Member LV/DVG America - DVG - DHV - VDH - FCI


(Click on question to get answer.)

A. Membership questions

B. Scorebooks

C. Trialing/Earning Titles

D. Judging/Helper Work

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[Note: These questions and answers are not a substitute for but are simply supplemental to the contents of the LV Handbook. Each club should have a copy of the LV Handbook in its files. The Handbook should be consulted first for answers to questions involving such subjects as Membership Procedures, Clubs, Requesting Trials, Conducting Local Trials, KG and/or LV Championships, etc. The LV Handbook contains no sport rules. Unlike the Rulebook, the LV Handbooks may be copied. If additional copies of the Handbook are needed, they can be obtained from LV Secretary, Sandi Purdy, $15.00.]


A. Membership questions

A1. What's the difference between USA and LV/DVG America?

This is a complicated one. Essentially, and with a bare minimum explanation, USA (the United Schutzhund Clubs of America) is a German Shepherd Breed Club and Registry that has ties to, but is not a member of, the SV (Schaeferhund Verein, the German Shepherd Breed Club of Germany). Membership in USA clubs is not limited to those owning German Shepherds, and the organization follows closely, but not exactly, the trial rules of the VDH (The German Kennel Club). They have their own certified judges and hold both Schutzhund trials and German style conformation shows, where dogs receive a suitability for breeding rating. USA also has a breed registry, registering members' German Shepherds and litters bred by those members and issues pink papers recognized by the SV, once the pedigrees have been approved.

LV/DVG America, on the other hand, is a full voting member of a German organization, Deutscher Verband der Gebrauchshundsportvereine (DVG), or the German Association of Working Dog Sport Clubs. LV America encompasses all of North America. The goal of DVG, both in the North America and in Germany, is the training and titling of dogs, any and all breeds of dogs, including mixed and non-registered dogs. In LV America, this consists primarily of Schutzhund and obedience and tracking degrees, while in Germany, it includes agility, fly-ball, tournament sports with dogs and so on. As a German organization, we are bound by the rules and regulations of DVG, our umbrella organization, the dhv (Deutscher Hundesportverband) and the VDH, and all trials are conducted according to these rules. All LV America judges are certified under VDH rules and their licenses are recognized by the VDH and FCI, as are all titles earned under LV America judges. Our national championship, held annually in late May to sometime in May, selects the dog and handler team that will represent us in the dhv championship, the Deutsche Meisterschaft, held the last week in September every year. DVG is a non-breed specific organization and does not hold conformation shows, nor give breed suitability tests. Our working titles, however, are recognized by all working and breed organizations.

A2. I moved after the first of the year. How do I transfer my DVG membership to my new club?
You don't. Transfer of membership, as such, does not exist in the organization. You have a couple of choices. You can either wait until the end of the year and then renew your membership through your new club, at which time your previous club will send through a cancellation of membership form at the same time your new club sends in a membership application for your membership in your new club, or you can pay a separate set of dues and join the club in the area where you moved to, thus holding dual membership in two clubs for at least the remainder of the year. But you may not transfer your membership in the true sense of the word. It is sometimes advisable to pay the extra dues to join your new local club, simply because if you will be trialing for your very first title (i.e., BH) at your new local club, you will need the signature of your member club training director on your trial entry form. If your member club training director is across the country from you, this can get a little difficult.
A3. What should I do if I'm not getting my DVG America magazine?
If you haven't moved and all vital address information is the same as it always has been, check with your post office. This is assuming that you were receiving it and then suddenly weren't. If you've moved, be sure that you've sent in an address change form through your regional membership officer, who then sends it through channels. If you've done everything you should or if nothing has changed and the post office tells you they haven't received it either, call Carole Patterson at 303-674-4655 or e-mail her at caroledvg@mindspring.com. She keeps the data base for the magazine and should be able to help you.
A4. Why do we have to renew for the next year's membership so early in the year?
Mostly, this is the fault of those clubs in the past which decided to disband and neglected to notify anyone of that fact. Germany must be notified of all club cancellations by the end of September, or they will automatically renew those clubs and the LV and KG's end up paying dues for those ex-members who have gone merrily on their way. In order to prevent this, most of the KG's require that clubs show proof of renewal by having all renewals and new memberships for the coming year turned in by mid-September. You must understand, also, that there is a lot of processing time needed by the regional membership officers as well as our LV Treasurer. Germany doesn't have to have the information (except for canceled clubs) until much later in the year, but it takes a great deal of time for the LV Treasurer to process a 1,000 odd memberships, cancellations, etc., and make sure they're all correct before sending them on to Germany.

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B. Scorebooks

B1. Do I need a DVG scorebook to enter a DVG trial?

Yes, you do, if you are a DVG member entering a DVG sanctioned trial. If you hold membership in DVG, you must have a DVG scorebook when you enter your club's trial or any other DVG sanctioned trial. You can obtain a scorebook application from the forms page, or someone within your member club should have scorebook application copies, and you should order your scorebook a minimum of 8 weeks prior to a DVG trial you wish to enter.
B2. Which scorebooks are acceptable in a DVG trial?
Any scorebook from a recognized organization. In LV America, that includes scorebooks from USA, any AWDF member organization, ATTIBOX member clubs, and the GSDCA-WDA. If you import a dog and it comes with, for example, an ADRK scorebook, unless you are a member of ADRK, that scorebook is invalid with which to enter a trial. You must send a copy of the scorebook to the DVG office with a scorebook application and receive back a DVG scorebook, which will state that whatever titles the dog holds are on record in the office. As a DVG member, you have to have a DVG scorebook, anyway.
B3. How do I get a DVG scorebook for a dog which already has titles and another scorebook?
See the answer to #B2.
B4. How do I join DVG and get a scorebook at the same time?
It's easy. Have your club secretary/treasurer, or whoever takes care of membership in your club, fill out an Anmeldung form (membership application form). You fill out a scorebook application at the same time. The club sends the application form, a check for the membership dues, and the scorebook application form all together to the regional membership officer, who then sends it on to the LV Treasurer, who sends it on to Germany. The scorebook application rides along with the membership application and will be processed at the same time as the membership application when they reach Germany. It is not necessary to enter the name of a club hosting a trial or the name and address of a trial chairman in order to get a scorebook. If you are a Sammelgruppe member, you can still follow the same procedure by printing off a scorebook application from the LV America Website and filling this out and sending it to the regional membership officer at the same time you send your membership application. REMEMBER! If your dog already has earned titles in another organization, whether with you as the handler or someone else, you must send a copy of the scorebook in which those titles are entered, including the cover page showing the dog's name and the pages in which the titles are entered, along with the DVG scorebook application. This allows previous titles earned to be entered in the records in Germany and will appear on your new scorebook as "previous title of BH (or IPO I. II or III) on record in office".
B5. I just joined DVG and want to get a scorebook, but I don't have my DVG membership number. What do I do?
Since your membership application has already been sent, the best thing to do is to find out for sure when the application was sent. Check with the LV Treasurer and find out when your application was sent to Germany. Then send your scorebook application on over to Germany with a note telling them when your membership application was sent and that you don't yet have a membership number but need a scorebook. The office should be able to take it from there.
B6. If I quit DVG, is my scorebook still good?
No. Validity of a scorebook rests with a valid current membership in the organization, and you are required at a trial to show proof of membership in the form of a copy of your annual membership card. At the end of the year, if you have not renewed your membership for the following year, your scorebook becomes invalid and may not be used to enter a DVG trial.
B7. May I enter a USA trial with my DVG scorebook?
You may, but you must first obtain a USA number on your scorebook. You can do this by sending your original scorebook and a copy of the dogs registration papers to the USA office. The charge for this is $5.00 for USA members and $20.00 for non-USA members. (If a copy of the dogs registration papers is not included, the dog will be listed as a mixed-breed.)
B8. How do I replace a filled-in scorebook?
Ideally, even before your scorebook is completely filled up, you should photocopy your scorebook and mail it directly to the DVG office in Germany with a cover letter requesting an additional scorebook. Since you cannot enter a trial with a scorebook that is completely filled in, by doing this when you have only a couple of spaces left in your book, you prevent finding yourself unable to enter a trial because your scorebook is full. If your book is already filled, follow the same procedure and you should receive your second scorebook quickly. Always send a photocopy, not the original. There is no charge for the additional scorebook.
B9. How can I replace a lost scorebook and/or obtain a scorebook quickly?
A replacement scorebook (Ersatz scorebook) from Germany will cost you, since maintaining possession of a scorebook is your responsibility, and DVG charges for replacement of a lost scorebook.

If you do not need your scorebook in a hurry, the regular procedure is as follows:

To obtain a replacement scorebook, you should send $20, a copy of your current membership card and a cover letter (see below) requesting a replacement scorebook to the LV Treasurer. Once you have sent the necessary payment and information to the LV Treasurer, he will process the request and send it to Germany. (A member's initial scorebook for any dog is FREE upon mailing an ANTRAG application to either the LV Treasurer or directly to the DVG office.)

If you need your scorebook in a hurry (i.e., a trial coming up very soon), the following procedure should be followed to expedite the process.

In order to OUICKLY secure a new scorebook for a dog or to replace a lost scorebook, you must contact LV Treasurer, Henry Sowders (e-mail: hsowders@aol.com , phone: (405) 348-3850) and inform him. You will be required to send him a check or money order

$60 for a new original scorebook
or $66 for a replacement scorebook

to cover all the costs, including the cost of faxing the DVG office to approve the deduction from our LV account in Germany for the related costs including express mailing it by FedEx. This must be paid in full before Henry will contact Germany. Once he has received your payment, he will authorize a deduction from the DVG America account and you can fax the request for the orignal or replacement scorebook directly to the DVG office. The Fax number is 01149-231-8780122

In the case of an original (i.e. first) scorebook you must prepare the ANTRAG application for a scorebook.

In the case of a replacement scorebook, you must prepare a cover letter requesting a replacement scorebook with the following information: your name and membership number, your club's name and club number and your dog's name and birthdate. It helps if you know the number of your lost scorebook. It is always advisable to keep a photocopy of both sides of your scorebook in your files, updating it as you earn new titles, just in case you ever do lose your original scorebook. This will help expedite the process.

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C. Trialing/Earning Titles

C1. What are the German commands used in Schutzhund and how are they pronounced?






























zooch (kind of a soft, back of the throat ch at the end)



hop (the "o" is kind of short)


Bring (s)

bring (s)




Good dog

So ist brav

zo ist brahf

C2. Do I have to use German commands in Schutzhund?

No, you can use either German or English, or, if you happen to be Spanish, Italian, Dutch, etc., you can also use your native language, if you prefer.
C3. Can a mixed breed or non-registered dog get a Schutzhund title?

If it can do the work, it can get the title. If you don't want your unregistered, though obviously (pick your breed), listed on your scorebook as a "Mischling" or mixed breed, you can apply for an ILP number through the AKC by contacting AKC and finding out how to do this. The ILP simply gives the dog a number and recognizes the dog as a certain breed, though unpapered. Then when you apply for your scorebook, you can list the dog as that breed and list the ILP number. However, ALL ILP NUMBERED DOGS MUST BE NEUTERED. If you have a problem with that, and your dog is unregistered, your scorebook will reflect its breed as being a Mischling, or mixed breed. This also applies to non-recognized breeds. Unless you can list a registration number, the dog may only by listed as a Mischling and the name will be listed only as the call name plus your last name.

C4. Can a mixed breed or non-registered dog compete in championships?
If it can do the work and get the title, it can compete in the championship.
C5. Are my titles earned through DVG recognized for attendance at Koerung?
No, your titles are certainly recognized as working titles and you can earn a IPO I in a DVG trial, go to a USA trial and earn a IPO II with no problem (so long as you've obtained a USA number on your scorebook). However, in order to have your dog Koerklassed, you must have at least one title earned under a "breed club" trial judge. So, if your dog is multiple IPO III, and you want to attend a Koerung, you must repeat that title under a "breed club" trial judge (i.e., a USA or SV judge, for example). Additionally, you must have an AD, which will only be recognized in a USA conformation show if it is earned under a breed club trial judge. Some AWDF clubs recognize AD's earned under DVG judges, but you would need to check with your specific club to be sure. I believe, also, to enter a Koerung at a USA club, the dog must be registered through the USA breed registry. A call to the USA office or the proper person in the AWDF breed organization where you plan on entering for Koerklassing should be able to give you the specific requirements for each organization.
C6. I would like to enter my dog in the LV/DVG America championship. What are the requirements?
Anyone wishing to enter the LV America championship must have become a member through an LV member club no later than January 1st of the year of the championship. This means that the membership must have been processed by the club, region and LV prior to January 1 of the championship year. No backdated memberships made after the first of the year or applications not received by the LV Treasurer before January 1 are acceptable. If the dog is owned by one person and to be handled by someone else, both the handler and the owner must be DVG members through an LV member club and must have had their memberships processed prior to January 1 of the championship year. The handler must have personally titled the dog to be competed in the championship in a DVG sanctioned trial in the months following the previous year's national championship. Competing in the previous year's competition does not qualify for participation in the following year's championship. A participant may compete with the same dog only once at IPO 1 or 2 levels in the championship. There is no qualifying score required, but the dog must have earned an "a" in courage and hardness at a trial in which the dog passes at the level at which it will compete. The participant must have a valid dhv scorebook for the dog with space for entering the results. No filled up scorebooks will be accepted. A copy of the scorebook showing the qualifying trial entry must accompany the championship trial entry form. A photocopy of the participant's membership card should also be sent with the trial entry form. The participant must be a member of an LV member club. Sammelgruppe membership does not qualify for participation in the LV Championship.

C7. What are the suitable breeds to compete in Schutzhund?

The only requirement for a dog to compete in the sport of Schutzhund is that the dog can do the work. In other words, the dog will be able to track, do obedience and is large enough to successfully jump a 40 inch jump and climb a 6 foot wall, while retrieving a 650 gram dumbbell. The dog must be able to successfully bite and hold the man in the protection work. Typically, the most predominant breed in the sport is the Germany Shepherd, followed in recent years by the Belgian Malinois. Additionally, we see Dobermans, Rottweilers, Giant Schnauzers, and Bouviers. Other breeds that are less prevalent are Belgian Sheep Dogs, Turverens, Boxers, Pit Bulls and American Staffordshire Terriers, Airedale Terriers, Beaucerons, Dutch Shepherds, Australian Shepherds ("Aussies), an occasional Great Dane and Mastiff. Dogs do not have to be registered and a number of mixed breeds have successfully earned titles over the years and are fully accepted in the sport. So, there are many breeds besides the commonly accepted "working dog" breeds that participae in the sport of Schutzhund. The main thing is that the dog is a willing worker and is capable of doing the work required to achieve the titles.
C8. I earned my Schutzhund I in a DVG club trial and went on to my Schutzhund II in a USA trial. I'm now ready for my IPO III and will be trialing in a DVG trial. My IPO II score was entered in my DVG scorebook, so the judge will know that my dog and I successfully earned the title. Is there anything else I need to do before I enter for my IPO III?
Yes. The paperwork from a USA trial is sent only to the USA office, so at this time, the DVG office in Germany has no record of your dog earning a IPO II, only the IPO I that you earned in a DVG trial. Consequently, any paperwork sent to the office when you earn your IPO III title will be returned to the judge with a note that the office has no record of your dog having a IPO II. Anytime you earn a title in another organization's trial, you need to notify the DVG office in Germany of this, so that they can enter it in their records. This is specifically necessary if you earn a lower title in another organization's trial before going to the next higher title, such as your situation above. This is also true if you earn a IPO I in a USA or WDA trial and then go to a DVG trial for your IPO II. You can do this in either of two ways. You can simply photocopy your scorebook as soon as you've completed the title and immediately send it to Germany with a note asking that they enter the earned title into their records. The second alternative is to take a photocopy of your scorebook to the trial where you are attempting the higher title and give it to the judge to send in with the trial paperwork. Either method is satisfactory. The point is that the DVG office must have some record of your dog earning the lower title before the office will accept the next higher title. If you have not notified the DVG office in Germany of your title and go to a trial to earn your higher title, the judge will ask you to get a photocopy of your scorebook to be sent in with the paperwork. If you can't do it that weekend, the paperwork will be held up until you can do so and mail it to the judge. So the best thing is to go prepared or simply take care of it ahead of time.

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C9. What are the dog's minimum age requirements for Schutzhund (and related) titles?

IPO A & IPO I 18 months
IPO II 19 months
IPO III 20 months
FH 1 18 months
FH 2 20 months
BH 15 months
* RD 15 months
* OB 1-3 15 months
* TR 1-3 15 months
* WH 15 months
*** AD 14 months

* BH required for all above titles

*** AD does not require a BH before attaining

C10. Can you get a BH and a Sch I in the same trial?

Yes, you may earn your BH and IPO I in the same trial. However, it cannot be on the same day. For example, if a club requests a 2 day trial, which will have a single trial number for both days and one set of paperwork for the complete 2 day trial, you can earn your BH on Saturday and your IPO I on Sunday. You may not do both the BH and the IPO I on the same day. Many clubs ask for 2 one-day trials, in which case there are 2 sets of paperwork with 2 separate trial numbers. Again, you do the BH on Saturday and the IPO I on Sunday, except in this case both days are considered separate trial days, rather than one 2-day trial. Either way works and you can do it.
C11. What is the dress code for the LV America Championship trial?
(Note: This is applicable ONLY to the LV America Championship. The Kreisgruppen make their own rules regarding dress for their regional championships.)

All participants are required to wear tan or khaki slacks and a white, collared shirt in obedience and protection, weather allowing. The shirt may be either short or long sleeved. No club insignia, logos or additional apparel which might be construed as training aids, such as vests, are allowed. In case of rain or inclement weather, raingear, sweatshirts and/or jackets and gloves are allowed, but may not exhibit any club insignias or logos of any kind. "Grubbies" may be worn for tracking.

C12. What are the specifications for the Schutzhund I, II and III scaling wall?

The following measurements are (still) those required for the scaling wall used in the IPO I, II and IPO III divisions of all trials:

Length of sides:

191 cm (75")

Width of wall:

150 cm (59")

Height at top when spread to trial height

180 cm (71")

Distance between uprights when spread to trial height

130 cm (51")

Size of cleats:

2.4 cm x 4.8 cm
(approx. 1" x 2")

Position of cleats on wall:

Top cleat:

25 cm from top of wall (approx. 10")

Middle cleat:

55 cm from top of wall (approx. 22")

Bottom cleat:

85 cm from top of wall (approx. 34")

These are the measurements mandated in the VDH Trial Rules effective January 1, 1986, which have not been amended nor revised since the original printing. All club scaling walls used in trials are to be built to these specifications.

C13. What does VPG stand for? Why did the name of Schutzhund change?
About 3 years ago, the VDH Working Dog Council (AZG) in Germany began having discussions about renaming the dog sport called Schutzhund. There were several reasons for it but one of the main reasons was that the word "Schutzhund" never really described the sport itself. Translated from the German, it means literally "protection dog". As those of us in the sport know, the protection, or bitework, part of the title is exactly that -- a part. There are three parts, each equally as important as the other insofar as earning a title is concerned.

Protection may be the most exciting and it's certainly the part a lot of breeders consider the most important because of how it tests the dog's nerve, temperament, ability to withstand pressure and stress, etc. But it still is only one part. One of the other reasons was that Germany, like the US, has had an increase in dog bite problems and unfortunately the general public sees the protection training as "teaching the dog to bite", which is, of course, absurd. So the AZG solicited suggestions from its member clubs as to a new name for the sport that would better describe, or define, what the sport actual is and what is its purpose.

They came up with Vielzeitigskeitspruefung fuer Gebrauchshunde. The translation is Versatility Test for Utility (or Working) Dogs. As a name, it probably leaves something to be desired, but nonetheless is more definitive than the old name. So, the titles that are put into the scorebooks and on the paperwork read VPG 1, 2 or 3. But to most of us who have been in the sport for so many years, it remains, and probably always will remain, Schutzhund.

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D. Judging/Helper Work

D1. Do I have to be a certified helper to work a DVG trial?

No. To work a club level only trial, certification is not required. Not required, but encouraged, and many clubs in LV America have a standing rule within the club that no trial will be worked by an uncertified helper. To work a KG or LV Championship, certification is required. Find a seminar, attend, then go for certification.
D2. How can I be chosen as a helper for a National Championship?

At each trial you work, be sure that the judge fills our a helper evaluation form and sends it to the LV/OfS. You are also encouraged to attend a seminar where the LV/OfS is doing a certification and "show your stuff", so to speak. Ask him for suggestions on what changes he would like to see in your work that would increase your chances of being chosen. You can also send the LV/OfS videos of your work at trials so that he can see your style and technique. All of these things will help you come to the attention of the LV/OfS who is responsible for choosing the helpers for our Nationals.
D3. How does one become a DVG judge?
There are a number of qualifications necessary to apply to become a dhv judge. Since dhv (Deutscher Hundesportverband) is our parent umbrella organization, all DVG judges are actually dhv judges.

An applicant must be a minimum of 25 years old and may not have exceeded his or her 50th year. The applicant must have been a DVG (or in Germany, any of the dhv member organizations) member for a minimum of 5 years, and must have personally trained a minimum of 2 dogs IPO 1 through IPO 3 and successfully titled the dogs in a dhv or any other AZG recognized organization. The applicant must have also trained and successfully titled either of these 2 dogs or another dog to a BH and an FH and be able to show knowledge of the rules of the WH and IPO titles and probably now, also the FH2. The applicant should also have served as a training director for a minimum of one year and served as trial chairman in several trials. (Note: If an applicant has not served as a principal training director for a club, but can show a letter from the club training that he/she has helped with the club's training program, i.e., worked in obedience and tracking training with club members, etc., this is sufficient.)

The application must include a self-written resume by the applicant including information about his/her dog sport career within the dhv; a statement by the applicant that the cost of the training to become a judge will be borne by the applicant and that he/she will be unconditionally available for the required training and expenditure as a judge in dhv; a declaration that the applicant will assert no claims against the dhv or its member organizations or divisions or active agencies for bodily injury or loss of income that occurs as a result training to become a judge or in later performance of judging duties; a declaration that the applicant after admission to the apprentice judge program, will pursue his/her judging activity in dhv and not seek acceptance to the list of judges of a breed organization; designation of a dhv judge who can furnish information about the applicant's background and who is willing to look after and eventually provide additional schooling to him/her during the possible apprenticeship; confirmation from the dhv judge named in the above; four passport size photos.

These are the basics and there are additional rules regarding the timing of the application, how it is to be presented to the organization for comments from those wishing to do so, publication in the organization magazine (The HUNDESPORT, but we also publish the applicants' names in the DVG AMERICA magazine), and so on. Following acceptance to the apprentice program, an apprentice must complete a minimum of 8 apprenticeship trials (more, if asked) under a certified dhv judge within a maximum of 2 years. Apprenticing at trials requires written reports on the trials, explanations of points deducted or scores given, etc., and turning this all into the presiding trial judge, who will then write a report. This is all sent to the LV LRO who sends it to Germany. Following successfully completing the required apprentice trials, the applicant must pass a field test and a written test given by the dhv LRO. The test is given in English for LV America applicants. Any additional information can be supplied when, and if, someone requests it with a desire to become an apprentice judge, by contacting the LV LRO.

[Note: These questions and answers are not a substitute for but are simply supplemental to the contents of the LV Handbook. Each club should have a copy of the LV Handbook in its files. The Handbook should be consulted first for answers to questions involving such subjects as Membership Procedures, Clubs, Requesting Trials, Conducting Local Trials, KG and/or LV Championships, etc. The LV Handbook contains no sport rules. Unlike the Rulebook, the LV Handbooks may be copied. If additional copies of the Handbook are needed, they can be obtained from LV Secretary, Sandi Purdy, $15.00.]

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