Dogs, cats and their owners » Dog Breeds » Eastern European Shepherd

Eastern European Shepherd

Eastern European sheepdog
Other names: VEO , easterners

The Eastern European Shepherd is the closest relative of the German Shepherd, which has a more mature character and impressive dimensions.

Brief information

  • Breed name: Eastern European Shepherd
  • Country of Origin: Russia
  • Birth time of the breed: 12-13 years
  • Weight: males 35-60 kg, females 30-50 kg
  • Height (height at the withers): males 66-76 cm, females 62-72 cm
  • Life expectancy: 12 – 13 years


  • Eastern European Shepherds were not affected by commercial breeding, which allowed the breed to be protected from many genetic diseases. Even today, domestic livestock is considered the most promising in terms of working and external qualities, so foreign breeders prefer to buy puppies in Russian kennels.
  • Like any service dog, the Eastern European Shepherd is obliged to take a course of OKD and, if possible, ZKS. This is the only way to reduce the risks of improper behavior of an animal and its attack on a person.
  • Taking an Eastern European Shepherd dog "on the sofa" is a fatal mistake. This is an active working breed that can put up with the role of a serious companion or athlete, but not with the role of a pet.
  • Adult "easterners" are adapted to low temperatures, but dampness and drafts are disastrous for them.
  • Despite the external severity and suspicious attitude towards strangers, shepherd dogs love children and do not offend.
  • The psyche of Eastern European Shepherds finishes forming only by the age of 3. Up to this age, the dog should be treated leniently, because she is still a puppy – a huge, strong, but still a puppy.
  • In addition to security and watchdog activities, in the USSR the breed was involved in the work of a guide dog, but today the "Easterners" have been displaced from this niche by labradors.
  • Eastern European Shepherds are quite athletic and are able to take prizes in weightpulling, agility and freestyle.

Eastern European Shepherd - improved and modified by Soviet breeders "copy" German shepherds , who absorbed the best qualities of her relative. Today's "easterner" is still a great watchman and bodyguard, but not such a gambling scamp as his famous brother. It is thanks to the lightning-fast reaction and balanced nature of the breed that has found recognition among owners, one way or another connected with law and order and security activities. Vigilant and collected, VEOs are the best suited to protect property and scare away persons encroaching on someone else's life. If such a dog lives in the house, safety and quiet nights are guaranteed.

Breed characteristics

Aggressiveness ?
Above Average ( Rating 4/5)
Activity ?
Very high ( Rating 5/5)
Training ?
Easy ( Rating 4/5)
Molt ?
High ( Rating 4/5)
Need for care ?
Low ( Rating 2/5)
Friendliness ?
Friendly ( Rating 4/5)
Health ?
Good ( Rating 4/5)
Cost of maintenance ?
Above Average ( Rating 4/5)
Attitude to loneliness ?
Short periods ( Rating 2/5)
Intelligence ?
Smart ( Rating 4/5)
Noise ?
Low ( Rating 2/5)
Security qualities ?
Excellent ( Rating 5/5)
*The characteristics of the Eastern European Shepherd breed are based on the assessment of experts and reviews of dog owners.

History of the Eastern European Shepherd Dog breed

Like most domestic service breeds, Eastern European Shepherds were bred in the 30-50s of the XX century, due to state necessity. By the way, the expression "state necessity" meant guard and convoy service in the GULAG, which for obvious reasons was not advertised. The breeding material for the creation of the next super tank was german shepherds , thanks to which several breed lines were formed in the USSR at once. In particular, the offspring from imported males, such as Edu von Geisenhof, Edi von Blumenduft and Devete von Furstensteg, turned out to be the most in demand.

After the Great Patriotic War, the number of VEOs in Soviet nurseries decreased to a critical minimum, which is why work on the development and improvement of the breed had to start from scratch. However, already in the 60s, seven new tribal lines appeared in the country, whose representatives demonstrated outstanding service and exterior qualities. The era of Stalin's camps and prisons had become part of history by that time, so animals began to be attracted to the service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as well as used as guide dogs. Domestic cinema also fueled interest in the breed. After the release of the films "To me, Mukhtar!" and "Border Dog Scarlet", almost every second Soviet schoolboy dreamed of getting an Eastern European shepherd.

In 1964, the first full–fledged standard of appearance was compiled for the "Easterners", which provided them with recognition first of the Union of Cynological Organizations of Russia, and later - the approval of the RKF. As for similar foreign and international communities, not all of them agreed to consider the VEO as a separate breed. For example, FCI still positions Eastern European Shepherds as a Russian branch german shepherds : updated and improved, but generally preserved the phenotype and psychological traits of its ancestor.

Video: Eastern European Shepherd

Eastern European Shepherd breed standard and differences from German

Considering that a purebred VEO is, in fact, a "russified" German Shepherd , it is not necessary to count on cardinal external differences between the breeds. Nevertheless, if you put an exemplary "German" and his Soviet descendant side by side, it is quite possible to identify each one. Usually the first thing that catches your eye is the impressive complexion of the "Easterner". As an example: the average male German shepherds has the same height and weight as the Eastern European bitch, and this despite the fact that both breeds are characterized by sexual dimorphism. According to the breed standard, the height of the Eastern European Shepherd at the withers is 66-76 cm in males, 62-72 cm in females. The weight of "boys" and "girls" is, respectively, 35-60 kg and 30-50 kg.

An important nuance is the back line. In the "Germans" it is strongly sloped (the angle of inclination is about 23 °), whereas in the "Easterners" the top looks almost horizontal. VEO's legs are much thicker and more massive than those of his ancestor. Hence the differences in movement. German Shepherds move in a short, shooting trot with a long step, Eastern European – more sweeping and heavy.


The skull is flattened, expanded between the ears, with a shallow longitudinal furrow. The brow and occipital protuberance are poorly marked. The stop is moderate, without sharpness. The muzzle of the Eastern European Shepherd is wedge-shaped, narrowed in the area of the lobe, but not pointed.

Jaws and teeth

The jaws of the Eastern European Shepherd are powerful, with a full set of 42 large teeth. The only type of bite allowed by the standard is "scissors".


The back of the nose is smooth, the lobe is massive, coal-black.


The eyes of an Eastern European Shepherd dog of medium size, regular oval shape, set slightly obliquely and very wide. The desired color of the iris is as dark as possible.


Medium-sized, erect, with a triangular shape of the ear blade and a rounded tip. The ears are set wide and above eye level, in a calm dog they can take a slightly hung position, in a wary one they are raised strictly vertically.


Placed to the back at an angle from 40° to 45°, smoothly expanding towards the shoulders. In purebred individuals, the necks should be muscular, without suspension.


The body of the Eastern European Shepherd is balanced, rectangular moderately stretched format. The back is strong, almost straight, elongated. The loin is slightly convex, short and massive. Well drawn: the withers line and a wide rounded croup. The chest of representatives of this breed is oval, reaching to the elbows, with neatly curved ribs. The belly is moderately tucked up.


VEO has straight, parallel legs, with the hind legs noticeably pulled back. The shoulder blades and humerus bones are elongated, located obliquely. The angle of the shoulder joint is approximately 100 °. The forearms of the animal are straight, turning into elbows tightly pressed to the sides and long springy pasterns, standing at a slight tilt.

Hind limbs look more massive due to muscular thighs. The lower legs of the dog are moderately long, but without excessive elongation, the metatarsals are strong, almost vertical. The paws of the "Easterners" have a classic oval shape with paws in a lump and dense black pads.


Descending to the hocks or below, saber-curved. In a calm dog, the tail is lowered downwards, in an agitated dog, it is raised (about ⅔) to the upper line of the back.


The coat of Eastern European Sheepdogs is double, formed by a dense soft undercoat having a lighter tone, and a rigid semi-long awn, colored darker. Areas with abundant long hair – neck and thighs; with the shortest possible – head, front of legs, surface of paws and fingers.


Eastern European Shepherds can be black-red, black and black-gray. The standard also allows such suits as black with lightened areas (marks above the eyes, on the paws, cheekbones, under the tail), black and tan and zonal gray. Not welcome, but a zonal-red color is also possible.

Disqualifying vices

  • Hanging ears.
  • Various malocclusion deviations, including a distorted jaw.
  • Incomplete dental formula.
  • A suit that goes beyond the standard.
  • Insufficiently pigmented lobe.
  • Hair devoid of undercoat.
  • Too short tail.
  • Albinism.
  • Presence of an eyesore, heterochromia or blue iris.
  • Curly, too long or short hair.
  • Slurring, rolling gait.
  • Cryptorchidism.
  • Unreasonable malice and cowardice.

Character of the Eastern European Shepherd

The average "Easterner" is more phlegmatic and reasonable than his German relative. He is not sharp and quick-tempered, which in case of danger does not prevent the animal from making a decision and acting with lightning speed. Well, to be more precise, the Eastern European Shepherd is a dog that does not like the aimless manifestation of any qualities. The whole being of this serious indefatigable servant strives to be useful to the owner. Accordingly, if you do not need either a vigilant watchman or a prudent guard, it will not be easy to find an alternative type of activity for VEO.

Eastern European Shepherds do not favor strangers, and this dislike is ineradicable. At the same time, the dog will not rush at the stranger as soon as he appeared in sight. Yes, the animal is ready to protect its own owner 24 hours a day, but only when the threat is really real. However, clarification is needed here: so well-trained individuals behave with restraint, the owner of which was not too lazy to go with them OKD. With young dogs who have not learned to control their own emotions, it is better to keep their finger on the pulse. These "comrades" are not yet able to distinguish a friendly pat on the shoulder from a full-fledged blow and noisy companies from gangs of hooligans, so they can turn on the defender mode at the most inopportune moment.

Another nice bonus for fans of Eastern European shepherds is the absence of the habit of males to compete with the owner for the status of an alpha male. With proper upbringing, the breed willingly transfers the reins of government to a person, easily getting used to the status of a companion and observing the necessary subordination. The only thing is that you will have to distribute the roles in the house immediately after the appearance of the puppy in it. If this is not done in a timely manner, the Eastern European Shepherd dog will have a reason to suspect the owner of characterlessness. And this is a direct path to disobedience, stubbornness and, ultimately, to a dangerous confrontation between the owner and the pet.

In general, Eastern European Shepherds have a mature character, as evidenced by their good-natured attitude towards children. Pets, with whom she had to grow up together, the dog also does not offend. But on stray cats and dogs, the VEO can break, so it's better to take personal control of the pet's fascination with other four-legged creatures on walks.

Education and training

In terms of studies, Eastern European Shepherds are solid goodies. They are quick-witted, willingly delve into the essence of the actions explained to them and do not confuse reality with situations simulated by a dog handler on the training ground. VEO easily deal with the basic commands of the OKD and with no less enthusiasm comprehend the basics of the ZKS, but this is not the breed that assimilates the material once and for all. As dog handlers like to say: the Eastern European Shepherd Dog learns and is brought up throughout his life. This is the only way to really manage animals and not be afraid for the safety of others. Accordingly, introducing such a brutal pet into the house, you need to be prepared for the fact that training and repetition of the material you have passed will become an integral part of your life.

Important: the Eastern European Shepherd considers its owner not the one who brings a bowl of food every day, but the person who trains it, so it is better to train the pet yourself, resorting to the advice of a professional dog handler only in the most difficult situations.

Up to two months, the puppy of the Eastern European Shepherd is socialized, that is, the dog must get used to the place of residence, owners, sounds and smells accompanying her at home. From the age of two months, the learning of elementary commands and obedience lessons begins, which will simultaneously be preparation for the upcoming OKD. At this age, the baby will have to learn a new rule: before performing an action, it is necessary to obtain the permission of the owner. By the way, it is possible to fully train a shepherd dog only if it understands and recognizes the authority of the owner. When playing with a VEO puppy, don't let him win. This behavior is regarded by the kid as a weakness, which he will not be slow to take advantage of.

The age of 4 months is the optimal period for learning more complex commands from the same OKD with an Eastern European Shepherd. If everything is planned correctly, by 6 months the puppy will be ready to pass the standards for the course and will be able to start doing security activities. However, up to a year the skills and abilities acquired by the pet will have to be further honed and brought to perfection. As noted earlier, the repetition of the material for the breed is an urgent necessity.

Owners planning a sports career for their own pets can be recommended an international IPO course. However, it should be understood that such programs from imposing and, what's more, heavy-handed "Easterners" go with a creak. As for the ZKS, it makes sense to enroll an Eastern European Shepherd dog in such courses after successfully passing the OKD, as well as if you are an employee of law enforcement agencies and work in tandem with a four-legged friend. In other cases, the passage of such a harsh program is not necessary. If necessary, the Eastern European Shepherd dog will protect the owner even without training, and due to a fairly calm temperament, the VEO will not make minced meat out of the enemy. Her mission is to catch up with the conditional aggressor, lay him on his shoulders, demonstrating his own physical superiority. However, in 90% of cases, it does not come to a full-fledged race for the enemy: after assessing the dimensions of the Eastern European Shepherd, the attackers prefer to disappear from the field of view of such a vigilant bodyguard on their own.

Maintenance and care

For a typical city apartment, the Eastern European Shepherd is not the most suitable size, so if you have decided to replenish the family, think in advance about how to provide the dog with a sufficient amount of free space. In particular, the pet's bed should be in a secluded, but well–lit place - rickets breed is not necessary. If the shepherd's mattress lies in the aisle, where the feet of the household constantly cling to it, this irritates and unnerves the puppy. It is better to choose a semi-rigid mattress for the Eastern European Shepherd, in order to avoid the appearance of calluses on the elbows, and fix the food bowl on an adjustable tripod (choose the highest design), which will reduce the load on the joints.

The optimal option from the point of view of convenience for the owner is keeping an Eastern European shepherd dog in an enclosure with an insulated kennel, which should be of such a size that the dog can not just lie down in it, but also stretch out its paws. Dry hay is suitable as a litter. The main thing is not to forget to change the litter in a timely manner and treat the dog's housing from parasites twice a year. Usually, the signal that it's time to disinfect is the reluctance of the shepherd to lie in the booth. In summer, a hay "bed" is not needed, but so that the pet does not build up elbow calluses, it is better to lay a mat in the aviary. And most importantly: no chains, even if they are long and allow the dog to run all over the yard. This approach spoils the animal, developing in it distrust of the owner and bitterness against the whole world.


To simplify your life in the future, form a puppy's concept of hygiene as a necessity that is inevitable. Do not forget, the Eastern European Shepherd is not a Pomeranian, which can be immobilized with one hand. And if a pet resists hygienic procedures from an early age, then when the animal matures and builds muscle mass, it will be impossible to "persuade" it. Otherwise, the breed is considered unpretentious and does not require professional care. For example, daily combing of the VEO will be required twice a year, during the molting season. In between these periods, the dead hairs are removed once or twice a week with a brush or a rubber mitten. It is recommended to wash the Eastern European Shepherd twice a month if the animal does not run through puddles. In summer, you can limit yourself to swimming in an open pond, which the breed loves madly.

It is better to examine the dog's ears regularly, but it is not worth fighting for the complete "sterility" of the auditory canal. Remove the brown plaque with napkins and veterinary lotions only when there is really a lot of it. Remember, frequent "diving" with cotton swabs into the ear funnel provokes gray discharge, which makes the ear look even more untidy. By the way, it is better not to stroke Eastern European Shepherds on the head until the year. The ear cloth of the breed is heavy, slow and difficult to "get up", so any careless touch to it can cause incorrect cartilage delivery.

Walking and physical activity

Eastern European Shepherds are active and strong dogs, although inferior to their German relatives in endurance. Accordingly, they should be loaded less during training and walks than German Shepherds . For example, up to 7-8 months old, any physical activity is prohibited for a VEO puppy. The only thing the kid can count on is short excursions in the park and swimming in rivers and lakes, if the weather is warm enough. No straps with weights for puppies are also not allowed, although such accessories are not prohibited and can be a good help in training a service dog.

With adults, traditional celebrations on a leash are not practiced. If a mature "Easterner" has gone out on the street, he should be allowed to let off steam. Usually, 1-2 hours are enough for the breed to warm up, in which it is possible to accommodate towing objects through snow or sand, racing a bicycle, jogging in shallow water and swimming. But all this is provided that the pet is healthy. Any kind of sports, including water sports, is strictly contraindicated for sick and cold dogs. In addition, in the first year of life, it is better not to offer jumping exercises to an Eastern European Shepherd. As with any large breed, such exercises are difficult for VEO, which only accelerates the wear of the joints.


The Eastern European Shepherd does not need a specific diet. She will be satisfied with a traditional dog menu or premium industrial food. Nevertheless, it is better to follow a number of simple rules to preserve the pet's health.

  • Meat is given raw if it is fresh and you are aware of its origin. In other cases, it is better not to risk and boil or scald the product.
  • No food from your table, even if the pet asks.
  • Less fruits and vegetables in the diet. Yes, they contain a lot of vitamins and useful fibers, but the digestive system of the Eastern European Shepherd is poorly adapted for digesting plant foods.
  • Dogs don't need any "boozing" supplements. In particular, porridge from several types of cereals, nuts and dried fruits are not useful excesses that are not worth wasting time and money on.

It is almost impossible to properly balance the natural diet of the Eastern European Shepherd dog at home, so all kinds of top dressing and veterinary dietary supplements come to the rescue. For example, VEO puppies are given complexes with chondroitin and glucosamine to support articular cartilage. However, it is also important not to overdo it here: an overdose of minerals and vitamins is a serious thing. Consult with a specialist beforehand, who will determine exactly whether your ward needs top dressing or will calmly do without them.

Usually puppies move to new owners no earlier than two months of age. This is exactly the period when the baby is transferred to five meals a day. From 4 to 8 months of life, the Eastern European Shepherd Dog eats four times a day, from 8 months to a year – three times. It is recommended to transfer the "easterner" to two meals a day from the age of one and a half, but even for such individuals, a light kefir or fruit and vegetable snack is arranged in the middle of the day for the first 5-7 months.

Health and diseases of Eastern European Shepherds

Eastern European Shepherds have good health, but no one has canceled the predisposition of the breed to a number of diseases. So, for example, VEOs are prone to stomach inversion, because of which they are strictly contraindicated feeding in large portions. In addition, like the vast majority of large dogs, the joints of the "Easterners" often make themselves felt. Moreover, it can be both classic dysplasia caused by overweight and inactivity, and inflammatory diseases like arthritis. Glaucoma and inversion of the century were also inherited by shepherds from their ancestors, which is why it is so important to study pedigrees and vet passports of litter producers.

How to choose a puppy

  • Meet the mother of puppies and evaluate her temperament, as it is transmitted to offspring. In particular, if the breeder puts the bitch on a leash before your arrival, most likely, she is aggressive and poorly controlled. Think about it, do you need a puppy with such hereditary baggage?
  • An Eastern European Shepherd dog barking at a stranger is a common thing, especially if it is a female individual protecting her offspring. However, the litter producer should not take more decisive actions.
  • When choosing a future service dog, focus on the working qualities of its parents. Do you have diplomas in ZKS and OKD? Great! In 9 cases out of 10, the puppy will repeat, or even break parental records.
  • If you take an Eastern European Shepherd dog as a pet and companion, give up the temptation to grab the most frisky kid with leadership inclinations. In addition, check with the breeder how the puppies' mother treats the children. The love of children in the breed is also hereditary.
  • If you are afraid not to cope with the upbringing and training of an Eastern European Shepherd, refuse to buy grown-up puppies. On the one hand, it is wonderful that the breeder managed to do part of the work by socializing the teenager, giving him the necessary vaccinations and teaching teams, but it is more difficult to re-educate such a puppy and adapt it to personal preferences.
  • When buying an Eastern European Shepherd dog for breeding, search the web for information about the kennel's participation in exhibitions, and also specify whether its pupils have won any awards.

The price of an Eastern European Shepherd dog

The standard cost of an Eastern European Shepherd puppy with the RKF metric – $150 - $200 . Offspring from champion producers with 1st degree diplomas in OKD and ZKS is another plus $100 - $150 to the average price tag.

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