DDR German Shepherds come from Deutsches Demokratische Republik, or what was more commonly referred to as East Germany, post World War II. Generally speaking, DDR dogs are characterized by their strong, muscular body, heavy bone construction, and an enlarged head. DDR German Shepherds also have darker pigmentation than their West German counterparts and DDR dogs were bred to retain a greater capacity for work. In short, East Germany produced a dog of a different caliber than West Germany. As a natural consequence of the Cold War years, the two divisions had significant differences, as the East German Communist Party was responsible for German Shepherd pedigree, registration, and breeding. The East German Communist Party in turn made the German Shepherd dog part of its military complex, which demanded an advanced, highly skilled canine. DDR dogs were bred to exude power, athleticism and most importantly, far fewer cases of hip dysplasia, making it a prized breed and the embodiment of efficiency and strength. This is sometimes referred to as a “strong temperament.”
DDR breed wardens assessed every litter for proper dentition (the arrangement or condition of the teeth in a particular species), temperament, bone structure, ear set, coat quality, and overall appearance, resulting in the highest recognized standards in breeding. In fact, for every high standard West German dogs were held to, East German dogs were held to an even higher one. For example, West German dogs were tested over five-foot angled walls, while East German dogs were required to scale straight six-foot walls. West German dogs searched six blinds, while DDR dogs searched ten blinds. West German tracking tests included eight corners and angles, DDR tracking tests included 16. This resulted in DDR German Shepherds’ capability of enduring harsh weather conditions in addition to long, challenging patrols. As valued members of Grenzschutz Polizei (Border Police), DDR dogs were put to work, watchfully guarding all 850 miles of the East German border as well as the 100 mile-long Berlin wall. In this capacity, the DDR border patrol dogs served as sentries, tracking dogs, and attack dogs. Special units were deployed to track deserters over large expanses of countryside.
In 1989, German borders were opened and the demand for guard dogs dwindled. In a five month period, 50,000 guards founds themselves dismissed, as the remainder turned their attention to dismantling the borders. Sadly, many of the DDR dogs were sold, abandoned, or put down. As our name suggests, Elite DDR German Shepherd Puppies is dedicated to honoring and caring for these animals. Our staff is determined to preserving their history and legacy.