Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Why Do German Shepherds Tilt Their Heads? 6 Potential Reasons

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

German Shepherd 4 months old_Simone O_shutterstock

You can’t deny that German Shepherds are adorable with their enormous ears and cute gestures. It feels almost impossible not to melt when they do their infamous German Shepherd head tilt. Have you ever wondered why these dogs tilt their head? This isn’t something that can be answered in one paragraph.

According to the American Kennel Club, head tilting isn’t a behavior that is unique to the German Shepherd breed. However, we seem to notice it more frequently in this breed than in others. There are a few reasons why German Shepherds specifically tilt their heads when you’re talking to them.

divider 10

The 6 Potential Reasons Why German Shepherds Tilt Their Head

1. They Are Finding the Source of the Sound

Sound is the most common reason for head tilts in dogs. German Shepherds actually have a better sense of hearing than most other dog breeds. When they concentrate, they tilt their heads to scope out where exactly a specific sound is coming from so that they can hear it perfectly.

two german shepherd dogs in the woods
Image Credit: thraniwen, Pixabay

2. To Concentrate on What You’re Saying

German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs. Head tilting is also seen in other smart breeds like Retrievers and Labradors. When your dog is tilting its head, it’s a good sign that they are focusing on your words and trying to figure out what exactly you’re saying to them.

3. They are Communicating with You

We may not be able to communicate directly with dogs, but we do have a way of reading each other’s body language. Think of head tilting similar to how we gesture with our hands. German shepherds tilting their heads could mean many different things, but it is hard to tell exactly what they’re trying to say when they can’t use words.

german shepherd dog with his owner at the park
Image Credit: Happy monkey, Shutterstock

4. To See Better

This breed is known for its rather large snouts that sometimes block the view when looking from certain angles. Sometimes they tilt their heads just because they are trying to get a better view. They could also be trying to see their owner better. After all, you are their favorite person.

5. Ear Problems

While most reasons for head tilting, there are a few circumstances that might require you to take a closer look. Health tilting, while normally fine, is sometimes the sign of an ear infection or other types of ear problems. It can be especially challenging to distinguish between normal behavior and them trying to tell you that something is wrong.

If your dog is tilting their head at an abnormal rate, then it could be a sign of an ear infection. You should check the inside of their ears every week. Check for strange odors, weird colors, discharge, or any other things that seem abnormal.

german shepherd face
Image Credit: Katrina_S, Pixabay

6. Habits

Humans develop habits, and dogs do as well. Dogs may not even have a reason for tilting their heads. After they do it for so, it simply becomes a part of their everyday mannerisms. Similar to how you unconsciously smile or shake your head, dogs have the capability of doing the same.

Divider 5


The subtle head tilt of a German Shepherd is quite alluring. Their enormous ears and big brown eyes are enough to make your heart melt. Even though this is an expected behavior, you should always keep an eye on them and make a note of any weird behaviors that are accompanied by head tilting.

Featured Image Credit: Simone O, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database