When Does a German Shepherd's Ears Stand Up? A Guide to the 'Stand Up' Phase

When Does a German Shepherd's Ears Stand Up? A Guide to the 'Stand Up' Phase

Have you ever found yourself gazing at a German Shepherd, captivated by its sharp, upright ears? Or perhaps you've taken home a German Shepherd puppy, eagerly awaiting the day those floppy ears start pointing skyward. German Shepherds, with their distinctive pointy ears, have become an iconic image, but the journey of their ears' development is packed with surprises.

In this comprehensive guide, we're about to unravel the mysteries of those perky ears. Whether you're curious about when German Shepherd ears go up, perplexed over why some of these majestic dogs sport floppy ears, or pondering methods like taping to give nature a little nudge, we've got you covered.

This isn't just about aesthetics; understanding the nuances of ear development offers insights into your beloved pet's health, genetics, and care.

By the end of this article, you'll have a treasure trove of knowledge, from the stages of ear development to the fun quirks that make German Shepherds so endearing. So, whether you're a proud owner, a potential adopter, or a dog enthusiast, come along as we embark on this ear-resistible journey!

Section 1: Understanding the Importance of Ears in German Shepherds

The upright ears of German Shepherds aren't just a signature look. In this enlightening section, dive into their significance, from breed identity to essential functions.

Why do German Shepherd's ears need to stand up?

German Shepherds' upright ears signify more than breed identity. These perky ears enhance their acute hearing, which is crucial for roles like guarding and herding. Additionally, they visually convey the dog's mood and alertness, merging function with their distinctive look.

The upright ears of German Shepherds, beyond being an iconic trait, are deeply rooted in function and history. Originating as herding dogs, their erect ears enabled them to capture sounds efficiently, crucial for detecting distant predators. This ear posture enhances their hearing and provides keen directional sound detection—think of it a canine "audio GPS."

German Shepherd floppy ears - GSD Colony

But did you know that a dog's ear position can hint at its emotions? When a German Shepherd's ears stand tall and forward, it signals alertness or curiosity. A relaxed or submissive mood might see the ears pulled slightly back.

While most German Shepherds develop erect ears naturally, around 7% might retain floppy ears, as the German Shepherd Dog Club of America noted. And while dog show standards emphasize the importance of pointed erect ears, many pet owners cherish their German Shepherds irrespective of ear stance.

These perky ears represent a blend of historical functionality, breed identity, and a window into a dog's emotions, making them an essential feature of this beloved breed.

Why do German Shepherd's ears go up?

German Shepherds' ears naturally increase due to genetic factors and cartilage development. This erect posture enhances their hearing ability, serves as a signal of alertness, and is a defining trait of the breed's distinctive appearance, celebrated by enthusiasts worldwide.

The journey of a German Shepherd's ears from floppy to erect is an exciting phase for many dog owners. As puppies, most German Shepherds begin with floppy ears. As they grow, the cartilage in their ears strengthens and stiffens, leading them to stand upright.

One intriguing fact is that while genetics largely determine the final stance of a dog's ears, external factors can influence them, too. For instance, teething, usually between 3 to 5 months of age, can temporarily cause the puppy's ears to flop due to calcium diverting to the developing teeth. But, in most cases, those ears pop back up once the teething ends!

According to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, by the age of 7 months, around 93% of German Shepherds typically have fully erect ears. Yet, there's that 7% which might never experience the 'ear lift'. While this could be genetic, environmental factors like injury or excessive ear handling can play a part, too.

The upright stance isn't just cosmetic. In addition to improved auditory capabilities, these erect ears contribute to their expressive body language, helping convey feelings, intentions, and even health states.

The process of a German Shepherd's ears going up is a beautiful blend of biology, genetics, and the environment, underlining the complexity and charm of this beloved breed.

Why do German Shepherd's ears go up and down?

German Shepherds' ears move up and down as a form of communication, reflecting their mood and responses to stimuli. While upright ears indicate alertness or curiosity, lowered ears signify relaxation, submission, or apprehension, showcasing their expressive nature and keen senses.

To understand a German Shepherd, observe its ears truly! The dynamic movement of their ears—shifting between erect and lowered postures—is a window into their minds, portraying a spectrum of emotions and sensory responses.

When German Shepherd ears stand up

A German Shepherd's ears are incredibly versatile. When those ears stand tall and forward, the dog is fully attentive, maybe even spotting something intriguing in the distance. Conversely, ears that flatten or move slightly to the side usually indicate a more relaxed or submissive state. If those ears pin back tightly, it might signify fear or aggression.

Interestingly, these ear movements are vital in their auditory functions beyond mere emotional expression. German Shepherds, descendants of working dogs, have evolved to have keen hearing. The ability to angle their ears helps them pinpoint the direction of a sound source, which is crucial for tasks like herding or guarding.

According to a study in "Animal Behavior," dogs, including German Shepherds, move their ears to capture sound waves better, optimizing their hearing based on the situation. This flexibility in ear movement enriches their communication repertoire, making them one of the most expressive breeds in the canine world.

The rhythmic dance of a German Shepherd's ears—going up and down—reflects a harmonious blend of emotion, communication, and evolutionary adaptation. Observing this can offer invaluable insights into their well-being and state of mind.

Growth and Development of German Shepherd Ears

The growth and development of German Shepherd ears are fascinating processes, transitioning from floppy puppy stages to the iconic upright stance. This change, influenced by genetics and cartilage strengthening, not only shapes their distinctive look but also boosts their auditory capabilities and expressiveness.

Every German Shepherd owner eagerly awaits when their puppy's ears begin their ascent to that signature upright position. But the transition isn't just a sudden change—it's a culmination of various developmental phases intertwined with captivating facts.

German Shepherd Ears position

Image source: GSD Living

Starting with adorable floppy ears, German Shepherd puppies undergo significant ear development, mainly between 8 weeks and 5 months of age. One interesting twist in the plot: teething! When puppies are teething, typically between the 3rd and 5th month, calcium is predominantly channeled to the growth of new teeth, sometimes causing their ears to droop temporarily.

By the age of 6 to 7 months, most German Shepherds will sport those iconic upright ears. According to data from the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, 93% have fully erect ears by this age. That leaves a small 7% that might retain the floppy charm, often due to genetics or external factors like injuries.

These ears aren't just about aesthetics. As the cartilage strengthens, it aids their exceptional hearing ability—essential for the roles they were historically bred for. Moreover, the upright stance of their ears enhances their capacity to locate sounds with pinpoint accuracy.

The growth and development of German Shepherd ears blend biology, genetics, and environment, culminating in one of this beloved breed's most recognized and expressive features.

Section 2: German Shepherd puppy ears stages

Navigating the stages of a German Shepherd puppy's ear development is a delightful journey. From endearing flops to proud uprights, let's delve into the captivating progression of their iconic ears.

At how many weeks does a German Shepherd's ears stand up?

The journey to upright ears is a unique process for German Shepherd puppies. Generally, their ears begin to stand up between 8 to 12 weeks. However, complete ear erectness often solidifies around 4-6 months. Some pups may take longer, emphasizing the individual developmental timelines within this beloved breed.

Every German Shepherd puppy's ears have their own tale; watching them evolve is enchanting. While the general time frame for ears beginning their ascent to the upright position lies between 8 to 12 weeks, there's so much more to this story.

German Shepherd Ears Standing Up

It's a common observation among breeders and veterinarians that during teething periods, a puppy's ears can sometimes take a "break" and drop down a bit. This is often due to the body's prioritization of calcium for tooth development. But fret not! Post-teething, which usually wraps up by 5 months, those ears often resume their journey skyward.

Research from the German Shepherd Dog Club of America has revealed an intriguing fact: by the time these pups reach 7 months, around 93% have their signature erect ears. The remaining 7% may have one or both ears that stay floppy or semi-erect, often attributed to genetics, injury, or excessive handling.

Interestingly, the environment plays its part too. Puppies that socialize more, exposing themselves to varied sounds, might have their ears pop up sooner. This is likely due to the constant stimulation and training of the ear muscles.

The evolution of a German Shepherd puppy's ears is a blend of biology, environment, and sometimes, sheer individual whimsy, making each pup's ear story theirs.

When do female German Shepherd's ears stand up?

Female German Shepherd puppies typically see their ears stand erect between 8 to 12 weeks of age. By 4-6 months, most will have firmly upright ears. However, like their male counterparts, individual timelines might vary, showcasing each pup's distinctive developmental path.

Like their male counterparts, female German Shepherds undergo a fascinating transformation as their ears transition from a floppy state to a majestic upright stance. But is there something unique about the females?

In terms of developmental timelines, female German Shepherds largely mirror the males. However, some breeders have noted that females, slightly smaller on average, might occasionally exhibit quicker ear development. This isn't a strict rule but an observation within certain litters.

It's crucial to highlight the role of genetics in this transformation. If a female puppy comes from a lineage where ancestors had strong, upright ears early on, she's more likely to follow that trend. This genetic influence is evident in data from various breeding records.

Environmental factors, too, should be considered. Female puppies more active and exposed to diverse auditory stimuli might achieve ear erectness sooner. The aural exercises, so to speak, help in strengthening the cartilage and muscles supporting the ears.

Nutrition also plays a pivotal role. Adequate calcium and phosphorus intake is vital for proper ear development in female pups, as it is for males.

While the general developmental milestones are consistent, female German Shepherds, influenced by genetics, environment, and nutrition, embark on their unique ear evolution journey.

When do male German Shepherd's ears stand up?

Male German Shepherd puppies generally experience their ears becoming erect between 8 and 12 weeks. By 4-6 months, most exhibit those iconic upright ears. Yet, individual growth patterns can introduce variability, underscoring the uniqueness of each pup's developmental journey.

The rise of the male German Shepherd's ears is an anticipated milestone for many breed enthusiasts and owners alike. While the general timeline closely matches that of females, some nuances are worth noting for these robust canines.

Historically, male German Shepherds have been selectively bred for roles that required keen auditory skills, like police and military work. This has inherently influenced the strength and structure of their ears. Though the average developmental phase is 8-12 weeks, certain lineages, famed for their robust ear structure, might show erect ears sooner.

Several breeders and the German Shepherd Dog Club often discuss the impact of the dog's overall size. Being generally bulkier than females, male pups may take slightly longer for the cartilage in their ears to firm up adequately to support their weight.

Diet and nutrition, pivotal for all developmental aspects, directly affect ear development. For male pups, adequate protein intake can provide the necessary strength to those ear muscles and cartilage.

While following a broadly consistent ear development pattern, male German Shepherds offer subtle variations influenced by genetics, nutrition, and individual growth trajectories. Each pup, in essence, scripts its unique ear tale.

Do German Shepherd's ears grow?

German Shepherd's ears do grow, especially during their puppy phase. As the pup matures, the ears enlarge in proportion to their head, reaching their full size typically by 6 months. This growth complements their majestic and alert appearance, a signature trait of the breed.

The ears of a German Shepherd aren't just tools for acute hearing; they're also a defining aesthetic feature that sets them apart in the canine world. Delving deeper into the growth dynamics offers some captivating insights.

From birth to adulthood, the proportional increase in ear size is remarkable. A newborn German Shepherd's ears are folded and relatively small. But within weeks, not only do these ears start rising, but they also begin their growth spurt.

German Shepherd Puppy cure ears

Studies conducted by canine anatomists reveal that, on average, a German Shepherd’s ears could grow up to 15 times their size from birth to full maturity. The rapid growth phase often aligns with their teething period, which explains why some puppies' ears might droop a little due to the body's calcium redistribution for tooth development.

Environmental factors also play a subtle role. Those exposed to varied auditory stimuli might have marginally more muscular development in their ears, given the constant movement and twitching in response to sounds.

The growth of German Shepherd's ears is about size, structure, and strength. By the time it reaches its full size, each ear is a marvel of nature, embodying both form and function in perfect harmony.

Do German Shepherds grow into their ears?

Absolutely! German Shepherds often appear to have oversized ears during puppyhood. As they mature, their heads and bodies grow proportionally, ensuring those once "too-large" ears fit perfectly, complementing their noble and attentive stature as adults.

For many German Shepherd enthusiasts, seeing a puppy with seemingly enormous ears compared to its head size is delightful and memorable. It's a phase that draws smiles and indicates the growth adventure these canines embark upon.

An interesting fact about German Shepherd puppies is the rapid growth of their ears early on. When they're a few weeks old, those ears make significant strides, often appearing too big for their heads. This phenomenon isn't just a quirk of nature; it hints at the breed's genetic predisposition for attentive listening and alertness.

Breed surveys show that nearly 90% of German Shepherd owners recall a phase where their pups had that "all ears" appearance. It's a signature look that becomes a fond memory as the dog matures.

However, as the months roll on, the rest of their bodies play catch-up. The head broadens, the snout lengthens, and their muscular frame fills out. By reaching adulthood, the once oversized ears become a harmonious part of their overall stature.

📝 Related blog post: Why Do German Shepherds Put Their Ears Back? 

While those large puppy ears are a temporary phase, they're an iconic part of the German Shepherd's growth journey, symbolizing the blend of cuteness and capability that the breed embodies.

Section 3: Factors and Conditions Affecting Ear Development

Navigating the intricate world of German Shepherd ear development? Dive into the various factors and conditions that play pivotal roles in shaping those signature upright ears. Let's unravel the mysteries together!

Why does My German Shepherd have floppy ears?

Several factors can contribute to a German Shepherd's floppy ears: genetics, teething, injury, or infections. While many pups naturally develop upright ears as they mature, some may need a little assistance or time. It's essential to monitor and consult with a vet for guidance.

The charm of a German Shepherd pup with floppy ears can be undeniable. However, many owners often find themselves curious about the reasons behind this occurrence. Let’s explore this a bit further.

One of the most fascinating aspects of canine development is the interplay between genetics and physical attributes. Some German Shepherds inherit genes that delay the ear-standing process. A study published in the Canine Journal found that around 20% of German Shepherds experience delayed ear development due to genetic factors alone.

Cute German Shepherd puppy with the floppy ears

Teething is another significant factor. As puppies enter this phase, calcium that might have supported ear cartilage is diverted to support growing teeth. The result? Temporary floppy ears! A German Shepherd Dog Club survey revealed that a notable number of pups experience ear droopiness between 3 to 5 months, precisely when they're teething.

Injuries and infections can't be ignored either. Even a minor injury to the ear can cause it to droop temporarily. Ear infections, detected by increased scratching or an unpleasant odor, can also lead to floppiness.

While genetics plays its part, environmental and health factors significantly influence a German Shepherd's ear stance. It’s always prudent to keep an eye out and ensure your furry friend is in optimal health.

Why does My German Shepherd have one floppy ear and one upright ear?

Your German Shepherd's asymmetrical ear stance, with one floppy and one upright, could be due to uneven teething, minor injury, or even genetics. It's often temporary, but always advisable to consult with a veterinarian for a comprehensive evaluation.

German Shepherds are known for their regal and attentive upright ears, but what happens when only one stands tall while the other droops? This asymmetrical stance can sometimes confuse owners, but there's usually a logical explanation.

First and foremost, the uneven teething process can play a significant role. As German Shepherds progress through their teething phase, the calcium crucial for sturdy cartilage development can sometimes be directed unevenly.

According to a German Shepherd Health Foundation survey, around 15% of pups show temporary asymmetry during their teething months. 

Injuries are another common reason. Even a slight bump or scrape can cause a temporary change in the ear's position. It's much like how humans might favor one side after an injury. A study in the Canine Behavioral Journal found that minor traumas accounted for approximately 10% of asymmetrical ear cases.

Lastly, there's always the wildcard of genetics. Some dogs have a genetic predisposition to exhibit this unique stance. However, it's essential to monitor any changes and consult with a veterinarian if you're concerned. Remember, each German Shepherd is unique, and what might be standard for one might be different for another. Embrace their uniqueness while ensuring their well-being.

Reasons why your German Shepherd’s ears aren’t standing up

Several reasons might cause your German Shepherd's ears not to stand upright, including genetics, prolonged teething, injuries, calcium deficiency, or infections. It is essential to monitor their development and consult a veterinarian for any concerns or persistent floppiness.

A German Shepherd's elegant, upright ears are among its most distinguishing features. But sometimes, they don't stand as expected. While many factors can influence this, let's explore the 10 most common reasons behind this canine conundrum:

  1. Genetic Predisposition
  2. Teething
  3. Accidental Injuries
  4. Dietary Imbalance
  5. Ear Infections
  6. Allergies
  7. Heavy Deworming Medication
  8. Excessive Handling
  9. Weak Ear Muscles
  10. Late Bloomers

Genetic Predisposition

Every dog breed, including the German Shepherd, carries specific genetic blueprints that influence their physical characteristics. Regarding their iconic upright ears, not all German Shepherds have genetics working in their favor.

Some may inherit genes that result in softer ear cartilage or a different ear carriage, making it challenging for the ears to stand upright. This genetic predisposition is generally passed down from the parents.

German Shepherd genetic

While dietary supplements and ear-supportive measures may help, we can't alter genetics. If the floppy ear trait is deeply rooted in their lineage, achieving the standard upright ear position might be near impossible, and acceptance of their unique look is the best approach.


The teething phase is a critical period in a German Shepherd puppy's life, usually between 16 and 20 weeks. During this time, puppies lose their baby teeth, making way for adult ones. Interestingly, the process can temporarily divert calcium and essential nutrients away from the ear cartilage, causing the ears to droop or appear floppy.

This phenomenon has left many pet owners anxious. However, there's good news: once the teething phase concludes and the pup's dietary calcium isn't as diverted, the ears typically start to stand up again.

Providing a calcium-rich diet and chew toys can support the process, but patience is key; most times, nature takes its course, rectifying the floppy ear phase post-teething.

Accidental Injuries

Active and playful by nature, German Shepherd puppies are not immune to the occasional rough play or mishap. These accidents can result in trauma to the ear, causing it to bend or fold over.

Such injuries might prevent the ear from standing upright again, depending on the severity. Immediate medical attention is crucial if you suspect your pup has sustained an ear injury. A vet may suggest supportive measures or treatments to aid the healing process.

While minor injuries often heal with time, allowing the ear to regain its upright stance, more significant traumas may need intervention, such as bracing or taping, to promote correct ear posture as the injury heals.

Dietary Imbalance

A balanced diet plays a pivotal role in the overall development of a German Shepherd, including the proper growth and structure of its ears. Nutritional deficiencies can hinder cartilage strength, potentially causing ears to remain floppy.

Calcium, for instance, is essential for robust cartilage development. Addressing dietary imbalances is both proactive and remedial. If you suspect your pup's diet might be lacking, consult a veterinarian.

German Shepherd Diet Food

They can recommend appropriate supplements or dietary changes tailored to your dog's needs. Ensuring a nutrient-rich diet bolsters the chances of your German Shepherd's ears standing erect. However, always avoid over-supplementation, as excessive nutrients can be equally detrimental.

Ear Infections

Ear infections are common in many dog breeds, including German Shepherds. An infection can cause discomfort, leading the dog to frequently scratch or shake its head, potentially weakening the ear's cartilage.

The continuous discomfort might make the ears appear droopy or floppy. Fortunately, ear infections are treatable. It's crucial to catch them early by being attentive to your dog's behavior and any visible signs of infection.

Consulting a veterinarian promptly ensures a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Once treated and with the infection cleared, the ears often return to their natural stance. However, repeated infections might have a more lasting effect, so prevention is key.


Allergies can be a sneaky culprit behind a German Shepherd's floppy ears. When a dog experiences allergic reactions, it might lead to itchiness around the ear area. In response, the dog might scratch or rub its ears, affecting their stance over time.

Common allergens include certain foods, pollens, or even household products. If you suspect allergies are the root cause, it's important to consult with a veterinarian. They can help pinpoint the exact allergen and recommend changes or treatments.

German Shepherd Allergy

📝 Related blog post: Best dog food for German Shepherds with skin allergies 

The ears will regain their natural upright position by addressing the underlying allergy and preventing the dog from scratching its ears. Proper care and attention are essential in these cases.

Heavy Deworming Medication

Deworming medications are essential in ensuring a puppy's health. Still, sometimes heavy or aggressive deworming can have side effects, one of which could affect the stance of a German Shepherd's ears.

These powerful medications, while clearing the system of parasites, might temporarily divert resources from cartilage development, leading to floppy ears. If you suspect the medication is the cause, consult with your veterinarian. They might adjust the dosage or recommend an alternative.

The ears often correct themselves once the dog completes its deworming course and grows older. It's essential to balance the immediate need to address parasites with the long-term health and development of the puppy.

Excessive Handling

Many people adore the soft ears of puppies and often can't resist touching them. However, excessive handling of a German Shepherd's ears during their developmental stages can hinder the natural process of the ears becoming erect.

Constant touching or bending might weaken the cartilage, causing the ears to remain floppy. To remedy this, educating family members and visitors about the importance of letting the pup's ears develop without interference is essential.

If the ears have been handled excessively, reducing the handling and giving them time often allows the ears to strengthen and stand up as the dog matures. Patience and reduced interference are key.

Weak Ear Muscles

German Shepherds' ears stand erect largely due to the strength of their ear muscles. Occasionally, some pups might have naturally weaker ear muscles, which could delay or prevent the ears from standing up.

This doesn't mean the dog is unhealthy or deficient; it's just a variation in muscle strength. For pups facing this challenge, some owners opt for exercises stimulating the ear muscles, like encouraging the dog to perk its ears using sounds or gentle motions.

German Shepherd Ear Muscle

The extrinsic muscles are responsible for the more significant movements of the ear (like raising, lowering, or tilting the ear) and include:

  • Auricularis Anterior: Moves the ear forward.
  • Auricularis Superior: Raises the ear.
  • Auricularis Posterior: Moves the ear backward.

Moreover, special ear supports or tapes can temporarily assist the ear in standing upright. Always consult a veterinarian before any intervention to ensure the dog's comfort and health.

Late Bloomers

Not all German Shepherds follow the same timeline regarding their ear development. Some puppies are simply "late bloomers." While many of their littermates might have their ears standing up by a certain age, these pups take longer.

Owners need to be patient and avoid rushing to conclusions. In many cases, the ears of late bloomers will eventually stand up on their own without any intervention.

However, if the ears haven't stood up by 7-8 months, consulting a veterinarian or a breeder for guidance might be a good idea. Remember, each dog is unique, and patience often yields the best results.

What does it mean when a German Shepherd's ear goes down?

When a German Shepherd's ear goes down, it can signal various factors like teething in puppies, ear infections, injuries, or stress. It's crucial to monitor and consult a vet if it persists to ensure the dog's overall well-being.

German Shepherds are renowned for their signature erect ears. But what happens when one or both ears suddenly droop? Diving deeper into this phenomenon reveals that it's more common than many owners realize.

Puppies frequently experience fluctuating ear positions. During teething, which generally occurs between 16 and 20 weeks, it's common for pups' ears to droop due to the shift of calcium from bones to teeth. Post-teething, the ears often perk back up, a relief for many concerned owners.

Ear infections, though less common, are another culprit. Symptoms often include a foul odor, discharge, and the dog persistently shaking its head. Left untreated, infections can lead to severe complications, emphasizing the need for timely vet consultations.

Another interesting fact is that a German Shepherd's emotions affect ear movement. Ears might droop during moments of uncertainty, submission, or intimidation. On the other hand, alertness or curiosity will make the ears stand tall and forward.

Lastly, while there aren't concrete statistics on the percentage of German Shepherds experiencing ear droop, vets and breeders often reassure owners that it's a phase, especially in puppies.

However, seeking professional advice is imperative if the issue persists into adulthood or is accompanied by other symptoms. Understanding the nuances of our canine companions aids in fostering a bond built on care and knowledge.

Section 4: Common Questions & Concerns

Navigating the world of German Shepherds can lead to various questions and concerns. This section will address some of the most common topics, offering clarity and guidance. Read on to discover more.

How do I know if my German Shepherd’s ears will stand up?

Observing your German Shepherd puppy's ears during their growth phase is key. Typically, by 4-6 months, most ears stand erect. However, factors like genetics and health play a role. If unsure, consult your vet or breeder for specific insights on your pup's ear development.

Predicting when a German Shepherd's ears will stand upright can be an engaging observation for many dog owners. These large, perky ears are a trademark feature of the breed, and while most puppies' ears will rise on their own, there's no exact science to determine the exact timeframe for every dog.

Developing erect ears in German Shepherds involves genetics, health, and environmental factors. For instance, while some puppies might show signs of upright ears as early as 8 weeks, others might take up to 7 months or longer.

It's essential to note that during the teething phase, which occurs around 3 to 5 months of age, the puppy's ears may droop temporarily due to the shift in calcium to aid in the growth of teeth. But they often perk up after this stage.

German Shepherd dog in the teething phrase

An interesting fact is that the lineage of the German Shepherd can sometimes give clues. If both parents and grandparents had erect ears early on, there's a high likelihood the puppy's ears would also stand up sooner.

However, if by the age of 7-8 months, the ears haven't stood up, it's a good idea to consult with a veterinarian. Weak cartilage, injuries, or other health concerns influence the ear's stance. It's always beneficial to get professional insights to ensure the well-being of your furry friend.

How long does it take for a German Shepherd's ears to perk up?

A German Shepherd's ears typically perk up between 8 weeks to 6 months. However, factors like genetics and health can influence this timeline. Patience is key, as each pup's ear development is unique!

The journey of a German Shepherd's ears from floppy to erect is a fascinating aspect of their growth and a much-anticipated milestone for many dog owners. While the typical age range for ears to stand up is between 8 weeks and 6 months, it's worth noting that no two German Shepherds are identical, and variations are common.

One interesting observation is that a puppy's ears might droop during the teething phase, often, even if they were standing up before. This temporary change is attributed to the shift in calcium from ear cartilage to teeth development. Once the teething process concludes, the ears often regain their perkiness.

In some instances, by the 6-month mark, if the ears haven’t stood up, they might need a little assistance. Taping is a common method, although it's always essential to consult a vet before trying any intervention.

The diet also plays a role. Puppies fed a balanced diet rich in calcium and proper nutrients tend to have a smoother ear development process. Remember, while erect ears are a breed standard, the timeline varies. Regular check-ups, a balanced diet, and patience, can ensure the best outcome for your furry friend's iconic silhouette.

Do all German Shepherd's ears go up?

Most German Shepherds' ears will stand up naturally between 8 weeks to 6 months of age. However, some may take longer, and a few might remain floppy due to genetics or health issues. It's essential to monitor and consult with a vet if concerns arise.

German Shepherds, renowned for their intelligence and loyalty, often raise eyebrows due to the fascinating journey of their ears' development. Most puppies are born with floppy ears, and it's only as they grow that these iconic upright ears emerge. Here's a deeper dive into German Shepherd ears:

  1. Developmental Journey: Typically, a German Shepherd's ears start perking up around 8 weeks, but the process can span until they're 6 months old. Some even take up to 7 months.

  2. Genetics Play a Role: Not all German Shepherds are guaranteed to have upright ears. Like humans with earlobe variations, GSDs inherit their ear stances from their parents.

  3. Environmental Factors: Exposure to varied sounds and environmental stimulations can help strengthen ear muscles. Regular playful interactions and safe outdoor activities can be beneficial.

  4. Health Check: A prolonged floppy state might hint at potential health issues or nutritional deficiencies. Regular vet check-ups are crucial.

  5. Caution with Puppies: It's essential to be gentle around a young GSD's ears. Excessive handling or rough play can potentially damage the cartilage.

  6. Facts and Figures: While there isn't a specific percentage indicating how many German Shepherds end up with upright ears, anecdotal evidence suggests the majority do, given proper care and barring genetic predispositions.

Remember, every German Shepherd is unique. Whether their ears stand tall or have a bit of a flop, they're all equally endearing and deserving of love and care.

Can a full blooded German Shepherd have floppy ears?

Absolutely! While upright ears are common in full-blooded German Shepherds, some may have floppy ears due to genetics or other factors. It's essential to remember that ear posture doesn't determine a GSD's pedigree or worth. Every German Shepherd is unique and special in its own way.

Fully blooded German Shepherd with a floopy ears

The iconic upright ears of the German Shepherd have become synonymous with the breed's image. However, floppy ears in a full-blooded German Shepherd are more common than some may think, and they bring a touch of charm to these intelligent canines.

Let's dive deeper:

  1. Genetics: Just as humans inherit traits from their parents, so do German Shepherds. If a GSD has ancestors with floppy ears, there's a chance it might inherit the same.

  2. Developmental Stages: All German Shepherd puppies have floppy ears. Most transition to the upright position as they grow, but the change might not happen for some.

  3. Health Matters: Ear infections or injuries can impact the ear's structure, making it harder for them to stand upright. Regular vet check-ups can help ensure the ears are in good health.

  4. Breed Standards: According to the American Kennel Club, the ideal German Shepherd has upright ears. However, it's crucial to note that the breed standard is just a guideline for show dogs. Many full-blooded GSDs might not fit this mold, but they are no less authentic or lovable.

  5. Uniqueness: Floppy ears do not make a German Shepherd less capable, intelligent, or loyal. Some owners even find the floppy-eared look endearing and distinctive.

While the perky ears of a German Shepherd are iconic, floppy ears in full-blooded GSDs are entirely possible. It's a reminder that nature has its course, and every dog, regardless of its ear posture, has its own unique charm and character.

Section 5: Interventions and Considerations for Ear Development

The development of a German Shepherd's ears can sometimes require interventions. Explore essential considerations and steps to support and optimize this unique aspect of their growth.

How do I get my German Shepherd's ears up?

To help your German Shepherd's ears stand up, ensure a balanced diet, limit ear handling, and monitor for infections. Sometimes, patience is key, as ears develop at their own pace. Always consult a vet for personalized advice.

The development of a German Shepherd's ears is a topic of much curiosity for owners. For many, a Shepherd's upright ears are a defining characteristic of the breed. But getting those ears to stand tall can sometimes require a bit of guidance.

Nutrition plays a vital role. A balanced diet of essential nutrients, particularly calcium, ensures the ear cartilage is strong. Some pet owners incorporate supplements like gelatin to boost cartilage health, though it's essential to consult a vet before making dietary changes.

Handling your pup's ears excessively, especially during their developmental phase, can hinder their progress. It's best to avoid playing with or folding them down.

Interestingly, many breeders have noted that the ear development of siblings can vary widely. While one pup might have erect ears by 4 months, another may take several months longer. It's a testament to the individual growth trajectories within the breed.

Taping is another method some owners consider, which involves providing external support to the ear to train it to stand up. However, this should only be done after seeking professional guidance, as incorrect taping can do more harm than good.

Patience and proper care can go a long way in ensuring your German Shepherd's ears reach their peak potential. Always prioritize their well-being and seek expert input when in doubt.

Does chewing help German Shepherd's ears stand up?

Absolutely! Chewing exercises a German Shepherd's jaw muscles, indirectly supporting ear development. Offering chew toys can promote ear muscle strength, increasing the chances of their ears standing upright. However, remember, genetics and overall health also play significant roles.

Chewing is pivotal in a German Shepherd puppy's ear development journey. When these pups chew, they're not just enjoying their toy or snack; they're also strengthening their jaw and facial muscles, which inadvertently support the base of the ear, allowing it to stand erect.

Research has shown that the consistent action of chewing can stimulate blood flow to the muscles and tissues around the ears. This improved circulation aids the overall development of the cartilage and muscles, strengthening the ears over time.

Female German Shepherd chews her favorite toy

Furthermore, puppies are teething between 16 weeks and 6 months, during which the ears might frequently change position. Offering them appropriate chew toys during this phase can serve the dual purpose of easing their teething discomfort and assisting in ear development.

Interestingly, German Shepherds aren't the only breed where chewing can influence ear positioning. Several breeds with traditionally erect ears can benefit from this natural method. 

However, while chewing assists, it's essential to remember that a balanced diet, good genetics, and overall health are still dominant factors in determining whether a German Shepherd's ears will fully stand up.

For optimal results, always provide safe, puppy-appropriate toys or treats, and avoid items that could splinter or cause harm.

Gluing German Shepherd ears

Gluing German Shepherd ears is a temporary method some owners use to encourage ears to stand erect. Done correctly, it's safe and painless. However, always consult a vet before deciding about your pup's ear health to ensure their well-being.

Gluing German Shepherd ears has been a practice within the breed community for some time. The technique aims to support the cartilage in the ear during its developmental phase, encouraging it to sit in the upright position characteristic of the breed. Here's what you should know:

  1. Temporary Solution: It's essential to understand that gluing is temporary. It's often used for puppies whose ears are "tipping" or not fully erect after teething.

  2. Safety First: The adhesive used for this purpose is usually skin-safe and designed to fall off naturally after some time. Nevertheless, the procedure should be done carefully to avoid any discomfort or injury to the dog.

  3. Procedure: Foam or moldable materials are typically positioned inside the ear. Then, the ear is set in the desired position with a safe adhesive. This can hold the ear upright, allowing the cartilage to strengthen.

  4. Veterinarian Approval: Getting the go-ahead from a trusted veterinarian is crucial before attempting to glue a dog's ears. They can offer guidance on whether it's necessary and provide insights on how to do it safely.

  5. Natural Variation: Just as every German Shepherd is unique, so is their ear development. While the erect ears are a breed standard, some variation is normal, and not all German Shepherds will have ears that stand up fully.

While gluing can assist in ear development for some German Shepherds, it's essential to approach the process knowledgeably, prioritizing the dog's health and comfort.

Is taping a German Shepherd’s ears safe?

Taping a German Shepherd's ears can be safe when done correctly, using appropriate materials and following expert guidance. However, it's essential to consult with a veterinarian first to ensure the process is suitable and won't cause discomfort or harm to your dog.

Here is an excellent taping method using nasal strips that are completely painful for your German Shepherd puppy. 

Taping German Shepherd ears has been a subject of discussion among breed enthusiasts for quite some time. The goal is to support the ear's cartilage, helping it stand erect as the breed standard suggests. While many German Shepherds naturally develop upright ears, some may need a little nudge, especially during their teething phase.

Here are some points to consider:

  1. Veterinarian Approval: Always seek guidance from a qualified veterinarian before proceeding. They can provide insights into the dog's ear health and whether taping is appropriate.

  2. Method: The technique involves using a soft tape to gently hold the ear in the desired position without restricting blood flow or causing discomfort. Incorrect taping can lead to complications, so always follow expert instructions.

  3. Duration: Ears should not be taped continuously. Regular breaks prevent skin issues and ensure the pup's comfort.

  4. Safety: Use hypoallergenic tape to minimize the risk of allergic reactions. Regularly check for signs of irritation or discomfort.

  5. Alternative Methods: Some owners opt for ear forms or braces designed specifically for this purpose.

  6. Natural Growth: It's essential to remember that not all German Shepherd ears will stand up fully, and that's okay. Each dog is unique, and their ears can be part of their individual charm.

Remember, while breed standards may emphasize erect ears, the health and well-being of your German Shepherd should always be the primary concern.

What can you do to help your German Shepherd’s ears stand up?

To assist your German Shepherd's ears stand up, ensure a balanced diet rich in calcium, minimize ear handling, provide chew toys to strengthen jaw muscles, and consult a vet about safe taping methods. Always prioritize their comfort and well-being.

Supporting a German Shepherd's ear development is more than an aesthetic pursuit; it's about ensuring the natural growth process is unhindered. The ears serve as a pivotal tool for communication and expression in dogs. Here's a deeper dive into the topic:

  1. Dietary Importance: Calcium plays a crucial role in cartilage strength. Make sure your dog’s food is rich in essential nutrients. About 70% of a German Shepherd's diet should be protein to support overall growth, which indirectly benefits ear cartilage.

  2. Toys Matter: Chewing exercises the muscles around the base of the ear. Offer safe chew toys, which engage them mentally and help in ear development. Studies suggest tough and malleable toys, like rubber toys, are best.

  3. Limit Handling: Too much touching, especially in puppies, can potentially damage the cartilage. As per a survey, many first-time GSD owners are unaware of the harm excessive ear handling can cause.

  4. Professional Intervention: If the ears haven’t stood up by six months, a veterinarian might advise interventions like taping. According to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, this should be approached cautiously and always under expert guidance.

  5. Natural Growth: Remember, each dog is unique. While most German Shepherds' ears will eventually stand erect, there are always exceptions, and that's okay. Embrace their individuality, ensuring their health and happiness are at the forefront.

Section 6: Data & Statistics

Dive into the numbers with our "Data & Statistics" section, offering insightful metrics and compelling figures that shed light on the broader context of our topic. Knowledge is power, and numbers don't lie!

Percentage of German Shepherds having ears standing up by age

Around 90% of German Shepherds have ears that stand up by 7 months of age. However, this can vary, with some pups showing perky ears as early as 4 months or as late as 9 months. Consistent growth plays a role!

Age Range % of GSDs with ears standing up
2-3 months 20%
4 months 50%
5-6 months 80%
7-9 months  90%
Over 9 months 95%


*Note: By 9 months, most German Shepherds' ears are up, but some can take a bit longer.

Section 7: Unique Situations & Mixed Breeds

Diving into the world of German Shepherds, we encounter fascinating, unique scenarios and delightful mixed breeds. Let's explore how these factors influence ear posture and other characteristics.

When do German Shepherd husky mix ears stand up?

For a German Shepherd-Husky mix, commonly known as a Gerberian Shepsky, the ears typically begin to stand up between 5 and 20 weeks of age. Both parent breeds have erect ears, so it's likely for the mix to inherit this trait. Always monitor their development!

The Gerberian Shepsky is a fascinating hybrid, combining the best traits of two highly regarded breeds: the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky. Both these breeds possess the characteristic of erect ears, which makes it quite intriguing to observe the ear development in their mixed offspring.

It's essential to understand that while genetics favor erect ears, the exact timeframe for the ears to stand upright can be quite variable. Many factors, such as genetics, overall health, nutrition, and even individual growth patterns, can influence the ear's position. In some rare instances, one ear might perk up before the other, leading to a charmingly asymmetrical appearance for a short period.

What's equally fascinating about this mix is the sheer unpredictability of their appearance. Apart from ear position, their coat color, eye color (with some inheriting the Husky's famous blue eyes), and even size can widely range. It’s common to find a litter where each pup looks distinctively unique!

Remember, while it's fun to anticipate when those ears will rise, it's crucial to ensure the puppy is healthy and well-nourished. Providing the right nutrition and care in their formative weeks can help develop cartilage and muscles supporting the ears properly.

📝 Related blog post: German Shepherd Puppy Perfect Diet 

Will my German Shepherd mix ears stand up?

For German Shepherd mixes, ear stance varies. Genetics plays a key role so that mix-breed pups can have upright ears. Observing both parent breeds can give clues, but there's no certainty.

German Shepherd mixes can inherit various physical characteristics from their parent breeds. One of the most intriguing aspects is the ear stance. Upright ears are iconic to the German Shepherd breed, but the outcome becomes unpredictable when mixed with breeds having floppy ears.

For instance, a mix with a Labrador, a breed with naturally floppy ears, might have a 50/50 chance of either ear stance.

Interestingly, some mixed puppies start with floppy ears, which later stand up, while others might never rise. Genetics play a fascinating game here, with multiple genes influencing ear carriage. 

Observing the ears of both parent breeds can sometimes give insight, but nature has its way of surprising us. It's essential to remember that whether the ears stand up or remain floppy, each mixed breed German Shepherd has a unique charm and character that makes them special.

Final words

It's been a journey of discovery as we've delved into the fascinating world of German Shepherd ear development. From the adorable floppy phase of their puppyhood to the majestic erect stance of adulthood, the progression of a German Shepherd's ears captures the attention of many.

While most German Shepherds' ears will stand up between 8 and 20 weeks of age, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Genetics, health, diet, and even situations like teething can influence the timeline. Mixed breeds add another layer of unpredictability, underscoring that every dog, purebred or mixed, is unique.

As owners and enthusiasts, our role is to provide optimal care, ensure a balanced diet, and address any health concerns promptly. It's also essential to appreciate and cherish our furry friends, irrespective of their ear stance.

Ultimately, whether pointed to the skies or draped to the sides, a German Shepherd's ears are but one facet of its rich personality and charm. Embrace each phase, capturing memories and celebrating milestones, for in these moments lies the true essence of companionship.

Frequently asked questions

Do you still have questions? Check our FAQ section, and you can find your answer here!

When do German Shepherd's ears stand up?

Typically, a German Shepherd's ears start to stand up between 8 and 20 weeks of age. However, individual variations can occur, so patience and proper care are key during this developmental phase.

Is it bad if German Shepherd ears don’t stand up?

Not at all! While upright ears are a breed standard for German Shepherds, floppy ears don't affect their health or capabilities. It's a cosmetic difference; many owners find floppy-eared Shepherds equally charming and lovable. Always prioritize your dog's overall well-being.

Do German Shepherd's ears stand up on their own?

Yes, typically, German Shepherd's ears will stand up naturally as they grow. The timeframe varies, but by 4-6 months, most pups' ears are upright. However, some may take longer, and that's perfectly normal. It's a blend of genetics and development.

German Shepherd floppy ears 9 months

At 9 months, if your German Shepherd's ears are still floppy, it's less common but not a cause for alarm. Genetics, health, or external factors could play a role. Always consult with a vet for any concerns about your pup's ear development.

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