Skip to main content

The Role of Dogs in Search and Rescue

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Management of Animals in Disasters
  • 423 Accesses

Abstract

Dogs are by far the most loyal companion to humans throughout the history of mankind. Dogs have about 40 times more smell-sensitive receptors in comparison to humans, ranging from about 125 million to nearly 300 million in some of the dog breeds, such as bloodhounds. Dogs sense odors by sniffing the inhaled air through the nostrils during aspirations while keeping the mouth often closed. Search and rescue (SAR) dogs are very important after any natural disasters for locating the missing people or their remains and incidents like mass casualty. There are seven types of working dogs, i.e., search and rescue dogs, police dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, military working dogs, detection dogs, and herding dogs. The topmost breeds of dogs used for search and rescue work are bloodhound, basset hound, coonhound, beagle, St. Bernard, German shepherd, Labrador retriever, Belgian Malinois, Mudhol hound, etc. The formal and full training will normally last for 12 months, and the dog becomes a good working dog at about the age of 2 years and can be expected to be in active service up to 8 to 10 years of age. Search and rescue dogs can be categorized into different types depending upon their intended purpose of use like Avalanche and Urban Search and Rescue, Ground Disturbance Tracking, Water Search, Air Scenting Area, Search Scent-Specific Tracking, and Cadaver/Human Remains Detection.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 169.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 219.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 219.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  1. Frantz Laurent AF, Bradley DG, Larson G, Orlando L (2020) Animal domestication in the era of ancient genomics. Nat Rev Genet 21(8):449–460

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Freedman AH, Wayne RK (2017) Deciphering the origin of dogs: from fossils to genomes. Annu Rev Anim Biosci 5:281–307

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Jia H, Pustovyy OM, Waggoner P, Beyers RJ, Schumacher J, Wildey C, Barrett J, Morrison E, Salibi N, Denney TS, Vodyanoy VJ, Deshpande G (2014) Functional MRI of the olfactory system in conscious dogs. PLoS One 9(1):e86362. PMID: 24466054; PMCID: PMC3900535. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0086362

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  4. Quignon P, Giraud M, Rimbault M, Lavigne P, Tacher S, Morin E, Retout E, Valin AS, Lindblad-Toh K, Nicolas J, Galibert F (2005) The dog and rat olfactory receptor repertoires. Genome Biol 6(10):R83

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Walker D, Walker J, Cavnar P, Taylor J, Pickel D, Hall S (2006) Naturalistic quantification of canine olfactory sensitivity. Appl Anim Behav Sci 97:241–254

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Padodara RJ, Ninan J (2014) Olfactory sense in different animals. Indian J Vet Sci 2(1):1–14

    Google Scholar 

  7. Kellan A (1997) Beagle boot camp: learning to sniff out contraband. Cable News Network, Atlanta, GA

    Google Scholar 

  8. Williams JM, Johnston M (2002) Training and maintaining the performance of dogs (Canis familiaris) on an increasing number of odour discriminations in a controlled setting. Appl Anim Behav Sci 78(1):55–65

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Horowitz A (2014) Domestic dog cognition and behavior chapter: canine olfaction: scent, sign and situation. Springer, New York

    Book  Google Scholar 

  10. Settle RH, Sommerville BA, McCormick J, Broom DM (1994) Human scent matching using specially trained dogs. Anim Behav 48(6):1443–1448

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Wells DL, Wells DL, Hepper PG (2006) Prenatal olfactory learning in the domestic dog. Anim Behav 72(3):681–686

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. John JE (2012) Police and military dogs criminal detection, forensic evidence and judicial admissibility. Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Kumar, A. (2022). The Role of Dogs in Search and Rescue. In: Verma, S., Prem, H.T. (eds) Management of Animals in Disasters. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-9392-2_16

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics