What is Schutzhund? Part 1

Have you ever wondered what exactly Schutzhund is? No it’s not a German delicacy. However, it is one of the longest running sports in Germany, and one that I love.

You can’t talk about Schutzhund without talking about the breed that started it all…the German Shepherd dog. The GSD is what Schutzhund was developed for. Captain Max von Stephanitz was the man that bred the first German Shepherd back in the 1890’s. Captain Max von Stephanitz dedicated his life to the breed and he is the one that created the sport of Schutzhund. With the industrialization of Germany in those years, breeders promoted the use of the breed for military and police work. Captain Max von Stephanitz was concerned that change of GSD’s going from being herding dogs, which they were bred for, to careless breeding of the dogs and promoting traits like mental instability which is a undesired trait.

With those concerns, Stephanitz founded Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde (German Shepherd Association) also known as SV. With the SV, he developed the Schutzhund test. The Schutzhund test was developed to emphasize the correct working temperament and the ability in the GSD. The first trial was held in Germany in 1901. Trials continued in Germany because it was believed this was the way to help produce dogs of the highest quality and help eliminate any lines that didn’t have the temperaments that were desired and those that couldn’t/wouldn’t be able to handle the work load the German Shepherd was born to have.

Sine the development of the SV and the first trial, many other countries have adopted Schutzhund as a sport and a test of working dogs. Working dog associations have also adopt it. Due to this reason, International rules were established and they are administered by the Verein fur Deutsche Hundesport, also called VDH (German Shepherd Sports Association). When that GSD arrived in the U. after WWII, Schutzhund didn’t follow it. We didn’t see the first sight of the sport until the 1970’s when a German immigrant made the first Schutzhund club in the U.S.

To be continued…


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