Pure DDR or 100% Bull**** ?
You may have seen people posting Pure or 100% DDR dogs or breedings throughout the years, I see it all time. As a researcher of all things DDR dog I look at every pedigree that I can find advertised as DDR. Throughout the last decade the number of misrepresentation of DDR dogs has grossly outnumbered any actual breedings of dogs that are of DDR trait, not pedigree, trait.
In order to understand what a DDR dog is we have to understand that it is not about geography. If that easy, then continually mating two dogs who’s great great grandparents were DDR registered, and poof we would have many of the best working dogs in the world flowing from the East line dogs of today, and thats not what we have. What in the name of corn on the cob has happened?
Perception happened, todays new reality lol.
The perception that if a dog is geographically pure, one flowing back through all East lines (dogs post 1989) then further back through all DDR registered (dogs prior to 1989) we must have a DDR dog. Thats adorable, but false.Without trait, one has squat. In order to have a DDR dog you must have the traits, period. That is the drivers seat, the passenger seat is the blood flowing through the dog for replication of DDR trait. Put either in the back seat and you have no DDR dog.
The DDR program overseen & administered by Werner Dalm was unlike anything thats been done anywhere with any other line. at any other time.
The true DDR concept and it was a concept, makes the true DDR dog of yesteryear, both trait and blood in that order.
No other line in the world at anytime was so focused and unified in direction. Every other line everywhere else in the world had different flavors built by different programs with decision of direction, mainly in the hands of the breeder. That means West like others could have a working shepherd and a show shepherd and all points in between.
To better bring the point above home, one could state that the West German dogs are the better sport dogs in the world. O f course one is inferring, west working line bred for sport.
One would not include in the inference the west show line or those that were bred for other goals. Many different goals and traits represent the West Line in entirety.
There were no other goals for the DDR besides the specific traits that made the DDR dog. Period. No replication of traits? No breeding, get rid of the dog.
There was no independent flavors, there was only the program. Traits, period.
That means that without trait, you can’t possibly have a DDR dog even with 113% DDR blood.
That also means you may have all DDR trait and 82% DDR Blood, a DDR Type Dog. Thats why trait is driving and blood is passengering..
Concept and blood, not geography.
I would like to be very clear that Im against and have always been against the mixing of the bloodline for the sake of mixing which has been a leading pattern with the early breeders post fall 1989. The single largest reason the lines are bottlenecking. When one mixes for the sake of mixing we have placed blood in the back seat. Continually move trait or blood to the back seat and we have problems. We can follow all of the problems that have been brought into the line right back and right to the problem makers, current and past.
The reality is there are no more DDR Registered dogs there is no program and no Werner Dalm the breed warden for the GDR. Breeding the same blood over and over without refreshment since the program no longer exists…. will always be a losing game and breeders know that, at least they should, yet still often cling to one false perception, 100% blood equals DDR. Why would anyone do that? Especially since 100% blood with little trait or no trait is no DDR.
In some cases the line is bottlenecking quickly in others still malleable. So the need for purity and perpetuation coexist. Sooner or later a limited supply is exhausted. The DDR line presents the cleanest paths to the original German Shepherds. The closed system and the breeding practices of that time period offers that window. Yet the line must have wider genetics, fresh blood in order to remain healthy.
So what would Werner and the administrators the source of all things DDR Dog do, if they were here to show us the way?
Hard to say and maybe a bit presumptions to speak on, but there are clues right in the face of anyone interested in refreshing the bloodline and retaining type and moving forward.
DDR line 11A holds the clues on what they might suggest as the proper direction for retaining type, refreshing blood genetics and moving forward the DDR dog concept. Indeed its what they did… factually.
They never stood still despite the lack of fresh blood in the walled off, super closed system. So if a program today is not moving the East line forward and just standing still, stuck in the mud or is attempting to replicate a look without type or the worst of the worst, creating their own concept without trait and marketing it as pure DDR…. well you might have found the 100% pure bull**** rather then DDR.
No DDR trait, 100% not DDR.
The needs and purpose for working shepherds of today has changed. No argument. The good news is the false narrative that the DDR breeders bred nasty for the police and military is not accurate or even close. Werner Dalm stated this himself the best dogs never went to police and military the best dogs stayed home. They didn’t bred for police, they bred the program. The program, was type. They didn’t bred for the military, they bred the program. The program, was type.
Concept and bloodline not geography.
The dogs didn’t breath fire and were not six feet tall. They were mostly to larger standard, but substantialy boned. Occasionally there were the larger powerful type dogs know as 65 dogs. The first two numbers of their kor. The type were able to work independitly of handler. They were excellent trackers.
They were excellent family members who could jump to work or crawl up with kids by the fire when no work was to be done. Medium balanced drives with an good uptick in defense, occasionally high drive dogs.
They had to protect and they had to engage with heart, civil should the fight be called on. Today this is exactly what is needed in the breed. Strong dogs with deep heart, and stable mind. The ability to go do a job without the handler directing every inch and moment, and get the job done. They were able due to structure to work longer and harder and with deeper health late in career.
So a well bred East German dog of DDR type won’t need to be watered down or mixed around to get something special, the old style has what we need right now and what we will need in the foreseeable future. Some of the dogs will be more suitable for very experienced handlers working a 10 hour shift in high stress careers and from the same litter some will be better suited for very active families with strong protection skills and many different points in between. Placement is key.
All in all, the placement is going to have to be smarter then the placed and East line are smart and that can be challenging today. People want a collie dressed as German Shepherd.
Breeders should breed the line as the old DDR breeders did as best one can, and not for the market.
The market be damned.