All Things Dog

Your German Shepherd’s Ears

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Anyone who remembers Rin Tin Tin, the canine hero of 1950’s television, recalls that famous German Shepherd’s regal silhouette — head erect, muscular body ready for action and, most notably, ears standing straight up. But as many shepherd owners learn, it can take a while for pups to acquire that signature pointy-eared look.

While the floppy ears of a playful pup are cute, you may wonder if your shepherd’s ears will ever stand up. If he is a mixed breed, you’ll have to wait and see.

If you’ve seen them up, they’ll stay up.

Most breeders and veterinarians will tell you that floppy ears are common while your German Shepherd is teething, which usually ends between 16 and 20 weeks. By then, the cartilage in the ear has become hard and strong enough for the ear to stand permanently.

During the teething months, you might notice the ears going up naturally for a day or two, or when your dog barks, gets excited, or hears a sudden noise. If you’ve seen the ears go up on their own for any amount of time during that first five months, you can be pretty sure that they will stand permanently when the teething period is over.

Keep an eye on his ears

If the ears of your German Shepherd are not erect after his fifth month, and this is the look you desire, you may want to contact your veterinarian or breeder. Between the 5th and 7th month the ear cartilage is still soft enough to encourage the ear into an upright position. By the 8th month, the ears will usually take on their adult form.

In the meantime, take a lot of pictures of your puppy’s comical expressions, and whether his ears wind up floppy or straight, enjoy the great dog that he is.

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