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

Wondering when your german shepherd’s ears will finally decide to stand up?

As proud and loving German Shepherd owners, one of the many adorable features we eagerly anticipate in our puppies is their ears standing up. Whether you’re new to the world of German Shepherds or a seasoned owner, you might be wondering, “When do German Shepherd puppy’s ears stand up?”

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the timeline of German Shepherd puppy ear development, help you understand the stages of ear growth, and provide valuable insights into ear taping, floppy ears, and the importance of ear cartilage. Let’s dive into the captivating world of German Shepherd puppy ears and discover how to ensure your furry companion’s ears are healthy and strong throughout their life.

I remember this myself when we were new german shepherd owners, we literally woke up every day to different sort of ears every day, it was quite fun, especially the bishop’s hat ears where those silly large ears met in the middle, very funny stuff. 

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The ears change so much at that early age. Particularly i found they would droop more when he was tired. I assumed this was to do with blood flow.

When Do German Shepherds’ Ears Stand Up?

12-16 Weeks is average.

24 weeks is when your german shepherds’ ears are about decided.

Those wonderful perky ears tend to become a permanent fixture around the point that your gsd puppies begin the teething process, where your puppy will drop their baby teeth for the adult teeth.

The general age range for German Shepherd Puppy’s ears to stand up is initially about 8-12 weeks old. However, there is quite a bit of variability in this timeline. Some puppies will have their ears standing erect by 8 weeks, while others may take up to 24 weeks ( 6 puppy months) before they are fully erect and standing straight up on their own, and others will have different ear positions every day you wake up until they finally settle.

The best way to check if your puppy’s ears are going through the process of standing up is by observing them closely over time. If you notice any changes in their position or shape, then it’s likely that their ears are beginning their journey toward becoming fully upright!

The Development of German Shepherd Puppy’s Ears

The development of a German Shepherd puppy’s ears is an intriguing process. At birth, their ears are floppy and gradually rise as they grow older, but it’s a bit of a fight because those large ears are a heavy process. The timeline for their ears to stand up depends on genetics, but generally speaking, you should expect erect ears by around 12 weeks old (3 months of age).

The first stage in this process is when the puppies’ ears begin to flop down over their head – this usually happens within the first week after birth (though some pups will take longer). As they get older, their ears will start pointing straight out from their heads instead of hanging down like an umbrella over their face! Eventually, these floppy appendages will become more rigid and stiffen up into what we know as “permanent” German Shepherd puppy ears – but don’t worry if yours don’t get there quite yet!

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Up down, up down… they do have a lot of personality though!

Factors Affecting the Timeline of Ear Development

The timeline of ear development depends on several factors, here are the most common reasons the ears of your german shepherd puppy may not be standing or in the correct position.

Genetics and individual variation are two of the most significant factors. They inherit a lot of it from their parents! And this is the main reason that a gsd puppy ears may not stand up by the suggested weeks of age, but nutrition and potential health issues, such as ear infections or allergies, can also play a role in how quickly your puppy’s ears stand up.

The role of the teething phase in ear development is another important factor to consider when determining when your German Shepherd puppy will have upright ears. 

Chewing on toys can help strengthen the temporalis muscle and the base of the ear, which can lead to a more upright position. So plenty of chew toys (head to the best puppy toys), and let’s see if those pointy ears appear!

Collagen is another important factor in ear development.  Collagen is a connective tissue that helps to maintain the structure of the cartilage. It can be found in bones and in things like beef tendons, which may help your puppy’s ears stand up more quickly. You can find collagen in bully sticks too!

Are Droopy Ears Accepted?

German Shepherd Dog ears per AKC Breed Standard are meant to be erect, and not droopy. 
“Ears are moderately pointed, in proportion to the skull, open toward the front, and carried erect when at attention, the ideal carriage being one in which the center lines of the ears, viewed from the front, are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. A dog with cropped or hanging ears must be disqualified. Seen from the front the forehead is only moderately arched, and the skull slopes into the long, wedge-shaped muzzle without abrupt stop.”

However, just because they’re not accepted in shows, it doesn’t mean they cannot make a phenomenal pet! Just remember, that it really isn’t a good idea to breed a dog who has floppy ears, and ethical breeders will not continue to breed dogs with incorrect ears.

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When indie came home at 8 weeks, his ears were firmly flopped down, but we waited and had faith, they finally settled to being upright at around 4 months.

How to Support Healthy Ear Development

  1. Provide proper nutrition: A balanced diet, including small amounts of cottage cheese, can help provide enough calcium for both teeth and ear cartilage development.
  2. Ensure a safe, stress-free environment: This is essential for the overall health and well-being of your puppy – generally speaking. So ensuring there’s no stress or punishment is a wonderful way to support our pup generally. 
  3. Avoid interfering with ear development: Be cautious with rough play, which could cause permanent damage.

Naturally, we also want to avoid infections, which means we need to consider a balanced diet really high on our list as nutrition is the cornerstone of everything to do with health and our puppy’s diet is no different. I’d thoroughly encourage you to pick the very best food you can afford, as it’ll give your german shepherd’s body the best chance of doing what it needs to do, including helping ears stand. Fish oil, vitamin E, and probiotics can help support healthy ears in German Shepherds. 

If your German Shepherd is currently experiencing ear issues, consider changing their diet to eliminate a potential allergy (consulting a vet can be really good option for this). It is also important to keep your German Shepherd’s ears clean and dry. The first step in preventing ear problems for your German Shepherd is to keep them clean. Make sure that their ears are dry before bathing them, and make sure that they don’t get wet during swimming or other activities. 

If you notice that there’s an excessive amount of wax build-up in your dog’s ears, then you should use a cotton swab to remove it. Regular cleaning and inspection of your German Shepherd puppy’s ears is a must for the health of their ears. You can use a gentle, pet-specific ear cleaner on a regular basis to clean your puppy’s ears and avoid using cotton swabs or anything that could damage the ear canal. In addition, chewing helps relieve stress and build muscles that support healthy ear development. 

Giving your German Shepherd toys, chews or a ball forces the puppy to use its paws and exert pressure on different muscles and bones, which can help ears stand.

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The bishop’s hat-style ears always made me smile.

Is There Anything I Can Do If My GSD’s Ears Don’t Stand Up?

Sometimes a german shepherd parent might want to do something to help our dogs ears to stand up, and it can feel like they’re just not going to do it on their own – so how can you help? If it’s really important to you, what can you do to help those puppy’s ears turn into the perfect pointy ears! 

Ear Taping – One option is to tape your dog’s ears using foam rollers, self-adhering waterproof dog wrap, and clean popsicle sticks. This process is easy to try and only takes a few items. It is important to avoid using regular tapes (like duct tape) that you have around your house or they will tear and rip your dog’s tender skin. Please do consult a vet or an expert about this! 

Massage – Some theories say that massaging the ear base is an idea, it’s a bit of an old wives tale, but it’s good to know. Theoretically, it would be helping to stimulate blood flow.

Vitamin C – Another option is to ensure that your German Shepherd is getting enough vitamin C. This is perhaps the most important thing you can do to help the cartilage in their ears develop normally. You can either feed your German Shepherd vitamin C supplements along with their regular food, or you can feed your German Shepherd actual food sources of vitamin C.

Collagen –  collagen can supplement stronger cartilage and help larger ears stand up.

Vet Trip – in some instances ears not standing can be caused by hormonal imbalances.


Accept Them – Accepting that your dog is your dog and they are the way they are, is the best choice, as after all, you didn’t get a GSD for those! Because it’s totally likely that as this is a natural process that just wants to be a certain way, and whilst some dogs are late bloomers, if your dog is in good health, and they’re happy, then why fight it? Those big ears are adorable when floppy too!

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I do miss this though, we’d just see the ears change so drastically. Very cute to see.

If My Dog’s Ears Don’t Stand Up, Does It Mean Something Else May Be Wrong With Them?

The most common medical reasons ears don’t stand are;

There could be several reasons why your German Shepherd’s ears are not standing up, and it may or may not indicate a larger issue. One reason could be that your German Shepherd is still a puppy and their cartilage is not yet strong enough to hold up the weight of their ears.

This process of developing stronger cartilage usually takes about 20 weeks. Another reason could be an unbalanced diet, malnutrition, injury/trauma, infection or inflammation, parasites (in the gut or ear), genetics. Hormonal imbalances can also cause the ears to not stand up properly, so it’s important to take your German Shepherd to the vet to be properly treated if you suspect this could be the case.

However, as genetics are the primary reason a german shepherds’ ears won’t stand, it’s very likely this is indicative of poor breeding, and that is often associated with Hip Dysplasia, so it may be worth looking into how best to take care of puppy’s joints.

Get in touch with their breeder and let them know this is the case, and maybe just double check some of the paperwork they gave you so you can be prepared.


Now that you know the developmental process of German Shepherd pup’s ears, it’s time to celebrate! Your puppy is growing up and developing into a beautiful adult dog. It can be hard to wait for this time, but patience is key. Remember, providing a healthy diet, a stress-free environment, and monitoring your puppy’s development will ensure they grow up with healthy, alert ears! And if it doesn’t go that way? It’s really important to remember, even with floppy ears, they’re still your wonderful dog! 

Remember, that even if their ears do stand up, it doesn’t make them listen any better — all of that is about training! So, if you need help with the first year of a german shepherd puppy’s life, then go sign up to pupdates!

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!

Thanks to for the images!


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