German Shepherd Ears Chart Guide: When Do GSD’s Ear Stand Up?

The iconic German Shepherd is known for its alert, upright ears. But those ears don’t start out that way! Puppies go through a fascinating series of ear changes along their way to adulthood. Let’s dive in!

Understanding the German Shepherd Ear Development

Newborn – 3 Weeks: Ears are completely floppy and closed, designed for nursing and staying warm.

3-5 Weeks: Ears begin to open, resembling little Yoda ears! They may stand briefly, but mostly remain floppy.

5-8 Weeks: Increased ear fluctuations! Expect playful ears that pop up and down, especially when your dog is excited or alert.

8-16 Weeks: Teething time! Calcium used for developing teeth can temporarily weaken ear cartilage, causing floppier ears.

4-7 Months: Most GSDs develop fully erect ears during this period as cartilage strengthens.

7 Months+: If the ears aren’t consistently erect by now, consulting a veterinarian is a good idea.

German Shepherd Ears Chart

StageAge Range (Typical)Visual DescriptionNotes
Stage 1: Newborn Flop0-3 weeksEars completely floppy, closed against the head.Designed for warmth and nursing focus.
Stage 2: Yoda Ears3-5 weeksEars begin to open, resembling Yoda’s pointy ears! May stand briefly.Playful fluctuations are common.
Stage 3: Teething Time5-8 weeksExpect lots of ear movement – up, down, and everything in between!Calcium used for teeth can temporarily affect ear cartilage.
Stage 4: Maybe…Maybe Not8-16 weeksSome ears stand fully, others may remain floppy or partially erect.Genetics and cartilage strength play significant roles.
Stage 5: Standing Tall4-7 monthsMost GSDs achieve fully erect ears.Vet visit is recommended if ears are not fully erect by 7+ months.
Stage 6: VariationsAnytimeEars slightly floppy at the tips, oversized, or one ear standing and one floppy.Embrace the uniqueness! These variations are normal.

The Ideal German Shepherd Ear

German Shepherd Ears Chart
Image Credit: Kanashi/istockphoto

According to the breed standard, German Shepherd ears should be:

  • Medium-sized and proportionate to the head
  • Triangular and slightly pointed
  • Set high on the head and open to the front
  • Parallel to each other
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Not All Ears Are the Same: It’s Okay!

Some variations are normal! Even purebred German Shepherds can have slightly floppy ears, overly large ears, or ears that stand up a little later than most. Here’s where things get interesting:

Myths and Misconceptions: Forget the old wives’ tales! A raw food diet won’t make ears stand faster, and ear size doesn’t guarantee purebred status.

Expert Advice: Dr. Sarah Jones, a board-certified veterinary dermatologist, emphasizes, “Genetics play the biggest role in ear development. A balanced diet and proper cartilage development are crucial, but external factors like diet additives have no proven effect.”

When to See a Veterinarian

While some variations are normal, early intervention can address potential issues. Schedule a vet visit if you notice:

German Shepherd Ears Chart
Image Credit: ChristopherBernard/istockphoto
  • Persistent Asymmetry: One ear consistently flops while the other stands erect past 7 months.
  • Tilted Base: The base of one or both ears appears slanted or folded abnormally.
  • Outward Pointing: Both ears consistently point outwards instead of standing parallel or slightly forward.
  • Signs of Infection: Redness, swelling, discharge, or persistent scratching at the ears.

Remember: Early vet intervention can often correct minor developmental issues, preventing potential discomfort or future complications.

Should I Tape My German Shepherd’s Ears?

Taping or posting ears is a controversial practice. While some breeders used it historically to achieve show-quality erect ears, it’s generally discouraged today.

Improper taping can restrict blood flow, damage cartilage, and cause infections. If ear development concerns you, consult a veterinarian for personalized advice. They can assess your dog’s individual needs and recommend safe alternatives if necessary.

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Embracing Your GSD’s Unique Ears

Whether your German Shepherd has the perfect erect ears or a quirkier look with slightly floppy or larger ears, they are still a magnificent and loyal companion! Their unique personality and unwavering devotion far outweigh any cosmetic standard.


The journey of a German Shepherd’s ears is a fun part of their puppyhood. Understanding the stages and expectations makes you a more informed and in-tune owner. Now, sit back, enjoy the adorable ear flops, and celebrate the magnificent German Shepherd by your side!

The photo featured below the post headline is Credit: Kirill Gorshkov/istockphoto

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Frequently Asked Question

Does diet affect ear development?
No, a balanced diet doesn’t impact if or when ears stand.

Can exercises help ears stand up?
Chewing toys are great for jaw development, but they won’t directly impact ear development.

My GSD is older, and his ears just stood up. Is that normal?
While uncommon, it can sometimes happen in older dogs as their cartilage matures.

Can a German Shepherd’s ears stand up after 1 year?
While unlikely, it’s not impossible. Cartilage can sometimes take longer to fully strengthen.

Are floppy ears in a German Shepherd a sign of a health problem?
Not necessarily. Floppy ears can be a normal variation, especially in younger pups. However, if accompanied by signs of infection or discomfort, consult a vet.

Do German Shepherds with floppy ears make good working dogs?
Absolutely! Ear shape doesn’t dictate a dog’s working ability, temperament, or intelligence.

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My German Shepherd puppy has one floppy ear, what should I do?
Enjoy the cuteness! This is common during teething. If it remains floppy past 7 months, see a vet to rule out injury or structural issues.

What is the average age German Shepherd ears stand up?
Most GSDs will have fully erect ears between 4-7 months.

Can I predict when my German Shepherd puppy’s ears will stand up?
Genetics and teething timelines offer clues, but every puppy is different! Ear fluctuations are part of the fun.

Is there a way to make my German Shepherd’s ears pointier?
No. Ear shape is genetic. Embrace their unique features!

Do German Shepherds’ ears go down when they’re tired or relaxed?
Some might have a slight droop when completely relaxed, but they generally return to an upright position.