The intellect, ability to problem solve, and strong desire to partner with their person make SAR a good fit for the English Shepherd breed.
“So others may live…” is the credo of SAR/Search and Rescue. SAR teams most often respond to lost or injured hikers in the wilderness, or searches for missing, at-risk persons in the urban environment. Local, regional, and state SAR teams are usually composed of volunteers: unpaid professionals who dedicate hours of training in order to be ready to respond to calls for help. Whether the missing person is alive or dead, the K9s are an effective, specialized resource, and an asset to the team.
SAR dog training starts at an early age with scent games and exposure to different people, environments and stimuli. Whatever the training, a consistent factor is the development of a bond between handler and dog. Most often, this equates to the dog enjoying time with their person, having fun and developing the love of games that reinforce SAR related tactics. The bond between the handler and SAR dog is critical.
There are several K9 SAR disciplines: Trailing (where the dog is looking for a specific person), Area (where the dog alerts on any human within a given search area), and Human Remains Detection. Other specialized types include Water Search, and Avalanche. English Shepherds are active in SAR in many states and in the United Kingdom.
See our archived story about Search and Rescue with Mingo.