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I've run across references to the DDR German Shepherds and in my research I've heard they're a strain of the GSD originally bred by the East German military and police forces prior to Germany's reunification. From what I've heard they've got higher drive, tend to be towards the bulkier end of the breed according to the Riddlebrook German Shepherd's website:

The Breeding Criteria As Well As The Harshness Of Their Environment Shaped The Look Of The East German DDR Shepherd Into One Of Pure Intimidation. They Had Large Heads, Broad Shoulders, Deep Chests And Dark Coats. They Were Truly An Fearsome Looking Shepherd -- The DDR Shepherd Was A Sight To Behold.
What are some other differences between the DDR lines and American and Western German lines?
 

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They're not higher drive, in general. They tend to be medium prey drive, medium-high threshold, with natural guarding instincts.

If not bred with care and attention toward nerve strength and working ability, they can be nervous and oversensitive. They tend to have high pack drive and bond very strongly to their people.

Here's a good write up on their history:

History of the DDR German Shepherds
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I thought that since they were also bred for military/police service they'd have to have very high drive?

I assume this line is rarer than the Western European lines of the GSD?
 

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Everyone wants a black sable :)

All the cool kids are doing it!

By the way, the Wall fell in 1990 - there is no "DDR" anymore. Lines have been mixing for the last 20+ years. It's a marketing campaign more than anything these days!
 

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How did that kind of fad get started?

once everyone owned a black and tan there was no way to stand out in the crowd so the people wanted sables cos there were less of them in the public eye, once everyone had a sable it moved to dark sable then black then once the entire color spectrum was used up to stand out you had to have a bigger dog so when everyone got bigger dogs you had to have an oversize dog so the "evolution" to date is we are at oversize black sable/black dogs.

the ones that worked their dogs never cared about size, color or anything except does this dog work or does it not - but the majority who buy dogs and who the majority of breeders breed for know that the dog inside the dog is irrelevant so long as it is safe, easy to handle, friendly...dim-witted.

and there you have the entire history of the gsd.
 

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The majority of my gsd's have all had some percentages of DDR in them. I tend to like a 'mix', if the mix is right.

I believe it would very hard if not impossible to find pure ddr dogs now.

I don't go with the 'fads', I want sound temperament and good health above all else, I'd rather have an ugly dog who who possessed that, vs a nice looking dog who had none of it:)

Masi just 'happens' to be a dark sable, I"ve had black/tans, black/reds, bicolors, and now Masi:) None were about color.

I do miss having a male, will get another some day, can't predict color tho I am partial to those black dawgs:)
 

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Yes - the wall fell and the DDR is no more.....the type and the bloodlines used in the DDR are indeed preserved by some German breeders. They do not mix the WG sport lines - the Fero, Mink, Asko, Tom etc into their lines. There are still dogs who are "DDR" just like there are Czech dogs, there are show dogs, there are WGWL dogs....just because they have SV numbers now does not make them lose their "type" or origin. I get so tired of that argument.....they are a specific type and set of bloodlines.

If you are into horses - you can buy a Russian Arab, a Polish Arab, an Egyptian who has never seen the sands of the Sahara Desert....a foundation QH who has no infusion of TB blood and whose pedigree and breeding are very specific...a Sundance 500 appaloosa.....it is no different. It is a subtype of GSD whose lines are kept to a specific number of foundation lines. It is not hard to find "pure" DDR dogs, there are quite a few kennels in Germany breeding them....no they are not the typical extreme high prey ball crazy WL dogs, and they definitely have a different look - including, as mentioned - the much sought after dark/black sable color which in the WGWL has been diluted so badly...

Like Diane, I definitely like a mixture of DDR lines in with the Belgian/WG/Czech....my first Sch3 female, Kyra Frolich Haus was mostly DDR with some Belgian (which also went back to DDR) and I have two (hopefully soon 3!) generations coming down from her. I am considering a breeding to a male who is half DDR dog to fix type a bit stronger this summer with a very strong young female who also shows the DDR type in looks and character, while still having tons of prey/ball drive from her grandsire Ufo.

Lee
 

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Blackthorn and Wolfstraum summarize all you need to know about DDR lines.

It is still fairly easy to find pure DDR lines meaning a dog whose complete ancestry goes back to dogs behind the wall before 1989. Though there is really little point since you can mix West German working lines into them without losing what people value in DDR lines which is the big bone, dark coloring, and for those in the know - the balance. The best DDR dogs actually have Bernd Lierberg somewhere in the pedigree from "over the wall" matings done in the 60s. One of the DDR Siegerins was actually a Bernd daughter and was true to his type. As Blackthorn said it is just as easy to lose the balance in DDR dogs as it is in other lines, but since these lines have not been favored by the big schutzhund players they tend not to have the over the top, extreme, can not be capped drives that you may find in WGWL. Poor breeding practices for aesthetics can give you the nervy version. As in Czech dogs not all DDR lines were border patrol, there are even more DDR dogs that were owned by private breeders, in fact the better ones were as the military dogs were all but wiped out after the fall as the west germans did not think they were suitable.
 

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Something to add: Technically in a communist society there is no private property, so everything you own: house, car, stove, dog, etc. are owned by the people, ie, the state. So even though there were many non-government breeders in the DDR, the state could confiscate all dogs in times of war or whenever they wished. Thus, everyone had to adhere to strict breeding guidelines that recorded (does not necessarily mean accurate) quantitative data pertaining to health and temperament. Old time breeders in North America who used DDR lines after the fall will say that DDR lines tended to have better hips for example. I don't have the numbers to back that up, just anecdotal but because there was a system, it is plausible. Now we don't know if 20 years after that is still true.

Another anecdotal factor is that DDR (and former Czech Rep.) was a less wealthy society than the west so DDR lines tended to be more hardy, as survival of the fittest was more the case. Certainly, the DDR and Czech dogs I have had were all exceedingly healthy specimens with none of the health issues you so often find in this GSD forum. Healthwise they tended to do really well as outdoor dogs even in very cold climates.
 

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They're not higher drive, in general. They tend to be medium prey drive, medium-high threshold, with natural guarding instincts.

If not bred with care and attention toward nerve strength and working ability, they can be nervous and oversensitive. They tend to have high pack drive and bond very strongly to their people.

http://www.ddrlegends.com/nobleheritage.html
Wow Christine, This pretty much sums up my last litter. Half East, Half West.
 

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My youngest is DDR/Czech with a smidge of West German Working. He's not big, though. 25 inches at the shoulder and before he started getting sick he was right around 75lb. He has EPI, which goes to show there is no perfectly healthy line, but his hips and elbows ofa'ed good and he has the most rock-solid nerves and best balance of natural suspicion/protection/aloofness I've ever seen.

I wasn't looking for a big dog, a DDR dog, or necessarily a dark sable, though I did want a sable with good temperament and balanced drives. I got what I was looking for, minus the EPI but I wouldn't trade him.
 

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Everyone wants a black sable :)

All the cool kids are doing it!

By the way, the Wall fell in 1990 - there is no "DDR" anymore. Lines have been mixing for the last 20+ years. It's a marketing campaign more than anything these days!
There are a number of breeders who have maintained the bloodlines un-crossed to the German bloodlines. Whether or not it's been done to good effect is a matter of opinion, but a number of these breeders definitely exist.

As far as effectiveness--I imported a DDR bloodline female pregnant to a DDR male. Her puppies from that litter are living as family pets (with young children) and are working/competing in herding, rally/competitive AKC obedience, therapy dog working with a psychologist, and as a mobility support service dog. I did a bit of schutzhund with the girl I kept, too.
 

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DDR dogs are great! Good hips and elbows, big bones, great drive and protection! Tough dogs! If you know the history of the DDR GSDs they were used for night ops! Therefor the dark coloring. If its a "fad" why do you see so man "Black & Tan" dogs? Keep talking up you American dogs! If you want a dog with a pencil snout fragile bones and nerves like a **** , don't get a DDR!
 

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I guess you like DDR dogs?

Maybe do some more research because they are as prone to just as many health issues/behaviorial issues as any other line of dog.

Insulting other lines of dogs is unneccessary, a good dog is a good dog..

If you look this post is many months old.

I see this is your first post, maybe you should go to the INtro section and introduce yourself before you start knocking types of dogs others may love and own here.
 

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Looks like DDRDylan is mistaking people's experience and observations of DDRs as insults. I didn't see anything wrong with people's responses, in fact I found them to be very informative. It takes that magical light off them, and let's me seem them as just.. dogs! (which is what they are of course).

There seems to be this tendency to glorify breeds that has been involved in the military, and I guess DDRs are the next craze (along with Mals, coz ya know - they took down a certain someone in the Middle East)
 

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DDR dogs are great! Good hips and elbows, big bones, great drive and protection! Tough dogs! If you know the history of the DDR GSDs they were used for night ops! Therefor the dark coloring. If its a "fad" why do you see so man "Black & Tan" dogs? Keep talking up you American dogs! If you want a dog with a pencil snout fragile bones and nerves like a Frenchmen, don't get a DDR!

Do you have any examples of pure ddr dogs doing street patrol work (currently) ?
 
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