The Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde, SV (Society for the German Shepherd Dog) was founded by Max von Stephanitz (creator of the German Shepherd Dog) in 1899. Stephanitz believed strongly that a dog’s working ability was of the utmost importance. With the co-operation of police and working dog clubs, a set of specific tests were developed in tracking, formal obedience and protection. They created these tests with the goal of evaluating the working ability of the GSD. The SV believes that correct working temperament is a representation of the character and quality of the German Shepherd Dog.
Before a dog can earn a Schutzhund title, he must first pass the BH (Begleitungshund). This is an obedience test that that involves a heeling pattern both on and off leash. After heeling, the dog is put in a down stay on the edge of the field, 30 paces from his handler while another dog performs the heeling routine. After obedience comes a traffic/temperament test. This involves cars, bicycles, joggers, dogs and pedestrians. The dog must remain indifferent to any noises or movements, and allow his handler to interact with strangers. Evaluating the dog’s temperament and control occurs during the entire trial and a dog may be dismissed at any time for defect of character. Defects include a nervous or insecure dog that avoids people, a dog that growls or threatens, or a dog who displays any aggressive behaviour.
The BH is pass or fail and on successful completion, dog and handler may move on to earn their Schutzhund I title. Schutzhund titles are comprised of 3 phases; Tracking, Obedience and Protection.