IPO formally known as Schutzhund (German for "protection dog") is a dog sport that was developed in Germany in the early 1900s as a breed suitability test for the German Shepherd Dog. The test would determine if the dog displayed the appropriate traits and characteristics of a proper working German Shepherd Dog. Today, it is used as a sport where many breeds other than German Shepherd Dogs can compete, but it is a demanding test for any dog that few can pass.
IPO/Schutzhund tests dogs of all breeds for the traits necessary for police-type work. Dogs that pass IPO/Schutzhund tests should be suitable for a wide variety of tasks: police work, specific odor detection, search and rescue, and many others. The purpose of IPO/Schutzhund is to identify dogs that have or do not have the character traits required for these demanding jobs.
Some of those traits are:
Strong desire to work
Strong bond to the handler
Sense of Smell
IPO/Schutzhund tests for these traits. It 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.
There are three schutzhund titles:
IPO1/Schutzhund 1 (IPO1,SchH1), IPO2/Schutzhund 2 (IPO2,SchH2), and IPO3/Schutzhund 3 (IPO3,SchH3).
IPO1/SchH1 is the first title and IPO3/SchH3 is the most advanced.
Additionally, before a dog can compete for an IPO/SchH1, he must pass a temperament test called a B or BH (Begleithundprüfung, which translates as "traffic-sure companion dog test"). The B tests basic obedience and sureness around strange people, strange dogs, traffic, and loud noises. A dog that exhibits excessive fear, distractibility, or aggression cannot pass the B and so cannot go on to schutzhund. The IPO/Schutzhund test has changed over the years. Modern IPO/Schutzhund consists of three phases: tracking, obedience, and protection. A dog must pass all three phases in one trial to be awarded a schutzhund title. Each phase is judged on a 100-point scale. The minimum passing score is 70 for the tracking and obedience phases and 80 for the protection phase. At any time the judge may dismiss a dog for showing poor temperament, including fear or aggression.