Schutzhund (/'ʃʊtshʊnt/, German for "protection dog"[c]), currently known competitively as IGP[b] and previously as IPO,[a] is a dog sport that tests a dog's tracking, obedience, and protection skills, and evaluates if a dog has the appropriate traits and characteristics of a good working dog. It was developed in Germany in the early 1900s as a suitability test for German Shepherds, but soon became the model for training and evaluating all five of the German protection breeds, which included Boxer, Dobermann, Riesenschnauzer, and Rottweiler. Though any breed of dog can participate, today the sport is dominated by German Shepherds and the closely related Belgian Malinois breed. Dog owners and handlers participate in Schutzhund clubs as a group activity for training the dogs, and clubs sponsor trials to test the dogs and award titles. The best dogs can qualify to participate in national and international level championships.
Schutzhund tests dogs for the traits necessary for police-type work. Dogs trained in Schutzhund are suitable for a wide variety of working tasks: police work, specific odor detection, search and rescue, and many others. The purpose of Schutzhund is to identify dogs that have, or do not have, the character traits required for these demanding jobs such as a strong desire to work, courage, intelligence, trainability, strong bond to the handler, perseverance, protective instinct, and a good sense of smell. Schutzhund also tests for physical traits such as strength, endurance, agility, and scenting ability. The goal of Schutzhund is to illuminate the character and ability of a dog through training. Breeders can use this insight to determine how and whether to use the dog in producing the next generation of working dogs.