What is dog track and search?

Dog Track and Search

Dog track and search sport mimic the search-and-rescue missions. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Dog tracking is the foundation of canine search and rescue work.  Dog track and search sport mimic the search-and-rescue missions.  This sport assesses the dog’s natural ability and willingness to follow a trail left by human footsteps.  The tests are meant to be as close as possible to a real life situation where a dog is meant to find a missing person in varying terrain.

Dogs Victoria says, ‘the Judges always give the handler a description of who they are looking for. The descriptions can be very entertaining indeed. Our handler/dog teams have looked for drunks who have lost their way home, grannies who have escaped from nursing homes and in one case, a Russian spy.

The later tracks are held in streets where cars and pedestrians and dogs and cats must be negotiated. The final track to gain the title of Track and Search Dog Excellent is held in the streets at night. Always good fun on rubbish bin night!’

Dog track and search can potentially lead to pursue real life search and rescue work.  As highly trained animals, dogs serve in many different fields including specialist search, avalanche rescue, cadaver location, and tracking.

What Australian National Kennel Club‘s (ANKC) titles can be attained?

Dogs Victoria says currently it is possible to achieve two titles; Track and Search Dog (TSD) and Track and Search Dog Excellent (TSDX). Proposals to include a Track and Search Dog Champion title are under active consideration, but it is not in place at present.

Is my dog suitable for dog track and search?

Search and rescue dogs are generally found in the Sporting and Hunting Groups, or from the traditional Herding Group such as the Bloodhound, Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Belgian Malinois.  They have a heightened sense of hearing and smell to better locate lost individuals and are often able to access hard-to-reach areas.

A dog must be a minimum of twelve months of age to enter in a Track and Search Trial.

Where can I do dog track and search?

Find a dog club near you by contacting ANKC‘s State member bodies:

Dogs ACT

Dogs West

Dogs Queensland

Dogs NT

Dogs NSW

Dogs SA

Dogs Tasmania

Dogs Victoria