Search and Rescue canine teams can be utilized in the search for missing people. They can also be used in crime and disaster situations. Dogs are used because of their strong sniffing ability (A search dog has 44 times more olfactory sensory cells than a human). As well, dogs can cover a large amount of area in a small time, and can also search small, enclosed areas which could be difficult for human searching. Some dogs are used in water rescues for recovery purposes to locate drowned people. A dog can sniff the gases escaping the surface of the water to pin-point the body’s location.
Not just any dog is perfect for Search and Rescue however. There are many requirements a dog must meet. The job demands that the dog be in excellent physical condition and well trained.. Often the dogs are trained in obedience and agility in order to be familiar with commands and various terrains and situations. The size of the dog can also play a role, as bigger dogs with heavier coats are more suited to winter rescues than other smaller, shorter haired breeds.