Schutzhund Overview (Long)

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Schutzhund Overview (Long)

Post by Michael Sierch » Thu, 14 May 1992 02:00:06

What is Schutzhund?

Schutzhund is a dog training and breeding regimen developed originally in
the 20's by the Deutsches Shaeferhund Verein (German Shepherd Dog Club), or
SV, in order to maintain the working ability of the breed.  While the term
Schutzhund means literally "protection dog",  the training involves work
equally in tracking, obedience and protection.  In order to get a
Schutzhund degree a dog must pass all three phases of the work. Also, a
working title (at least a SchH I) is required for breed survey purposes,
and in order to register an approved litter.

Many breeds now participate in addition to GSDs.  While there may be
individual dogs of a particular breed that may be suitable for the work,
the following are most consistently able to perform: GSDs, Belgian
Malinois, Doberman Pinscher, Bouvier des Flandres, Rottweiler, Tervuren,
Boxer, Giant Schnauzer, etc.   Generally, these are larger working breeds
with strong prey and defense drives, and temperaments suitable for the
tasks of the training.  Under current rules fighting breeds, such as Pit
Bulls, Am Staffs, Bull Staffs, etc. are not eligible to participate.

There are three major degrees awarded - SchH I, SchH II, and SchH III -- in
order of increasing difficulty.  SchH I (IPO I) is the apprentice test.  A
SchH III dog must demonstrate a high level of performance, ability and

The traits that make for a good Schutzhund candidate mostly are innate
characteristics that must be bred for.  Even among dogs bred out of
Schutzhund ***es and dogs, a minority have the ability to reach even SchH
I, and a small percentage will have the necessary drive, intelligence and
hardness to achieve a Sch III title. In addition to breeding, early
development is important.  The young pup should not be subjected to strong
corrections or experience being dominated by another dog, and all training
and play should end on a positive note, with the pup "winning".

The IPO (International Pruefungsordnung) rules, under the auspices of the
FCI (Federation Internationale Cynologique), are similar to the Schutzhund
rules and the trials are run in the same manner, with the exception that no
evaluation of the fighting instincts, courage or hardness of an IPO entrant
is performed during the protection phase of the trial.

(The following information on degrees and requirements is from the United
Schutzhund Clubs of America)

Degree                                            Min Age

B        Begleithunde                              12 months
         (Companion Dog)

FH       Faehrtenhundpruefung                      16 months
         (Advanced Tracking Dog Test)

AD       Ausdauerpruefung                          16 months
         (Endurance Test)

SchH A   Schutzhund Examination A                  18 months
SchH I   Schutzhund Examination I                  18 months
SchH II  Schutzhund Examination II                 19 months
SchH III Schutzhund Examination III                20 months

The maximum score in each of the three phases shall be 100 points.
Therefore, the highest possible score in a trial is 300 points.  A degree
shall be awarded only if a dog achieves at least 70 points in Tracking and
Obedience, and at least 80 points in Protection.

[For the purposes of illustration, I have included the rules for SchH I


The Schutzhund A Examination is composed of phases B and C of the SchH I
Examination.  The conduct of the examination is the same except that the
tracking phase is omitted, and the maximum possible score is 200 points.
This training degree is not accepted under the rules for conformation
shows, breeding requirements or breed surveys.


Phase A - Tracking

Tracking a 350-400 pace long trail at least 20 minutes old with two
articles on a 10 meter tracking lead, or tracking without a lead.  The
track has two 90 degree turns.  The handler lays the track as indicated by
the judge, placing the first article in the middle of the first or second
leg without interrupting the pace or changing the stride.  The second
article is deposited at the end of the track.

The handler reports to the judge with the dog, and indicates whether the
articles will be picked up or pointed out.  The dog and handler proceed to
the scent pad at the beginning of the track. Prior to tracking, and during
the entire tracking phase, all force or pressure is to be avoided.  At the
start, the dog must be given sufficient time to absorb the scent.

The dog must beging quietly and pick up the scent with a deep nose. As soon
as the dog begins to track, the handler must stop and let the length of the
10 meter leash slip through his/her hands.  The handler now follows at the
distance of 10 meters, whether tracking with a lead or without.

Immediately upon finding an article, the dog must convincingly stop, stand,
sit, or pick up the article, or return it to the handler.  If pointing out,
the dog must lie, sit or stay.  By lifting the article high in the air, the
handler indicates to the judge that it has been found.  The tracking leash
is loosely held as the dog and handler continue on the track. The articles
are presented to the presiding judge after completion of the track.

A faulty start, excessive circling on corners, continued praise, faulty
picking up or pointing of the articles, dropping articles, pronounced
quartering, high nose, urinating or defecating on the track, or hunting
mice, etc. will be penalized.

Phase B - Obedience

Heeling on Leash and Impartiality - 15 Points

Starting from the basic heeling position, the dog and handler proceed for
40 paces without stopping. A turnabout is performed, and after 10-15 paces
a running heel followed by a slow heel, each of about 10 paces, are
demonstrated. During a normal pace at least one left turn, one right turn,
and one left turnabout must be performed.  A halt must be performed after
the turns and while the handler is moving straight.  A voice command is
permitted only when starting the exercise, or when changing pace. The judge
will direct the handler through a group of at least 4 people, amd the
handler is required to stop at least once in the group. The group is
expected to mingle about.

Heeling off Leash - 20 Points

When requested by the judge, the leash will be removed while in the basic
position.  The handler moves through the group with the dog freely
heeling.  After demostrating ar least one halt, the handler and dog leave
the group and perform the heeling exercises that were performed on leash.
While the dog and handler are performing the off-leash exercises, at least
2 gun shots (6 - 9 mm) are to be fired (not while moving in the group) and
the dog must remain indifferent to the noise. Special emphasis is placed on
indifference to the gun.  If the judge deems the dog to be insecure or
should the dog run from the shot, the judge may excuse the dog from further

Sit Exercise - 10 Points

From the basic heeling position the handler and free heeling dog proceed in
a straight line.  After at least ten paces, the handler issues the voice
command to sit - the dog should quickly come to a sit position.  The
handler shall continue for at least 30 paces without interrupting pace or
direction, then stop and turn around to face the dog. At the direction of
the judge, the handler returns to the right side of the dog.

Down with Recall - 10 Points

From the basic heeling position the handler and free heeling dog proceed in
a straight line.  After at least ten paces, the handler issues the voice
command to down - the dog should quickly come to a down position.  The
handler shall continue for at least 30 paces without interrupting pace or
direction, then stop and turn around to face the dog. At the direction of
the judge, the handler shall recall the dog.  The dog should come to the
handler with a spirited and swift motion and sit close in front.  Upon a
"heel" command, the dog should quickly come to a sit position next to the

Retrieving an Article belonging to the Handler on Level Ground - 10 Points

The dog sitting freely next to the handler should, when given the voice
command, quickly move toward the article tossed approximately 10 paces
away. The dog must immediately and quickly bring the article back to the
handler, and sit close in front. The dog must hold the article until, after
a brief pause, the handler issues the command to let go.  After the command
to heel, the dog should come quickly to the heel position.  In place of an
article belonging to the handler, a dumbbell can be used --  however,
balls, toys, etc. are not considered personal articles.

Retrieving an Article belonging to the Handler over a 1 Meter High and 1.5
Meter Wide Brush Hurdle - 15 Points

The handler assumes a position at an acceptable distance in front of the
hurdle while the dog sits freely next to the handler.  The article is
tossed over the hurdle.  Upon voice command, the dog shall clear the hurdle
without touching it, pick up the article, return over the jump and sit
closely in front of the handler. The article must be held by the dog until
the handler removes it with the command to let go.

Go Ahead and Down - 10 Points

When requested by the judge, the handler and freely heeling dog proceed a
few paces in the designated direction.  The command to "go out" should be
executed by simultaneously stopping and lifting the arm to indicate
direction.  The dog must move at a fast pace at least 25 paces.  The dog
must lay down quickly upon voice command. At the request of the judge, the
handler proceeds to pick up the dog by moving to the right side of the dog,
commanding the dog to sit, and then putting on the leash.

Long Down Under Distraction

Prior to the start of the obedience exercises of another dog, the handler
commands the dog into a down position at a spot designated by the judge.
The handler moves approximately 40 paces away within sight of the dog. The
handler remains quiet with his back to the dog.  The dog must remain in the
down position without additional influences from the handler until the
other dog concludes the first 6 exercises.  The finish will be like the Go
Ahead and Down, above.

Phase C - Protection

Search for the Helper - 5 Points

The helper is hidden in a position 40 paces away so that the dog must make
searching passes to the right and left, or vice versa.  The handler and
dog must be oout of sight when the helper moves into the hiding place.
At the request of the judge, the handler releases the dog and gives the
command to search towards the empty hiding place, then towards the
helper. The command "here" and the dog's name may be used.

Hold and Bark - 10 Points

When the dog reaches the helper it should immediately and continuously
bark.  The dog should not bother the helper by gripping or bumping. The
handler is to remain at a distance of approximately 25 paces. When the
judge indicates, the handler will pick up the dog and hold it securely
so that the helper can leave the hiding place.

Attack - 35 Points

A helper is directed to proceed to another hiding place at least 50 paces
away.  Upon directions from the judge, the handler will proceed with a free
heeling dog towards the hiding place.  The handler is now attacked from the
front by the helper, who suddenly comes out of the hiding place.  No
contact is permitted between the handler and helper.  The dog must
immediately attack and demonstrate a firm grip.  The dog will be struck
with a flexible, padded stick -- two blows will be given on the flanks,
thighs, or withers.  Encouragement may be given via vocal command.  When
requested by the judge, the helper stops the aggression.  The dog must
independently release, or release his grip upon receiving the command to
"out".  After receiving the command from the judge, the handler will hold
the dog by the collar.

Pursuit and Hold - 50 Points

The helper makes threatening gestures and runs away.  After he has gone
about 50 paces, the handler sends the dog toward the helper and remains
standing still. The judge will instruct the helper to turn around and run
toward the dog when the dog is about 30 paces away.  Using aggressive and
threatening motions, the helper will run toward the dog.  When the doig has
taken a firm grip, the helper will press the dog briefly without applying
the stick, then cease resistance.  The dog must release, either
independently, or after receiving the command to "out".  After the dog has
let go, the handler will remain standing without influencing the dog.  Upon
a signal from the judge, the handler will approach the dog and helper at a
normal pace.  The handler will order the helper to step back from the dog,
and order the dog to lay down.  The helper will be searched and disarmed
before transport to the judge.  The dog will be on leash during transport.
The handler will leave the area with the dog on leash.

The fighting drive, including courage and hardness, is to be scrutinized
during the entire protection phase.  This will be rated as pronounced,
sufficient, or insufficient.

Only energetic fighting and a firm grip will allow a full score.  A dog that
does not release after one command to let go, or who is not under control
of the handler, or who fails any exercise of the protection phase cannot
pass the test.  If a dog fails a single exercise, it will be excused from
the remainder of the phase.  No deductions are made for a dog that alertly
circles the helper.

Michael Sierchio                               TRW Financial Systems

                                             Berkeley, CA 94704-1105
(MKS2)                                               +1 510 704 3380
Michael Sierchio                               TRW Financial Systems

                                             Berkeley, CA 94704-1105
(MKS2)                                               +1 510 704 3380