The word Schutzhund is German, meaning Protection Dog. This,
unfortunately scares many away from the sport, including AKC. Some
believe the training produces aggressive dogs that are more apt to bite.
Good Schutzhund training produces just the opposite.
Schutzhund is a dog sport whose original purpose was to set up a
standard, though a series of tests, to evaluate the German working dog.
The results of these tests were used to determine the suitability of a
dog for breeding. It is the belief of a majority of German dog owners and
a growing number of American dog owners that to breed dogs, the physical
stricture should not be the only criterion. Schutzhund measures the dog's
mental stability, endurance, structural efficiencies, ability to scent,
willingness to work, courage and trainability.
Through the years other dog breeds have proven to be quite adept at the
sport including the Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler, Belgian Malinois,
Bouvier des Flanders, Boxers, Giant Schnauzer, and yes, the Airedale
Terrier. In the United States at this time there are only two Schutzhund
III titled Airedales: Maugh Vail's CH Seneca Newcomers' Chance (Myles)
and my dog, E-Nicholas Alexander von Argonaut. In Germany there are
hundreds upon hundreds of Airedales who have completed their SchH III in
the history of the breed.
Schutzhund is comprised of three main phases: tracking, obedience, and
protection. There are three levels; Schutzhund I, II & III, with each
level becoming more difficult for the dog and for the handler.
Before a dog trials for Schutzhund I, it must successfully complete the
"B" (Begleithund) or Companion Dog test. This test has 2 parts.
The first part takes place in a stadium type situation comprised of an
obedience routine. The second half takes place on the street of the
hosting club's city or town. It puts the dog in real life situations. The
dog cannot be aggressive to people or dogs. They must be able to do their
work with gun shots being fired and not be afraid of bicycles, joggers or
Good Schutzhund training produces a confident dog that can handle
different situations. They are terrific dependable family pets and they
are great with children. It eliminates fear biters, who bite because they
are afraid or those dogs that bite for no apparent reason.
In the United States, there are two main clubs, both having a parent
clubs in Germany. The first is USA (Unites Schutzhund Clubs of America).
This club is predominantly German Shepherd, but it lets all breed compete
in all but the world class events. The second club is DVG/America. This
club is for all breeds, but at present time is composed mostly of German
Shepherd owners also.
Schutzhund is a sport of all people; men/women, young/old. It does not
require any specific physical skills. It does, however, require a lot of
dedication, time and love of working with your dog.
With the formation of NAWATA, Airedales will be eligible for membership
in the American Working Dog Federation (AWDF), which would let Airedales
compete in world class events with other member breed clubs.