German Shepherd people in America should know what Schutzhund is, and that Schutzhund dogs are very different from actual real life working dogs. People should be aware as modern Schutzhund is largely misunderstood, and modern breeders are exploiting Schutzhund for the purpose of selling puppies. To understand the Exploitation you must first understand the history and purpose of Schutzhund which means ” Sport Dog ” in German.
Back in the day when Max V. Stephantz, Arthur Meyer and Conrad Most were developing the German Shepherd Breed, they only wanted to breed ( reproduce ) dogs that had proven that they could work. This because working dogs typically had higher intelligence, instincts and stamina then those that were not working. In ” Work ”, I mean dogs that were active in Law Enforcement, Military and Border Patrol. This desire to only breeding working dogs became a Breed Standard, that still stands in Europe today via the European Breeding Standard. High level / Qualified GSD Breeders in America also follow the European Breeding Standard.
So the problem that Stephanitz and his assistants had with breeding working dogs is that they were actually working and not available for breeding. So a simulated working dog program was created and it was called Schutzhund. So these Schutzhud dogs were trained in obedience, and were trained to track a person across frozen ground and water. They were also trained to use their mouth for tactical purposes such as to restrain a person, or to inflict pain or death to an enemy combatant. While simulated, these early Schutzhund programs were very realistic and demanding of the dogs. The dogs were strictly judged and graded as a Sch 1. Sch 2 or Sch 3 with each level being more demanding, and requiring more skill from the dog. Per the regulations of this stage of GSD development, only males achieving Sch 3, and females achieving at least Sch 2 could be reproduced. So what I have described here is why Schutzhund was created, and what it was intended for. However beginning in the 1950’s in Europe, and 1960’s in the United States, Schutzhund became a social event and a business venture for Breeders, Trainers, Schutzhund Judges , dog supply and food and drink Vendors. But when dogs were judged as they were supposed to be, very few passed and were awarded Schutzhund Titles ( The 1, 2 and 3 rating ). So people ( the dogs Owners ) would loose interest and not come back. With no people and dogs coming to these social events, there was no training for Schutzhund, thus no Judging ( these people were paid ) and no sales for Vendors. So the Standards were lowered with most dogs receiving Schutzhund Titles ( and they shouldn’t have ) but everybody was happy, making money and having fun. This however was when the True Working dogs and their Owners / Breeders, and Schutzhund dogs with their Owner / Breeders went their separate ways. This because the true working dog Breeders and Trainers couldn’t watch these undeserving and inferior dogs being awarded Sch. Titles. Then people were breeding these Schutzhund dogs, thus advertising them with their so called Schutzhund Titles to sell puppies. This practice that I just described, thus Schutzhund being a business and social event, with undeserving and inferior dogs receiving Sch. Titles so as to sell puppies from these dogs, became more and more prevalent Worldwide and is a common practice in America. Real life working dogs- Personal Protection dogs, search and Rescue dogs, narcotics and bomb detection dogs, and tactical bite dogs are far superior to modern Schutzhund dogs in every way. As a person seeking a German Shepherd, you always want to acquire a puppy or dog reproduced from Real Working dogs if possible. Its difficult as most modern breeders with such dogs are only placing then with Law Enforcement and Military. There are only a few such German Shepherd Breeders in the U.S. placing these dogs and puppies with Civilians as Family and Companion dogs. Vom Zeder Haus German Shepherds is one such Breeder, and there are a few others. However people should understand the difference between Schutzhund and Real life working dogs.