All posts by Rossi Dengler

About Our Region

Gernot Riedel, the founding father of Schutzhund in the U.S., transports the helper to the judge. Photo courtesy of the Ortner family.

From the very beginning, the Northwestern Region has played an integral role in the history of Schutzhund in the United States. Officially designated as a region within United Schutzhund Clubs of America in 1976, the Northwestern Region has been home to many of the individuals involved in the beginnings of Schutzhund and USCA. It was in the Santa Clara Valley in Northern California that Schutzhund was first introduced into the U.S., through immigrant Gernot Riedel in 1957. In 1959, the first Schutzhund club in the United States was formed in Santa Clara: the Peninsula Police Canine Corps (now Peninsula Canine Corps, or PCC).

USA Judge #1 Willie Ortner Sr, in an early bite jacket, circa 1980. Photo: Ortner family.

Our region has the privilege of holding many of Schutzhund history’s “firsts”: first Schutzhund Club, first Schutzhund-style trial, first three USCA-licensed judges, first USA representative to compete in the EUSV (WUSV) International Championship, first National Championship, first inklings of an independent Schutzhund organization, first USCA magazine editor, first USCA Treasurer, first U.S. Sieger Show. From judges to competitors to trials to USCA members and staff, the Northwestern Region has played a vital role in Schutzhund in the United States.

Below are a few photos from the first few decades of Schutzhund in the United States. Mouse over the photos for the captions. Thank you to the Ortner family for the photos!

Our region today continues to be active and influential in USCA. Covering a wide range of territory that includes Hawaii, Northern California, Nevada, and Utah, this region contains 18 USCA clubs of varying sizes. While we are a USCA region dedicated to the preservation of the total German Shepherd Dog, the clubs within our boundaries have produced handler/dog teams who compete nationally and internationally for a variety of organizations: USCA, DVG, AWMA, USRC, AWDF. Teams from the Northwestern Region have represented the United States of America in multiple international championships, including the ADRK Championship in Germany (Rottweilers), the FCI World Championship, the FMBB Championships (Belgian Malinois), the WUSV Championship (German Shepherds), and the International Doberman Championship.

Teaching Helper Gary Park with Asko vom Siegelgrund SchH3, 2x National Champion

Our region is also home to multiple USCA Regional and National level helpers, all of whom continue to provide safe, skilled, and consistent helper work at all levels of trials. The excellent helper work also makes this area a prime location for helper education. We are proud to have five USCA teaching helpers in our region: Dave Deleissegues, Joel Monroe, Gary Park, Richard Tom, and Patrick Davis. Annually, these teaching helpers host a large number of helper seminars and classifications. The cooperation and camaraderie of these experienced helpers is shared among their clubs, creating an overall climate and culture of collaboration and support in the sport of Schutzhund.

The Northwestern Region is truly unique. The rich history, experienced helpers, top-level training, dedicated handlers, and shared camaraderie among clubs are all part of what makes this region so special.