East European Shepherd

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66-110 lbs
24-28"
Russia
Owczarek Wschodnioeuropejski, Vostochnoevropejskaya Ovcharka, and VEO

The East European Shepherd is an attractive large dog with an alert expression and protective behavior. They were developed from the 1930's onwards to cope with harsher cold climates and to overcome the hip and joint problems that their parent dog, the German Shepherd, was prone towards. Obedient and eager to please their master, they respond well to training and you can expect less repetition with this dog. They make a great watchdog, alerting their owners when an intruder enters the property and they are fearless in their defense of their family. The East European Shepherd needs to be raised with children, whereby the pup will bond well to them and grow up as buddies. They can tend to be wary of strangers, children included, making socializing when they are young especially important. Adaptable to where they live, the Shepherd will do okay in an apartment but is best suited to a home with a yard to exercise and prowl in. These lovely dogs love to work; they enjoy having a job and will fit into a busy working environment such as police work, search and rescue, and other such careers. But they also excel as a companion and devoted furry friend, who will have your back covered in whatever situation you find yourself in.

Purpose
Working Dog, Companion
Date of Origin
1930's
Ancestry
German Shepherd, Russian Caucasian Shepherd, Central Asian Shepherd

East European Shepherd Health

Average Size
Male East European Shepherd size stats
Height: 26-30 inches Weight: 77-132 lbs
Female East European Shepherd size stats
Height: 24-28 inches Weight: 66-110 lbs
Major Concerns
  • None Known
Minor Concerns
  • Ear Infections
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Hip Dysplasia
Occasional Tests
  • Ear Examination
  • Blood Analysis
  • Regular Full Physical Examination By Veterinarian
  • Serum Chemistry Tests
  • Hip and Elbow X-rays

East European Shepherd Breed History

The development of the East European Shepherd started around the 1930's. The Soviet military was impressed by the German Shepherd's working ability, their strong work ethic, and attractive but imposing presence. The military wanted to create a dog that was similar, but one that could adapt to the colder harsher climate. As a result, development started using German Shepherds and crossing them with hardy Russian breeds such as the Caucasian Shepherd, the Central Asian Shepherd, and the Laika. Originally, development started in the Byelorussian region and the dogs that resulted were called Byelorussian Owtcharka. World War ll interrupted the dog's development, but it resumed again after the war and resulted in a new breed for the Soviets. Called the East European Shepherd, they were distinctly different in size and stature than the German Shepherd. They also had a stronger, solid body and a powerful bite. The new breed was rapidly assimilated into the military and became the main dog used by the KGB service. In 1964 the first Standard for the East European Shepherd was approved. The new Shepherd had a tempered protective instinct and a balanced character. The main characteristic that was applauded by the Russians was the wary and aggressive reaction to intruders and their utmost loyalty and affection to their owner. One of their character traits is that they keep their silence, making them an outstanding watchdog. Another feature that has won over the skeptics is that the East European Shepherd is willing to learn and responds well to training. Their obedience and work ethic are making this Shepherd popular with professional dog trainers and the professional forces such as the police. While popular in Russia, it is a relatively rare dog breed elsewhere, but we hope over time that this will change and we see more of this special dog in all parts of the world.

East European Shepherd Breed Appearance

While the East European Shepherd does look very similar to a German Shepherd in appearance, the East European is larger and heavier built than the latter. The East European has a massive head with large erect ears held high, bright inquisitive large brown eyes, and a more dense coat than their counterpart. This dense coat, with its soft undercoat,  allows this working canine to withstand the freezing winter temperatures. They have a strong muscular body, with a straight back that slopes slightly towards the tail, which is long and fluffy. Their chest is moderately deep and their belly is tucked up. The legs are straight, strong, and their feet are oval and well padded. The East European Shepherd has a 'wolfish' appearance with an alert, unwavering gaze and intense stare. They have a slightly rounded forehead and a long muzzle with impressive large teeth set in a powerful jaw with a scissors bite. Colors of this breed include the Russian KGB favorite of solid black, but they also come in black and tan with a black mask, as well as black and red, or even sable grey or sable red which is more uncommon.

Eye Color Possibilities
brown East European Shepherd eyes
Brown
amber East European Shepherd eyes
Amber
Nose Color Possibilities
black East European Shepherd nose
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
sable East European Shepherd coat
Sable
white East European Shepherd coat
White
blue East European Shepherd coat
Blue
brown East European Shepherd coat
Brown
black East European Shepherd coat
Black
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
East European Shepherd straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

East European Shepherd Breed Maintenance

The East European Shepherd is a constant shedder so if you can't tolerate hair in the house, this may not be the dog for you. They have a dense thick coat with a soft undercoat that will require brushing at least twice a week to keep the coat in good condition. Bathing is not often required, as this can impair the natural oil protection within the coat that protects the dog from the cold. If you do bathe this dog, use a mild dog shampoo for the best results. As this dog can grow to a very large size, train them when they are a puppy to get them used to their teeth being brushed and nails clipped, as well as allowing you to wipe out their ears. It's easier to teach a puppy than to try and educate a 100 pound plus slightly wary dog! The East European Shepherd is a devoted family member and will be a happy canine if they can have regular exercise and if they have a job to do such as watching over the property.

Brushes for East European Shepherd
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Deshedder
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
East European Shepherd requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

East European Shepherd Temperament

Versatile, hardy, loyal, protective and playful are just some of the words used to describe the East European Shepherd. This breed is an intelligent dog who needs a strong leader/owner to bring out the best in them. Being a large dog, they can be a bit stubborn unless they have someone to look up to. They have been used in the military in the USSR  (especially favored by the KGB who liked this imposing, quiet and intense dog), but have also been used in police work, search and rescue and even as a sight dog for the blind. Smart and devoted, they will be protective towards owner and family but can be wary and distant from others. They do need to be socialized well when young to understand acceptable behavior with other dogs and people. The European Shepherd is a confident dog and is well suited for colder climates. Although wolf-like in appearance, and imposing in statue when fully grown, they remain puppies in spirit to their beloved owners. They will guard your home, your vehicle, your family and even other pets! Speaking of which, they usually get along well with other dogs, but some can be troublesome with cats unless they are raised together. Beautiful, magnificent and with outstanding good looks and a steady temperament without unnecessary aggression, they are a truly a breed that we need to see more of.

East European Shepherd Activity Requirements

The East European Shepherd loves to be active and craves a good walk or two each day. This is one dog that thrives on working and responds well to training from a respected owner. At home, they are lively, playful and fun to have around and to include in family games although they can get boisterous and may unintentionally knock family members over with their exuberance. The East European Shepherd would make an ideal walking or running buddy and will lope along happily at your side. No one will bother you under their protective gaze. They are ideal for obedience competitions, agility and other dog sports that involve having them follow commands and use their high intelligence to solve problems. A yard or acreage is best for this athlete, as an apartment is a little too confining for this super pooch.
Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
20 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
120 minutes

East European Shepherd Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.50 - $1.90
Monthly Cost
$39.00 - $52.00

East European Shepherd Height & Weight

6 Months
Male East European Shepherd size stats at six months
Height: 13 inches Weight: 18 lbs
Female East European Shepherd size stats at six months
Height: 12 inches Weight: 16 lbs
12 Months
Male East European Shepherd size stats at 12 months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 49 lbs
Female East European Shepherd size stats at 12 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 42 lbs
18 Months
Male East European Shepherd size stats at 18 months
Height: 27 inches Weight: 101 lbs
Female East European Shepherd size stats at 18 months
Height: 25 inches Weight: 88 lbs

East European Shepherd Owner Experiences

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