DDR Dogs Show or Work? Resolved

There are no DDR Show Line Dogs

If you play in the DDR dog arena for any amount of time you understand the wall still exists. Even today to some degree that wall separates the “good” and the “not so good dogs”. The east from the west the show from the working albeit in perception. The message box on this page is always quite full and interesting, recently I got a message that re-fired up the great debate.

It stated the DDR lines coming down from line 5A were show lines.

That Don vom Rolandsteich is a show line dog Line 5A and all of the most known dogs from the former GDR were show dogs. Including the G litter Ritterberg. Golf and Grand the police dogs.

Well slap that mouth and feed me a biscuit, how is that possible? The former fire breathing, seven foot tall, wall warriors, who shot fire bolts out the arse. in fact both ends, dogs who ate rocks for breakfast… were in fact nothing more then show line dogs. LOL

So with that spoon of gasoline throw on the smoldering camp fire, the debate was reinvigorated. So lets stamp this fire out for once and for all. If not that, then I’m dumping a quart of gas on this subject and lets see if we can burn the forest down, to see a tree.

First a housekeeping matter, since I placed myself as counsel for the former DDR dog I would like to state I’m not bashing the show Line or the show line breeders. I’m arguing for the former working line dogs, that said…..

Show Line Dog

There is a very negative connotation to the words show line for many and most people, especially since the Crufts banana back fiasco.

Most EVERY inquiry message or phone conversation, to get one of my dogs includes the statement or similar “I don’t want the hump back, low back end hip problem type show dogs”

I’m not going to even unpack that sentence as that’s not the point to this article. But its very relevant as that is the perception! One cant argue with that.

To the meat and potatoes of the argument we go:

#1 DDR Dog Falkenbruch

Resolved above, the definition of show today and in the former GDR are so vastly different we can no longer use the term as it simply does not fit even fit even in the most remote resonance.

Conformation then was actually, working dogs FIRST and SECOND, dogs with excellent conformation. In that order.

The East Germans were still Germans lol and pretty anal, sticking very closely to standard size and following most every word from Max’s pen and mouth dotting the I’s and crossing all the T’s.

Despite the incorrect perception of the public at large. Including and especially, keeping the work in the working line.

One can not say that about today’s show line perception, in both standard and working ability. Not the same!

The line 5A coming down through V Don vom Rolandstieich and the few other current purveyors has many V dogs and VA dogs in that back line. This in and of itself is not a indication of show line breeding. In order to get that V the dog had to be a “working dog” to begin with. The dog had to have a “working” title.

VA1 Alf vom Nordfelsen

While this line was quite balanced between more relaxed and friendly dogs including softer dogs, the divide is very noticeable none the less with many very serious dogs on the other side.

Softer dogs in and of itself does don’t denote a show dog. Many dogs. in fact most in the former SDG program were not hard dogs. Sorry..

The kor’s are the factual evidence of that. The best rating system produced.

DDR V Markant aus Westsachsen

How many serious dogs are there in the show lines with serious working titles? Any? Probably not. Certainly not many!

When one wants a serious dog one looks for a serious kor rating. Protection work, police work, military work all would look for the 3/55 and 3/44 and the side ranges of those numbers. The dogs last three digits of the kor.

Examples of 5A dog descendants in the former GDR with more seriousness are Irko vom Konradshof a 3/55 dog 1968. Brummer vom Sonnentor a 3/44 dog 1964, Markant aus Westsachsen a 3/55 dog police 3 dog 1964, Rex vom Haus Iris a SCHH3 FH PSH3 police dog from 1984.

For me to place these dogs into today’s “SHOW” definition is great disservice to those working dogs. Again that’s the world’s macro perception whether we agree factually on subject or not!

Don vom Rolandstieich like most all of the former DDR dogs to land in the US were used by the many for show breedings. That in and of itself means SQUAT with regards to show vs work.

By most all accounts the old DDR dogs that landed here in the US and elsewhere where used in more show like programs and breedings. Not all, but many is certainly arguable.

That means this line has and can deliver excellent conformation that both working and OLD style conformation people can all ohh and ahh at.

V Rex vom Haus Iris  SCHH3 FH PSH3
V Rex vom Haus Iris  SCHH3 FH PSH3

INTENTION is key. Don line bred with intent for working trait helped produced dogs that would eat you if the need arose, but also looked visually appealing conformation wise while they did that. A huge plus, yes? Haha

Don produced some police dogs as well. One of the most knowledgeable people on the old DDR dogs in America John from vom Ostschutz kennel back massed on Don for the assist in production of some pretty serious dogs as well. I have dogs from the 5A father line through Yake, Lump, Mingo, Markant and back massed heavy on Don with and through David Nebolhotz as well they where relaxed and friendly but would fight to death if there’s a need. Strong fight and protection drive. Don’t challenge them! Is there a prominent number of these type dogs in the show field today?

Intention of the breeding directs the breeding for the most part. The direction of the East dogs was working ability, conformation and of course health.

Working class dogs have working class titles and many of the former DDR Sieger Siegrens had day jobs. With quite a few being working police dogs. Which “show” dogs in the last 10 years went work on the streets or protected a nation states wall border? None that I can think of.

A few police examples including their kick ass additional ‘working titles” are 1970 Sieger Bodo vom Winkel SchH.3 FH.3 PSH.3 show dog lol, 1976 Sieger Cäsar vom Rangental SchH.3 PSH.2 FH, 1977 Sieger Cliff vom Bleichfleck SchH.3 PSH.3 FH, 1979 Siegerin: Voxi von der Edelquelle PSH1, 1978 Siegerin: Mara von den zwei Steinen SCHH3 FH2 PSH2

I just cant smash the square working dog into the show line definition peg. If we start calling police dogs and superior protection dogs show line dogs because they could show, the whole thing gets screwy.

DDR Sieger 1971 & 1972, V Condor vom Marderpfahl 

Which bathroom do they use the Working dogs

or the Show line bathroom. lol.

Lord I apoligise…

We will never get back to making good working dogs if we don’t understand which lines can still pull the good working traits out. If we are telling people Don and Grand and Golf are show dogs and those people are applying show definition to that line and don’t investigate further or use the dogs or line for that matter….. Then… That’s a big fat disservice to getting work back into the East line. The 5A line can still pull out, very good working trait.

V Grand vom Ritterberg SCHH3 FH PSH1  

Working dogs that looked kick ass with great conformation sure, conformation was most important to some of those former breeders.

But the dogs had to WORK at least in sports and certainly at home. There simply was not many if any free loaders! The dogs had to pull there weight.

I’m not aware of a single organized and participated in events for German Shepherds that focused solely on beauty that didn’t require a working title to enter, at least on The East side of the wall. Work first health second (or vice versa) and pageantry third, by breeding law. Show me the papers lol. Working titles , ok check, Health cert ok check. Now you can participate in the beauty pageant.

Maybe there was a DDR Crufts type pageant, but I have not heard of them and I doubt they had many if any all. And certainly trying to get into a conformation show back then with a CGC or barn hunt type title would not have worked. Sorry working dogs only here.

The Eastline has been for a quite awhile a bit of laughing stock (in the macro) of the working line mainly due to the softening of the dogs by the intention of the majority who in America and Germany close to after the fall of the wall bred out much of the higher drive and seriousness. Also the dumbed down general public who purchased for color the amazing East German black sable from a real “show line” breeders post wall, and wondered why the darn thing wouldn’t couldn’t work.

That was NOT the goal of the conformation shows of yesteryear. A watered down non working dog that could not jump a curb let alone a 4 foot wall. Hold the anger but that is the perception of show line.

As mentioned above in order to get a V rating the dog must have a working title. What are working line dogs with working titles? Are they show line dogs? We are splitting hairs at the expense of the line by calling them show line. If we have to split the hair… let the bigger side fall to the benefit of our already weakened East line perception. Especially since its accurate and true working dogs!

The current perception description of the word show no longer and for some time now would be a correct descriptor of those dogs and the work they put in. As outlined here there is a grand canyon chasm that separates the perception show and working Shepherds. We need to be and ARE still on the working side even despite the working slip. Today more then ever choose from the East German working programs for working dogs.

Could go on for many pages on why the the verb showline “a single occurrence” a conformation title that a dog could not even get without first proving a working title, is an unfair broad scoping misrepresentation. “Working” dog an adjective for almost all DDR dogs of yesteryear. Grammar has never been my strong suit but hopefully you get my point!

Resolved: The DDR dogs were working dogs some participated in beauty shows, after showing working ability and health first! There were no show line dogs in the GDR. Many of the dogs had exceptional conformation and even conformation titles though!

JDean Gigante
Self appointed counsel
to the former GDR dogs. LOL

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