20 dogs that save lives

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While some pups make great travel companions, wow you with their smarts or cuddle all day, other dogs save lives.

PetBreeds identified all dog breeds with a special penchant for search and rescue, and ranked them based on their American Kennel Club popularity ranking in 2015. While some dogs are known for their life-saving abilities, other breeds might surprise you. Next time you want to add a new furry member to the family, consider one of these breeds — they just might pay you back by saving your life.


#20. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever


A medium-sized purebred, the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever will be by your family’s side almost every minute. The breed is very affectionate and responsive to a family member’s needs.

#19. Belgian Tervuren


Because of its skills in scent detection and search and rescue, police have recently employed the easy-to-train Belgian Tervuren to help conduct work for law enforcement.

#18. Leonberger


Because of its massive size, the Leonberger makes a great guard dog. If its size doesn’t scare intruders away, the Leonberger will undoubtedly act defensively of its family.

#17. Bouvier des Flandres


The Bouvier des Flandres traces its roots to Belgium and France, where it was bred for humble farm work. As a family pet today, the breed remains protective and loyal.

#16. Dalmatian


Commonly associated with the fire department, Dalmatians have served as protectors since the 1700s, when they accompanied horse-drawn carriages of English aristocrats. Later, the breed would be called upon to aid firefighters, fearlessly running ahead of the firefighters and barking at others to make way.

#15. Alaskan Malamute


Bred for power and endurance, Alaskan malamutes are strong dogs that excel in sledding and pulling. Because they can withstand extreme temperatures and are known for their athleticism, they serve as phenomenal search and rescue dogs.

#14. Portuguese Water Dog


Portuguese water dogs are great retrievers and unsurprisingly enjoy time in the water.

#13. Belgian Malinois


Very active and easy to train, the Belgian Malinois is very protective of its loved ones. In fact, a Belgian Malinois employed by local police forces saved its handler in Mississippi in 2015.

#12. Saint Bernard


The Saint Bernard is the original avalanche rescue dog. Though the breed is difficult to train, it will it is often called upon to save lives.

#11. Bloodhound


You can trust in the nose of a bloodhound. Its ability to search and rescue is so reliable that the evidence it uncovers can be used as evidence in court. With a nose like that, a bloodhound can certainly save the day.

#10. Border Collie


Because of their intelligence, border collies are commonly employed for many purposes, including herding and search and rescue.

#9. Collie


The beloved dog Lassie was a collie, and her acts of bravery were not merely invented for TV. Collies are protective, loyal and serve as excellent guardians.

#8. Cane Corso


Cane corsos are gentle giants that are eager to learn. When faced with a threat, however, this breed will rise to the occasion and act fearlessly.

#7. Weimaraner


Weimaraners are incredibly smart and have a keen sense of smell, which equip them with all they need to save lives.

#6. Bernese Mountain Dog


The Bernese mountain dog’s affectionate temperament and strong desire to work make it an essential member of the family. Unfortunately, this breed has an average life span between 7 and 9 years, which is much shorter than the other rescue dogs on the list.

#5. Australian Shepherd


Australian shepherds are not only beautiful in appearance with their different colors and patterns, but their loyal personality means they will protect their owner at all costs. One Indiana County Australian shepherd even saved her owner from an attack from a 300-pound bear in 2013.

#4. Doberman Pinscher


A German tax collector, Louis Dobermann, bred the Doberman pinscher to be highly intelligent and to be protective of loved ones.

#3. Boxer


With an athletic build, boxers are fast learners and enjoy learning obedience and agility drills, all of which makes them excellent search and rescue dogs.

#2. German Shepherd


German shepherds have a history of heroism, dating back to the 1930s when they were named as the U.S. Army’s official dog, and they are known for their search and rescue talents.

#1. Labrador Retriever


Earning the spot as the most popular dog in 2015, Labrador retrievers not only excel in search and rescue tasks but also are adept at many tasks and have kind dispositions, making them perfect guide dogs.

See More Dogs on PetBreeds

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