German shepherds are some of the best and most popular dog breeds in the world. The history of German shepherds dates back to the 1890s when they were used primarily as herding dogs while protecting sheep and cattle from predators.
German shepherd puppies won’t have their ears standing up straight till they are about 20 weeks old. This is an approximate of five months old and this could seem like a lot longer than usual.
Before this age, German shepherd’s cartilage isn’t strong enough and can’t support the weight of the ears. With proper nutrition and physical training, their ears can stand up early enough – provided they have developed stronger connective tissues.
Over the years, this breed has been widely accepted both as a pet and a working dog. In this article, we are going to look at some of the crucial things you should know about your German shepherd. If you’re keen about your German Shepherd dogs’ development, for example, and you want to know the average age when their ears should start going up, we’ve got you covered.
When Will My German Shepherd’s Ears Stand Up?
The body and tissue development of most German Shepherd dogs do take time. Depending on the quality of feeding, care, and genetics.
Some German Shepherd puppies will develop stronger bones and tissues faster. This means they will have the much-desired straight-up ears earlier than others. In certain cases, the process will take longer even for puppies from the same litter.
If your German Shepherd dog’s ears fail to stand up by the time they are 32 weeks old (eight months), chances are, they are going to take that permanent floppy form.
Every dog lover would like to see their four-legged friend in the best of shape, alertness and assuming a given body conformation. The fact that your dog’s ears should be pointing up isn’t only a desirable characteristic but also a statement piece that allows you to keenly monitor your dog’s response both to internal and external stimuli.
Don’t give up when your good-looking German shepherd fails to meet your expectations; maybe there is something you can do to help.
Tapping German Shepherd Ears
Many German Shepherd dog owners have taped their puppies’ ears with great success. There are different taping techniques in which you can help your dog develop straight up ears.
The goal is to achieve the best of results in the shortest time possible without risking physical injury on the ear canal. Below is a simple and widely used taping technique.
- Prepare ear foam by cutting and re-shaping it into a wedge-like shape so as to fit your dog’s ear. The narrow part will fit the bottom of the ear. You can also choose to buy commercial ear foam if you can’t find a good material to use.
- Slightly apply skin-adhesives onto the outside of the ear form. Allow the glue to be sticky but not dry.
- Apply the skin adhesive to the ears smoothly and gently to avoid irritating your puppy. To prevent the adhesives from dripping inside the ears, put a soft cotton ball where the ear canal starts.
- Wait for about a minute until the glue/adhesive becomes sticky. Now carefully place the foam into the ear and make sure it’s touching the base. The ear should stand comfortably without hurting the puppy’s cartilage whatsoever. The base shouldn’t flop and the outer surface of the ears should be smooth to touch- i.e, no wrinkles and folds.
- Hold the foam in place for about one minute and make sure it doesn’t stick out. Where necessary, pull the ear high then tape around it to form a cone shape. This should remain with your dog for about a week or two before removing it.
Is Taping German Shepherd Ears a Common Practice?
Taping your German Shepherd dog’s ears is one way of enhancing strong and erect cartilages. This practice is fairly common among the show line breeders who are keen about the physical appearance and keeping pure breeds for business.
Taping is often done after the teething stage. Here, you can accurately judge if your dog stands a chance to grow erect ears naturally. If not, this procedure should be done after the 20th week.
Is Taping Safe?
Whether or not taping is safe is a no brainer. The procedure is stress-free, simple and straightforward. By doing everything right, you are sure to complete taping in less than ten minutes and without hurting your dog.
As a good rule of thumb, always use the right skin adhesives and ear foam. Going for a strong ear foam with a soft feel will deliver faster results compared to a soft and fragile one.
Again, it’s advisable to use this ear-help technique with puppies and dogs below eight months of age. This is because older dogs will rarely develop straight-up ears even after taping. At this age, their cartilages and tissues have already matured.
If you’re not confident enough with your skills, it’s best to consult a vet or someone who knows better. Taping is safe and there’s nothing to worry about.
Why do German Shepherd’s Ears Remain Droopy?
There are a number of factors as to why your German Shepherd dog isn’t showing any signs of developing erect ears. Some of the reasons are beyond your control but many times, you’ll find a way to fix it.
Before making any conclusion, though, it’s important to wait till your puppy is done teething or at least beyond the 20th week age line. Here are some of the reasons why German Shepherd dog ears don’t stand up.
- Weak cartilages – More often, your German Shepherd dog won’t have the ears standing up because the ear cartilage joining the ear muscles has a weak structure. While this may sound like a big problem, it can be fixed in a number of ways. Taping is the first technique used by most breeders. Proper dieting with the introduction of appropriate supplements can also prove beneficial.
- Injury – If your dog’s ear is injured, especially at the base, it will remain floppy until it heals. If your dog isn’t attended to, this condition may worsen and end up affecting the ear posture in the long run. Dogs can pick ear injuries while playing or fighting. It’s, therefore, necessary to always watch out for injured parts before seeking instant solutions.
- Sickness – A sick German Shepherd dog can easily be spotted from it’s behavior, moods, and level of alertness. Droopy ears could be a sign of short illness. If your German Shepherd ears fail to recover with time, it’s time to consult a qualified vet. During such times, it’s important to feed your dog with a balanced diet so they can compensate for the lost nutrients and energy.
Why Does my German Shepherd Have Floppy Ears?
Not all the German shepherd dogs in the market are purebred and not all of them will exhibit the ideal characteristics of a German Shepherd dogs. It’s normal to feel a little disappointed when your dog fails to show the purebred characteristics, but before you can conclude anything, here are the probable reasons why certain German Shepherd dogs have floppy ears.
- Genetics – This is the key player that will determine nearly everything about your dog. By default, a German Shepherd dog should have erect ears but due to uncontrolled aspects such as mutation, recessive genes, and gene dominance; anything is possible. Adopting a purebred will certainly solve this problem but at times, the floppy ears gene is recessive only to show up in the later generations.
- Structure of the ears – Though this is a little bit rare, sometimes the shape and size of the ears determine whether it will stand up or remain floppy, especially after the teething period. Dogs with wider ears but weak cartilages would have problems erecting their ears. Those with narrow ears, on the other hand, will face little resistance. This is, however, not always true as it mostly depends on the dog and the cartilage strength.
Do German Shepherd Ears Stand Up Naturally?
German Shepherd dogs are known for their strong, agile and stockier build. They are the unsung heroes that keep us company while offering that extra sense of security. Having erect ears is more than necessary if they are to keep their well-guarded reputation.
Such ears are always ready to rotate in any given direction. They also play a critical role in giving this breed their state of brilliance along with the touch of nobility.
That said, not all German Shepherd dogs have straight up ears, and the factors at play here vary from one dog to another.
German Shepherd Ears Conclusion
If you’re looking forward to raising a typical German Shepherd dog with all the ideal physical characteristics; from appearance to temperament, the first consideration is to pick a purebred from a reputed breeder. Proper care and dieting are the other two factors that determine the health and wellbeing of your dog.
To be on the safer side, always watch your puppy grow and be keen on the signs he/she exhibits after the teething stage. German shepherds will always develop erect ears naturally, but if you feel that the process is getting hectic, consult a vet before going ahead to try the taping technique.