What is Schutzhund?

Schutzhund began as a breeding suitability test that has now evolved into a sport and hobby for many dog enthusiasts around the globe!

Dogs of many breeds, even mixed breeds will compete in Schutzhund. Any relatively large dog with the right temperament and physical characteristics can participate. However the most common breeds are the herding and working breeds.

For the obedience or tracking phase almost any breed, of any size, may be suitable to train and even compete in a trial.

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.

IGP is an acronym for International Gebrauchshund Ordnung which translates from German to English as "International Obedience Testing"

While Schutzhund does show the dog in a protection phase it requires extensive obedience training to control the dog in the protection phase therefore Schutzhund is an Obedience Test of the dog in all three of its drive: food, prey and frustration.

​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; German Shepherd, Belgian Shepherd Malinois, Rottweiller, Doberman, Bouvier and Boxers. It is a demanding test for any dog. It is also often called IGP or IPO

The sport and breeding test of Schutzhund tests the dogs strong desire to work harmoniously with the handler obedience, its courage and fighting drives in the protection phase and its intelligence , ability to work independantly and trainability in nose work.

It also tests for physical traits such as strength, endurance, agility, and scenting ability as well as temperament testing around cars, dogs and people.

The sport’s goal is to reveal the character and the capabilities 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.

There are three phases in Schutzhund training; tracking, obedience, and protection and these are all referred to as Schutzhund or IGP Level 1, 2, and 3.

Before a dog can compete at the Level 1, he must pass a temperament test called a BH (Begleithundprüfung, which translates as “traffic-sure and 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.

The Eloquence of IPO Observations

Watch this video for insight into the intricate sport of IGP