When getting a German Shepherd puppy, you may wonder if or when their ears will begin to perk up like the adult dogs you see in public. Normally, German Shepherd ears will stand up by the fourth to the fifth month of their lives as long as you give them the love and care they need.
Many German Shepherd owners are concerned with if their dog’s ears stand up straight. Keep reading to learn what you want to know!
The History of German Shepherds
The origin of German Shepherds can be traced back to the early 1800s in Germany.
Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz, a cavalry officer, admired some German dogs he saw herding sheep in the nearby fields and decided to breed them.
He brought one of his dogs to a dog show, where the breed earned high marks and others took great interest in it.
German Shepherds were bred and sold for their beauty and ability frequently in the region, eventually leading to the development of the first German Shepherd club in history.
The dogs registered in this club became the first official members of the German Shepherd breed.
These German Shepherd dogs became readily accepted by the American Kennel Club in the early 1900s.
How to Choose a German Shepherd Puppy
Getting a German Shepherd puppy is an exciting event! Puppies are cute, playful, and full of lots of love to give you and your family.
Before taking that adorable GSD puppy home, make sure you know what to look for to find a happy and healthy pup for your family.
What German Shepherd Puppies Look Like
German Shepherd puppies should have a double coat, which is thick and fluffy when young. They will likely have longer fur and the fur will be a mix of tan and black.
Often, they will have rounded bellies from drinking milk and their ears are floppy in the first few weeks of life.
After a few weeks to months, German Shepherd puppies should have healthy erect ears that are traditional to the German Shepherd breed.
What to Look for When Buying a German Shepherd Puppy
The first thing you should look for in German Shepherd puppies is signs of health.
They should be of a healthy weight and free of any fleas, ticks, or other infections before being chosen to take home.
German Shepherd pups should also be dewormed and weaned off of their mother ideally after eight weeks of age to give your pup the nutrients he or she needs to grow and thrive.
Large Litter Pups Can Be Better Behaved
Dog owners may also want to find a German Shepherd pup that came from a large litter.
Puppies from large litters are typically better behaved than puppies born individually as they learn social cues from their littermates early in development.
A German Shepherd puppy should be unafraid, curious, and even outgoing. A timid German Shepherd may be a sign of abuse or poor temperament, which may lead to training issues.
You may also want to make sure its coat is of a breed-standard pattern and color.
If you plan on showing your German Shepherd in competitions, note that white is considered a disqualifiable color in the German Shepherd breed.
How Much Does a German Shepherd Puppy Cost?
The cost of German Shepherd puppies varies greatly by where you find them.
You can find some German Shepherd puppies for minimal adoption fees at German Shepherd rescues or shelters. This may be only $50 to $100.
If you are looking for a purebred German Shepherd puppy be prepared to spend between $1000 and $3000 dollars or more.
A high-quality, AKC-registered puppy can be very expensive. It all depends on your wants and needs regarding the background and status of your German Shepherd puppy.
Rare German Shepherds
Black German Shepherds are a rarer color variation than standard German Shepherds.
As a result, black German Shepherd puppies will cost more than standard color patterns.
Where to Find a German Shepherd Puppy
German Shepherd puppies can be found in a variety of places.
Most commonly, you can find German Shepherd breeders on the American Kennel Club website who breed and sell standard and rare coat German Shepherds that are already AKC registered.
Some breeders also sell puppies that are not AKC registered, often for cheaper prices if you are not looking to enter dog shows or breed pups of your own.
German Shepherd Rescue
Beyond breeders, German Shepherd puppies can also be found at animal shelters and GSD rescues throughout the country.
These puppies won’t be AKC registered, but will often be neutered and provided with any initial vaccines necessary to keep your puppy happy and healthy.
They are also cheaper than registered purebred puppies which is an excellent choice if you’re just looking for a personal furry friend.
German Shepherd Puppy Ears Stages
German Shepherd puppies will usually have their ears stand up naturally by the time they reach four to five months of age.
This is usually the time during which the ears are still developing and the ear cartilage is hardening in place to form their ear shape.
Puppies that still have floppy ears after five months of age may need to have their ears posted (a tape method to harden the dog’s ears in place against a sturdy surface). Talk to your vet first.
The Teething Stage
Usually, your GSD puppy should have large pointy ears by the time they have finished the teething phase of puppyhood.
While teething, your German Shepherd puppy’s ears may flop more as their constant chewing tires their jaw and neck muscles.
Because these muscles are so close to their ears any muscle strengthening that occurs may give them the strength their ears need to fully perk up once the teething process is finished.
You may also help them strengthen these muscles by giving them lots of chew toys before and after teething.
The more they chew, the stronger these muscles get in the long run. One day your dog’s ears will be floppy, and the next perfectly perked!
Problems with German Shepherd Puppy Ears
German Shepherd puppy ears may not be developing as upright ears for a number of common reasons. If that reason is their genetics, there isn’t much you can do to solve the problem.
However, other reasons such as trauma to the ear may be fixed with treatment from your vet.
To prevent this, make sure your young puppy isn’t engaging in any rough play while their ears are still developing.
If your puppy is not dewormed properly or has another intestinal parasite, this can also prevent its ears from standing up.
Because parasites take away important nutrients from your puppy, they may not get the nutrients needed to develop and harden their ears.
You may want to give your puppy extra calcium or supplements while recovering from infection to help their ears continue to develop.
Common Health Conditions for German Shepherds
As previously mentioned, parasites are a common reason your GSD puppy’s ears may remain floppy and not develop properly.
Ear Diseases to Watch For
Ear mites can also cause issues with your German Shepherd puppy’s ears as they may cause infection or cause your dog to bend and scratch at their ears while they are still weak.
Any accidental injury from excessive scratching may cause permanent damage and long-term issues for the development of your puppy’s ears.
German Shepherd Mixes
If your German Shepherd puppy is not purebred, its ears may never become perky and stand up.
Depending on the breed your pup is mixed with, they may not have the correct genetics to develop strong, hard, perky ears.
If that is the case, embrace your German Shepherd’s floppy ears and be sure to care for them well.
How To Train a German Shepherd Puppy at Home
Bonus Section! Since this article is about German Shepherd puppies we feel it is a good place to touch on how to train them.
Because German Shepherds are large breed dogs, it is important that puppies receive training early and often.
This will prevent your German Shepherd from becoming aggressive or wild as he ages and grows larger.
Training necessary for your German Shepherd puppy includes crate training, food training, and obedience training.
Some pups may need training beyond these depending on your dog’s purpose.
What is Crate Training?
German Shepherd puppies need to learn how to enter their cage and rest without becoming anxious about being locked in.
When introduced to their cage slowly and over time, GSD puppies will often begin to see their cage as a safe place rather than a prison.
You should put your German Shepherd puppy in its cage for a few minutes a day and then increase the time to a few hours.
This gradual approach will allow your pup to become comfortable being in its crate for long periods of time (such as overnight).
Crate training also makes sure your dog won’t panic if they ever need to be crated in an emergency situation like a vet trip, evacuation, or travel.
If you are struggling to crate train your German Shepherd puppy, talk to your vet about potential options to help your puppy warm up to being crated.
Remember that your puppy’s cage needs to be large enough for them to stand up and easily turn around without struggling.
Food training is important in breeds like German Shepherds as they are more prone to become territorial and aggressive than other dog breeds.
Sit with your puppy while they eat and pet them gently to show them you are not a danger to their food.
You may also want to gently stir their food as they eat so they get used to you being in their space. Always make sure your puppy has high-quality food so they grow and develop properly.
Low-quality food can lead to poor nutrition or malnutrition, choking, and even a refusal to eat. Talk to your vet if you have questions about the best food available for your German Shepherd puppy.
Training German Shepherd Puppies to Get Along with Other Pets
If you already have other pets, you will want to introduce your German Sheperd puppy to your crew slowly and carefully.
Start by putting your puppy in another room and allowing your pets to sniff each other through the bottom of the door.
You may also want to swap their bedding each day so they get used to smelling each other.
After a few days of this gentle introduction, bring your pets together and supervise them, preferably with one person handling each pet.
Let them sniff each other before giving them some time to separate. Increase the time they spend with one another until they are perfectly comfortable in each other’s presence.
Obedience training is the most basic training you can provide your new German Shepherd puppy.
Your puppy will need basic obedience training to learn tricks such as sitting and staying, as well as unlearning problematic behaviors such as jumping, barking, and biting.
This training is essential if you have young children, roommates, or other pets.
House Training a German Shepherd Puppy
House training is arguably the other most important training besides obedience training, as it trains your dog to do its business outside and not on your carpet!
You may want to use scented puppy pads to train your pup about where to go potty before eventually venturing out into the yard.
Keep your dog on a regular schedule so his body gets used to knowing when to go and when not to go!
Training Your German Shepherd on How to Protect You and Your Family
If your German Shepherd puppy was taken home to be a protector, you might want to take them to training specifically designed for guard dogs.
Protection dog training ranges in price but is often available via private trainers in many areas.
This training will ensure your dog knows how to react in the event an intruder were to break into your home or otherwise try to attack you in person.
Does Vitamin C help a dog’s ears stand up?
Some suggest that vitamin C, calcium supplements, or even feeding them cottage cheese can help build cartilage in a dog’s ears and thus contribute to their ears standing up straight.
I could not find any scientific studies showing any validity to these types of claims.
Always consult your vet before giving your German Shepherd any vitamins, supplements, or human food.
Does buying from a reputable breeder guarantee my GSD puppy ears will stand up?
The odds of a purebred German Shepherd’s ear standing up should be higher than a non-purebred. Ask the breeders you are considering this question.
Are there any tricks or secrets for making a German Shepherd’s ears stand up?
The internet is full of claims on how to make a dog’s ears stand up. We do not endorse or suggest you follow any of these methods.
Please also consult your veterinarian. Ask them lots of questions and for guidance as that is the best way to make sure you have a dog with healthy perky ears.
If my GSD puppy’s ears don’t stand up on their own, can I get them cropped?
While you can sometimes get your puppy’s ears cropped or posted, it is important to speak to your vet about that decision before you take action.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has spoken out against ear cropping since the 1990s as it can impact a dog’s ability to hear and even communicate with other dogs.
It is currently illegal in the UK, Australia, and some European countries, but is still available in the United States although it is not recommended anymore.
How long do German Shepherds live?
German Shepherds typically live between 10 and 13 years of age. On average, female German Shepherds live approximately one more year than male German Shepherds.
This may be due to their smaller size and less aggressive nature compared to males of the same breed.
What are a German Shepherd’s favorite toys?
German Shepherds love to chew toys such as bones and Kongs. They also enjoy interactive toys such as tug-o-rope and tennis balls to chase and play fetch.
Are German Shepherds good with kids?
If given the proper training early on, German Shepherds make excellent family dogs. Their loyal nature will make them protective of your children quite quickly.
They will also enjoy playing with your kids as they are a high-energy breed and love to run, jump, and play.
Are German Shepherds good with other animals?
As with children, German Shepherds with proper care and training can get along perfectly with other pets including cats and dogs.
It is a good idea to introduce them slowly and gently to get them used to each other before setting them free in each other’s company.
Also, make sure your pets each have a place to get away if they don’t feel like playing at any given time.
German Shepherds Make Excellent Family Pets
Though German Shepherd puppies are a lot of responsibility, they’re certainly one of the most intelligent and beautiful household pets.
Make sure that your German Shepherd’s ears are developing properly as they grow by providing them with high-quality food and giving them extra calcium during teething.
If you take care of your furry friend properly, they’ll have perky, beautiful ears in no time.
German Shepherd owners know that even if your German Shepherd dog ends up with droopy ears that don’t stand up they are still wonderful animals and should be loved unconditionally.