The History of Search and Rescue Dogs

Golden Retriever

Man’s best friend is may also be a skilled worker next to their hero, humans. Many dogs become search and rescue or SAR dogs. According to tasteofthewildpetfood, a search and rescue dog assists in looking for lost or hurt people in locations like oceans or mountains. These dogs even help in urban and suburban areas. There are three different classifications for dogs; air-scenting, following ground disturbances and trailing. Once trained, they assist law enforcement at crime scenes. Additionally, they may help with rescues during natural disasters. Only certain breeds excel at these tasks. Typically, only German Shepards, Labrador retrievers, Dobermans, Rottweillers, giant Schnauzers, and golden retrievers are chosen.


One of the locations a dog and trainer can be certified is through FEMA. According to their website, these dogs are integral to search and rescue on a state and federal level. One of the most important qualifications is not to be distracted by noise. Additionally, their sense of smell is trained. That way, they can detect someone who is buried under rubble. The teams are then divided into two specializations; detecting living human beings and those who have died. There are four canines to each 70 member Type 1 US&R task force. As of March 2020, 284 search teams specialize in looking for survivors, and 90 looks for deceased people. Recently, Jacksonville, Florida, added one more to their Urban Search and Rescue team.

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department

According to myjfrd, The Jacksonville Florida Task Force 5 Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) was founded in 2001. One of their main tasks is to help with Hurricane search and rescue operations. Their assistance isn’t only in Florida; in 2005, they went to Mississippi to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. There are 140 USAR members in Jacksonville trained to help recover missing persons and those trapped in cars, buildings, and small spaces. Many of the team has four legs, including one of their recent graduates.


Cricket is a Golden Retriever and the newest member of the USAR. She spent many months of training to become one of the teams of rescue professionals. The city of Jacksonville was so proud of her they posted many pictures on their Social Media. In the pictures, Cricket poses wearing a bright blue cap and gown. Her face has I succeeded all over it. The other photos show pictures of her extensive training.


Cricket joins a group of dogs who date back to the 17th century. St. Bernard’s bred to assist monks in Switzerland. During the winter months, they helped them find their way back to the monasteries. However, they also rescued many different people who were lost in the snow. According to mantrailinguk, between the years 1800 and 1812, a dog named “Barry” saved almost 50 lives. A hundred years later, Jean Bungartz started training dogs to find wounded soldiers. In 1890, Bungartz created the German Association for medical dogs. These dogs were used during WWI. Approximately 30000 dogs went with soldiers, and only 3000 made it home. This trend continued during WWII. Nearly a quarter of a million service dogs went to war. Twenty-five thousand died on battlefields in Germany. The need for the dogs was so high; they took many dogs away from their owners. The second type of rescue dog started training in 1940. Ferdinand Schmutz began to teach them techniques for search and rescue missions to find people lost in avalanches. Moreover, there were two classes of rescue dogs; air scenting dogs and avalanche dogs. However, many people viewed the dogs’ talents as flukes.

Other types of service dogs

Search and rescue dogs aren’t the only classification of dogs that assist people with tasks. Medical service dogs are another classification of canines who have important jobs. According to thesprucepets, there are approximately 150000 registered service dogs. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines these as dogs that assist an owner who has a medical issue. One of the most well-known classifications is guide dogs. However, many others have more specialized tasks. Seizure alert dogs are trained to recognize when their human is about to have a seizure. Scientists are still unclear how this is possible or if the training is practical. Nonetheless, they have a lot of success in this field. Dogs with the incredible power of scent are also trained to become diabetic alert dogs. They can smell chemical changes in blood sugar. Since dogs have a much keener sense of smell, they can detect subtleties that humans can’t. Some dogs are trained to assist people who spend their lives in wheelchairs. They have many different tasks, including retrieving lost objects, opening doors, and bringing their owner the telephone. Additionally, they help them when they get of their wheelchair. There are numerous classifications of service dogs who have a wide range of abilities. Some of these dogs are trained to detect severe allergies. Others are specialized to provide emotional support beyond a dog’s innate nature.

Concluding thoughts

Cricket is joining a distinguished and historical group of elite dogs. Every day many days, dogs go to work much the same as their human counterparts. Even though many of them spend their lives pursuing typical dog activities, others help with essential tasks that help people save lives or keep humans with disabilities safe. Whether on the front lines of war or providing vital services at home, their specializations are essential parts of many people’s lives and provide comfort, happiness, and many other traits that enhance all of our lives. Some dogs even start their lives in adverse situations like puppy mills, fight rings, and are rescued, trained, and essential tasks. However these dogs find their careers, they go beyond the definition of man’s best friend.

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