Skip to content

Top 9 Best Service and Rescue Dogs


Most dog breeds have a super sense of smell in comparison to us humans. Fun fact, dogs have about 220 million olfactory receptors (odor sensors), and humans only have about five million. Some dog breeds are better sniffers than others. Bloodhounds are the best sniffers, and so are the sporting dogs. Some of the dog breeds are just too obvious, while some of them may surprise you. However, these search and rescue dogs are much more than just being scent detectives. The best rescue dogs are social, dedicated, enjoy their work and play, are not scared of noises or crowds, quick learners, intelligent, and easy to train. Listed below are the top dog breed for search and rescue work. 

Top Dog Breeds For Rescue And Search: 


Studies have proven that bloodhounds carry the highest scent sensors than humans and other 300 million dogs. Their build makes them quite an ideal breed with their long and sharp ears and big nostrils that can quickly pick up on any scent. Apart from being the best scent detective, the bloodhound is also very intelligent, loyal, are easily trained, and are full of energy that can last for several days. This breed is often a part of police and law enforcement forces; they help find criminals or lost people because of their highest sensors. 

Bloodhounds are a very energetic and well-focused dog breed that makes them a perfect rescue and search dog, and most importantly, they do not rest or stop until they have found and reached the end of the trail. Bloodhounds are also quite friendly and loyal companions at homes. But you must beware that they can be quite stubborn, and you would require a lot of patience while training them.


The basset hounds are part of a similar family as bloodhounds, but they do not have as strong of smell receptors compared to bloodhounds. But unlike bloodhounds, this dog breed is built much smaller and closer to the ground, which helps them find the target very quickly. Basset hounds are widely liked due to their very friendly behavior and trainability. This dog breed is one of the most friendly, laid back, and relaxed dog breeds alive. 

They are extremely friendly and amicable with every other human and animal they come in contact with. Basset hounds are incredibly suitable as pets because they are extremely friendly and gentle with children and well behaved in other dogs’ company. Apart from being social, this dog breed is considered to be one of the best watchdog breeds.


Coonhounds were usually trained and bred for hunting purposes because of their excellent smell sensors, which is why they are great search and rescue dogs. There are various types of coonhounds, but all of them are considered great scent detectives and prepared to maintain a lot of endurance, track, and speed. With their high ability to learn and train quickly, this dog breed is good at following and remembering directions. 

Whether you have adopted or bought a coonhound or treeing walker coonhound, both are indeed good sniffers and hunters. They are undoubtedly friendly and good-natured, but they desire challenging physical exercises and are perfect for those who can take them out for regular jogging, swimming, hunting, and trekking. 


Beagles are the smallest hound even though they are shorter than Basset hounds, but have the same number of scent receptors as Bassett. They might be lacking in height but have all the capabilities of becoming a perfect rescue and search dog. Their build is quite similar to a basset hound, but they have shorter ears. They make ideal search and rescue dogs as they carry abilities of high endurance and will to pleasing and impress their owner. A study has shown that a beagle has a 90% success rate in finding its set target and completing the trial, making the nose very strong. Beagles are very friendly and gentle with children, they are also very active and fun-loving, but as a hound, they can also be very stubborn and require a lot of patience while training and exercising. 

St. Bernard

People used St. Bernards to find soldiers and dead bodies of avalanches up on the Swiss Alps during Napoleon’s rule. Saint Bernards would go up in pairs searching for lost victims; as soon as they would come across a body or victim, one of them would stay behind and provide the victim with warmth by covering them with their thick and dense fur. Meanwhile, the other one would go back and ask for help. Many mountain rescue organizations still employ these dog breeds. Saint Bernard can dig through deep snow, have a keen sense of smell, and mostly they can travel through rugged terrains that are difficult for humans.  They can also walk on thin layers of ice and snow and fit into small spaces where humans can’t. Saint Bernards are easily trained, persistent, and full of energy and stamina.

German Shepherd

Compared to hounds and hunters, German shepherds might not carry the same amount of scent sensors and olfactory, but even then, they can smell and sense any target and victim very quickly. The German shepherd has been serving the police and military for centuries now. This dog breed is one of the most loyal and intelligent breeds, as they can learn anything and perform anything you teach them. Their high brilliance, strength, and obedience make them a suitable dog breed for service and rescue work. For centuries German shepherds have been trained for military, police, and law enforcement. As a result of the hard training, these dogs are quite muscular, extraordinarily focused, and full of energy. Apart from becoming ideal research and service dogs, German shepherds also carry herd genes, making them an ideal guide dog.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers have always made their way on every list related to dog activities and dog traits. Labrador retriever carries many characteristics that make them suitable for many different types of work and activities. They are very friendly, good-natured, smart, brave, and bring the same scent sensors as a German shepherd. Military and police forces have often used them in dangerous missions involving bombs, arson, and drugs. Labrador retrievers are highly appreciated for their services in rescue, search, and as detectives; apart from the services, they are highly appreciated for their loyalty and friendship. They are knowledgeable, easily trained, quick-witted, and fantastic problem solvers. Labrador retrievers have a thick, dense, and waterproof coat, and they excel and enjoy many games and activities like fly ball, trekking, search, hunting, and field trials.


Search and rescue dogs have to obtain a specific set of genetics and characteristics to do their job well. That is why these breeds of dogs are the best for this line of work. These breeds are high energy dogs, so they might not be suitable for inactive homes because they do best when they have a job and usually love what they do. 


%d bloggers like this: