General Description


The East-European Shepherd, often called the Russian German shepherd, is a Soviet dog variation of the German Shepherd. This Russian dog breed is larger and heavier built than its German ancestor. It has a powerful and muscular frame, a massive head with dark, oval shaped eyes, and long, vertical ears. Its medium length double coat is more dense to allow this Russian dog withstand cold winters. The usual coat colors are black, black and tan, black and red, brown, gray and red, sable, sometimes with a dark facial mask.


With its Russian name Vostochnoevropejskaya Ovcharka (sheep dog in Russian), the East-European Shepherd remains one of the most popular watch and guard dogs in its native country. Outside Russia it is still not widely recognized and considered to be a rare dog breed.


The East-European Shepherd originated in 1920s-1930s as the result of crossbreeding German Shepherds with such Russian dog breeds as Caucasian dog, Central Asian dog and Laikas. The Soviet military, impressed by the German Shepherd’s working abilities, wanted to create a similar Russian dog more suited for the climate, with stronger body and bite. The development of this Russian German shepherd started in the Byelorussian region, and the breed was initially called the Byelorussian Owtcharka.


After the WWII the careful and systematic breeding was resumed, resulting in a new Soviet dog breed, the East European Shepherd, distinctly different from the German Shepherd. Its first standard was approved in 1964, while the new Russian dog became the main military and the KGB service breed.


The East European Shepherd is probably the most intelligent of the Russian guard dogs (Caucasian dog, Central Asian dog, Russian Sheepdog, Russian Terrier, and Moscow dog). It has not only an honorable protective instinct but also a very well-balanced character. This Russian German shepherd is resistant and aggressive to strangers as well as fiercely loyal and affectionate to its family. It is very devoted and will protect its master at all costs.


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. This Russian dog doesn’t have major health concerns. Its life span is 10-14 years.


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.

The East-European Shepherd is a working duty dog. For this reason education and training is a priority for its master. The breed is successfully trainable according to the European training systems like BH and IPO. There is a possibility to demonstrate the excellence of one's dog in numerous local and international exhibitions.


FEMALE: 24 – 28 inches 66-110 pounds
MALE: 26 – 30 inches 77-130 pounds


General Health

There are no reported health concerns or issues for the East-European Shepherd.



The East-European Shepherd was created in 1930. This highly adaptable breed was developed for the purpose of working in the Army. In order to produce the East-European Shepherd, German Shepherds were crossed with local northern breeds and molossers, along with some other breeds. In 1964, the first standard for this breed was approved by the Cynologic Council of the Ministry of Agriculture of the USSR.

* The East European Shepherd breed was developed from the German Shepherds bought to Russia at the beginning of the century. Starting from 1904 the breed was used as a police and nursing dog. By 1941 in the USSR already existed several types of the German Shepherd. After the war the breed was subject to careful and systematic work. The whole family lines were restored and new breed families were created. Breeding was characterized by absolute lack of contacts with foreign specialists. In Russia, the breed was given the formal name of East-European Shepherd. As a result of intensive and extended work a new type of the German Shepherd was developed. This type was characterized by being larger, harmoniously built, strong, dry and well-defined muscles, sturdy bone structure and well-balanced character with a confident demeanor. The German and East-European Shepherds have common origin, yet feature different exterior and behavioral traits. The East-European Shepherd is rather silent while on duty, which makes this breed perfect as a guard or watch dog. Modern pedigree East-European Shepherd has never become yet another fashionable, decorating breed due to the fact that breeders strongly appreciate this dog for its unique working qualities. Numerous professional dog trainers and dog-breeders prefer the East-European Shepherd breed for its reliability, loyalty and intelligence. Being perfect jumpers, the shepherd dogs are fond of barriers and obstacles. The training exercise is probably the most entertaining task for them. Thus during the training this breed demonstrates a keen interest, is far from being stubborn, trying to execute all the commands to please the master.



Long haired variations of this breed may need to be brushed at least once a week.


The pastor of Eastern Europe is content to live in a small house or apartment if given sufficient daily exercise. This breed can easily adjust to a wide variety of climates, including extreme cold weather. Because they are a working breed that need lots of physical activity on a frequent basis.

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