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What Dog Breeds Can Do Schutzhund? (4 Best IPO/IGP Breeds)

If you’re looking to get into Schutzhund training, you will need to find the right dog for this sport. Without an appropriate partner, your chances of winning IGP (formerly IPO) titles are little to none.

When choosing a dog for Schutzhund, most handlers will only work with specific breeds. But it doesn’t mean you should do the same.

Can Any Dog Breed Do Schutzhund?

Any breed can participate in Schutzhund as long as the dog is old enough and healthy. However, some clubs run breed-specific trials where dogs of a particular breed compete against each other. Apart from that, IGP titles are open to any breed, including mixed-breeds. But certain breeds make better Schutzhund dogs.

Unusual Schutzhund Dog

Learn More About What Dogs Can Do Schutzhund Training!

What Is The Best Dog Breed For Schutzhund Training?

Initially developed for German Shepherds, Schutzhund is still dominated by this breed. Very similar to GSDs, Belgian Malinois can also be excellent dogs for this canine sport. Many other breeds are suitable for Schutzhund too, such as Beaucerons, Bouvier de Flandres, Boxers, Dobermans, Dutch Shepherds, Rottweilers, and more.

Find Schutzhund Dog Breed For You!

Although you want a dog suitable for IGP, you should also consider your other needs to choose the right breed for you. Your goals in Schutzhund, lifestyle, experience with training, and personal preferences will influence what dog you should get. 

That’s why I highly recommend you to visit local clubs and observe different breeds and dogs. You can also talk with their handlers to understand better what it’s like to train, compete and live with them. To know what dog or breed you want, you must see it in action.

Top 4 Best Schutzhund Dog Breeds!

Regardless of what companion you need, some breeds are more likely to do well in IGP. Schutzhund training requires a specific temperament and traits in a dog to develop obedience, tracking, and protection skills.

The breed will probably help you figure out whether or not a dog is well-suited for this sport. However, keep in mind two dogs of the same breed can be different. You should also note that dogs from working lines are much more appropriate for Schutzhund than those bred as home pets.

In my selection of the best dog breeds for this sport, I will only focus on the working type dogs of the breed. They are generally more athletic, energetic, trainable, and have a better temperament for Schutzhund. Now here are the 4 best IPO dog breeds!

Schutzhund Dog Breeds

German Shepherds.

Since Schutzhund was developed as a breed test for German Shepherds, this breed is the most appropriate for this dog sport. Intelligent, strong, versatile, and energetic, it’s not surprising that GSDs excel at practically anything, including IGP. 

The German Shepherd can also make a good family companion while improving his obedience, tracking, and protection skills. This breed is well-rounded in all phases of Schutzhund and should give you the best chance to win IGP titles.


  • Intelligent & Trainable.
  • Athletic, Strong, Energetic & Versatile
  • Stable & Confident Temperament.


  • Prone To Many Health or Structural Problems.
  • GSDs Vary A Lot From One To Another.
  • Constant Shedding.

Best Dog Breed For:

  • All-Around Schutzhund Partner.
  • Family Pet.

Belgian Malinois.

Very similar to German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois is the second most popular breed for Schutzhund training. The main difference between them and GSDs is that they are smaller, short-coated, more hyper, and independent. Belgian Malinois can also be great dogs for competing in IGP.

This breed has a strong drive and unlimited energy. Malis are generally more athletic, agile, and faster than GSDs but less balanced. The main potential issues with them are their hyperactivity and high sensitivity. Some Belgian Malinois can also have difficulty with tracking.


  • Intelligent & Trainable.
  • Extremely Energetic, High Drive & Strong Desire To Work.
  • Very Compact & Athletic.


  • Hyperactive & High-Strung.
  • Independent & Too Sensitive.
  • Not Always Good At Tracking.

Best Dog Breed For:

  • Experienced Schutzhund Trainers.
  • Active People.


Bred as cattle and military dogs, Rottweilers are also great Schutzhund partners. They are strong and powerful while still being sensitive and affectionate. Intelligent, protective, and good-natured, Rotties are excellent candidates for this sport as well as good companions. 

This breed is also fun to work with because they always smile and are big clowns. The Rottweiler has a calm, courageous, and confident temperament that makes him well-suited for Schutzhund. However, they may not be as athletic and fast as other breeds on this list.


  • Strong & Powerful.
  • Intelligent & Trainable.
  • Protective & Affectionate.


  • Lack Of Stamina & Endurance.
  • Stubborn.
  • Bored By Repetition.

Best Dog Breed For:

  • Guard & Protection Work.
  • Affectionate Family Pet.


The Doberman Pinscher is protective, athletic, and sensitive, making a good candidate for Schutzhund. Highly intelligent and trainable, this breed has all that’s needed to develop obedience, tracking, and protection skills. But Dobies aren’t only great working dogs.

They are also affectionate and can be good companions at home. Dobermans have a natural sharpness and a high fight satisfaction, which is favorable for Schutzhund training. Thus, with the right dog of this breed and a lot of practice, I’m sure you can pass the BH and maybe win IGP titles.


  • Highly Intelligent & Trainable.
  • Athletic & Energetic.
  • Affectionate & Protective.


  • Can Be Too Sensitive or Sharp.
  • Not Well-Suited For Cold Environments.
  • Can Have Difficulty With Change.

Best Dog Breed For:

  • Guard & Protection Work.
  • Active & Loyal Companion.

Other Breeds To Consider For Schutzhund Training!

Apart from those 4 main breeds, you will also find many other dogs with IGP titles. Depending on your needs and your goals, a GSD, Malinois, Rottweiler, or Doberman may not be the right companion for you. Thus, here are all the dog breeds to consider.

List Of Schutzhund Dog Breeds.

  • German Shepherds.
  • Belgian Malinois.
  • Dobermans.
  • Rottweilers.
  • Beauceron.
  • Bouvier de Flandres.
  • Dutch Shepherds.
  • Giant Schnauzers.
  • Boxers.
  • Briards.
  • Bullmastiffs.
  • Airedale Terrier.
  • American Bulldog.
  • American Pit Bull Terrier.
  • American Staffordshire Terrier.
  • Belgian Tervuren.
  • Cane Corso Italiano.
  • Hovawart.


The dog you choose for Schutzhund doesn’t have to be purebred. Some mixed-breeds can do well in IPO as long as they have the right temperament and traits for this sport. A mutt won’t be as predictable, but it can still be a training partner and companion.

Is The Breed Really Important For IPO/IGP?

Some people think Schutzhund is only for German Shepherds or similar breeds. Although GSDs are generally well-suited for this sport because it was developed for them, it’s not always the case. That’s why the breed doesn’t really matter, in my opinion.

Each dog is unique, so you have to find a companion suitable for obedience, tracking, and protection work regardless of the breed. Instead, you should focus on the dog itself and choose the right one for your needs and goals.

What Makes A Dog Good For Schutzhund Training?

The breed can give you an excellent idea of who a dog is. Nonetheless, analyzing the temperament, traits, and breeding will provide you with even more reliable information to figure out if he’s well-suited for Schutzhund or not. So here’s what makes a good IPO dog!

  • Stable & Confident Temperament.
  • Intelligence & High Trainability.
  • High Prey & Food Drive.
  • Desire To Work With The Handler.
  • Protective Instinct & Courage.
  • Athleticism & Endurance.
  • Strong Grip.
  • Versatility.
  • Ability To Track.

Last Thoughts About Schutzhund Dog Breeds!

Finally, the most popular breed for Schutzhund is German Shepherds. It’s fair to say that it’s best to get the breed the sport was made for, but don’t limit yourself to GSDs. Although they are great dogs, Belgian Malinois, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and many other breeds can do the job too.

Schutzhund Dog Training

Then, it’s also essential to make sure you get the right dog regardless of the breed. You have to choose a companion that’s not only well-suited for IGP but also fits your lifestyle and meets your other needs. Now it’s time to find the perfect dog or breed for you.

Have Training Your Dog For Schutzhund!