Search and Rescue

Dogs Save Lives!


The use of dogs for search purposes goes back many years. In the 17th century dogs were used to break trails in deep snow in Switzerland and, apparently, records reveal that a dog named Barry saved 40 lives during his lifetime. During the first world war, dogs were used in the London blitz to locate buried casualties. Search dogs have also been used in disaster situations such as the Lockerbie tragedy in December 1988.


From natural disasters to missing persons, search and rescue (SAR-search and Rescue) dogs are irreplaceable and potentially life-saving partners for law enforcement agencies and first responders of all kinds. To become a SAR dog, both animal and handler must go through rigorous training that puts their intelligence, agility, stamina and determination to the test.


Dogs can be trained for any situation – live person search, wilderness or urban tracking, disaster and cadaver searches – but to begin laying the groundwork for SAR training, many handlers will begin training their dogs as puppies by playing games such as hide and seek with the addition of simple commands.

SAR dogs must also prove their endurance, friendliness, trainability and agility to obtain their certification. The official SAR training can take anywhere from six months to two years, depending on the hours both the handlers and dogs are willing to put into it.


Search and Rescue

SAR missions involve locating and providing immediate aid to people – or even other animals – who are in distress or imminent danger. These missions can occur in any location – large bodies of water, rugged terrain, urban and suburban locations, deserts, forests and, well, anywhere someone finds themselves in need of help. People and dogs involved in SAR missions must be ready to get the job done in any environment.



Becoming a SAR dog requires an immense amount of skill, and not every dog is up to this task. Breeds that traditionally are chosen as SAR dogs include German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, Dobermans, Rottweilers, giant Schnauzers and golden retrievers. However nowdays many breed are selected like border collie, belga malinois or small breed that are esiaer to carry and transport and many disaster situations.