time he is 8 months old, they are probably never going to stand up because this is the time when most GSD's ears take permanent form.

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Is There Something Wrong With My Dog's Ears?

If five months have passed and his ears have still not perked up, it could be an indication that he is either not developing properly or that he is not getting proper nutrition. Your dog should have a diet that is abundant in protein, calcium, and vitamin D. If he is not getting enough of these nutrients from his puppy food, it might be time to switch to a higher-quality food. If you are really worried, you should take him to the veterinarian for a checkup.

However, most cases of floppy ears are an indication of non-standard genetics rather than lack of nutrition. Owners might want to rectify this problem with taping, but it rarely works because you cannot correct your dog’s biological makeup.

If you are not too picky with your puppy's appearance, then there is no reason to worry if his ears have not perked up by five months of age.

Is Taping German Shepherd Ears a Common Practice?

Many breeders recommend taping, and this is a fairly common practice, especially in show dog circles.

But taping is a less common practice with family or working German Shepherds for two reasons:

  1. Dogs that are bred to be family pets or working dogs are less likely to come from “show lines,” which means they are less likely to be “pure” German Shepherds.
  2. Owners of dogs that are not going to be shown in competitions are sometimes less concerned about their puppies being standard in appearance and may be perfectly happy with a floppy-eared adult GSD.

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Is Taping Safe?

Taping, as long as it is done properly, is usually painless, but it rarely works and can cause irritation or annoy your pet. The idea is that taping trains the cartilage the same way weightlifting trains the muscle. However, it's not a very effective method because you can't fix genetics.

What Else Can I Do to Make German Shepherd Ears Stand Up?

If your GSD does not have the right genetics for pointy ears, then there is nothing you can do. However, if he has shown signs that his ears are going to perk up, then there are a few things you can do to protect them from damage.

  1. Keep him away from puppies or dogs that like to bite or tug on the ears. While this might be cute and normal behavior, it can damage the cartilage and make it impossible for one or both of the ears to stand up properly.
  2. It is also important to talk to children and other family members about handling the puppy in a gentle manner.
  3. If you see dirt inside his ears, clean them very carefully with a wet cotton ball. Never stick anything down the ear canal! If you notice a lot of hair growth or wax, take him to the vet for a professional cleaning.

When did your shepherd's ears finally stand up?

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Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Arjunsinh Bhati 

        2 weeks ago

        Thanks for this services

      • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

        Sam Shepards 

        7 weeks ago from Europe

        Hi,

        Ramil if you look at the poll you can see that nearly half the people german shepherds ears are not standing up straight around 4 months. So chances are everything will be fine. Is he eating well and being playful/active?

        Is he changing his teeth ?

      • profile image

        Ramil de Guzman 

        7 weeks ago

        Hello, I'm about to get a german shepherd that's 4 months old, but both his ears are not standing. Although there are moments when he is walking, his ears are perking up, that is when his head is like stooping. There are also times when i'm playing with him and he is lying on his back, his ears go up out of excitement.

        I'm quite concern since this is my 1st GSD, I want my dog's ears to be normal.

        Thank you

      • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

        Sam Shepards 

        2 months ago from Europe

        Ruhound, It happens, but the ears will probably go down again before or during teething.

      • profile image

        ruhound 

        2 months ago

        I'm looking to add another GSD puppy to our household. The breeder has 8 week old purebreds. 3 of them already have fully erect ears. In all my years of owning and experiences with GSD puppies I've never known 8 week old puppies to have fully erect ears, no longer folding at all. Is this an oddity ?

      • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

        Sam Shepards 

        3 months ago from Europe

        How did you get a 4 week old German Shepherd? You should not be able to buy them younger than 7 weeks in most regulated countries?

        I suggest you look at the poll. It is completely normal.

      • profile image

        SolidTubeGaming 

        3 months ago

        I have a 4 week old German Shepherd, I was wondering if his ears are totally normal being down at his age?

      • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

        Sam Shepards 

        3 months ago from Europe

        Nice to hear, just remember the ears will probably go down (or partly dowb) again for a while around the time they start teething etc. Nothing to worry about, completely normal. :)

      • profile image

        Steve 

        4 months ago

        I have a 7 week gsd name Bessie and her ears came up today. The gsd ears are one of best qualities I like best about the breed besides the temperament.

      • profile image

        Daniel 

        4 months ago

        Hi guys I have a 4 1/2 month GSD dog and the ears are still down, is this a cause for concern or should I just leave it take their course??

      • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

        Sam Shepards 

        5 months ago from Europe

        How long has the other ear bean standing?

        Does he/she get decent puppy food for large dogs/gsd's?

        Play and be active.

        Overall a lot can still change in 1-2 months.

      • profile image

        Debby Millar 

        5 months ago

        My GS just turned 4 months one ear is standing perfect, other one is still floppy , but does Stan occasionally but only for a minute or so.

        Should I start to worry ?

      • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

        Sam Shepards 

        6 months ago from Europe

        Normally nothing 2.5 months is very young. Just keep giving him decent food and play enough.

      • profile image

        Mohit kumar 

        6 months ago

        Dear sir i have 2.5 months old german shepherd puppy but his ears not standing up. So please tell me what should i do.

      • profile image

        RAVI 

        6 months ago

        hi

        i have a mix gsd 5 months old .but his ears is not standing.

        what i do for stand his ears.

      • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

        Sam Shepards 

        7 months ago from Europe

        Hi readers,

        Since I get a lot of personal messages with questions like "when will my German Shepherd's ears stand up straight" or my German Shepherd is already 3-4 months and his ears are still flappy, is this normal.

        I can only say it depends and varies between dogs. For a clue take a look at the poll here you see that 50% of dogs will have their ears up between 3-6 months. Around 30% after 6 months and 15-20% will never have their ears completely up.

        Also just remember it's more important to have a happy and loving dog over having the perfect ears.

        Greetz

      • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

        Sam Shepards 

        7 months ago from Europe

        Hi,

        13 weeks is still young, just make sure his food is decent and he's happy and all will probably be fine. And indeed even for people who are unfortunate, if you love your german shepherd puppy it normally doesn't matter that much :)

      • profile image

        7 months ago

        My puppy is 13 weeks and his ears stands up randomly but most of the time they're down. Idc I still love him

      • profile image

        Zed222 

        7 months ago

        Hi wendy so i have a german shepherd he is 8 months old and his ears didn't raise i mean from the back of his ears they are raised but in the front they aren't so should i tape them or they will raise when they grow??

      • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

        Sam Shepards 

        9 months ago from Europe

        Hi Wendy,

        Just looking at the age the chances are slim. Also if I read correct they are brothers and both have the same issue? Seems like genetics then?

        Greetz

      • profile image

        Wendy 

        9 months ago

        I have two brother GSD they have one ear up and one ear down . They are 15 months old... I feed them Blue wilderness so it is not a nutrition issue

        Are they ever going to go up?

      • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

        Sam Shepards 

        10 months ago from Europe

        sudhanshu, is your German Shepherd teething? Shouldn't start worrying before he has changed all his teeth. Als make sure you puppy has good nutrious puppy food.

      • profile image

        sudhanshu 

        10 months ago

        I HAVE A 3 months old GERMAN SHEPERD Puppy his ear is not stands

      • profile image

        Annika Dinescu 

        12 months ago

        It did tell me???

      • profile image

        Mayur banya 

        14 months ago

        Thanku for explaining everything and making me comfortable

      • profile image

        Kyle 

        15 months ago

        I have a 10 week old GSD I believe but a man told me he looks mix. He has a gsd face someone help me

      • profile image

        nishan 

        15 months ago

        i have a 4 months old GSD puppy.His one ear is stand erectly and another one isnt. Does that one also erect properly?

      • profile image

        Angie Hernandez 

        15 months ago

        Thanks for the article good read.. still waiting for our puppy's ears to stand up she just turned 4 months. They stand when she plays & is running around outside but when she's relaxed they're flopped to the side like pippy long stockings lol

      • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

        Sam Shepards 

        17 months ago from Europe

        Thank you for the response. I do my best to provide information. It stil need some work, for instance calcium is important for you puppies and can be related to ears not standing straight etc.

      • Kathleen Cochran profile image

        Kathleen Cochran 

        17 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

        Yeah! An actual article on HP - not just somebody's latest thought in a discussion or Q & A. It's hard to find real work on this site any more. Good work, and thanks for making the effort!

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