8 Dog Breeds Used For Search and Rescue

Search and Rescue Dog cover

Throughout history, dogs have taken numerous roles, from being loving companions to protecting us from dangerous predators in the wild, dogs have always been there for us. Dogs possess a sense of smell that’s nothing short of a superpower, they have 220 million olfactory receptors compared to only 400 in humans. While all dogs have an exceptional sense of smell, some have other attributes like trainability and patience that make them ideal search and rescue dogs. [1]Wag Walking

Dog Breeds Used For Search and Rescue

1. Bloodhound

These dogs have a nose that is even extraordinary in the doggy world, as they have 300 million olfactory receptors. They can even sniff out things or people in locations where even other dogs might fail to pick up a scent. Their entire head is designed in a way to pull in more scents from the surrounding. In addition to their super sense of smell, they are also extremely loyal. They might be hard to train for obedience, but if you include their nose into the training, they’ll be thrilled to learn. Including rescue missions, Bloodhounds are also used in tracking fugitives

2. Basset Hound

Similar to the previously mentioned Bloodhound, this dog also has a great smelling ability, thanks to its 275 million olfactory receptors. Not equal to Bloodhound, but not that far behind either. One thing that separates Bassets from the previous breed is that Basset Hounds are low to the ground, meaning they pick up the slightest scents lingering on the surface, therefore, they are great at searching for people trapped in the rubble or similar situations.

Basset hound Search and Rescue

A pack of Basset Hounds

3. Coonhound

There are at least 5 different types of recognized Coonhounds, but one thing that is similar in all of them is that these make for a great search and rescue dog. In the past, these were used as hunting dogs, and once they pick up a scent, they don’t leave its trail. Furthermore, they are known to rush small and large animals alike during hunting. While these hounds don’t possess an exceptionally strong sense of smell, they have a keen understanding of direction, and they perform particularly well in areas where you cannot get a sense of direction.

Coonhound Search and Rescue

Coonhound following a trail

4. Beagle

Beagles are notorious for being used as pack hunters in early 90s England. These were originally bred by hunters who couldn’t afford a horse and required a hound that they could follow on foot. Beagles love sniffing and digging, and that is because in the past these hounds used to sniff small game and dig their burrows for hunters. Moreover, they have a strong desire to please, which makes them ideal for search and rescue, as they don’t rest unless they fulfill their task.

Beagle Search and Rescue

A Beagle in training

5. Saint Bernard

One breed that has become synonymous with search and rescue is Saint Bernard. These gentle giants are renowned across the world for their rescuing abilities in the Swiss Alpes. These would always go in pairs of two in search of a lost person, and upon finding the victim, one of them would return to get help, meanwhile the other stayed with the person to provide warmth and comfort. They have rescuing abilities imbued in them, and to this day, they remain the best rescue dog on a snowy mountain. Plus, their gentle nature and sweet face give hope to people in need.

6. German Shepherd

If there’s one breed that doesn’t possess an exceptional nose but is able to make up for it by sheer training, it is the German Shepherd. It is one of the top picks when it comes to armed forces because they are extremely loyal and highly intelligent dogs with heightened trainability. They utilize their training to rescue the victims. You can teach just about anything to this dog, and they’d be more than willing to comply.

German Shepherd Search and Rescue

A happy German Shepherd

7. Labrador Retriever

When we think of Labs, we picture an adorable pooch that is always smiling and acting goofy; however, in the past, these were used as duck retrieving hounds, and they still have that instinct within them. With adequate training, this instinct is transitioned into finding lost people, and Labradors carry out this task nicely. Plus, their desire to please their master allows them to keep going, and that’s the reason why Labradors are the ideal service dog.

8. Belgian Malinois

Resembling the German Shepherd, this Belgian hound is also a go-to choice for many armed forces. Originally, these were bred to be sheepherders and were quite popular with farmers, but soon their true potential was discovered. They are easily trainable and are often used in sniffing out contrabands, explosives, and even cancer. Moreover, they pack high energy reserves that allow them to keep ongoing.

Belgian Malinois Search and Rescue

An excited Belgian Malinois with trainer


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