Sport and Canine Activities

Golden Retriever Search and Rescue Dogs: A Quick Look

Golden Retriever Search and Rescue Dogs

Did you know that Golden Retrievers are excellent search and rescue dogs?

Dogs are invaluable to the field of search and rescue when it comes to mass casualty events, natural disasters, wilderness tracking, and locating missing people. These well-trained dogs detect human scent to track down a person.

Golden Retrievers have 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses while humans only have 6 million, which makes them excellent for this job.

Can you train your dog to be a search and rescue dog?

In this blog post, we will go through almost everything you need to know about Golden Retrievers as search and rescue dogs along with other information on this topic.

So, without further ado, let’s jump right in, shall we?

Let’s begin.



Is the Golden Retriever the Right Choice for SAR?

In theory, almost any dog can be good at search and rescue.

However, in reality, each dog has his own personality, and each breed has its own temperaments and skills that make it more or less suited for this job. So, this is one of the factors that needs to be considered.

Golden Retrievers are one of the most commonly seen search and rescue dogs because the breed is well-suited and compatible with SAR needs.

These large breed dogs are excellent sniffers and have a need to please their owners and are quite energetic. These are the traits that have made the one of the best search and rescue dog breeds.

Other breeds include German Shepherds, Labradors, Bloodhounds, etc.


A Little About Search and Rescue Dogs

According to experts, a single search and rescue dog can do as much work as 20 to 30 human searchers can.

This is because dogs have an excellent sense of smell, hearing, and night vision.

During SAR, time is one of the factors which is of essence. For example, in case of an avalanche, the vast majority of the victims are alive for about 15 minutes after burial, the number decreases as the time increases.

Chances of survival increase exponentially when dogs are in on the search.

This isn’t just true for search and rescue missions.

Even for victims that are presumed dead, dogs help in locating the bodies to the victim for the authorities as well as family members so that they can closure and give their loved one a proper burial.

There are a lot of important tasks that search and rescue dogs accomplish.

These dogs rappel down mountainside, are capable of locating humans within a 500-meter radius, can locate a dead body that’s under water, can climb ladders, and much more.


Search and Rescue: Some Specialities

Search and Rescue is a large field. 

So, it can be subdivided in terms of the specializations. Some dogs are air-scent while others are tracking and trailing dogs. The types can overlap but, the differences between these is mainly the process of training and how a dog participates in the missions.

Tracking dogs work by following a trail of human scent through various types of terrain—these dogs don’t search but follow the trail.

Tracking dogs, on the other hand, need a “last seen” starting point or an article with the person’s scent on it to work from.

Time is of the essence for tracking jobs.

These dogs are employed in case a kid disappears from the school, inmate escapes the prison, etc.

Air-scent dogs, on the other hand, work with their nose in the air. These dogs work by picking up human scent from anywhere in the vicinity. These dogs are usually called in to find a missing hiker, avalanche victims, etc.


  • Cadaver – The dogs search for the scent of human remains by trying to detect the smell of human decomposition gasses. These dogs can even find a single human tooth or a drop of blood

  • Water – The dogs can look for a victims that have drowned. When a human body is immersed in water, the dog can locate it because the skin particles and gases rise to the surface. However, since water currents have an unpredictable movement, dog’s cannot pinpoint the exact location of the body

  • Avalanche – Dogs can detect the scent of human beings buried beneath up to 15 feet of snow

  • Urban disaster – These dogs search for human survivors in collapsed buildings and must navigate dangerous, and sometimes, unstable terrain

  • Wilderness – Dogs search for human scent in a wilderness setting

  • Evidence – Dogs search for items that have human scent on them


Summing Up: Golden Retriever Search and Rescue Dogs

Search and rescue dogs are invaluable to the field and help save thousands of lives in times of need.

Golden retrievers make excellent search and rescue dogs because they are obedient, energetic, and have a need to please their owners. Not just that, these dogs are also good at retrieving game in the sport of hunting and have a killer instincts.

If trained right, Goldies can surely be one of the best search and rescue dogs.

All they need is the right training and a good companion.

Do you have any questions? If so, leave them in the comments, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

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