German Shepherd Ears Not Standing Up: 9 Reasons Why This Might Be



There are various reasons why German Shepherd owners get worried if their German Shepherd’s ears are not standing up.

Perhaps you are a first time dog or German Shepherd owner and you picked the breed because you were attracted to their ears.

Or perhaps you want a show dog or to be a breeder, and having a GSD with erect ears is critical for you. In this second scenario –  do your research thoroughly on a good breeder with good pedigree and lines.

We’ve outlined 9 potential things for you to consider before panicking if your German Shepherd’s ears aren’t standing up!

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?

Every dog is different – they have different genetic material in their bodies which effects their appearance differently.

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.


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.


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.

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?

A German shepherd puppy will go through teething until the age of about 6 to 7 months old.

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.


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.


6) What Is My German Shepherd Puppy’s Diet?

Make sure your GSD is getting all the right nutrients – which comes from a good puppy food diet.

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.

You can also read this article which will give you some additional information on puppy food – Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppy: Buyer’s Guide & Reviews.


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.


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 effected for a period of time from a sickness that means it can’t absorb the nutrients from its food, it may effect how your GSD’s body and ears develop.

Regular vet checks can help prevent this.


Friendly Disclaimer 🙂 are not veterinarians, or animal professionals/experts. Information provided is for informational purposes only – it is not a substitute for professional or qualified advice.

The information is based on either our own thorough research, and/or own experiences, as a means of free speech.

By consuming this information, you accept that do not have client or patient relationship with you, and are not advising you to act on anything you read.

You should always consult your own veterinarian, animal expert, or health care professional and follow their advice before making decisions on all matters.


You can find our full set of disclaimers and T & C’s in the footer of this site.


Enjoy your reading, and thank you for being here 🙂 


About Author


  1. my gsd is 7 years old.. she had an ear infection which resulted in a hematoma on the end of her ear because she was scratching too often, which resulted in a drain to be placed in the ear for 3 weeks .. now that ear is tipped downwards and the vet is saying there’s nothing to be done about it… would taping be appropriate to get that ear back up

  2. My shepherd is 3 years old and his ears never came up is there anything I can do at this point he was picked for me by a breeder in Ontario .

Leave A Reply