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Search and Rescue Dogs


Types of Search & Rescue Dogs

Most people become aware of search & rescue dogs only from TV shows, where the dog tracks down criminals or lost children. They find their target by following the human scent in the air through sniffing a clothing item. While dogs are capable to be trailing and air scent dog at the same time, most trainers train their dogs to perform just one of the disciplines.

It takes a lot of natural instinct, temperament, and agility in order to be a search & rescue dog. Not every breed qualifies for the job because of their size and attitude. Dogs used in search and rescue must be able to utilize several external inputs, have a strong sense of smell, and able to adapt in various environments.

Some of the breeds that make good search & rescue dogs include German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, Bloodhounds, and Newfoundlands, just to name a few. Sporting and working dogs are ideal for the job.

Tracking Dogs

Tracking dogs utilize their strong sense of smell to follow a scent or trail of a person on the ground. They work fast. They just need an object of the missing person and they can find the trail right away. They track the person with the use of positive and negative signs.

Air Scent Tracking Dogs

This type of search & rescue dogs differs from the first one due to the way they track their target. Instead of smelling the ground, they track down the target through air. They are suitable for open fields and parks because they don’t need to a trail to follow the scent. They are perfect for places that have been tampered with or have a lot of other activities prior to the search.

Avalanche Dogs

Avalanche dog is a type of search and rescue dog that search for people who have been trapped under snow. They can find people covered by as much as 15 feet of snow. The St. Bernard is the most famous breed for the job but other breeds that make good avalanche dogs include Labradors and German Shepherds.

Cadaver Dogs

Cadaver dogs are also known as Human Remains Detection Dogs. They are used to find dead people by smelling the ground. They are often called into action after the strike of natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes. This type of search & rescue dogs provides closure to families as they are able to give a proper burial to their dead loved one.

Water Search Dogs

Another form of search & rescue dogs is the water search dog. They are responsible for looking for victims of drowning. They work along the shore or in boats as they try to follow the scent that rises to the surface.


Mike Basi