Their backs are straight, strong, wide, and long. They are 10-17% longer than their height at withers. The loins are long and wide, well-muscled and slightly arched. Their croup is wide, long, and slightly sloping towards the tail. The tail is long, bears thick fir, erected in a form of a sword when the dog's excited. The chest is moderately wide, while the belly is reasonably tucked up. The chests are scimitar in form, reaching the hocks or slightly longer in some cases. The legs are strong and straight; feet are oval and compact. The dog's pace is of a trotter, rather than of a skid, sliding just above the ground so typical to other German Shepherds' cousins.
As already noted, the Caucasian and Central Asian Ovcharkas were bred to protect the livestock from large predators, often with no man's assistance, rather than to herd the flocks under the supervision of the shepherd. (Read this real-life story!) This work made them very intelligent (as it comes to problem solving and making decisions) and, at the same time, very independent and strong-willed; they (esp., the Caucasians) are not easily trained for obedience. Typical of these two breeds is a somewhat low activity level with an ability to instantly "explode" in the minutes of danger. Such a dog can look like a large phlegmatic lazybones to an intruder, until he comes too close to the dog and it's too late to run away. This interesting feature stems from the fact that more active dogs with higher "energy consumption rate" would not have survived in the conditions of the harsh weather, hard work and scarce feeding, under which these breeds developed.
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.