Shutzhund: What Does it Mean?

German Shepherd Protection Dog

Schutzhund is a German word that literally means “protection dog.”

To be a Schutzhund the dog must successfully accomplish a working dog trial in Germany that breeders use to evaluate the working ability and temperament of their dogs. Every dog in Germany, for the last 100+ years, must first pass the working dog trial prior to being used for breeding. By using this working dog trial, which is judged by impartial judges, German breeders have been able to eliminate those dogs that have undesirable qualities from the breeding program. A breeding dog in Germany must also meet other requirements: good hips, conformation, evaluation, and a DNA history of bloodlines before the dog may be bred in Germany.

BH: “Begleit Hund” or “Companion Dog”

This title is your basic obedience training title. In order to obtain this title the dog must:

  • Heel on and off leash through a series of turns and halts.
  • Heel through a group of people to evaluate the dog‘s steadiness in a crowd.
  • Be subjected to a blank gun being fired during the heeling exercise to test the dog‘s gun sureness.

The dog must also perform a “sit”, “down”, and “come” using voice commands. While one dog is demonstrating his obedience exercise, another dog is on a “long down” exercise to test his indifference to other dogs and people. A German Shepherd must past this BH test before the dog can proceed to the higher levels in Schutzhund training.

Schutzhund Trial:

There are three phases in the Schutzhund trial.

  1. Tracking Test. In the first phase, the dog demonstrates his ability to track people. During the tracking test, the dog will also locate “lost” objects dropped by the person.
  2. Obedience Test. In the second phase, the dog demonstrates his ability to work with the trainer through a series of obedience exercises: heeling, sit and stay, down and stay, stand and stay, come when called, and retrieving of a dumbbell through obstacles. This phase also tests the dog in his physical soundness.
  3. Protection. The third and final phase of the Schutzhund trial is the most important. The dog must be under complete control of the trainer at all times. If the dog, at any time, demonstrates a lack of control by the trainer, the dog is immediately dismissed. During the protection phase, the dog must search a group of hiding places to find the “bad guy”. Once the dog finds the “bad guy”, he must only hold the “bad guy” at bay by barking. The dog is then tested in a series of scenarios demonstrating protection of the trainer with absolute control.

During the obedience and protection phases of the Schutzhund trial, the dog is shown off leash. This, more than anything else, demonstrates to all how well trained these Schutzhund dogs are.

There are three levels of Schutzhund training as follows:

  1. SchH 1 = High School Diploma
  2. SchH 2 = Bachelors Degree
  3. SchH 3 = Doctorate

Schutzhund Wikipedia Article

For more information, about the history, training and fine qualities of Schutzhund Dogs, also review the Schutzhund Wikipedia Article