East German shepherds, a variation of the German shepherd, were bred in East Germany during the separation of the country from 1945 to 1990. The dogs are distinctive in body type, range of color and general temperament.
While East and West German shepherds are very similar in appearance, professional breeders can generally tell the difference. East German shepherds tend to have more of a sloped body, larger heads, leaner builds and darker pigmentation.
German shepherds bred in the West during the country's separation are generally believed to have been bred more for appearance and for performing in shows than for temperament. On the other hand, those bred in the communist East during that time were bred more for work ethic and ability to understand commands than for appearance. West German shepherds generally have a more pleasing appearance, but East German shepherds are more likely to keep trying to complete a task given to them even when they are confused about the details.
East German breeds are sometimes called DDR, short for Deutsche Demokratische Republik, the formal name of East Germany. German shepherds from Czechoslovakia tend to be very similar to the DDR breeds, as the two countries worked together and interbred their dogs during that time.