"These things we do ...

Long Island Search and Rescue

that others may live"

Some SAR Canine Facts

Some facts about a dogs ACUTE sense of smell.


  • Dogs are always smelling stuff. Wherever they go their snouts are sniffing. That's because Their sense of smell is about 1000 - 10,000 times better than a human's.
  • Dogs can also hear a lot better than us. They hear high-pitched sounds (like some insects make), that we cannot even detect.
  • The oldest American breed is the American Foxhound, dating back to 1650s!
  • Dogs' ability to track a scent is more than just a function but the ability to distinguish scents, and concentration is the real trick.

How does a search dog work ... ?

All humans, alive or dead constantly emit microscopic particles bearing human scent. Millions of these are airborne and are carried by the wind for considerable distances.


Air-scenting search dogs are trained to scan the air currents for human scent, any human scent. The dog locates the source of the scent and indicates the "find" to the handler. Air-scent search dogs do not use scent articles and can be deployed immediately in hasty searches, running paths, and trails, or days or in conditions that a track/trail dog can not pick up the scent.


Track/trailing search dog is trained to pursue specific individuals by following the scent left from the particles that have drifted from the body to the ground and surrounding vegetation. Track/Trailing dogs are particularly effective when they have an item of the missing person to be used for scent identification. It can be an uncontaminated article of clothing, or an object such as a car seat. The dogs can pursue the trail and indicate the direction of travel.