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When Do German Shepherd Ears Stand Up? Find Out Now

when do german shepherd ears stand up

So you got a new GSD pup and now you are wondering when do German Shepherd ears stand up?

It’s a common question among new puppy owners, and for good reason.

German Shepherds are known for their iconic pointy ears that stand tall and proud, but German Shepherd puppies are actually born with floppy ears.

The timing of when their ears will start to stand up can vary from puppy to puppy, and it’s an important aspect of their growth and development.

So if you’re curious about your furry friend’s ear development or just want to learn more about these amazing dogs, keep reading!

When Do German Shepherd Ears Stand Up?

On average, you can expect German Shepherd puppy ears to start standing up between the ages of 8 to 16 weeks.

While some puppies’ ears may start standing up as early as 8 weeks old, others may not have fully erect ears until they are 6-7 months old.

During the teething process, which usually occurs around 4 to 6 months of age, the ears might temporarily flop or become weak due to the changes happening in their jaw and skull structure.

However, once the teething stage is complete, the ears should regain their upright position.

It’s important to note that not all German Shepherd puppies’ ears will stand up on their own. Some may require assistance or even professional intervention to encourage the ears to stand.

Understanding the Stages of German Shepherd Ear Development

2 Weeks Old

German Shepherds are born with their ears folded over, and it takes time for them to develop and stand upright.

new born german shepherds with ears folded over

At around two weeks old, a puppy’s ear canal will open.

This is when they start to hear sounds and respond to noises in their environment.

It’s essential to expose your puppy to different sounds during this stage so that they can become familiar with them.

During this time, breeders should be careful not to clean the puppy’s ears too aggressively.

The ear canal is delicate and can easily become irritated or infected if not handled correctly. If you notice any discharge or redness, take your puppy to the vet immediately.

4 Weeks Old

Around four weeks old, a German Shepherd’s ear cartilage will begin to harden and take on its distinctive shape.

During this stage, it’s essential to monitor your puppy closely as their ears may start standing up at different times.

Some puppies’ ears may start to stand up fully at four weeks while others may take longer.

It’s also important to note that some puppies’ ears may never stand up fully due to genetics or other factors such as injury or infection.

However, most German Shepherds’ ears should be standing upright by six months old.

6 Months Old

By six months old, most German Shepherds’ ears have fully developed and should be standing upright.

german shepherd with erect ears

However, there are still some exceptions where a dog’s ears may not stand up entirely due to genetics or other factors such as injury or infection. (Source)

If your dog’s ears have not stood up by six months old, consult with your vet for advice on how best to proceed.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the issue.

RELATED: German Shepherd Puppy Ear Stages

Why Do Some German Shepherds’ Ears Not Stand Up?

1. Genetics

The shape and positioning of a German Shepherd’s ears are influenced by genetic factors inherited from their parents.

Some puppies’ ears may start standing up at four weeks old, while others may take longer.

However, if both of the puppy’s parents have standing ears, it’s more likely that their offspring will also have standing ears.

It’s important to research and choose reputable breeders who prioritize breeding for healthy ear development.

Breeders should be able to provide you with information about the puppy’s parents and their ear development history.

2. Teething process

The teething process occurs as puppies transition from their temporary milk teeth to their permanent set of adult teeth.

This developmental stage typically begins around three to four months of age and can last until around six to seven months.

During teething, puppies experience discomfort and tend to chew on various objects to alleviate the pain and irritation in their gums.

It is believed that the teething process can indirectly affect ear development.

Puppies may chew excessively or put pressure on their ears while biting or chewing objects.

This constant pressure or manipulation of the ears can potentially impact the cartilage and hinder their ability to stand upright.

3. Environmental Factors

While genetics play a significant role, environmental factors can also influence the way a German Shepherd’s ears develop.

During the crucial ear development stage, the puppy’s ears are soft and pliable. Their shape can be influenced by factors such as diet, exercise, and overall health.

Some puppies may experience delayed ear development due to nutritional deficiencies or poor diet during the early stages of life.

Insufficient calcium and protein intake can impact the proper development of cartilage, including that of the ears. It is crucial to provide a well-balanced diet to support optimal growth.

4. Excessive Roughplay

Improper or excessive exercise during the ear development phase can affect ear posture.

Puppies engaging in excessive rough play or consistently lying on their sides for extended periods might experience pressure on their ears, causing them to bend or fold.

Care should be taken to provide appropriate exercise and ensure a comfortable sleeping position to avoid unnecessary stress on the developing ears.

5. Medical Conditions

In some cases, a German Shepherd’s ears may fail to stand up due to underlying medical conditions.

Infections, injuries, or damage to the cartilage can hinder proper ear development. (

Ear infections, if left untreated, can cause inflammation and discomfort, leading to weak or drooping ears. Trauma or injury to the ear can also impact its ability to stand up.

RELATED: German Shepherd Ear Mites Symptoms

Signs That Your German Shepherd’s Ears Are Ready to Stand Up

When do german shepherd ears stand up

1. The base of your puppy’s ear starts to feel firm and less floppy

This is because the cartilage in their ears starts to harden, which provides the necessary support for their ears to stand upright.

As your puppy grows, you may notice that one ear stands up before the other.

This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. It can take a few weeks or even months for both ears to stand up fully.

2. One or both ears may start to perk up slightly or intermittently

This means that the muscles in their ears are starting to develop, which will eventually allow them to hold their ears in an upright position.

You may notice that your puppy’s perky ears come and go throughout the day.

This is also normal as it takes time for their muscles and cartilage to strengthen enough for their ears to stay upright permanently.

3. You may notice that your puppy is more alert and attentive as their hearing improves

Your German Shepherd puppy will be able to hear sounds more clearly, which can help them better understand what is happening around them.

This increased attentiveness can also make training easier as your puppy will be more receptive to commands and cues.

It can make them better watchdogs as they will be able to detect potential dangers sooner.

4. Most puppies’ ears should be standing by Six months old

If your puppy’s ears are not standing up by this time, it is important to consult with your veterinarian.

In some cases, the cartilage in a puppy’s ears may not be strong enough to support their ears in an upright position.

Your vet can help determine if there are any underlying health issues that may be preventing your puppy’s ears from standing up and recommend appropriate treatment options.

How To Help Your German Shepherd’s Ears to Stand Up

1. Massaging the Base of Your Puppy’s Ear

One technique that can help strengthen the muscles that hold your German Shepherd puppy’s ears upright over time is massaging the base of their ear.

This method encourages blood flow and helps stimulate muscle growth in the area.

To do this, place your fingers around the base of your puppy’s ear and gently massage in a circular motion for about 30 seconds at a time, a few times per day.

It is essential to remember that results may take several weeks or even months before you start seeing any changes in your puppy’s ear position. Therefore, patience is key when using this method.

2. Taping or Gluing Techniques

In some cases, taping/posting ears or gluing techniques can be used to encourage proper ear positioning in German Shepherds.

However, it would be best if you only did this under veterinary supervision since improper use could cause harm to your dog.

Taping or posting involves using medical tape to hold the ears up into an erect position while allowing them enough mobility so they can still move naturally.

Gluing involves using special adhesive solutions designed specifically for dogs’ ears and should also only be done by professionals.

While these methods are effective, they require time and patience as well as close monitoring by a professional veterinarian who can ensure that no damage is done during the process.

3. Engage your Puppy in Playtime and Exercise

Engaging your puppy in playtime and exercise can help promote the overall muscle strength necessary for proper ear development.

Since German Shepherds are a breed known for their athleticism, it’s essential to provide them with ample opportunities to run, jump, and play.

Engaging in rough play with your puppy can be an excellent way to encourage ear development.

When playing tug-of-war or fetch, make sure to use toys that are appropriate for your puppy’s size and age.

Avoid using toys that are too small or too hard as they may cause injury or damage to developing ears.

Ensure that you’re not overdoing it with the exercise as this can lead to exhaustion and negatively impact ear development.

4. Avoid Excessive Handling or Rubbing

Excessive handling or rubbing of your German Shepherd puppy’s ears can cause irritation and delay natural development.

It might also lead to infections if not correctly handled.

Therefore, it would be best if you avoided excessive touching of their ears unless necessary. When cleaning their ears, make sure you’re gentle and use appropriate products recommended by veterinarians.

Moreover, it would help if you didn’t force their ears into an upright position manually since this could cause discomfort and pain for your furry friend.

Rough play can also cause trauma to a pup’s delicate cartilage structure and delay or prevent proper ear development.

Remember, every dog is different and will develop at their own pace. Therefore, it’s essential to be patient and let nature take its course.

5. Choose the Right Chew Toys for Your Puppy

chew toys for proper german shepherd ear development

The chewing stage is a critical time in a puppy’s life, especially for German Shepherds.

Providing appropriate chew toys helps promote jaw strength necessary for proper ear development in puppies.

Avoid hard or tough objects that can damage your puppy’s teeth or cause choking hazards.

Instead, opt for soft rubber toys that are gentle on your puppy’s gums and help massage them while they chew.

There are several types of chew toys you can provide your German Shepherd puppy to aid in their ear development.

Rope toys are great options as they help strengthen the jaw muscles and encourage healthy chewing habits.

Rawhide bones are also an excellent choice as they provide a satisfying texture that helps soothe sore gums during teething.

However, be sure to supervise your puppy when giving them any type of toy to ensure they don’t accidentally swallow any pieces or choke on them.

6. Feeding Your Puppy For Proper Ear Development

Feeding high-quality food rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and calcium supports healthy bone growth necessary for strong cartilage formation in developing puppies’ ears.

A balanced diet is essential during this crucial period of growth as it provides all the necessary nutrients needed to develop strong bones and cartilage.

When choosing dog food for your German Shepherd puppy, look for brands that contain high levels of animal-based proteins such as chicken or beef.

These proteins contain essential amino acids that support muscle growth and repair as well as bone development.

Make sure the food contains adequate amounts of vitamins A and D which play important roles in bone health by aiding calcium absorption.

Foods rich in calcium like yogurt or cottage cheese can also be added to their diet to promote healthy bone growth.

Consult with your veterinarian regarding specific dietary recommendations and supplementations tailored to your puppy’s individual needs.

RELATED: How Much To Feed a German Shepherd Puppy?

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

Floppy ears are common in GSDs and do not affect their ability to hear or function normally otherwise.

The shape and size of a dog’s ear can vary depending on the breed and individual genetics.

Some German Shepherds may have naturally floppy ears that never stand up fully, while others may have one ear that stands up and one that does not.

However, having droopy ears does not affect a dog’s ability to hear or function normally otherwise.

It is also important to note that there are certain factors that can affect ear development in puppies.

Puppies’ ears typically begin to stand up between 8-12 weeks old but can take up to six months for some puppies.

During this time, the cartilage in their ear is still developing and strengthening which can cause variations in how they stand up.

You can read more about this in my article about floppy-eared German shepherds.

Consult with your veterinarian if you have concerns about your dog’s ear development.

If you have concerns about your German Shepherd’s ear development or notice any sudden changes in their appearance or behavior related to their ears, it is best to consult with your veterinarian.

They can help determine whether there is an underlying health issue causing the problem or if it is simply a matter of genetics.

In some cases, medical intervention may be necessary such as surgery or medication to correct any issues affecting the dog’s ear development.

Your vet will be able to provide advice on the best course of action based on your individual situation.

Gluing German Shepherd Dog Ears

Proper Techniques for Gluing German Shepherd Dog Ears

Gluing your puppy’s ears should only be done under veterinary supervision. Improper application can lead to infections, skin irritation, or permanent disfigurement of the ear.

The first step in gluing your dog’s ears is to consult with your veterinarian.

They will examine your dog’s ears and determine if gluing is necessary. If it is, they will show you how to properly apply the glue and provide you with medical-grade adhesives specifically designed for animal use.

When gluing your dog’s ears, make sure that you use fabric glue or tear mender. These types of adhesives are safe for dogs and won’t cause any harm or discomfort.

Never use regular glue on your dog’s ears because it can cause irritation and even chemical burns.

Before applying the adhesive, clean the inside of your dog’s ear with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol.

This will remove any dirt or debris that could interfere with the bonding process. After cleaning, gently fold the ear over so that it touches the top of your dog’s head.

Apply a small amount of adhesive to both sides of the ear where it touches the head.

Be careful not to get any glue inside the ear canal or on the fur surrounding the ear.

Use a cotton swab to spread out the adhesive evenly and then hold down the ear until it dries completely.

Once dry, release your dog’s ear and repeat this process on their other ear if needed.

Your veterinarian will advise you on how long to keep their ears glued together before removing them.

Risks Involved in Gluing German Shepherd Dog Ears

While gluing can help correct an issue with your dog’s ears, it is not without risks.

Improper application can lead to infections, skin irritation, or permanent disfigurement of the ear.

It is essential to follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully and only use medical-grade adhesives specifically designed for animal use.

If you notice any signs of discomfort or irritation in your dog after gluing their ears, contact your veterinarian immediately.

They may need to remove the glue and treat any underlying issues that could be causing discomfort.

How to Tape a Floppy-Eared German Shepherd’s Ears Upright

It is essential to understand that this technique should only be done under veterinary supervision.

Improper application can lead to infections, skin irritation, or permanent disfigurement of the ear.

It is crucial to consult with a veterinarian who has experience in posting ears before attempting this procedure.

The vet will examine your dog’s ears and determine if they are suitable for posting. They will also provide you with detailed instructions on how to tape the ears correctly.

Use Medical-Grade Adhesive Tape Specifically Designed for Animal Use

This type of tape is gentle on the skin and does not cause any irritation or damage when applied correctly.

It would be best if you never used duct tape or other types of household tape as they can cause severe damage to your dog’s skin and fur.

It is also essential to make sure that the tape you use is breathable, allowing air circulation around the ear.

Steps in Taping Your Dog’s Ears

Taping your dog’s ears requires patience and precision. Here are some steps you need to follow:

  1. Clean your dog’s ear thoroughly: Before starting the taping process, make sure that your dog’s ear is clean and dry. Use a mild antiseptic solution recommended by your vet to clean the ear gently.
  2. Trim hair around the base of the ear: You may want to trim any hair around the base of your dog’s ear so that it does not interfere with the adhesion of the tape.
  3. Cut strips of adhesive tape: Cut strips of medical-grade adhesive tape into 4-6 inch lengths. Make sure that the tape is wide enough to cover the entire ear.
  4. Apply the first strip of tape: Place the first strip of tape on the back of your dog’s ear, starting at the base and working your way up towards the tip. Make sure that you do not pull too tightly as this can cause discomfort to your dog.
  5. Overlap with more strips: Add more strips of tape, overlapping each one slightly until you reach the tip of your dog’s ear.
  6. Secure with a final strip: Once you have reached the top of your dog’s ear, secure it with a final strip around its base.
  7. Repeat on other ear: Repeat these steps on your dog’s other ear, making sure that both ears are taped evenly and securely.

Are Surgical Ear Implants Safe for a German Shepherd’s Ears?

Ear implants are a surgical procedure that can help correct the ears of German Shepherds and other breeds with floppy ears.

The procedure involves inserting small pieces of plastic or metal into the ear cartilage, which helps the ears stand up straight.

While ear implants are generally safe when performed by a qualified veterinarian, it’s important to note that surgery should only be considered as a last resort and under veterinary guidance.

It’s essential to discuss all options with your vet before deciding on ear implant surgery.

Proper Aftercare is Key

Proper aftercare is crucial in keeping your dog safe after ear implant surgery. This includes regular check-ups and monitoring for signs of infection or rejection.

Infection is always a risk following any surgical procedure, but it’s particularly important to watch for signs of infection after ear implant surgery.

Signs of infection include redness, swelling, discharge, and fever. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

Rejection is another potential complication following ear implant surgery.

Signs of rejection include pain and discomfort around the implant site, swelling, and even bleeding.

If you suspect your dog may be experiencing rejection symptoms, contact your vet right away.

Effects of Physical Damage on German Shepherd Ear Development

Trauma or injury can cause permanent damage to the ear

If your German Shepherd has had an accident that involved its ears, it could lead to permanent damage.

This damage may affect how the ears develop and whether they stand up properly.

One common type of injury that affects German Shepherd’s ears is called hematoma.

Hematoma occurs when blood collects between the skin and cartilage of the ear flap. It causes swelling and pain, which can lead to further damage if left untreated.

In severe cases, hematoma can cause a permanent deformity in the shape of the dog’s ear.

Another type of injury that affects German Shepherd’s ears is called laceration.

A laceration occurs when there is a cut or tear in the skin or cartilage of the ear flap.

Lacerations can be caused by bites from other animals, sharp objects like knives or scissors, or even accidents like getting caught in a fence.

If left untreated, lacerations can also lead to permanent deformity in the shape of the dog’s ear.

If you suspect that your German Shepherd has suffered an injury to its ears, it is essential to seek immediate veterinary care.

The vet will examine your dog’s ears thoroughly and determine if any treatment is necessary.

Prevent accidents by avoiding activities that could potentially harm your dog’s ears.

Prevention is always better than cure. To avoid any physical damage or accidents that may affect proper ear development in German Shepherds, you should provide a safe environment for them.

Make sure that your home is free from any hazards that could cause injuries to your dog’s ears.

Keep sharp objects like scissors and knives out of reach, secure fences so that they cannot get caught in them, and supervise them while playing with other animals.

Avoid activities that could potentially harm your dog’s ears.

For example, do not let them stick their heads out of car windows while driving or expose them to loud noises like fireworks or gunshots.


To ensure your German Shepherd’s ears develop correctly, it’s crucial to provide them with proper nutrition and chew toys suitable for their age and size. Consistent playtime and discipline can encourage proper ear posture.

Remember that every dog is unique and may develop at different rates. Patience is key when waiting for your German Shepherd’s ears to stand up naturally or through training methods.

If you have concerns about your German Shepherd’s ear development or want additional guidance on training techniques, consult with a veterinarian or professional dog trainer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. At what age do most German Shepherds’ ears stand up?

Most German Shepherds’ ears start standing up between 4-6 months old. However, some dogs may take longer or never fully stand up on their own.

2. Can I use glue to make my German Shepherd’s ears stand up?

Gluing a dog’s ears is a controversial practice and should only be done by a professional veterinarian or breeder trained in the method. Improper gluing can cause pain and damage to the dog’s ears.

3. Will my German Shepherd’s ear development affect its hearing ability?

Proper ear development is crucial for a dog’s hearing ability since it affects the positioning of the inner ear structures responsible for hearing sound waves properly.

4. Should I give my puppy specific chew toys to help its ear development?

Yes, providing appropriate chew toys can help strengthen your puppy’s jaw muscles and support healthy ear cartilage growth. Consult with a veterinarian to find the best chew toy options for your puppy.

5. Can I train my adult German Shepherd’s ears to stand up if they never did naturally?

While it’s possible to train an adult dog’s ears to stand up using taping or gluing methods, it may not be successful in all cases. It’s essential to consult with a professional before attempting any training techniques on an adult dog.

6. Do all German Shepherd’s ears go up?

No, not all German Shepherds’ ears go up naturally. Some German Shepherds may have ears that remain floppy or partially upright throughout their lives.

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

It is not necessarily bad if a German Shepherd’s ears don’t stand up, but it can be a cosmetic concern for breed standards. Consult with a veterinarian or experienced breeder for guidance.

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