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I've been watching some documentary and these dogs are of course super impressive.

So these dogs obviously must have some good physical capabilities and are very well trained, over many years.

At the same time it seems that rescue dogs are often selected, trained and given to emergency response teams.

On what basis are they selected? What are the essential qualities they should possess?

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This is something I've been interested in lately. I haven't found detailed information, but I'll share the basics.

I found an article here. The most important trait, from what I've read, is the ability to focus without becoming distracted:

When selecting a dog of any age, selecting one with a HIGH level of ball/play drive is necessary. You want a dog that is focused and intense about playing.

Breed doesn't seem too important, so long as it's a fairly intelligent breed. To begin SAR training, a dog needs to already have basic obedience training. It's hard to find more information without getting in contact with a group that offers the training.

I briefly volunteered with the SES (an Australian emergency service), and at the time they were looking for volunteers who had dogs who would be interested in training their dogs. I get the impression that trainers and handlers are often the same person, and it's an on-going process to maintain the required level of training for both handler and dog.

EDIT: Oh, I forgot, a dog that's anxious around people will have a hard time working in search and rescue.

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