Sometime in the 1930s in Russia, a mixed breed of German Shepherd and other local breeds was developed in the hope that the resulting dog breed would be a good, working watchdog. This dog came to be known as the East-European Shepherd.

The dog proved to be superior in its ability to perform as a guard dog in military posts. On top of this, other skills have been noted, such that it has become a versatile canine as a companion for the handicapped, police dog, and a show dog.

East-European Shepherd standing

By 1964, the Cynologic Council of the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia approved this breed type.

Traits and Behavior

The East-European Shepherd is well-known for being an excellent guard dog, protecting its owner at all costs. Its trait instinct is to rely on orders given to its pack.

East-European Shepherd lying on grass

This then would mean that its owner or trainer must exhibit a good pack leader status for this dog to initiate cooperation and obedience.

Because it is an intelligent dog, it looks for a dependable relationship with humans. It responds positively to training as it is a fast learner.

However, such training must require enough time to muster the dog’s natural aggression to dominate.

On the other hand, this dog can be loyal, loving, and affectionate. It can live harmoniously with its environment no matter how harsh the condition may be.

As house pets, they can adapt to apartment living.

Pet Care and Diseases

Because it is a large dog, the East-European Shepherd must undergo regular exercises such as running and long walks. Since it comes from the breed of German Shepherds, common diseases of hip and elbow dysplasia may occur when the dog ages to which arthritis and pain can be unbearable to the dog.

Regular jogging helps make this dog fit for life. And with proper nutrition and excellent accommodation, this dog will serve well its owner and its purpose for its kind of breed.

East-European Shepherd with collar

With firm and consistent training during its puppy years, this dog will be able to socialize with children, people living in its home environment, and even with other dogs.

However, it is not recommended and cannot be harmonious to a home atmosphere where kids are ill-behaved as it has a strong tendency to be defensive and may cause more harm than good.


Of medium built but large, the East-European Shepherd is much larger than the German Shepherd.

East-European Shepherd close up

It bears a wolf-like appearance with a body structure that is well-developed. Its head, being proportional to the rest of the body, rests in its long neck.

The length of its skull is proportional to its muzzle. It possesses powerful jaw muscles and teeth.

Ears are pricked and the eyes are dark with close-fitting eyelids. Its nose is large and black, the chest is wide, and the legs are strong and straight.

This dog is a heavy shredder due to its double-coated, protective covering.

It is made up of dense furs which come in various coat colors – black, tan, liver, gray, and red. The dog is covered in thick firs including its tail.

General Information

The East-European Shepherd can live up to 12 years. The average litter size is 4-10 puppies. Other names include Byelorussian Shepherd, Belarusian Shepherd, Eastern European Shepherd, Byelorussian Owtcharka, Belarusian Owtcharka, East-European Owtcharka, Eastern European Owtcharka, Owczarek Wschodnioeuropejski, Vostochnoevropejskaya Ovcharka and VEO.