East German/DDR German Shepherd: 8 Most Important Facts



We have already discussed the types and lines of the German Shepherd in the TheDailyShep.com article Ultimate Guide To German Shepherd Dogs and Puppies.

In this article, we have brought you all the essential and most important information about one of those lines – the East German/DDR German Shepherd!


East German/DDR German Shepherd: 8 Most Important Facts

The Alsatian/German Shepherd is its own breed of dog, with different lines of GSDs (German Shepherd Dog) that have been bred for different purposes, and each have their own unique appearance, characteristics, traits and temperaments.


1) East German/DDR German Shepherd Bloodlines

All current lines of German Shepherds were bred from the first officially registered German Shepherd – Horand von Grafrath.

A German man named Max von Stephanitz saw Horand at a dog show and thought he possessed all the desirable features to become the ‘ideal working dog’, and in particular as a herding type breed of dog.

Horand was used as the stud for the first ever German Shepherd breeding program in Germany and the world, and from there he fathered many sons and daughters.

From this original Alsatian DNA, the lines of Alsatians were developed by different breeders in different parts of the world – starting in Germany/Europe, and branching out the US and Canada primarily. 

There are two types of lines of GSD (German Shepherd Dog) – working and show lines.

Show lines were mainly bred for their appearance, whilst working lines were bred specifically to have a good working ability in different fields and areas including but not limited to agility, tracking, military, police, protection, patrol, rescue, therapy, entertainment and much more!

The 5 types and lines of purebred or full breed German Shepherds are:

There are then Mixed Line GSDs (a mix of the above German Shepherd lines), and Mix Breed or Hybrid GSDs (Alsatian mixed with other breeds of dogs like Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Boxers for example).


2) East German/DDR German Shepherd History

We now know where the East German/DDR German Shepherd main bloodlines come from. But, when, where, why and how did the East German/DDR German Shepherd lines come about from the main bloodlines? Who originally bred them, and what happened?

East German/DDR Alsatians were originally bred in East Germany, when the area was separated from West Germany by the Berlin Wall, after World War II (1949 to 1990). West German Working and Show Line German Shepherd were bred in West German on the other side of the Wall at the same time.

The term DDR comes from the official name of East Germany during this time, the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR). West Germany’s official name was the Federal Republic of Germany.

DDR German Shepherds bred specifically for working i.e. there is no Show Line of East German/DDR German Shepherds, only working line. They were bred for protection and military services for the East German army – guarding, patrol, tracking and attack.

Because breeding was so well isolated to East Germany, the standards and discipline of the breeding programs for this line were kept extremely high – in particular the health, temperament and working pedigree standards. 

Only dogs free of hip dysplasia were bred together, so they had very few joint problems and other health issues that the German Shepherd breed suffered from as a whole.


3) East German/DDR German Shepherd Temperament

East German Alsatians display high intensity, high energy and are generally not suitable as a family dog (although some current day DDR GSDs have a softened temperament through cross breeding and are capable of living amongst families).

They can be aloof (stand-offish), defensive and have demanding exercise and training requirements.

These dogs had to possess many of the qualities human soldiers do in order to thrive in their working roles – they had to have endurance, iron will and focus, courage and high intelligence.


4) East German/DDR German Shepherd Physical Appearance and Traits

The DDR German Shepherd physical appearance and makeup is that of a strong boned and muscled dog, broad shoulders, straighter back than some other lines, powerful legs and jaws, and larger heads like the Czech German Shepherd. They don’t look bulky, but more so athletic.

Their athleticism is superior in the dog world – very agile/quick and strong, with great leaping power and excellent stamina. They have the ability to scale 6-8 feet walls with ease, and have measured a bite force of 238 pounds of pressure. For comparison sake, humans measured in at 120 pounds of bite pressure.

They are particularly well suited to the German Shepherd sport of Schutzhund, which focuses on tracking, obedience and protection work. They are also great for agility, dock diving, jumping events and really any specialised or athletic form of dog sports.

The East German/DDR German Shepherd is only slightly lighter than the Czech German Shepherd, which is the closest line of Alsatian in terms of origin, and physical and mental similarity. 


5) East German/DDR German Shepherd Coat Colors

The East German/DDR German Shepherd is the darkest colored coat of all lines of German Shepherds. They are predominantly solid black or majority black, with patches or smears of tan across the fur, mainly on the legs and sometimes in the face and shoulders.

A striking feature of this line of GSD is their primarily black face which looks like they’ve buried their face in a bucket of coal or ashes.


6) East German/DDR German Shepherd Puppies For Sale & East German/DDR German Shepherd Breeders

TheDailyShep.com wrote an article about how and where to find the best and most reputable German Shepherd Puppy breeders in the US – German Shepherd Breeders: Find Best Breeders Near You.

These places include East German/DDR German Shepherd puppies for sale and East German/DDR German Shepherd Breeders – you can even ask regular GSD breeders to put you in touch with a East German/DDR German Shepherd breeder near you.

We also wrote another article on the things to look for when you buy a German Shepherd Puppy – Raising German Shepherd Puppies: Buying To Owning.


7) East German/DDR German Shepherd Kennels, Adoption and Rescues

The Daily Shep wrote about where to find the best kennels, adoption and rescue centres, and rehoming organisations in the US for German Shepherds:

German Shepherd Rescue and Adoption List (US): Find A Rescue Near You

You may have to ask a few questions and do a bit of your own further investigation to find the East German/DDR German Shepherd you are looking for when dealing with rescues and adopting.


8) Pictures and Images of East German/DDR German Shepherd Dogs and Puppies

Pictures and Images of East German/DDR German Shepherd Dogs

Pictures and Images of East German/DDR German Shepherd Puppies

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