History of the DDR Dog
East German(DDR) vs. West German Shepherd Bloodlines
The German shepherd was originally bred to be a working dog with handsome features. Bred to herd livestock the German shepherd had the drive and temperament to perform any task that the owner needed it to perform. Today the German shepherd breed is used in variety of jobs, protection, detection, herding, search and rescue, service dogs, guide dogs, and therapy dogs.
During World War II the breed really became divided into two separate categories.West Germany continued to breed the German shepherd, but focused more on the appearance of the breed more than work ethic. The West German shepherds are the most popular and have a more sloped body than the East German shepherd, but not as much slope as the American German shepherds. The most common colors are black and red, but they also come in colors of black and tan, sable, bi-colors and black. This is where todays show dogs came from.
East Germany DDR (Deutshe Demokratishe Republik), also known as Czech Republic, used the dogs more for working during the time of the war, and they were bred to be more aggressive. They focused on the breeds temperament and drive. They tend to have dark pigmentation, a large blocky head, big bone structure and a lean build. The most common colors for the working lines are sables, but they also come in black and red, black and tan, and bi-colors, as well as solid black. Their backs do not slope like the American show lines of German shepherd, but have a straight appearance. Consequently only the best of the best would be suitable for their new duties. Strong bones were needed for the great distances of walking they would endure, exposure to the most ruthless of harsh elements also played a part in the development of structure. Thus they were very athletic with straight lines and a large intimidating look with large heads, broad shoulders and large chests. Other breeding criteria that differed from West Germany was the DDR dogs could only be bred if they were completely free of HD. Dogs that had "fast normal hips" or lesser could not be bred. Dam?s had to appear with her whole litter for an inspection of teeth, ear set, temperament, coat, total overall appearance and males naturally had to have both testicles descended by I year of age. Major differences in the working abilities skills tests included a straight wall of 1.5 meters and 1.8 meters instead of the inclined wall now used. They also had to go walk a balance beam, 10 blinds to search instead of 6, the tracking tests include more corners and angles; the FH 3 contained 16! This is where today?s working German shepherd came from. The average person would not be able to tell the difference, except for the variations of colors and markings, but a true German shepherd breed connoisseur can tell a major difference. There are only a handful of DDR breeders left in the world today. It would be a shame to see this incredible breed of the working German Shepherd Dogs disappear. With the closed breeding, it has given us the opportunity to preserve the DDR GSDs in it?s most closest form to the standards set forth by the GSD founding father; with their natural defense drive, tracking abilities, temperament and structures, but their great courage, loyalty, working abilities, and devotion to their owner or handler survive throughout their lineage.
Most DDR Shepherds were used by the Grenztruppen (Border Guards)