East-European Shepherds are also known as; VEO, Russian Shepherds (Ovcharkas), Belarusian Shepherds (Ovcharkas) or Russian German Shepherds (although they are an entirely different breed than the German Shepherd).
In the early 20th century, when the Soviet Military first started using German Shepherds, they discovered this breed could not operate or would even die in extremely cold parts of Russia. The VEO breeding program was created with the goal of adapting the German Shepherd breed to the harsher Soviet winters, while also being able to adapt to hot climates. The East-European Shepherd was created by cross-breeding German Shepherds with native Russian breeds, including Laika and Ovcharka type dogs.
The VEO was primarily used for military, police, and guard work. These dogs were the Soviet Military and KGB favourites. The KGB only kept solid black dogs. Although this breed is popular in former Soviet countries, it is very rare outside of Eastern Europe.
East-European Shepherds are significantly larger and more muscular than their cousin, the German Shepherd.
Although this amazing breed looks similar to the German Shepherd, it is an entirely different breed with very different physical and psychological characteristics.
On average, males weigh 77-132 lbs (35-60 kg) and are 26-30 inches (66-76 cm) at the shoulder.
Females are typically 66-110 lbs (30-50 kg) and 24-28 inches (61-71 cm) at the shoulder.
The East-European Shepherd is a relatively healthy breed. They were bred to have straight backs with little or no angulation, with the goal of eliminating the back and hip problems common to German Shepherds. They are usually black and tan, solid black, or sable in colour. They have a dense medium length coat, with a well developed undercoat. Their large webbed paws make walking in the snow easier.
East-European Shepherds are an extremely intelligent, protective and active breed.
Their intelligence makes them very responsive to training. They are extremely protective of their owners and property. Although they are calmer than German Shepherds, their active and playful temperament makes them a fun and loyal family companion.
Their temperament is often compared to that of a Doberman.