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How To Help German Shepherd Ears Stand Up

How Do I Fix My Dogs Floppy Ears

How to make German Shepherd ears Stand Up?

If you have a dog with floppy ears, you are familiar with the questions people ask. The most common question is Why does s/he have floppy ears? The short answer is, they are born that way. There are, however, other reasons for your dogs floppy ears. If your dog was very young when he had ear surgery, or if he recently had ear infections, or if his ears are injured, they may be floppy..

My German Shepherds Ears Never Went Up

As mentioned, there will always be some German Shepherds with floppy ears that stay down and never come up. This should not be viewed as a problem, and gives your German Shepherd a lot more character than the standard German Shepherd.

It doesnt mean your dog is abnormal or unhealthy, its just the way they are, so love them for their ears that decided to never go up!

However, if you do want to know more about your German Shepherds down ears and how old the ears should eventually go up, read on.

What Do German Shepherds Ear Positions Mean

Seeing the changing positions of your German Shepherds ears could have prompted you to ask yourself questions like, is my dog trying to communicate anything? What does it mean when a German Shepherds ears are down? or Is my dog okay?

Just like how body language can tell you what is going through a persons mind, the position of your German Shepherds ears can tell you what is going through your poochs mind. Here are some GSD ear positions and what they mean.

Read Also: When Do German Shepherds Ears Perk Up

German Shepherd Puppy Ear Stages

I haven’t found a formal breakdown of German Shepherd Puppy Ear Stages, and I believe this is because the development of muscles and cartilage varies between puppies.

But since this is such an important topic, here’s the breakdown of common ear stages and position

Please keep in mind that these stages are highly variable from puppy to puppy. Use this only as a rough guide and never as anything set in stone.

Can This Process Take Longer

When Will My German Shepherd

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

After 3000 people voting in my poll and a lot of questions in the comment section, I decided to make a table to provide a clear overview. Keep in mind that polls are self-reporting and can contain flaws or biases.

Around 75% of the dogs have their ears standing up in the first three to ten months. The results also show that nearly one in five German Shepherds will never have their ears stand up straight. That number is higher than I expected. I trained in official clubs with purebred dogs and I’ve rarely or never seen those, which makes me think there are more mixed dogs in the poll or some people voted too early.

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Why Do Puppies Ears Stand Up

Genetics are mostly responsible for whether a dog’s ear will stand up. Dogs that come from the more wolf-like breeds have inherited the wolf’s erect, alert ears.

Similarly, smaller dogs like Corgis or Chihuahuas have been bred to have straight ears, with droopy-eared individuals usually taken out of the breeding program.

Upright Ears In Certain Dog Breeds: The Timeline And Factors That Affect It

The first thing to understand is that the timeline for a dogs ears to stand up naturally will vary from one breed to the next, and from one dog to the next.

In other words, all dogs are different, and their individual timeline may differ from even another dog of the same breed.

Its important to stress here that we are talking only about dogs who are supposed to have naturally erect years.

Although there is a process called cropping that can transform almost any dogs ears, making them pointy and erect, experts say this should only be done for medical reasons and only with the help of a pet care professional.

Now, if you have a dog who is supposed to have pointy and erect ears as a matter of breedDoberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Boston Terriers, Great Danes and the likewhen exactly can you expect that to happen and when should you intercede to help if it doesnt?

Well, according to experts, that timeframe is about 8 months.

This can vary by a few months in both directions, but 8 months is usually the timeline given by veterinarians and breeders.

There are some factors that can certainly delay the process in some dogs.

One of the most noteworthy of these factors is teething.

Experts say teething can have a minor to major impact on the proper development of your pups ears.


When a puppy begins teething, usually towards the end of his first month, they can develop calcium deposits in various parts of their body, including their ears.

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Do German Shepherd Ears Stand Up Naturally

It’s quite usual for a dog to have one floppy ear and one ear which is erect. Your German Shepherd may have one floppy ear and one upright ear on occasion. If they’re a little German Shepherd puppy, they’re probably still growing, and the one ear that is down will take some time to naturally stand up.

It’s not always a drastic shift but rather a steady process. Before going down, their ears will rise up when they hear a noise or respond to anything. However, the more this occurs, the more likely that the ears will learn to stand up on their own. If you see a GSD’s ears sticking up within the first five months of life, it’s a strong indication that they’ll stick up at maturity.

The cartilage in your GSD’s ears is still developing, which is why it takes so long for them to stand up. It’s not very strong while they’re pups, but as they get older, it becomes strong enough to support the weight of their ears. Between the ages of eight weeks and six months, German Shepherd puppy ears develop. If they aren’t up after the dog has finished teething, which varies from dog to dog but generally occurs between the ages of 16 and 20 weeks, the first thing to check is that your German Shepherd puppy is in good health.

Reasons For Delay In Ears Standing Up

How to help my GSD puppy’s ears go up.

There are several reasons due to which a delay in the popping up of ears can be observed.


The most common reason due to which the ears refuse to stand up is teething. It might be because the mind is engaged in the process of teething and cannot concentrate on the ears to stand up. Till the end of 5 months, it is quite normal if the ears remain floppy and do not rise.

Genetic issue

If the ears dont stand up even after the 6 to 8 months stage, then it can be due to some genetic issue. Nothing can be done if the floppy ears have passed through the genes.

Defective Ears

The ears are a sensitive part of a dogs body. If the ears do not stand up after the 8 months, then there might be something that happened to the dog accidentally that caused a defect in its ear. Some other puppies might have bitten or pulled the ears hardly or kid might have hurt the puppys ears while playing with it.

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What Can Be Done For The Natural Growth Of Ears

If the ears of a dog do not stand up, there is nothing that can be done in this case. It might be a genetic problem. If you saw your dog showing signs of making the ears stand up, you can work on the following few suggestions. They might work for a specific case.

  • If you let your puppy play with other puppies, keep your puppy away from the ones who have a habit to tug or bite on ears. Visually it looks cute but in the long run, it can damage the ear of your puppy and will not let the ears stand up.
  • Check the ears of your puppies regularly. Clean the dirt and wax with a wet cotton bud. If you find it difficult, consult the vet to do it for you professionally.
  • You can use flea medicine if you find parasites in the ears or body of your puppy. They can damage the ears.
  • Encourage everyone at home to handle the puppy with care and do not play with its ears.
  • Take out the proper time for your puppy. Your attention, love, and care will keep your puppy happy and healthy and the ears will stand up naturally on time.

If you are the real dog lover, it wont even matter for you if the ears pop up or not.

How Can I Make My Dogs Ears Stand Up Naturally

Some breeders, particularly of large breeds like the German Shepherd, encourage chew toys to get a puppys ears to stand up. The idea is that consistent chewing on appropriate toys will strengthen the muscles at the base of the dogs ears and around their jaws. This should promote the proper development of the ears.

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When Will My German Shepherd’s Ears Stand Up

    For some owners the worry mode can already be reached at 4 months old if their German Shepherd Dog still has floppy ears, and by 6 months it can be full on panic stations!

But some German Shepherd owners panic too early and start taping their pups ears at the young age of 3 or 4 months because theyre ears are not standing up. Stop!

    Its best to be patient and wait until the pup stops teething.

For the ears to go up, it usually has to happen when the teething has finished.

    • But nevertheless there is
    • Some owners have experienced the ears going up as early as 4 weeks old, but it can realistically happen anytime, especially in the teething period which is the first 5-6 months.

Why does this happen? Simple. When the pup is teething the body will need to borrow some calcium for the teeth to grow well, along with important bones. The cartilage of the ear at this time is not that important overall, so they will resume using the calcium only once the teeth and bones have used it.

Now it gets a bit more complicated! You need to be aware that the ears can also go up, come down, and go up again during teething. And it sometimes isn’t even that simple!

Wait until 5 months of age and then seek a vets advice again if they are both down, or one up, one down.

    • But

Is Taping Dog Ears Safe

German shepherd Floppy Ears

When done right, taping is a painless and safe method that can help your dogs ears to stand up. The idea behind taping is to help the cartilage to form properly and become strong enough to hold the weight of a dogs ears.

While painless, taping can cause discomfort and irritate your dog, so you should consider if its really worth it. Bear in mind that nothing is stronger than genetics and that taping might not work for your pooch.

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Why Do German Shepherd Puppies Go Ears Up Then Down

It’s common for a pup’s ears to perk up and then droop again within a few weeks. So, don’t let this alarm you. This is a sign that the cartilage and muscles are developing normally.

And this can happen several times during teething when the adult teeth are pushing through.

Although as I mentioned above, some puppies will not experience droopy ears during teething.

In my experience, if the ears perk up once and then droop again, they will come back up. So in this case just relax and wait for your pup to finish teething.

Some uneducated sources say this has to do with their bodies using calcium for bone and teeth development.

This is incorrect information because, in fact, their ears are cartilage and not bone, so calcium is not a factor in upright ears in fact, calcium supplementation can cause serious health issues.

In reality, this up and down see-saw of your puppy’s ears has to do with the development of the Temporalis Muscle, which I’ll get into a little further down, so keep reading.

What Can You Do If Your German Shepherd Puppys Ears Dont Stand Up

When it comes to dogs and their ears, they certainly come in all shapes and sizes from long and drooping to petite and pointed, and for pedigree breeds, the position their ears should take when they are fully grown is usually dictated in the breed standard. For German Shepherds, the breed standard dictates that the dogs ears should be proud and erect in the adult dog but most of us have seen a German shepherd puppy with floppy ears, or even one ear up and one down as they develop!

Some German shepherds will retain drooping ears into adulthood, and whilst having floppy ears isnt generally a problem for the dog itself, it is classed as a fault in the dogs conformation and whilst this is of no importance to many owners, it is wise to know why the dogs ears may not become erect, and if anything can be done about it.

In this article we will look at how, when and why the German shepherds ears begin to stand up, what can cause floppy ears, and how to help to ensure that you puppys ears stand up naturally. Read on to learn more.

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Your German Shepherds Ears

Anyone who remembers Rin Tin Tin, the canine hero of 1950s television, recalls that famous German Shepherds regal silhouette head erect, muscular body ready for action and, most notably, ears standing straight up. But as many shepherd owners learn, it can take a while for pups to acquire that signature pointy-eared look.

While the floppy ears of a playful pup are cute, you may wonder if your shepherds ears will ever stand up. If he is a mixed breed, youll have to wait and see.

If youve seen them up, theyll stay up.

Most breeders and veterinarians will tell you that floppy ears are common while your German Shepherd is teething, which usually ends between 16 and 20 weeks. By then, the cartilage in the ear has become hard and strong enough for the ear to stand permanently.

During the teething months, you might notice the ears going up naturally for a day or two, or when your dog barks, gets excited, or hears a sudden noise. If youve seen the ears go up on their own for any amount of time during that first five months, you can be pretty sure that they will stand permanently when the teething period is over.

Keep an eye on his ears

If the ears of your German Shepherd are not erect after his fifth month, and this is the look you desire, you may want to contact your veterinarian or breeder. Between the 5th and 7th month the ear cartilage is still soft enough to encourage the ear into an upright position. By the 8th month, the ears will usually take on their adult form.

The Perffeto Ear Stage

When Will My German Shepherd’s Ears Stand Up

At this point, your German Shepherd puppy has gone through all the ear stages.

Their head and facial muscles are strong and their ear cartilage is upright, and in the correct position.

Although they still look too big for their head, this will correct as they grow into their ears.

This stage can start anywhere from 20 weeks and last until full correct positioning at 8 months.

This stage can happen anywhere from 5 months all the way up to 8 months.

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Why Has My Puppy’s Ears Suddenly Started Drooping

Puppy ears change as they grow. In many cases, ears standing up perfectly before three months will start to droop again when the puppy is teething. This is because nutrients being sent to the ears are now being diverted to the growing teeth.

Usually, after the teething process is done, the ears will stand right up again at around six months.

On the way to fully erect ears, the puppy may go through many very natural stages. What starts with tiny floppy ears in a German Shepherd might evolve into ears that flop to the side.

This may turn into “flying nun” ears, where one ear is down and one looks like it wants to fly away. Flying nun ears are usually followed by the comb-over stage, where they may be flopping over the top of the head. All of this is a normal part of the process of getting perfectly erect ears.

If you are concerned about a puppy having one ear up and one ear down, have your vet check for any trauma or inflammation in that ear, which may cause it to droop. If there is nothing physically wrong with it, check your puppy’s sleeping patterns.

They may always be lying on one side and squashing one ear. You can encourage them to lie on the other side to balance things out.


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