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What is Schutzhund

What is Schutzhund

​Schutzhund (German for “protection dog”) is a dog sport that was developed in Germany in the early 1900s as a breed suitability test for the German Shepherd Dog. This test was developed to determine if a dog displayed the appropriate traits and characteristics of a proper working German Shepherd Dog. Today, it is still a breed suitability test as well as an international sport where many breeds other than German Shepherd Dogs can compete. Most breeds that are successful in the breeding test of Schutzhund are working breeds such as; Malinois, Rottweiller, Doberman, Bouvier and Boxers. It is a demanding test for any dog. It has had several different names and rather than try to keep up with future changes we will use the original name, Schutzhund. It is also often called IGP or IPO (translated roughly into;  international working dog test).


The sport of Schutzhund tests the dogs  strong desire to work harmoniously with the handler, its courage and fighting drives, intelligence, trainability in nose work and  ability to work independantly. It also tests for physical traits such as strength, endurance, agility, and scenting ability. The sport’s goal is to reveal character and ability of a dog through training. Schutzhund is a challenging test of a dog’s character and not every dog is up to the challenge. Even breeds common in the sport have dogs that do not have the necessary drives or physical characteristics to pass the test. Schutzhund is also an extreme test of the handler's ability to train the dog.


Dogs of many breeds, even mixes, compete in schutzhund. Any relatively large dog with the right temperament and physical characteristics can participate. Most common breeds are the herding and working breeds. For the obedience or tracking phase almost any breed, of any size, may be suitable.
There are three phases in Schutzhund training; tracking, obedience, and protection. The sport tests three phases Tracking, Obedience and Protection at 3 levels. These are called Schutzhund or IGP 1, 2, and 3.


Before a dog can compete at the 1 level, he must pass a temperament test called a BH (Begleithundprüfung, which translates as “traffic-sure companion dog test”). The BH tests basic obedience and sureness around strange people, strange dogs, traffic, and loud noises. A dog that exhibits excessive fear, distractibility or aggression cannot pass the BH. The BH is an excellent temperament test for dogs of all breeds and the requirements are such that any dog of any breed can participate successfully. Having your dog pass a BH test demonstrates that he is of sound character and safe to be around.
You can also take a test in tracking or obedience separately, or a Schutzhund A test; obedience and protection but not tracking.