when will a german shepherd's ears stand up

German Shepherd Puppy Ear Stages: When Will A German Shepherd’s Ears Stand Up?

German Shepherds have perked up and pointy ears. But they’re not pointed up from birth and in fact, they stay floppy for a significant time during puppyhood. So the question is, when will a German Shepherd’s ears stand up?

Well, let’s find out as we look into the German Shepherd puppy ear stages.

When Will A German Shepherd’s Ears Stand Up?

A German Shepherd’s ears will generally stand up at around 5 to 6 months of age or around the time that it stops teething. Before that, the ears will stay down as tooth development takes precedence over the development of the cartilage in a German Shepherd’s ears.

German Shepherd Puppy Ear Stages

Before 5 Months Old

A German Shepherd’s ears will tend to be down during this period, especially from the 3rd to the 5th month, due to teething. This is as tooth development takes precedence over the development of the cartilage in a German Shepherd’s ears. Meaning, at this point the ear cartilage is not developed and strong enough to maintain perked up ears.

That said, it isn’t uncommon for a German Shepherd’s ears to stand up then go back down again at this stage. But that’s not something you should worry about and instead you should take that as a positive indicator that your German Shepherd’s ears may stand up in the long run.

5 To 6 Months Old

At around this time, your German Shepherd will have already completed teething, and so you can typically expect its ears to be up or at least starting to perk up.

6 Months Beyond

By this time your German Shepherd’s ears should already be up. If they aren’t up at around 8 to 9 months in, then there’s a high chance that your dog’s ears will stay down, considering this is when the ears usually take their permanent form.

That said, the process can take longer, and some German Shepherds have had their ears stand up much later than usual. In a poll by PetHelpful of among 3000 respondents, 6% stated that their German Shepherd’s ears stood up at 9 to 10 months old, 3% at 11 to 12 months old, and 4% after a year old. 

So, it’s possible for a German Shepherd’s ears to stand up even when it’s after 8 to 9 months old.

That said, 18% also stated that their dog’s ears didn’t stand up. So  some German Shepherds can indeed grow up to have floppy ears.

Why Are Your German Shepherd’s Ears Not Standing Up?

Teething

As already discussed, your German Shepherd’s ears will most likely stay down until it completes teething. At this point, it’s entirely normal for your dog’s ears to go up and down and is something you shouldn’t have to worry about.

Genetics

Your German Shepherd’s ears may also be floppy due to its genetics. Meaning, your dog’s ears may remain down due to the genes passed on by its parents. In such a case, there isn’t much that you can do, as you can’t change your dog’s biological makeup.

For this one, prevention is the only solution. If you’re that concerned about floppy ears, then the best way to prevent them would be to only work with reputable and ethical breeders when getting a German Shepherd. This is as some breeders explicitly breed show line German Shepherds with larger than usual ears which sometimes end up being too big and too heavy to stand up.

Poor Nutrition

If your German Shepherd’s ears remain down after 5 months, then it may indicate a lack of proper nutrition. Note that German Shepherd puppies have particular needs for their development and thus require a diet abundant in nutrients such as protein and calcium. 

So, if your puppy’s ears remain floppy, you may want to check on the food that you’re providing.

Ear Trauma

Your German Shepherd’s ears develop from birth until around 8 months of age, and any trauma to its ears during this time may result in permanent damage and cause floppy ears. 

This may occur due to rough-housing with other dogs, or even due to the mishandling of humans. So, it’s best to keep your dog’s ears protected during this period to ensure that they develop properly.

Parasites

Lastly, parasites may also cause your German Shepherd’s ears to be floppy as they affect your puppy’s nutrition and overall development. 

Thus, you must regularly check for parasites or worms, not just for the sake of your German Shepherd’s ears, but also for the sake of its overall health.

What Can You Do To Help Your German Shepherd’s Ears Go Up?

When Will A German Shepherd’s Ears Stand Up
Image by shelma25 from Pixabay

Take Your German Shepherd To The Veterinarian

There are a few methods you can try to help get your German Shepherd’s ears up. But the first thing you have to do would be to get your dog checked by the vet. That way, your vet will be able to determine whether your dog’s ears are down due to parasites or malnutrition, and will thus be able to provide you with the possible remedies for the underlying cause of your German Shepherd’s floppy ears.

Keep Your German Shepherd In Good Health

You should also make sure that your German Shepherd is in optimal health by keeping up with your dog’s vaccinations and deworming schedule to not only help its ears go up but also to help prevent other potential health problems.

Aside from that, be sure to also provide your dog with proper nutrition by feeding it high-quality dog food.

What About Supplements?

Some people believe that giving their German Shepherd calcium supplements may help with the development of the cartilage in their dog’s ears. But in truth, doing so can actually be dangerous to their dog as giving a German Shepherd calcium supplements may lead to long-term problems such as arthritis and joint problems.

So, instead of calcium supplements, choose to give your German Shepherd natural calcium sources such as a tablespoon of cottage cheese or yogurt per meal. You may also give your dog glucosamine instead, as it isn’t associated with any long-term health risks and is actually proven to help strengthen and rebuild cartilage.

That said, always consult with your veterinarian before doing so to make sure your German Shepherd won’t have any digestive issues should it take supplementation.

Prevent Physical Damage To Your German Shepherd’s Ears

As mentioned earlier, any trauma on your German Shepherd’s ears during its development may cause permanent damage. So try your best to prevent any trauma by keeping hands off your dog’s ears and don’t let anyone pull, fold, massage, or play with them. 

You should also keep an eye on your German Shepherd’s interaction with other dogs or puppies. Some puppies get into a habit of nipping at each other’s ears, which, while could be considered natural play, may also cause unwanted damage.

Give Your German Shepherd Strong Chew Toys

Another way to help get your German Shepherd’s ears up would be to give it chew toys to exercise and strengthen the jaw and neck muscles that support its ears. 

Taping

You may also try taping your German Shepherd’s ears to try to form and shape the cartilage. This is a common practice, especially for show line breeders, and has actually been proven to work. 

That said, it can often be ineffective for working line German Shepherds, and can even cause damage when done prematurely.

If you do intend to tape your German Shepherd’s ears, be sure to do it after the teething process and preferably with your veterinarian’s supervision. Note that if you end up taping your dog’s ears too soon or incorrectly, you may damage them to the point that they’ll never stand up on their own.

For a thorough guide on how to tape your dog’s ears, check out this step-by-step guide from Wikihow.

Surgical Implants

If all else fails, you may want to consider getting your German Shepherd surgical implants. Just note, however, that this could be quite painful for your dog, and it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your German Shepherd’s ears would actually stand up properly after the process.

Are you willing to let your dog feel pain and cause possible trauma for the sake of cosmetic improvement?

Final Thoughts

Unless your German Shepherd’s ears are down due to parasites or improper nutrition, then floppy ears aren’t really something you should be worried about, especially if you don’t necessarily care for the aesthetic of perked up ears. 

Always remember that whether your German Shepherd’s ears stand up or not, it will remain to be a great pet and companion.

With that said, however, should you really want your German Shepherd’s ears to stand up, try your best to take care of your German Shepherd. Provide it with proper nutrition, keep it away from physical harm, and keep up with routine checkups, vaccinations, and deworming schedules.

Related Questions

why do german shepherds have pointy ears
Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

Why Do German Shepherds Have Pointy Ears?

German Shepherds generally have pointy ears because of strong and flexible cartilage which causes their ears to be upright.

Is It Bad If A German Shepherd’s Ears Don’t Stand Up?

It depends on the cause. 

A German Shepherd’s ears may be down due to a variety of reasons including lack of proper nutrition and infections. 

If a German Shepherd has floppy ears due to those reasons, then of course, it could be determined as bad. Else, there really isn’t anything to worry about, as floppy ears don’t necessarily affect your German Shepherd in any way.

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