Schutzhund began more than 100 years ago in Germany. "Schutzhund" is a German word meaning “protection dog.” It refers to a sport that focuses on developing and evaluating traits in dogs which are desirable for breeding and determining which dogs should be bred together to maintain the characteristics of the German Shepherd Dog as a well rounded working breed.
Despite the fact that the sport was developed for the German Shepherd Dog, you will see other breeds such as the Belgian Malinois, Doberman, Rottweiler, Giant Schnauzer, Boxer and Bouvier competing as they too use it as a breed test. It measures the dog’s mental stability, endurance, structural efficiencies, ability to scent, willingness to work, courage, and trainability.
Schutzhund concentrates on three parts: Tracking, Obedience and Protection.
Tracking: the dog must use it's nose to follow the path of a human's footsteps and find three articles along the way. The level of difficulty and different terrains increases as you train and compete for higher level titles.
Obedience: the dog must obey the handler's commands during this phase which has a set routine and exercises that must be performed. The dog must display control but also an enthusiastic willingness to work without being distracted by other dogs or people.
Protection: this phase tests the natural instincts, drives, nerves, trainability and courage of the dog. The dog is only allowed to bite the protective sleeve worn on the arm of the helper - and only when the dog or handler is threatened. If the dog bites at the incorrect time or will not let go when commanded to, the team will be disqualified.