German Shepherds are born with floppy ears which won’t perk and stand up until they are older. Their floppy ears will even have what appears to be a life of their own during the first few months; sometimes one will be erect, sometimes both, sometimes none! It’s a crazy ride!
The key here is to not worry if your German Shepherd doesn’t have pointy ears from the time you bring them home. Floppy ears down are normal in younger pups, but when exactly you can you expect your German Shepherd’s ears to stand up and how long will the ears be down?
Here’s my take on it: most of the time it will be temporary, but it’s not always the case. This is my guide to what to expect, and when the floppy ears should “in theory” become erect.
When do German Shepherds’ ears stand up? Most of the time, the ears of a German Shepherd puppy will perk up and stand up straight after 5 to 15 weeks, and not always in sync. Most German Shepherd ears will stop being floppy once they have finished teething at the latest. However, some can even be as late as 8 months old when the ears go up.
Why are my German Shepherd ears down and still floppy?
The above is very generic advice. There are still German Shepherds whose ears will stay down forever and never perk up. Whist pedigree German Shepherd standard specify “prick ears” it’s not always the case that this will happen – it doesn’t make your dog any less of a German Shepherd!
My German Shepherd’s ears never went up!
As mentioned, there will always be some German Shepherd’s with floppy ears that stay down and never come up. This should not be viewed as a problem, and gives your German Shepherd a lot more character than the standard German Shepherd.
It doesn’t mean your dog is abnormal or unhealthy, it’s just the way they are, so love them for their ears that decided to never go up!
However, if you do want to know more about your German Shepherd’s down ears and how old the ears should eventually go up, read on.
When do German Shepherd ears go up?
German Shepherd puppies are born with floppy ears, but most will have standing up ears by 15 weeks. However, there will be some whose ears won’t stand up until they have finished teething.
But why is teething a critical point?
It’s all to do with calcium. When the puppy is growing, he is using lots of calcium for teeth development; the teething phase. This means that a lot of calcium is being directed towards the teeth, and not to the ears.
This means that your German Shepherd’s ears can be floppy one week, stood up the next, and even not at the same time! Until the calcium is evenly shared around the body, you can expect some possibly weird ear behavior.
And this lack of calcium in the ears is why you might hear some German Shepherd owners saying they will give their puppy yoghurt – due to the high calcium content.
What age do a German Shepherd’s ears stand up?
There is no exact day, week, or even month. All puppies will develop at different rates. However, you should see perky ears within 5 to 15 weeks in the majority of puppies.
If they don’t stand up in that time frame, wait until teething has finished at around 6 months of age – sometimes as late as 8 months.
It’s not unheard though for the ears to remain floppy forever in a few German Shepherds.
How to make a German Shepherd’s ears stand up?
Some dog owners have methods to encourage their puppy’s ears to stand up. I’ve never tried any of these tips, so please consult with your vet before you do anything like this.
1. Taping a German Shepherd ears
The main method of how to make a German Shepherd’s ear stand up was by taping. Some breeders will do this if the ears are still floppy by 8 weeks of age. It sounds cruel, but from what I’ve seen, it looks harmless.
What they will do is:
- Tear off a 1.5-inch piece of masking tape.
- Pull one of the puppy’s ear upright so its flat.
- Loosely wrap the masking tape around the base of the ear.
- Repeat the process with the other ear.
- Now use another strip of tape to connect both ears together in a bridge fashion across the top of the head.
- Leave the taping in place for no more than 5 days then gently remove.
Breeders who have taped their German Shepherd’s ears successfully say that the tape is only in place for 5 days, which is normally enough time for them to stand up by themselves.
If the German Shepherd ears are still floppy, remove the tape and try the process again for a further 5 days.
2. Using calcium to make the ears stand up
I’ve already touched on the next method which all relates to getting higher levels of calcium unto your German Shepherd’s diet. This can include additional foods such as:
- Cottage cheese
The high calcium content in these foods is said to help a German Shepherd’s ears to stand up given that their natural calcium is being used in the development of their teeth.
But does it work?
I cannot find any research to suggest that calcium helps to fix floppy ears, and it appears to be more of an anecdotal solution used by owners.
I would certainly exercise a degree of caution, as milky foods can be too rich for young puppies leading to upset stomachs. Bottom line is; I would not give my puppy lots of cheese and milk – they may be lactose intolerant.
No matter what your German Shepherd’s ears are like, just let nature take its course. Droopy ears look very cute, so why not just let it be?
But, in most cases your German Shepherd’s ears will stand up once they have finished the teething phases, with the pointy and pricky look this breed is famous for.
You might also like…
I’ve been writing about German Shepherd puppies on Doggysaurus.com for as long as I can remember. If you’re new to owning this breed, here are some additional guides to help with your puppy:
- When do German Shepherd puppies become less hyper
- Stop your GSD puppy biting
- What a runny nose in your GSD means
Image in header licensed from Storyblocks.com.