Do All German Shepherds Ears Stand Up? (Answered)

When shopping for a new furry friend some people may have specific questions, like: do all German Shepherds ears stand up? Some new puppy owners may have concerns about if their dogs ears are normal.

There are hundreds of different dog breeds with unique ear anatomy and positions, German shepherds are just the tip of the canine iceberg. How many canine breeds with pointy ears do you know?

Do All German Shepherds Ears Stand Up?

German shepherds are born with their ears down, and it generally takes about 4-5 months for their ears to stand. The cartilage in their ears will slowly grow and form generally during the time that they are also teething.

Not all German Shepherd puppies will have both ears standing upright, but this is completely normal. If a GSD’s ears are not standing on their own by this time, there is a way to manually tape them into an upright position until they are able to stand on their own and can typically be done by your veterinarian.

Breeders will occasionally have information about these processes, but it is always best to get all advice for your pet from a licensed professional veterinarian.

If this breed doesn’t have ears that stand naturally and refrains from taping, it is completely normal and healthy for that dog, so try not to worry too much about this issue.

There have been instances where a GSD’s ears began to stand upright at 6 months or older, so try your absolute best to be patient during this process, you may be pleased with the result. If your puppy’s ears start to show any signs of stiffening, this is usually a sign that they will begin to stand.

Always make sure that your dog is thoroughly examined by a licensed veterinarian to ensure their health is up to standard. A healthy adult German shepherd should weigh around 75-95 pounds, and have a height estimated between 23-25 inches depending on factors like their pedigree and sex.

In this article we will cover what makes a German Shepherd’s ears stand up, if you can stop their ears from standing, and why one ear can stand while the other is down.

What Makes German Shepherds Ears Stand Up?

As mentioned previously, German shepherds are born with very flexible cartilage which begins to stiffen as they age, and typically are in an upright position by 5 months. Do not worry if they haven’t stiffened by this age, as it can take several months depending on each individual puppy.

Ears that are pointed down do not indicate an unhealthy dog or subpar breeding. As we know, not all GSD’s ears will stand on their own, but there are methods to encourage the ears to stand (e.g taping).

You can gently massage the base of your GSD’s ears while they are soft and flexible to increase the bloodflow, which may assist in the growth and strengthening of the ears.

Ensure that you are not putting too much pressure when massaging the area, because it can be a sensitive area for some dogs. For additional, reliable information about these methods, contact a trustworthy and licensed veterinarian. Keep in mind that it is totally normal for GSD’s to have ears that point up or down!

In case you need a refresher, German shepherds can be working dogs, and the position of their ears has no impact on their ability to work. German shepherds are highly intelligent, and can be found working as farm, police, and service dogs.

They also regularly compete in agility and obstacle courses, and are able to locate drugs and bombs by their sense of smell only.

Can I Stop My GSD’s Ears From Standing?

There is a way to tape your GSD’s ears to encourage them to stay in a downward position. It is highly recommended to schedule a visit with a veterinary clinic to get a professional opinion before doing anything to alter your pet though!

There are some veterinary clinics and hospitals who offer telemedicine visits which can be a great option for someone who has questions about their pet.

If having a dog with ears that are down is important to you, there are breeds of dogs that are likely to have floppy ears, like beagles, basset hounds and English cocker spaniels, just to name a few.

If you would prefer a large breed dog with floppy ears take a look at these breed recommendations: standard poodles, weimeramers, Irish setters and Afghan hounds.

Why Is One Of My GSD’s Ears Up And One Down?

It is very normal and common for one GSD ear to stand up while the other is down. Due to the flexible cartilage in their ears, they can take many shapes and forms while they are in the process of strengthening and standing on their own.

When this breed is fully grown and their ears are done forming, they may still move and twitch due to the fact that dogs often show their emotions through their ears!

If a dog’s ears are facing forward and erect, this can mean that they are in a happy and friendly mood, so you may want to use that time as an opportunity to get acquainted with any new dog that you encounter.

Opposingly, if their ears are back, flat, and tight to their head they may be fearful or anxious, so it is best to leave them alone. Take note of what may be agitating them at this time so you can actively try to avoid situations like this in the future.

If you notice your canine companion shaking their head and scratching their ears, this suggests a visit to your primary veterinarian to ensure there are no issues that need medical treatment.

German Shepherds are prone to ear infections, even more so than breeds with ears that fold over. Maintaining your GSP’s ears can be exceedingly easy, consult your veterinarian to get their recommended brand of ear cleaner, and follow their cleansing directions completely.


As we’ve learned, not all German shepherds have ears that stand upright. If your puppy has ears that don’t seem to be stiffening, there are ways to encourage them to stand upright.

Taping ears to encourage them to point downward is an option for keeping your GSP’s ears floppy, but it has not been deemed safe or effective by professionals, so we urge you to consult your veterinarian before doing anything to change your dog’s appearance.

Canines display emotions through body language, so it’s normal for any dog to have ears that twitch or fold. GSP’s can be happy and healthy with ears that point up or down.