Best Rescue Dogs: Which Dog Breeds To Adopt

WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Group Join Now

Dogs and humans have had a rich history of companionship since long. In ancient times, dogs used to serve as the guards for their masters. With the passage of time, the role of dogs changed. Now they are your best friends and a loving member of your family. They like to play with your kids. They like to roam around with you. 

Image source

This has been made possible with the slow and steady changes in their traits through cross-breeding. So, in the olden days, wild dogs have turned out to be your household companions. But some of the natural traits of the dogs are still there. One of these traits is their high sense of smell. Most dogs have more than 200 million odor sensors, which is quite a high level as compared to humans, who just have around 5 million olfactory receptors. This extraordinary ability of the dogs makes them a good choice for search and rescue work. 

What Is a SAR Dog?

Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs are unique dogs that help us in many difficult and disastrous situations. These dogs have a special ability to track humans lost in a natural disaster or in the wilderness. SAR dogs can track people using their high sense of smell. They can find people trapped underneath the debris of an earthquake-hit building. 

They can even find the people lost in an avalanche of snow or in a landslide. They can track the Alzheimer’s patients who might have wandered away from their homes or a medical facility. They are also helpful for law enforcement agencies to find criminals using their smell. Some specifically trained dogs can also find the explosive materials hidden somewhere. 

So, the extraordinary power of smelling different odors makes the dogs a perfect choice for rescue missions in almost every situation. If you want to adopt one, check out the list of toy poodles for adoption in the USA. 

Types of SAR Dogs

Although all search and rescue dogs use their natural sense of smell, they can be divided in two categories, air-scenting dogs and trailing dogs:

  1. Air-Scenting Dogs

As the name suggests, this type of SAR dog follows the smell of humans that is airborne. They can smell the scent of humans present in the atmosphere, but they cannot differentiate between the unique smells of different persons. While following the human scent in the air, they reach the particular location from where it originates. When they find the location, they start barking, which indicates to their handlers that the missing person’s site is found. They are also trained to return back to their handlers and guide them to the site. This type of SAR dogs is helpful in locating missing persons after a natural disaster such as an earthquake.

  1. Trailing Dogs

This type of search and rescue dogs are trained to differentiate between the smell of different persons, hence quite helpful in finding a specific person. They are made to smell the clothes or any other substance that carries a person’s smell. Trailing dog memorizes this smell and has the ability to track it until they find the location of that particular person. They can also memorize the missing person’s scent from the earth or the grass and vegetation. 

Despite the clear distinction between the roles of these two types of SAR dogs, they are often deployed together in rescue operations, especially in a natural disaster. 

Training of SAR Dogs

A dog needs a complete training plan to become a SAR dog. Their training has to start right from their childhood, normally at the age of 8 weeks. After rigorous training, a SAR dog would ideally be fit for the job at the age of one and a half years. They can best perform for the next 7 to 8 years, as their job is tough and demanding. 

Apart from training the dogs, their handlers also need training on how to work in collaboration with the dogs.

Best Rescue and Search Dog Breeds

The main jobs of SAR dogs may include the detection of humans, searching for avalanches and searching drugs and explosives. Not all the breeds are fit for this job; some are best for it, such as hounds, have an extra bit of smell sense as compared to others. Similarly, some breeds may have more efficient eyesight than some other breeds. All these qualities may not be available in one breed, so you have to be selective depending on the job you want from your SAR dog.

Let’s explore some of the best SAR Dog breeds: 

  • Belgian Malinois

They are hardworking and energetic dogs. They can accompany you for long hours in rescue and search endeavors. They are excellent at finding drugs and explosives. They can also be trained to smell some diseases such as cancer.  

  • Bloodhounds

With more than 300 million receptors and big nostrils, bloodhounds are considered one of the best SAR dogs. Additionally, they can be trained for this job quite easily. 

  • Coonhounds

Primarily bred as a hunting dog, this breed can work long hours. They are energetic enough to run for hours in a search operation. They have an excellent sense of smell. They can learn to follow the instructions. 

  • Basset Hounds 

They are similar to Bloodhounds in many ways but have relatively lesser power of smell. They are easily trainable and quite friendly. They have long noses and large ears. With their shorter legs, they can efficiently scent the smell on the ground.

  • Beagle

These are the smallest of the hounds but are good at smelling. Their ears are relatively small. But their willingness to work as a search and rescue dog. Their success rate is more than 90%.

  • German Shepherd 

They are considered to be one of the best SAR dogs, having worked with Police quite successfully for a long. They are very intelligent SAR dogs, apart from their loyalty to their owners. One of the most popular dog breeds. 

  • Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard has been used successfully to find the missing persons in avalanches, especially in the Swiss Alps. They work in pairs, so once an avalanche victim is found, one stays back to keep the victim warm with his furs while the other goes back to get rescue workers to the site. 

  • Labrador Retrievers

They are known for their intelligence, loyalty and willingness to work with their owner. Quite popular rescue breeds capable of swimming and running while tracking the victim.  They have been successfully used in some very difficult rescue and search operations, such as the detection of explosives and water recovery. 

  • Newfoundland

They were bred as fishing dogs and have excellent swimming skills. As such, it is used successfully by the Coast Guard for SAR endeavors. 

  • Border Collie

Known for sheepherding, Border Collies are also one of the best SAR breeds. They are hardworking and intelligent dogs. They like to work hard for rewards. They have the ability to learn fast.


Dogs are the best companions of humans in many different capacities. They are a part of your family. They love to play with your kids. Apart from that, they have been used successfully for search and rescue operations. They are quite helpful in finding the victims of natural disasters. They are also good at searching for explosives. It is also used to track the criminals. 

Having a strong sense of smell makes them wonderful companions in various search and rescue works. 

4.7/5 - (6 votes)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Group Join Now

Most Popular