Schutzhund and Your German Shepherd
WHAT IS SCHUTZHUND?
from the German Shepherd Dog Club of America:
Schutzhund is a German word meaning “protection dog.” It refers to a sport that focuses
on developing and evaluating those traits in dogs that make them more useful and happier
companions to their owners.
Schutzhund work concentrates on three parts. Many familiar with the obedience work of
the American Kennel Club’s affiliates will recognize the first two parts, tracking and
obedience. The Schutzhund standards for the third part, protection work, are similar to
those for dogs in police work.
While dogs of other breeds are also admitted to Schutzhund trials, this breed evaluation
test was developed specifically for the German Shepherd Dog. Schutzhund is intended to
demonstrate the dog’s intelligence and utility. As a working trial, Schutzhund measures the
dog’s mental stability, endurance, structural efficiencies, ability to scent, willingness to
work, courage and trainability.
This working dog sport offers an opportunity for dog owners to train their dog and compete
with each other for recognition of both the handler’s ability to train and the dog’s ability to
perform as required. It is a sport enjoyed by persons of varied professions, who join
together in a camaraderie born of their common interest in working with their dogs.
Persons of all ages and conditions of life --- even those with significant disabilities --- enjoy
Schutzhund as a sport. Often, it is a family sport.
In addition to the Schutzhund titles, the GSDCA-WDA offers three additional training
degrees. Two of these, the FH1 and FH2, are advanced tracking degrees that require the
dog to follow tracks over changing terrain, discriminate between cross-tracks and is at
least 3 hours old.
The third is the BH. The BH is a degree for traffic-safe companion dogs that tests the dogs
temperament in and around people. It includes basic formal obedience - heeling on and off
leash, sits, downs and recalls - as well as practical tests of the dog’s character in everyday
situations. These include reaction to normal situations involving crowds of people, strange
noises, joggers, cars and other dogs. Before being allowed to enter for a Schutzhund I title,
the dog must first have successfully completed the BH.
There are three levels of the Schutzhund test for which titles can be earned.
For Schutzhund I the dog must be at least 18 months old and pass an initial temperament
test by the judge. The dog must heel on the leash and off, demonstrate the walking sit, the
walking down, and the stay tests, as well as, the send-out. It must retrieve on the flat and
over a hurdle. In tracking, it must be able to follow a track laid by its handler at least 20
minutes earlier. There are also protection tests.
For Schutzhund 2 the dog must be at least 19 months old and must already have earned its
Schutzhund I degree. It must again pass all of the obedience and protection tests required
for the Schutzhund I degree, but those tests, for Schutzhund 2, are made more difficult and
require greater endurance, agility, and above all, control. There is an additional retrieve
required over the six foot slanted wall. In tracking, the Schutzhund 2 candidate must be
able to follow a track laid by a stranger at least 30 minutes earlier.
For Schutzhund 3 the master’s degree, the dog must be at least 20 months old and must
have earned both the Schutzhund I and the Schutzhund II titles. Again, the tests now are
made far more difficult. All exercises in obedience and protection are demonstrated off
leash. There is the additional of a walking and running stand. In tracking, the dog must
follow a track that was laid by a stranger at least 60 minutes earlier. The track has four
turns, compared with two turns for Schutzhund I and 2, and there are three objects, rather
than two, that must be found by the dog. The picture of obedience, strength, eagerness
and confidence presented by an excellent Schutzhund 3 team is a beautifully illustration of
the partnership of human and dog.
|German Shepherds and Rottweilers of
Los Angeles and Ventura counties