When Will My German Shepherd Puppy’s Ears Fully Stand Up?

If you’ve ever wondered when will your German Shepherd puppy’s ears stand up, you’re not alone. It can be frustrating to see your pup’s ears go up and down. One day they are tilt toward each other at the center of her head. On other days, both ears may fall toward one side or the other. You are anxious to know if there’s anything you could or should do or not do to make those floppy ears stand.

A purebred  German Shepherd’s ears will stand up on their own at anytime between 8 to 20 weeks (5 months old). Until they are completely up, they flop around, go up and down. Until they are completely up, they tend to flop around, go up and down.

In this article, we will attempt to answer the most commonly asked questions about your German Shepherd puppy’s ears before they are fully erect.

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German Shepherd Puppies: Everything You Need to Know

FAQs Before Getting a German Shepherd (2022 version)

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Erect ears are in German Shepherd’s breed standard

If your German Shepherd puppy is purebred and has been bred according to the breed standard, you can expect your puppy’s ears to stand up.

It is considered a “fault” according to breed standards if a German Shepherd has floppy ears. If a German Shepherd has floppy ears, it is an indication that something has gone wrong in terms of breeding or health.

Why do some German Shepherd’s ears stay droopy?

There are a few reasons for German Shepherds’ ears to stay floppy. While some you can manage, others are entirely out of your control. Yet, more than often, if you got your pup from a reputable breeder, you don’t have to worry too much and just need to be patient to see those ears pop.

Here are the common reasons your GSD’s ears might never stand up:


Genetics play a large part in a dog’s physical appearance – including those cute floppy ears. So if you are buying a puppy from a breeder, always ask to see their parent if you have a chance.

This is because if your German Shepherd puppy carries the genes for ears droopy ears, then more than likely their ears will not stand up for life.

Improper breeding

Many breeders will aim to breed German Shepherds with larger ears. Enhancing a specific trait, not in line with the breed standard is poor breeding practice. The result of this is German Shepherd puppies with ears too big and too heavy that will never perk up. 

It’s a good idea to find an ethical and reputable breeder, meet the parents of the puppy you’re interested in, ask lots of questions, and get referrals to owners of their puppies.

Physical damage 

Puppies are energetic and sometimes do not know their boundaries. This includes their delicate ears. They may run into accidents that can accidentally damage their cartilage or muscles in their ears.  

If this happens their ears may suffer long-term damage and not stand up naturally on their own. So watch out for a rough play that might lead to ear damage.

Poor Nutrition

During the crucial growing stages, your German Shepherds puppy needs a balanced diet,  including vitamins and minerals that aid in cartilage and muscle development of their ears. Calcium, in particular, is vital to help strengthen the cartilage to aid in building a strong foundation for the ears to stand up. What you can do is to ensure your dog gets the right nutrition from the start to avoid any issues. 

Ear infection

Your German Shepherd puppy needs proper ear care to stay healthy. If dirt builds up in their ears, it can cause discomfort for your dog. If the issue is left unchecked, your pup will scratch its ears which can lead to permanent damage.

When will my German Shepherd’s ears fully stand up?

A purebred  German Shepherd’s ears will stand up on their own at anytime between 8 to 20 weeks (5 months old). Until they are completely up, they flop around, go up and down. Until they are completely up, they tend to flop around, go up and down.

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

If you’ve seen the ears go up for any amount of time during that first 5 months, you can be pretty sure that they will stand up on their own.

Is it normal for my German Shepherd’s ears to go up and down?

If your German Shepherd puppy’s ears are up before 4 months of age, they often will come back down for a little while. It is perfectly normal for your GSD puppy’s ear to go up and down if their ears were already up as early as 4 months old.

Why do German Shepherd puppy’s ears go up and down?

It is very common for GSD pups to go up and stand before they gain enough strength to stand on their own. This usually has to do with teething – when so much calcium is being sucked up to her new teeth that her ears can’t stand but fall.

Could my German Shepherd puppy’s ears get damaged by playing with other dogs?

It’s possible that rough play between littermates or other dog friends could cause damage or tear the ears. And, if your pup has been in an accident that hurt their ears, take them immediately to the vets.

Should I massage my German Shepherd puppy’s ears?

Keep any hands off your pup’s ears or else you may damage the developing muscles. That means no squashing, mashing, bending, rubbing, or folding.

When should I know if my German Shepherd’s ear will not stand up?

If the German Shepherd puppy ears are not up by 7 or 8 months of age they are probably not going to come up. Floppy ears are a cosmetic issue ONLY. It will not affect your dog’s hearing or quality of life. 

1. Feed your German Shepherd puppy high-quality food

Providing your dog with the proper nutrition for optimum growth is the best thing you can do as a responsible owner.

Puppies grow rapidly during the first year of their life. Choosing a suitable puppy food will ensure your pup gets the essential nutrient for their growth.

Talk to your breeder or consult a vet if you are unsure. Some owners suggest adding calcium to your puppy’s diet with yogurt.

2. Provide your German Shepherd puppy with the proper chew toys

Chewing can help to strengthen the muscles that surround the ears.

It’s natural for your puppy to chew things and you should offer them the appropriate chew toys early on to prevent bad behaviors from developing.

Choose the proper chew toy for a German Shepherd that is durable and the right size for your dog’s age and chewing habits.

3. Make sounds to let your German Shepherd puppy practice their ear muscles

You can help your puppy to strengthen her ear muscle by whistling and making funny noises that perk up her ears. 

When should I consider tapping my German Shepherd puppy’s ear if they are not up?

The idea is that taping a dog’s ears causes the cartilage to form and shape in the same way that weight lifting causes muscles to grow and get stronger.

It is commonly suggested to wait until after your German shepherd puppy’s adult teeth have started to come in (around 3 to 5 months) to consider taping up his ears.

However, floppy ears are a cosmetic issue ONLY – It will not affect your dog’s hearing or quality of life. We do not recommend tapping because your dog is born with their look, you do not love her less regardless. 

The fact is taping ears isn’t always effective. It actually has a high rate of failure, and it will not fix genetics if that is the case.


If you’re the proud parent of a German Shepherd puppy, make sure you give them the best chance to grow up with properly erect ears by following these simple tips. Feed them high-quality food and provide plenty of appropriate chew toys – and don’t forget to make lots of noises so they can practice their ear muscles! For more information on bringing up your German Shepherd pup, check out our other blog posts on this topic. Make sure you check out our other blog posts for more information on German Shepherd puppies. Thanks for reading!