• About East European Shepherd

    Конкурс! На самую лучшую фотографию Восточно Европейской Овчарки.-dad-jpgThis powerful breed is seen by many as what the ideal working German Shepherd Dog should be, with some even considering it to be the original incarnation of the popular German breed. However, it should be noted that even though related, the East-European Shepherd is neither the same breed nor a type of the GSD, but a very different and separate working dog from the USSR. It could be argued that it was developed as an improvement upon the GSD, which proved itself to be unsuitable for harsh climates of the former Soviet Union when it was introduced to the country in the 1920's, but the East-European Ovcharka was created in the 1930's using a number of breeds, many of which have remained undisclosed to this day. What has been confirmed is the employment of imported German Shepherds, a variety of indigenous Russian Laikas, Central Asian Ovcharkas and Dobermanns in the breeding programme, but quite a few other breeds have been suggested as having a part in its creation, including Black Russian Terriers, Caucasian Ovcharkas, Moscow Mastiffs and even some wolf-hybrids and local greyhounds, but whether this was really the case is unclear.

    The East-European Shepherd was developed earlier than some other more or less succesful Soviet experimental breeds, but since it was being perfected until the early 1960's, the possibility of it containing some blood of these breeds is quite likely. The first breed Standard was written in 1964 and outcrosses were no longer allowed, at least officially. This was first and foremost a working breed, used mainly for guarding duties, whether as a border patrol dog, personal protection and attack dog for the KGB or as a watchdog of Soviet prison camps. Its intelligence, drive and courage have earned the East-European Shepherd a great amount of respect both in its homeland and outside Russia's borders. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the breed became more common in other European countries, even being used to improve the health and working abilities of some existing GSD bloodlines. Known for its stable temperament, devotion to its master and trainability, the Vostochno-Evropeyskaya Ovtcharka is slowly gaining well-deserved acceptance worldwide as a truly remarkable working breed.

    An excellent climber, the Eastern-European Shepherd also has impressive jumping abilities and is capable of great speeds, thanks to its compact body, long legs and impressive stamina. It is aloof with strangers, very territorial and alert, making a great property watchdog and guardian, but it also makes an agreable family companion when properly socialized and trained from an early age and handled responsibly and with authority. Superficially similar to the GSD, the Vostochnik is a much taller breed, with a straight back and a slightly longer muzzle.

    Конкурс! На самую лучшую фотографию Восточно Европейской Овчарки.-urga-jpgThe body is well-boned, muscular and lean, with a deep chest, strong neck and sturdy legs. Noticeably more agile and resilient than its German cousin, this rugged working dog is well-suited for a variety of climates, being equally effective in the warm steppe regions and the cold mountain areas.

    The East-European Shepherd Dog has a hard and flat medium-length top coat, which is densely undercoated, with the hair being slightly fuller on the neck, around the ears and on the tail. Although uniform black dogs were famously preferred by the KGB, other shades exist, such as tan with a black saddle, grey, wheaten, fawn, brindle, sable and white, but they aren't as common or as popular as the traditional jet black and black-n-tan colourings.

    The average height is around 28 inches, with taller dogs being more valued, some reaching up to 33 inches at the withers.



    The East-European Shepherds are very agile, sensitive, loyal, and devoted to their owners. The East-European Shepherd is balanced, confident, intelligent, and playful; however, it is known to be unsure of strangers. It is a tough breed, and can be aggressive, making it a great guard dog. Though social and mild-mannered, the East-European Shepherd may not be the right family pet, as they recognize one master only, and prefer one companion for their games.

    East-European Shepherds are working dogs and need to be exercised regularly. They were bred for their intelligence and they are quick learners. Their ability to stand many extreme climates allows them to live outside, as well as inside. They perform well as hunting dogs and can work as draught dogs in a group of the same.


    The East-European Shepherd is very loyal to its own people. It is balanced, confident and can be wary of strangers. An excellent guard dog, the East-European Shepherd will protect its owners at all costs. This breed is a working dog and will be happiest with some type of job to do. The objective in training this dog is to achieve pack leader status. It is a natural instinct for a dog to have an order in its pack. When we humans live with dogs, we become their pack. The entire pack cooperates under a single leader. Lines are clearly defined and rules are set. Because a dog communicates his displeasure with growling and eventually biting, all other humans MUST be higher up in the order than the dog. The humans must be the ones making the decisions, not the dogs. That is the only way your relationship with your dog can be a complete success.


    The East-European Shepherd is fierce, loyal, and devoted to its owners. The East-European Shepherd is balanced, confident, intelligent, and playful; however, it is known to be unsure of strangers. It is a tough breed, and can be aggressive, making it a great guard dog. Though social and mild-mannered, the East-European Shepherd may not be the right family pet if there are small children in the home; its tendency toward playful jumping could be dangerous, considering its size as a large breed.


    When on guarding duty, the East European Shepherd usually keeps silence, which makes it a perfect watch dog. It is very trainable and obedient, making this breed a favorite of many professional dog trainers.

    Owning the East European Shepherd doesn't create big problems for an experienced owner. Anyway, this Russian guard dog should be socialized early and is not recommended to apartment families with very small children. It is rather a very good companion for active people, especially in a rural environment.

    Photos courtesy of: http://veolegion.ru