German Shepherd Ears

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

Everyone has their moments of concern over their new German Shepherds’ ears. The pup’s ears will go up and down and up, crisscross, flip backwards, and sometimes up and down again. Don’t worry about it. Enjoy it. Your puppy will never be cuter than this! Generally the larger the dog is going to be, the longer it takes for the ears to come up. Large males are usually the slowest. When the puppy is cutting his larger teeth the cartilage drains down and the ears fall. After they are done teething and adult teeth are in (around 7 months of age) the ears should come back up.
The German Shepherd breed was developed by breeding herding dogs with erect, partially erect, and dropeared dogs. Erect ears were preferred and was written into the breed standard, however, you cannot change the foundation of the breed. Once in a while a puppy from our lines will need to have their ears glued to stand. Probably 1 in every 50 puppies from our program have needed this. I have friends in the breed who breed different lines where EVERY puppy in their litters needs their ears glued. I prefer not to breed lines with this type of maintenance. But occasionally the need to glue does pop up. And thankfully, because of my friend who has so much experience, I know how to glue them properly 🙂
German Shepherd ears are made of cartilage that firms up as teething passes and the calcium supply used for teething goes back into the ears. More than genetics will affect your puppy’s ears going up properly. Excessively crating your puppy, letting your puppy swim and keeping their ears wet frequently, letting another puppy chew or play with them, an untreated ear infection (email us for ear infection treatment advice), and not feeding them a proper diet will slow down or even prevent them from standing.
Things that will help them stand? Adding a calcium to their diet while teething (we use cottage cheese and yogurt), adding a little unflavored knox gelatin in their diet (which contains cartilage), trimming some hair off the backs of the ears, and giving them large raw beef bones to chew on.
If by 5 months of age your German Shepherd’s ears have never gone up, even for a little while, or by 7 months of age if they are not almost firm, it is probably time to help them with other means.
What you will need:
* 1-2 inch plumbing pipe insulating foam
* Skin Bond Glue (Can 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 foam in ear, starting at the base and trace shape of ear from base to tip and all the way around with sharpie.

Cut to exact shape of ear, and thin out foam as much as possible with knife.

Put Skin Bond on inside of ear AND foam and let dry to barely tacky before attaching to inside of ear.

Firmly press in ear making sure ear is flat and there are NO FOLDS or creases in the back of the ear!!!!

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

Leave on as long for at least 10 days. Keep head DRY. Check daily for irritation. If before 10 days it starts to loosen, reapply glue where needed. Carefully take out after 10 days. Leave ears alone over night and check in morning. If they are still weak repeat the process again. Do not let the ears flop around more than 12 or so hours before re-gluing unless there is irritation.

I wish I had photos of ears we have had to glue, but it has been so long since I had to do it, and I never took pictures. If your German Shepherd has weak ears you are going to have to be consistent and stay on top of things if you want them to stand. A little effort now should give you a beautiful picture for years to come. If ears are not standing by 9 months of age the chances of having correct ears is slim. After 12 months of age they are slim to none.

German Shepherd Breeder, Kaykohl Land