Search and rescue dog

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Red Cross Collie, Italy, 1909.
Austro-Hungarian sanitary dog in WWI, 1914.

A search-and-rescue dog is one trained to find missing people after a natural or man-made disaster. The dogs detect human scent[citation needed] and have been known to find people under water, under snow, and under collapsed buildings.[1]

A dog and handler search for survivors of the April 2015 Nepal earthquake.


Rescue dog waiting at actual disaster site (2014 Hiroshima landslides)

A cadaver dog searches for human remains at a plane crash site in Greenland.

A dog with aptitude for finding dead bodies or body parts, whether buried, hidden or submerged, may be called a "cadaver dog".[2] In Croatia such dogs have been used to find burial sites almost 3000 years old.[3] Police, death investigators and anthropologists may work closely with cadaver dogs and their handlers. [4]


Riley at World Trade Center post 9-11-2001 attack

Training of a search dog is usually begun when the dog is still a puppy.[5]


Numerous countries, cities and regions have search and rescue organizations using dog-and-handler teams that can be mobilized in an emergency or disaster. Here are a few organizations.

Notable dogs[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lockett, Michael S. (November 4, 2019). "Keeping a nose out: SEADOGS takes guesswork out of searches". Juneau Empire.
  2. ^ Komar, D. (March 9, 1999). "The use of cadaver dogs in locating scattered, scavenged human remains: preliminary field test results". Journal of Forensic Sciences. 44 (2): 405–408. PMID 10097372 – via PubMed.
  3. ^ Dogs show a nose for archaeology by sniffing out 3,000 year old tombs The Guardian, 2019
  4. ^ Rebmann A., David E. (2000). Cadaver Dog Handbook. Taylor & Francis Group. ISBN 978-0-8493-1886-3.
  5. ^ "Training Dogs & Handlers". Canadian Search Dogs. Archived from the original on 1 May 2006. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  6. ^ "Strong Partners". International Rescue Dog Organisation.
  7. ^ "Orión, el perro rescatista en la tragedia de Vargas (Orion, the rescue dog in the Vargas tragedy)" (in Spanish). December 11, 2014. Archived from the original on December 16, 2014.

External links[edit]