A German Shepherd’s ears are a distinctive characteristic of the breed.
We put together this guide for those looking to get a German Shepherd, or current owners, who have questions about their dog’s ears.
Here’s a list of 12 commonly asked questions, with some potential answers …
(NOTE: This guide contains general information only. It is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. Always see an animal professional like a veterinarian before making about your dog’s body and health)
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German Shepherd Ears: 12 Commonly Asked Questions + Answers
1) What Does It Mean When A German Shepherd’s Ears Are Back?
You can tell a lot about how a dog is feeling by interpreting body language.
Specifically with the ears, here is what the various ear positions can mean:
– Natural position
Relaxed and comfortable
– Slightly raised/pricked up
Can mean the dog is alert, or aggressive.
If the dog is loose and relaxed, he/she is probably just focussing, but if the muscles are tight and he/she begins snarling or growling, that is a good sign of aggression.
– Slightly pulled back
Intrigued or friendly
– Ears flattened, or sticking out
Frightened or scared.
2) At What Age Do A German Shepherd’s Ears Stand Up?
You can read more about this particular issue in this guide – German Shepherd Ears Not Standing Up: 9 Reasons Why.
When a German Shepherd puppy is born, their ears will be very small and pressed flat against their head.
Some owners have experienced the ears going up as early as 4 weeks old, but it can realistically happen anytime during teething – which is in the first 5-7 months.
The ears can also go up, come down, and go up again during teething.
So, it might be wise not to worry too much about what position they are in from month to month during that time.
3) What Makes A German Shepherd’s Ears Stand Up?
You can read about what makes a German Shepherd’s ears stand up in this guide – German Shepherd Ears Are Floppy.
The main factor that determines if a German Shepherd’s ears go up is genes and DNA passed on from the parents.
But, some people choose to try some different methods to make the ears stand up with the approval of their vet – such as taping, ear forms etc.
4) What Shape Are A German Shepherd’s Ears?
German Shepherd’s ears by default should stand straight up.
Defective genes, breeding across the lines, or mixed breeding can cause different shaped ears – which might mean floppy ears.
5) What To Use To Clean German Shepherd’s Ears?
Read more in this guide – German Shepherd Ear Cleaning: How-To Guide.
You may want to use:
A helper to hold your German Shepherd’s head still and calm them
Vet approved ear cleaner. Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treament with Hydrocortisone (on Amazon) is an example of an ear treatment and cleaner – get your vet’s approval before use of an ear cleaner. Your vet might suggest an ear cleaning product
Cotton balls or swabs (don’t use Q tips – only vets should use them)
A small towel
6) When To Tape or Glue A German Shepherd’s Ears
It’s best to be patient in the first 4-5 months of a German Shepherd’s life while they are teething and developing ear cartilage naturally.
If after this time the ears aren’t standing, you may want to see a vet to assess your options, which may include taping.
You might want to bring up any question you have about your GSD’s ears with your dog’s vet when you first see them.
7) Why Are My German Shepherd’s Ears Floppy
You can read more in German Shepherd Ears Not Standing Up: 9 Reasons Why.
8) How To Clean German Shepherd’s Ears
Read more in German Shepherd Ear Cleaning: A Simple 5 Step How-To Guide.
9) How To Tape German Shepherd’s Ears
You can watch a video on how to tape a German Shepherd’s ears in German Shepherd Ears Are Floppy: 13 Fixes & Solutions.
10) How To Glue German Shepherd’s Ears
Gluing a German Shepherd’s ears is usually carried out with Ear Forms or Moleskin Padding
A special skin glue is used to you don’t harm your German Shepherd.
You can read more in German Shepherd Ears Are Floppy: 13 Fixes & Solutions.
11) Can You Touch A German Shepherd’s Ears?
You can touch a German Shepherd’s ears for general patting (as long as they don’t show signs they don’t want you to touch them), and when performing tasks like cleaning (if you have your dog’s vet’s approval).
It is wise not to pull on the ears.
Also watch that other dogs and young children don’t damage the ears – especially when the dog is still developing as a puppy.
12) Do You Crop or Dock a German Shepherds Ears?
This is completely up to each owner, but most people see it as extremely cruel and unnecessary.
There is no reason to crop or dock a dog’s ears other than for aesthetic purposes.
There is a reason ear and tail cropping is illegal is Australia and the U.K.!
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