DDR dogs tend to be handler sensitive and do not do well with the rather abusive tactics used by many "sport" handlers to break down extreme drive dogs with very hard nerves. DDR dogs however DO tend to be naturally protective and I like that, very much! I like a hard dog who has courage. I like robust, handsome, big-headed, heavy-boned dogs with deep, rich pigment. I'm a sucker for bi-colors, and black sables. I love them all. Not all of the original DDR dogs had a lot of prey drive. Those that did not tended to be very serious protection dogs. There are times when you want a serious dog, like when your life depends on it. My take on this is that if someone wants to excel in Schutzhund competition they will usually go with West German Shepherd lines. DDR breeders probably know this and so do not aim at super high drive dogs as their buyers/owners would likely be overwhelmed with a dog having extreme prey drive. In short, BALANCE is very important for a family wanting a pet AND a protection dog that will give his life protecting his owners and their families.
What most of their buyers can handle is a balanced dog, with plenty of drive for club level or work, but with a temperament that helps it adapt naturally to a family life. Each breeder has their own take on what they like and exactly what they want to produce. It does appear, at least recently, that many DDR breeders want to produce pet qualities over working abilities. Maybe because that's what the public likes, or just because that is what they like. The DDR gene pool allows this as in a single litter you can find mellow, low drive pups and others that are over the top.... from there it is about the breeder keeping back what they like, type breeding and making their dogs more and more what they want. DDR GSD's are usually excellent guardians of the home, and, quite frankly, who doesn't like that, especially when you don't have to train it in to the dog.
The following is from a DDR breeder who lived only about 15 miles away from the Czech border,
"We had a good relation with the border patrols on both sides. Some of our DDR pups were traded for highly desirable Czech goodies like Becherovka, canned sardines and especially at Xmas time.. chocolate (beautiful looking for decoration and then eating...LOL) Our dogs were all-rounders, what ever one asked them to do, they did it. They were aloof, yet social (if it makes any sense). You could take them anywhere without having to worry. Because we had to wait for a car around 10 years, riding a train, bus or tractor was an essential way of living. But dare you to raise your hand against the master or family... Short strong ears, huge bone, tight round thick pads, wide chest, sturdy, absolute thinkers. Those are the dogs I remember, and that's what I want back.