When Do German Shepherd Ears Stand Up and What to Do If They Don’t?

Should the ears of a German Shepherd dog get up? Yes, they should. According to the breed standard, the German Shepherd ears are erect and pointed, set ears upright and parallel to each other (not separated to the sides). Broken and pup’s ears are unacceptable and belong to the defects of the exterior.

The exception is puppies up to three months old! But are all puppies ready the same? When do German Shepherd ears stand up normally?

Puppy’s ears can be of almost all shapes and sizes: large, hanging, semi-erect, crooked, and it happens that there is only one ear. All this is normal and does not require special attention from the owner, except for a light daily massage of the auricle and providing the German Shepherd puppy with a balanced diet.

The shape of the German Shepherd puppy ears depends on the condition of the cartilage. In a puppy, they are soft and are just beginning to thicken and strengthen.

Over time, the cartilage will turn into an elastic cartilage plate, and the German Shepherd’s ears will acquire the desired shape.

A nice bonus will be that properly positioned, pointy ears, standing ears, ears upright position, will attract a lot of attention at various exhibitions.

When Do German Shepherd Ears Stand Up And What to Do If They Don't?

When Do German Shepherd Ears Stand Up?

Puppies are like children: everyone is individual and develops at their own pace. While the puppy is small, you should not worry. Let the baby grow up in peace: he has nowhere to hurry!

But if the puppy is already 4-5 months old, and the German Shepherd’s ears have not lifted – this is an excuse to seek advice from the breeder and a veterinary specialist.

It is better not to delay with this: after 6-7 months, it is much more difficult to adjust the shape of the German Shepherd’s ears.

The German Shepherd’s ears begin to rise at the age of 1.5 to 2 months. They should fully rise by 6-8 months.

Table of German Shepherd ears raising age

We have generated information that shows at what age the German Shepherd’s ears stand more often:

Dog ageFrequency of raising
3-4 months28%
5-6 months25%
7-8 months16%
9-12 months6%
11-12 months3%
After 1 year4%

Can this process take a long time?

The process of formation of one ear cartilage, which helps for German Shepherd puppy’s ears to stand up, is not fast. On average, it can take from 2 to 3 months.

These are the most common temporary perids.

But sometimes due to the displacement of the breed, various diseases and just the peculiarities of the German Shepherd puppy, this process can take 5-6 months.

Cute shepherd puppy with non standing ears

Is Taping German Shepherd ears a common practice?

Ear taping is an external intervention for one ear placement. This method is best used in cases where all the others have not helped.

Before you start gluing the puppy’s floppy ears, prepare everything you need – tape German Shepherd ears, a clipper, cotton swabs or popsicle stick, scissors.

How to tape a German Shepherd’s Ears

Follow according to the scheme:

  1. The fur is shaved off from the inner surface of the puppy’s floppy ears.
  2. A stick is attached to the edge of the auricle and glued with several pieces of thin white surgical tape over the entire surface.
  3. With the help of a stick, a jumper-tire or a fan frame is made inside the puppy’s ears so that its edges do not touch.
  4. They are fixed with a tape or bandage.

Regardless of whether one of GSD puppy ears did not get up or two, the gluing is done on both.

At first, the German Shepherd puppy will worry, try to remove the entire structure, but if you distract him with food and games, he will gradually get used to it.

It should be remembered that it is impossible to stick a tape on the ear without first shaving the fur. In order not to get an infection, you need to change the sticker at least once every five days.

Remove the tape carefully, without causing pain to the German Shepherd puppy and without injuring him. Before applying a new sticker, the German’s ears are disinfected.

Never use electrical tape, as it is very sticky, you can injure puppy’s ears. Alternatively, you can take a cloth and fabric glue, but keep in mind that it is tears easily.

German Shepherd with bandaged ears

Is taping safe?

Properly performed taping ears does not cause any harm to the German Shepherd puppies (unlike ear implants).

However, if the owner has no experience, it is better to entrust the first gluing to your breeder or another specialist who has experience working with German Shepherds.

If you decide to entrust the sealing to a veterinarian, then immediately ask him to give you detailed instructions explaining how to do the sealing better and safer. Also ask about how best to calm the puppy during the sealing of the ears.

Since the procedure is repeated many times during the change of teeth, over time the owner will learn to do it on his own and the need for specialist intervention will disappear.

Among the most common side effects and problems, the following should be noted:

  • allergy to tapes in GSD puppy;
  • excessively tightened GSD ears;
  • fixation of the position of the ear that does not meet the breed standard;
  • the appearance of dilution and bacterial infections;
  • painful sensations that the tape delivers.

At first, constantly monitor your puppy. Attentive dog owners will promptly detect the appearance of a characteristic unpleasant odor, puppy anxiety, itching and redness.

These symptoms are a sign of developing inflammation and require immediate removal of the patch and healing of the painful area.

Other methods to help a Shepherd dog’s ears stand up

Here’s another suggestion on how to help your puppy put his ears up. A video by @emwng talks about several methods. These are ear forms, adhesive tapes, and Breathe Right strips.

What Can I do to make puppy’s ears stand up?

If the puppy’s ears are soft and sluggish, you need to carry out several procedures:

Massage of the auricle

Lightly stroking the ear with your fingertips helps stimulate blood circulation and promotes proper cartilage development. Ear massages are also necessary for hygiene. Check out how to clean German Shepherd ears correctly.

For massage on the outer part of the ear, you can use a little tight roll. It is also recommended to massage the neck muscles during massage. Neck muscles will help form stronger cartilage.

Stimulation by sounds

Try to turn on your dog’s various sounds. That is, the ear muscles will constantly strain, pick up various signals, the growth of cartilage is stimulated, as well as the development of hearing. The German Shepherd will be constantly on the move, thanks to this, the German Shepherd will eventually have standing ears. Floppy ears will eventually rise.

Of course, then they will go down. But regular training will help strengthen them, and sooner or later they will be fixed in an upright position. Sounds also helps to ear development.

Revision of the diet

Good and proper nutrition is the key to the rapid development of cartilage and bones. That is why it is so important to monitor proper nutrition. Food should contain as much protein products as possible, as well as products with a high content of calcium and phosphorus, which will help the tissues to grow well and quickly.

Make sure that the dog does not overeat. Do not give the dog any sweets, so that dental disease does not begin, which could lead to lowering of the ears.

What to do if a shepherd's ears stand differently

Add special top dressing to the dog’s food

The main building element in the dog’s body is calcium (CA). It is necessary for the proper formation of bones, teeth, claws. Most of this substance (99%) is in the bone tissue, which is constantly being updated.

For this reason, the lack of the element makes the bones brittle, leads to lameness and other problems. Calcium is not only actively involved in the formation of the skeleton, but also regulates other processes in the animal’s body.

The mineral is needed by both young and adult animals. The recommendations of the National Research Council NRC-2006 specify the requirements for nutrients for dogs: calcium for puppies at the rate of 320 mg / kg of weight, with age this requirement decreases to 119 mg / kg. For elderly animals, the norm can be slightly increased by giving the mineral in an easily digestible form.

Does It Matter If Your German Shepherd’s Ears Never Stand up Naturally?

Despite the fact that dog’s ears stand are the breed standard for German Shepherds, it is not necessary to strive for your dog to meet these standards.

It depends only on your personal preferences and desire to meet or not meet the standards.

1) Due to the structural features, GSD’s ears to stand are less susceptible to ear infections than adorable floppy ears.

In addition, German Shepherd’s ears stand do not need to be cleaned as often as hanging ones (this should be done only once a month, not weekly).

2) The susceptibility of floppy ears to ear infections is explained by the fact that the moisture entering them evaporates worse.

3) Know that not all German Shepherds get their ears to stand. This can happen because of the so-called “soft ears”, which often leads to other problems with the floppy ears.

4) If you are in doubt about the placement of your puppy’s ears, consult with a veterinarian or an experienced breeder of German Shepherds.

Adult German Shepherd puppy with floppy ears

Why does my German Shepherd have floppy ears?

A small puppy’s have floppy ears due to age. But that’s not the only reason. There are factors that interfere with the proper formation of cartilage, and with it the shape of the floppy ears.

1. Unbalanced diet, lack of vitamins

Vitamins and minerals are one of the most important components in the growth and development of the German Shepherd. Without them, there may be serious violations and deviations. This also applies to the cartilage in the ears. Without the necessary elements, such as phosphorus and calcium, cartilage can be fragile, small and have other defects that will prevent the ear from standing up.

2. Inactive lifestyle

For healthy growth and development, the puppy must play a lot, train all muscles, joints, including mental ones. The development of cartilage in the ear largely depends on the development of neck muscles, so the puppy needs to develop them through games, with the help of chew toys and special training. Here it is important to choose the right chew toys so as not to injure the dog’s jaw. The chew toys should be of a suitable size and made of good materials.

3. Previous illnesses

Unfortunately, puppies sometimes have diseases that subsequently negatively affect the development of cartilage and other systems. One of these is the cartilage in the German Shepherd puppy’s ears. Due to the fact that he will grow up weak and small, the ear will not stand up.

4. Ear injuries

Congenital and acquired injuries can affect the shape of the ear. For this reason, it is better not to allow situations when puppies, playing, injure their puppy’s ears, as they can damage the ear cartilage or cause other serious injuries. If you want ears standing, protect the dog.

5. Unsuitable conditions of detention and stress

For example, if your region is characterized by cold winters, make sure your pet is not too cold.

6. Genetic factors

If the puppy’s German Shepherd parents had problems with the shape of the erect ears, they can be inherited with a high probability.

Before you buy a puppy, learn more about the pedigree of the pet, whether there were various deviations in the family related to the ears, as well as what care products are better to use for this puppy.

Also pay attention to the placement of the puppy’s parents’ ears, they can tell the probability of which ears your puppy will have. We also advise you to pay attention to other puppies from this litter, see if their ears differ from each other.

Floppy ears in a German Shepherd dog

Chapter FAQ

How long do German Shepherds ears stay floppy?

In German Shepherds, the floppy ears remain on average up to 3-4 months, after this age the ears begin to rise, the process takes about 2-3 months.

After calculating, we can see that on average, dogs have floppy ears for about half a year.

It happens that the right ear gets up faster than the left ear, or vice versa. If you somehow stimulate the raising of the ears, continue to do it with two ears

How do you tell if a dog’s ears will stand up?

The most common way to find out if your puppy’s ears will stand up is to see where they are located on the head. Ears that can stand, even partially, usually stand higher and closer to each other than hanging ears. The cartilage at the base of the standing ear begins to feel firm by 4-6 weeks.

According to experts, there is another sign, if the dog has a big ears, then the probability that the ears are not standing up anymore, or will be half-hanging.

Do German Shepherds ears stand up on their own?

According to the standard, the German ears are pointed, set high, vertically, parallel to each other.

The ends are directed forward and upward, they do not fit to the skull even in motion or when the German Shepherd lowers them at rest.

The defect of the exterior is considered to be dilution to the sides, cartilage fractures, a hanging auricle. The exception is puppies up to three months old, whose ears at this age can (until ears to stand up) have any shape and position.

You should not worry if the GSD puppies have very large, standing half, slanting on their side or in an upright position with only one ear.

With normal development, everything comes back to normal by a certain time – the cartilage gradually thickens, strengthens and acquires the desired shape.

In 2 months

The shape of the dog’s ears depends on the condition of the cartilage. At two months old, they are just trying to get up, while they are soft and just beginning to thicken.

Each pet develops according to an individual scheme and at its own pace. In two months, the ears of the German Shepherd can still hang or already become a house.

Often puppies run around with one ear raised while the other is hanging. At this moment they are very funny.

In 3 months

At three months, the puppy grows slower than its dog’s ears.

During this period, the cartilage actively produces elastin and collagen, thanks to which it grows, remains partially hanging, but periodically rises. During the change of teeth, it may fall again.

This feature has the body of a German Shepherd. He mobilizes his forces for the formation of teeth, takes phosphorus and calcium for their construction.

After four months, the cartilage reduces the production of substances necessary for its strength, by five stem cells stop the superstructure, the ear reaches the usual structure and density. It takes on its usual form and rises.

In 6 months

Completely normal, according to generally accepted standards, by the age of six months, the ears of a German Shepherd puppy get up completely.

They are positioned vertically, deployed forward and have sufficient rigidity.

If during this period their tips are still hanging down, this is a sufficient reason to contact the veterinarian to correct the situation.

It will be much more difficult to put it later, although there are cases when the lifting of the dog’s ears straight is completed by 8-10 months.

In 1 year

The change of milk teeth in the German Shepherd is completed by eight to nine months. All the roots are cut through, there are 42 of them.

By this time, the dog’s ears should get up, and by the year the cartilage acquires a structure characteristic of an adult dog.

From this moment on, the chance to put the pup’s ears, if they are still hanging, tends to a minimum.

Do some German Shepherds have floppy ears?

All puppies have floppy ears. Over time, many of them get up.

But it happens that some German Shepherds do not raise their ears due to various reasons, this is absolutely normal. The ratio of such dogs is somewhere 1:20. It is completely normal.

German Shepherd puppy with floppy ears


When do German Shepherd ears stand up, the puppy acquires even greater beauty. This breed standard is one of the most important criteria at exhibitions.

Also, standing ears have practical significance in the form of protection against infections. That is why it is important that the ears are set.

And let me recommend a related post relevant to puppy owners – How to potty train your GSD. Hope to be of help to you!

Malena Parker

I run this blog and I want to share with you useful information about the life, health, and care of a German Shepherd

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