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Search and Rescue SDSF


We can easily say that the 'search dog' is the ancestor of the disaster or avalanche dog.

Its role in the search for the wounded, and the subsequent alerting of its handler, is historically traced back to ancient Egypt where they were used in finding the wounded during battles.

At this time, it was thought that the dog's licking of human wounds was beneficial in their healing.

In the 18th century in Belgium, thanks to Professor Reul of the veterinary school in Cureghem and two journalists, Van der Snick and Sodenkampf, the first demonstrations were prepared to promote the role of the search dog.
Also in Belgium, before the 1914/1918 war, Lieutenant Van de Putte noticed the effectiveness of these search dogs and decided to found 'the Belgian Sanitary Dog Club'.

In Germany, at the same time, Von Stephanitz ( founder of the German Shepherd breed) realised that the breed will lose its purpose as a shepherd dog and incites the army to use them for other purposes such as the search for the wounded (in his book he published in 1921 on the German Shepherd, he said that 4000 search dogs were used during the First World War, saving the lives of several soldiers).

In Switzerland in 1893, the cynologist and animal painter J. Bungartz created the 'Swiss Sanitary Dog Association'. In 1903, the first guidebook on 'Training and Use of the Sanitary Dog', written by Captain A. Berdez from Berne, appeared. He would create the 'Swiss Sanitary and War Dog Association' in Zurich the following year.

The 1600 search dogs of the time saved more than 20,000 war wounded between 1914 and 1918 on the Russian and Romanian fronts. In Switzerland, after the war, the Swiss army took an interest in the medical dog and organised competitions.


During the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the International Red Cross, the Swiss Championship of Search (Sanitary) Dogs was held in Fribourg, organised by the Fribourg Canine Society.

The "Search & Rescue" Dog Discipline is developed in the two main categories: Rubble and Terrain.


The search dog requires a dog in good condition, which likes to walk, is brave, likes to search, likes to be with humans and has good recall.

Each of the 2 categories consists of search and obedience work.

Head of department: Franco Mignemi


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