The Germans call it “Hundesport”, dog sport. For generations, people from Europe and North America have been drawn into this unique idea of participating in an active sport with a dog. Schutzhund offers this in a way that no other sport can. It is outdoors, it is physical, it is mental, the demands are great, but the sport also offers competition and new friendships. In short, it is what all recreational sports should first be: good exercise and full of rewards.

Schutzhund started at the beginning of this century as a test for working dogs, primarily German Shepherd Dogs. Its initial purpose was to determine which dogs could be used for breeding and which had true working ability. The growing demand for working dogs made more sophisticated tests and training necessary. These dogs were needed for police work, border patrol/customs, military and herding. As these tests evolved, more people participated just for the sheer enjoyment of seeing if their personal dogs could be trained as effectively as the “professional dogs”. Now, over 60 years after the first formal Schutzhund rules were introduced, tens of thousands of people participate in the sport each year.


Schutzhund tests three specific areas of a dog’s training and behavior. The first, tracking, requires the dog to track footsteps over mixed terrain, change directions and show absolute accuracy and commitment to finding the track. It must also find dropped articles and indicate their locations to the handler. Often this is done under less than ideal circumstances with difficult cover, bad weather conditions and an aged track.


The second phase is obedience. Those who are familiar with AKC obedience will feel more comfortable in this area, as many of the exercises are similar to those in Open and Utility. The handler and the dog work on a soccer sized trial field; championship trials take place on a football field. There is heeling, both on and off leash and through a group of milling people, with gunshots fired during the off-leash heeling. There is also a sit, down and stand-in-motion while heeling or running: the dog is expected to freeze in the appropriate position while the handler keeps moving as if nothing happened. There are two recalls from the running down and the running stand. There is a long down under distraction (while a second team is doing their routine) with a gun fire (any gun shyness automatically fails the dog). In addition to the normal dumbbell retrieval, where the SchH3 dumbbell used on the flat weighs 2 kg (4.4 lbs), the dog must also retrieve a 600 g dumbbell over a one meter jump and a six foot A-frame. A long send away with down conclude the test. The dog is not only judged on the precision of each exercise, correct position, straight fronts and finishes, but also his attitude and speed and how he performs each exercise.


The final test is the most misunderstood by the general public, this is protection. The dog must be under complete control at all times to get maximum points. The dog searches six blinds (hiding places), where he finds the decoy in blind #6. He guards the decoy by barking and without touching the man. The dog must never bite the trial helper (decoy) unless either the dog or the handler is attacked, then he must attack fully and without hesitation, even under severe threat and stick hits (given with a padded, noisy stick). Here is where the real differences become apparent. The dog must stop biting on command of the handler and guard the trial helper without further biting. Often people confuse Schutzhund protection training with police dog, personal protection work or “guard dog” training. While police dog training is legitimate (dogs and handlers are certified), many (not all) “guard dog” trainers and personal protection trainers are not. Some even may claim that they do Schutzhund, but in fact have never titled a dog. If you simply ask them about trial rules and how they train the other two phases as well and whether they have achieved any SchH titles this will answer your question….. It takes a certain kind of dog to do this work, be it Schutzhund or police/patrol dog, one with superior temperament, courage and drives, healthy, predictable, discriminating aggression (meaning that they can be easily taught when and when NOT to bite), nerve stability and the ability to control its drives under stress. Only this kind of dog is capable of the feats of not being aggressive except in specific situations it is trained to face, when there is a threat of him or his handler being hurt, and even then it must always be under absolute control of the handler. Many, many dogs are not cut out for this sport or any kind of protection training.

The above tests are difficult enough, but to make it even more demanding, they all happen in one day, except in the championship trials where the tracking may be held on a different day from the other two phases, split due to the large number of entries and the locations of the tracking fields. These trials are held by local clubs, in Regional, National, and World Championships. The maximum number of points that a dog can achieve in each phase is 100 pts for a total of 300. The minimum score to pass is 70-70-80 = 220 total.

When a dog successfully completes the first trial, it is awarded a title of Schutzhund 1 (SchH1), it can progress to SchH2, and then to the ultimate, SchH3, which is the competition level. Each level makes greater demands on the dog and training in all three areas. Any Schutzhunder will tell you that a high scoring SchH3 dog can be the ultimate working dog, one in thousands of working dogs. In addition to the SchH1, 2, and 3 titles, other titles can be achieved in advanced tracking (FH1 and FH2); the BH (similar to the CD and CGC combined), which is the temperament test that is required before titling in the SchH trials; police dog training titles (DPO1 and 2), where the dog and handler have to be active K9 officers; and an endurance test (the AD), where the dog has to complete 12.5 miles at a certain speed next to a bicycle. Today Schutzhund is more than the small group that started in Germany one hundred years ago. Its organizations have several hundred thousand members, scattered across Europe, North America, and most other continents



Glossary of terms

Newcomers to Schutzhund can find themselves mighty confused when it comes to the abbreviations and acronyms they encounter. Sometimes, the old-timers can’t remember what they stand for either! Especially when they’re based on words from another language!

There are too many to cover every conceivable acronym that you are going to encounter. However, these are the most likely to cause confusion in the sport of Schutzhund. They are presented here in alphabetical order, for ease of reference, with links to related abbreviations. Some explanation is provided where the meaning is not self-evident. This should help you make sense of the terms that are tossed around in conversation, and the alphabet soup that appears on pedigrees and in ads for dogs and litters.

A a-stamp ‘a-stamp’ (indicates a passing hip score with regards to testing for hip dysplasia/joint laxity). An SV certification rating. See also OFA, OVC, PennHip.
a-Normal = certified normal hips
a-Fast Normal = certified near normal hips
a-Noch zugelassen = certified hips, still permissable for breeding
a ausgeprägt – Pronounced. Used by the judge in describing a dog’s courage and “hardness” see TSB
A Ausreichend — sufficient — show or performance rating
ABST Advanced Breed Suitability Test
AD Ausdauerprüfung – endurance trial 12 miles in 2 hours.
AKC American Kennel Club – American breed club organization. The AKC is not involved in the sport of Schutzhund. The AKC has a working relationship with the FCI, but not with WUSV. The AKC is a club of clubs, and is primarily a registry for purebred dogs.
AZG Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Zuchtvereine und Gebrauchshundeverbände — Association of breed registry and working-dog sport clubs — The AZG has the purpose of administrating uniform international schutzhund rules via the FCI, to assure inter-club and international conformity, making it possible to hold identical or similar international trial competitions in many countries. see VDH
Begleithunde – the preliminary and prerequisite test for a dog going on to get his/her Schutzhund titles. A combination temperament and obedience test. B and BH are used interchangeably.
B Besitzer Owner
BSP BundesSiegerPrüfung – trial at the national level
BST Breed Suitability Test
BSZS BundesSiegerZuchtSchau – show at the national level
Companion Dog, Companion Dog Excellent. Obedience titles granted by the AKC / CKC
CGC the dog has a Canine Good Citizen certificate
CHD Canine Hip Dysplasia
CKC Canadian Kennel Club – the Canadian equivalent of the AKC. Unlike the AKC, the CKC has individual members. Primarily a breed registry. Also, Continental Kennel Club, a different and completely unrelated dog breed organization.
DHV The German “Dog Sport Club” (Deutscher Hundesport Verein), which is the “National parent club” or the “Union” of the Dog Sport Clubs of Germany.
DVG Deutscher Verband der Gebrauchshundsportvereine e.V. (German member of DHV) A dog sport club and one of the larger members of the DHV. Has some branches in the US and Canada Alternate organization for Schutzhund, with slightly different rules, and a broader breed focus – not limited to the GSD.
EZ Einfache Zucht (Simple Breeding) Only one parent has a working degree.
FCI Fédération Cynologique Internationale – the world Canine organization. Membership is currently at 79 countries’ national, purebred dog organizations.
FH 1,
FH 2
Fährtenhund – tracking dog title
G Gut (good show or performance rating)
GSD German Shepherd Dog – common abbreviation for German Shepherds
GSDCA German Shepherd Dog Club of America – a member of the WUSV but not the FCI
GSDCC German Shepherd Dog Club of Canada
GSSCC German Shepherd Schutzhund Club of Canada – a WUSV member
GZ Gebrauchshundzucht – Utility Dog Breeding. Both parents have working titles.
H Hündin – Female
HD Hip Dysplaysia
HOT Handler-Owner-Trained
IPO also IP 1, 2, 3 International Prüfungsordnung (International working tests) Class I, II, III, similar to schutzhund. International Schutzhund titles, functionally equivalent to SchH I, II, III.
Körklasse 1 (especially recommended for breeding by the SV) Körklasse 2 (suitable for breeding by the SV)
KLZ Kör- und Leistungszucht – Qualification and Performance Breeding. Both parents have breed surveys and all four grandparents have working titles.
KZ Körzucht – Qualification Breeding – Both parents have breed surveys.
LBST Lifetime Breed Suitability Test
Lbz Lebenszeit – Breed surveyed for life
LZ Leistungszucht – Performance Breeding. Both parents and all four grandparents have working titles
M Mangelhaft -faulty – show or performance rating
ng nicht genügend – insufficient. Used by the judge in describing a dog’s courage and “hardness”. See TSB
OFA Orthopedic Foundation for Animals a non-profit registry which issues “arms length” certification on various health concerns, (not limited to Orthopaedics). Reference is usually with regards to the practice of x-raying hips and certifying the dogs to be free of hip dysplasia. See also “a stamp”
OFA Excellent – no dysplasia, superior hip socket conformation
OFA Good – no dysplasia, a well formed, congruent hip joint
OFA Fair – no dysplasia, minor irregularities in the hip joint present OFA Borderline – no consensus between radiologists to place hip into either a normal or dysplastic catagory OFA Mild (Grade I) – mild hip dysplasia present
OFA Moderate (Grade II) – moderate hip dysplasia present
OFA Severe (Grade III) – severe hip dysplasia present
OVC Ontario Veterinary College (Canada) Hips will be graded as Pass or Fail. See also OFA and “a stamp”
PennHIP Developed at University of Pennsylvania (USA) The procedure measures hip joint laxity; it does not grade a passing or failing score. Loose hips are more prone to developing degenerative joint disease. See OVC, OFA, “a stamp”
R Rüde – Male
ROM Register of Merit – title awarded to the sire or dam for the accomplishments of its progeny.
ROM – Register of Merit: A title given by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America to animals who have produced a minimum number of conformation Champions and other winning offspring.
ROM/C – Register of Merit United States and Canada
ROMC – Register of Merit Canada
SchH 1,
SchH 2, SchH 3
Schutzhund, and the 3 levels of titles awarded. Each level is a progression and built on the skills learned in the previous level. Used as an abbreviation, “SchH” can refer to the dog or the sport. Titles are sometimes written as SchH 1, SchH 2, SchH 3.
SchHA A limited SchH title, similar to SchH I but without the tracking portion.
SG Sehr Gut (very good show or performance rating)
SG1, SG2, etc. See V1.
SGR Sieger (male) or Siegerin (female) -the best male or female at the national conformation specialty show
SV Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (German Shepherd Dog Club) The original GSD breed club and breed registry, based in Germany. The SV is not only the largest breed-specific registry in the world, it’s also extremely active. In addition to being a breed registry, the SV also promotes working-dog activities, i.e. by awarding working titles (SchH). They also sanction conformation show and koerungs (breed surveys). The SV is a member of the VDH. (Schutzhund,IPO etc.)
SZ Precedes the SV registration number i.e SZ 1234567
TC Temperament Certificate
TD, TDX Tracking dog titles granted by the AKC/CKC
TSB Triebveranlagung – fighting drive
TT Temperament Tested
U ungenügend – insufficient – show or performance rating
UD UDX Utility Dog, Utility Dog Excellent. Advanced obedience titles granted by the AKC/CKC
UKC United Kennel Club
USA United Schutzhund Clubs of America
USA United Schutzhund clubs of America (as opposed to United States of America)
V Vorzüglich (excellent show or performance rating) awarded to dogs with a working title only
NZB Nachzucht Bewertung – progeny evaluation
v –
von or vom – in a dog’s name, meaning “of” or “from”Usually indicates the start of the kennel name. I.e. dogname von kennelname. “Von” or “vom” is gender specific to the gender of the kennel name – not the dog.
V1 V2, V3, etc. Ranking at the BSP, V being excellent and top rating, the top placed dog is V1, second is V2, etc. until reaching the dogs rated SG, then they are SG1, SG2, etc.
VA Vorzüglich-Auslese (Excellent Select show rating given only at Sieger show) (VA-1) See V1.
VDH Dog Society of Germany – VDH (Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen e.V.). It is the “national”, “parent”, or “main”dog club of Germany, and in turn is a member in, and bound by the rules of that international or “World Dog Club”, the FCI. The SV is a member of the VDH.
Just to be confusing, VDH is also the German Shepherd Dog club in the Netherlands, (Vereniging van Fokkers en Liefhebbers van Duitse Herdershonden)
vh vorhanden – Present or Sufficient Used by the judge in describing a dog’s courage and “hardness” see TSB, or in the context of a show rating.
WDA Working Dog Association
WUSV Welt Union der Schäferhundvereine or World Union of GSD clubs. International breed umbrella for GSD breed clubs. Author and owner of the GSD international breed standard for the FCI (see FCI) Currently represents more than 60 countries, established to bring all GSD clubs worldwide closer together, and in sync with the SV in Germany. (see SV) The WUSV is allied to the FCI through direct communications, as well as through membership in the FCI club, the German VDH. (see VDH) Clubs like the GSSCC and the USA have a dotted-line connection to the FCI and a direct connection to the WUSV, and that strongly encourages them to abide by both FCI and SV regulations.
Z Züchter   Breeder
Ztgl Zuchttauglich Suitable for breeding. Subject animal passed their ZTP.
Zuchttauglichkeitsprüfung – Breed-Suitability-Test – incorporating hip rating, conformation, and basic working ability.
ZW Zuchtwert. ZW-value — Zuchtwert evaluation — is Breed Value Assessment – a number assigned that gives an indication of the genotype of the dog for breeding purposes. A more definitive explanation is here: