We’ve already put together guides about commonly asked questions about German Shepherd ears, and also potential options if your German Shepherds are floppy.
In the guide below, we look at the main reasons why a GSD’s ears might not be standing up.
Consider these reasons before panicking about the position of your dog’s ears.
Let’s check them out!
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
9 Questions To Ask If Your German Shepherd’s Ears Are Not Standing Up
1) What did my puppy’s parent’s look like?
This might be the most important factor that impacts ear position – genetics.
It might be hard to outweigh the impact of undesirable genetics.
Every dog is different – they have different parents with different genetic material in their bodies.
Different genetics affects individual appearance.
Some GSDs are genetically predisposed to have floppy ears if their parents passed this gene onto them.
This is particularly true if the German Shepherd is not a purebred or the lines have been crossed.
Look to the parents and breeding lines of your GSD to get an idea of what genes might have been passed onto your GSD.
It’s possible non dominant genes can be passed onto a puppy – so, even parents with upstanding ears might give birth to a floppy eared dog.
But, two parents with erect ears should have a greater chance of producing an erect eared puppy GSD.
If you haven’t bought your GSD yet and you want a dog with erect ears – it might be a good time to research breeders who have breeding lines of mainly erect eared dogs.
2) Does my GSD have an ear defect?
By default, German Shepherds as a breed should have erect ears.
However, along the line somewhere it is possible for a floppy ear gene to be introduced to the lineage DNA.
In the GSD line of breeding this is seen as a defect (only aesthetically), and may lead to the puppy having soft ears i.e. they won’t stand up.
Consider that your puppy may have an ear defect or a recessive gene that contributes to their floppy ears.
3) How Old Is My German Shepherd Puppy
Anything can happen in the first 6 to 7 months from when a GSD puppy is born.
So, be patient in this time.
Sometimes your German Shepherd’s ears stand up a few weeks after they are born, and never go back down.
Sometimes they go up and down a few times for the first 6 or 7 months.
Don’t mess with the ears too early, especially in the first 4-5 months.
You might wait until 5 or 6 months in and then seek a vet’s advice again if they are both down, or one up, one down.
4) Is My German Shepherd Puppy Still Teething?
In this time, their body is still maturing, and body parts like the cartilage in the ear are still developing.
If the ears are genetically supposed to stand up, it can happen anytime during the teething process.
Wait until the end of teething to see what is happening with the ears.
5) What Do My German Shepherd’s Ears look like?
The larger and wider the ears, generally the stronger the ear cartilage has to be to support them when erect.
Smaller and thinner ears may have a better chance of standing up, but this depends.
So, consider the structure and makeup of your GSD’s ears, and consider how it might contribute to ear position.
6) What Is My German Shepherd Puppy’s Diet?
A GSD puppy may also need to be fed 3 to 4 times a day, whereas for an adult, it might be more like 2 times a day.
When you rescue/adopt your GSD puppy or buy them from a breeder, you should take them to the vet for a check up where they can tell you important health information including but not limited to diet and nutrients.
7) Have the ears been damaged in any way?
Dog ears can be damaged from fighting, playing and pulling.
The damage can be from other puppies and dogs and young children, usually by accident.
Consider whether the cartilage or the ears in general have been damaged in any way.
8) Have I myself already messed with the dogs ears myself?
Have you tried a technique you’ve read about on the internet to modify your dog’s ears – such as taping, ear forms or ear padding, and not consulted an expert such as a vet first?
This is particularly common in first time or inexperienced owners who are impatient or panic.
A dog’s ears will generally develop naturally, but there are some things that can be done which may influence how they sit.
See a vet for your options.
9) Has your GSD puppy been sick?
We are talking about serious sickness or physical ailments here.
If your GSD puppy has been affected for a period of time from a sickness that means it can’t absorb the nutrients from its food, it may affect how your GSD’s body and ears develop.
Regular vet checks can help prevent this.
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