The Best Dog Breeds for Search & Rescue

Just like doctors these days, Search and Rescue dogs (also called SAR dogs) are frequently specialists. There are many types of emergencies in many types of environments, so it’s a matter of finding a dog bred for the right traits to apply to any given search and rescue situation.

Dogs with different sets of skills and traits are needed for Tracking, Avalanche searches, Water searches, and Cadaver searches. If you’re a Search and Rescue volunteer looking for a suitable live-in canine companion to help out on rescues, we’ve got some tips for you on the best dog breeds for search and rescue.

SAR dogs are chosen for their instinct, agility and most importantly –temperament. Usually, they are larger breeds; you don’t often see small breeds in this line of work.

Breeds such as German Shepherds, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, and Newfoundlands make great search and rescue dogs. But don’t rule out the mixed breeds – many of them are also naturals for the work.

Many SAR veteran volunteers say the breed isn’t so critical as the dog’s attitude. They have to enjoy the tracking activity, and be able to remain concentrated on a task.

Go to next page for suggestions about the best breeds for different types of SAR work.