German shepherd ears

We are not veterinarians, nor do we pretend to be. This is just our experience and what works for us.

Everyone has their moments of worry about the ears of their new German Shepherds. The puppy’s ears will go up and down and up, crisscrossing, turning back, and sometimes going up and down again. Do not worry about that. Enjoy it. Your puppy will never be cuter than this! Generally, the larger the dog is going to be, the longer it takes for their ears to stand up. Large males are usually the slowest. When the puppy is cutting its largest teeth, the cartilage drains and the ears drop. Once teething and permanent teeth are over (around 7 months of age), the ears should be raised again.


The German Shepherd breed was developed by breeding herding dogs with erect, partially erect, and droopy dogs. Erect ears were preferred and were written in the breed standard, however the breed base cannot be changed. Every now and then a puppy from our lines will need to have his ears taped to stand up. Probably 1 in 50 puppies in our program needed it. I have friends in the breed who breed different lines where EVERY puppy in their litter needs their ears taped. I prefer not to breed lines with this type of maintenance. But from time to time the need to paste arises. And luckily, thanks to my friend who has so much experience, I know how to paste them correctly 🙂


German Shepherd ears are made of cartilage that firms up as teething passes and the supply of calcium used for teething returns to the ears. More than genetics, it will affect how your puppy’s ears stand up correctly. Over-packing your puppy, letting your puppy swim and keep his ears wet frequently, letting another puppy chew or play with them, an untreated ear infection (email us for tips on treating ear infections). ear) and not feeding them a proper diet will slow down or even prevent them from standing up.


Things that will help them stand up? Adding calcium to their diet while teething (we used cottage cheese and yogurt), adding some unflavored knox gelatin to their diet (which contains cartilage), trimming some hair from the back of their ears and giving them big beef bones raw to chew.


If at 5 months of age your German Shepherd’s ears have never perked up, not even for a while, or at 7 months of age if they are not nearly firm, it is probably time to help him with other means.


What you will need:

* 1-2 inch plumbing pipe insulating foam

* Skin Bond Glue (can be ordered from a pharmacy, made for human use and the ONLY type of glue we would recommend)

* Sharpie marker

* Exacto-Knife (or utility knife)

Place the foam on the ear, starting at the base and trace the shape of the ear from the base to the tip and all the way around with a marker.

Cut to the exact shape of the ear and thin the foam as much as possible with a knife.

Place Skin Bond on the inside of the ear AND the foam and allow to dry until just tacky before adhering to the inside of the ear.

Press firmly into the ear making sure the ear is flat and there are NO FOLDING or wrinkles at the back of the ear.

Keep the dog still for a couple of minutes while the glue sets. Try to avoid scratching or shaking your head as much as possible.

Leave on for at least 10 days. Keep your head DRY. Check irritation daily. If before 10 days it begins to loosen, reapply glue where necessary. Remove carefully after 10 days. Leave the ears alone overnight and check in the morning. If they are still weak, repeat the process again. Do not let the ears sag for more than 12 hours before re-gluing, unless there is irritation.

I wish I had pictures of ears that we had to paste, but it has been so long since I had to paste and I never took photos. If your German Shepherd has weak ears, you will need to be consistent and on top of things if you want them to stay on their feet. A little effort now should give you a beautiful image for years to come. If the ears are not resting by 9 months of age, the chances of having the correct ears are slim. After 12 months of age, they are almost nil.

German Shepherd Breeder, Kaykohl Land

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