DDR German Shepherds

photo by kleinenhain

DDR German shepherds, also known as East German shepherds, has always been a valuable dog since the World Wars. They worked mainly for the military at that time. DDR German shepherds are intelligent, loyal, and hardworking, making them the favorite of the police force.

DDR dogs were one of the most carefully bred dogs in the line of German shepherds. It’s no surprise considering their diverse background as working dogs. But time can be a bit harsh. Over the years, these dogs became unknown to many. This might even be the first time you’re hearing of DDR dogs.

This article offers everything a beginner needs to know about DDR German shepherds that will answer some of the most asked questions of dog lovers.

Where Does the DDR Come From?

The East German German shepherd breed started its reign in the dog kingdom in Germany in 1949.

  • World Wars: These DDR German shepherd were used to help with World Wars for the military force.
    They were popular to the people of the country because the military sought after their help during the World Wars involving Germany. Despite that, they weren’t as popular as how they’d be years later.
  • Cold War: After the World Wars came another unforgettable event, the Cold War. This was when the country was divided into two: East Germany and West Germany. DDR dogs are particularly used in the operations of East Germany. This is when their popularity reached its peak.
    East Germany is also best known by the natives as Deutsche Demokratische Republik. This is where the acronym DDR from the name of the DDR German shepherd breed came from.
  • Start of Depopulation: However, the reign of pure DDR German shepherds ended after 40 years. This is because East Germany and West Germany only lasted from 1949 to 1990. Now, the country is one nation.

Since then, there have been fewer DDR German shepherds around the world. Perhaps the most viable reason is that there are dogs more suited to families that replaced them.

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Are There Still DDR German Shepherds Now?

As previously said, it was 1990 when Germany became one nation again. This event led to the demobilization of many soldiers from their duty on the battlefield.

The same goes for East German shepherds, which were mainly used for the military force. But this doesn’t stop breeders from continuing the bloodline.

Despite the dissolution of the DDR German shepherd’s birthplace, East Germany, you can still see East German shepherds, although much less likely than before.

However, some DDR German shepherd breeders this only made it possible by breeding DDR dogs with another breed.

That’s why they are rare, but even more so with pure DDR German shepherds. These rare ones also have more remarkable athletic potential than those with german shepherd mixed breeds, as to be expected from a pure military dog.

Although the mixed breeds of East German shepherd are used for different purposes, most of the purebred DDR German shepherds are used for their original purpose, as protection dogs.

DDR GSD as Protection Dogs

Since the unification of Germany in 1990, DDR German shepherds became rare for many reasons. These reasons include being:

  • Put down,
  • Abandoned, and
  • Sold.

Fortunately, some of them were sold as protection dogs, and for a high price to boot. As a result, there was an increase in DDR German shepherd breeders that continued breeding East German shepherds the old-fashioned way.

So if there are those who want to continue the bloodline, there are also breeders that want to profit from these rare protection dogs.

With that said, DDR dogs are still the protective dog they were during the World Wars, with the suitable temperament and appearance:

  • They are naturally a protective dog, loyal to its master and anyone within their owner’s house. 
  • Being a protection dog in the past, East German shepherds are likely to be wary of any threat they recognize
  • They are also bred to be stronger than most, with heads larger than that of a standard GSD and more muscular build.
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These characteristics tell us that it would be most suitable to consider DDR GSD as protection dogs.

However, the need for such a specialized dog is not as prevalent today. Families tend to prefer dogs that are loving and gentle. Rather, DDR German shepherds are more popular to those looking forward to Schutzhund training.

The Long-Lasting DDR vs Czech German Shepherd Fight

Due to being of the same birthplace, DDR and Czech German shepherds were always compared. Fortunately, DDR German shepherds possess an ability that Czech German shepherds does not have.

Schutzhund refers to “protection dog”. it’s mainly a sport that demonstrates the capabilities of a certain breed.

Since DDR dogs are known for their background with being a police dog, they excel in such an activity. Czech German shepherds, on the other hand, do not possess a history like that.

There are other differences between the two besides their compatibility with Schutzhund training.

  • Date of Origins: The origins of DDR German shepherds dates back from 1949 to 1990 when East Germany still existed.

Czech German shepherds were bred after this event, and they are still being bred normally even now.

  • Birthplace: DDR German shepherds can be called East German German Shepherds, while Czech German shepherds are only from the East OF Germany.
  • Appearance: DDR dogs tend to have a darker coat color than Czech German shepherds.

It’s also worth noting that DDR German shepherds excel in terms of health.

Health Conditions of East German Shepherds

DDR German shepherds were bred as a police dog. Therefore, they were designed to withstand common health issues.

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This helps them fight against many health problems, including the most common issue with German shepherds, hip dysplasia.

This, however, does not mean that East German shepherds are completely immune to such a disorder. They simply have fewer chances of developing this health problem than most dogs.

However, there are cases where mixed breed DDR German shepherds may inherit some traits from the other breed, including the genes for hip dysplasia.

That’s why it’s important to only get DDR dogs from a respected breeder.

Looking for DDR German Shepherds

Long story short, DDR German shepherds are unique and unless they start getting repopulated all over the world, they will always be special.

Such quality breeding material is not easy to purchase. They are often directly bred by those in the police force, so most of the time they aren’t for sale.

There is also a chance that DDR German shepherds will be unaffordable to most.

But that’s not to say you can’t buy one. It’s just that your best bet is to simply get a mixed breed with one parent being a DDR German shepherd.

Final Thoughts on DDR German Shepherds

DDR German shepherds are not your ordinary German shepherd. They are special, in more ways than one.

They’ve done their duty to their own nation, people just need to go back to where these dogs came from. They are strong, alert, and their immunity to health issues is top-notch. Other mixed breeds may have replaced them, but they will always be unique.

But sometimes, dogs need some time off from work. They’re not bred only for police work. They can also serve as great family dogs. Hopefully, there will come a time when they’ll finally be rewarded with what they deserve.

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