A brief history of Search and Rescue Dogs

Call-Out. © Hamish MacInnes 1973. Published by Penguin Books. Photo by Mike Sheil

Call-Out. © Hamish MacInnes 1973. Published by Penguin Books. Photo by Mike Sheil.

The use of dogs for search purposes goes back many years. In the 17th century dogs were used to break trails in deep snow in Switzerland and, apparently, records reveal that a dog named Barry saved 40 lives during his lifetime. During the first world war, dogs were used in the London blitz to locate buried casualties. Search dogs have also been used in disaster situations such as the Lockerbie tragedy in December 1988.

The Search and Rescue Dog Association in Scotland was conceived in 1965 by Hamish MacInnes, one of Scotland’s foremost mountaineers and mountain rescue experts. Hamish MacInnes paid a visit to an avalanche dog training course in Switzerland in the early 1960’s and immediately recognised the possibilities in Scotland.

An early SARDA Post card printed by the Oban Times Ltd - © H.MacInnes, Glencoe

An early SARDA Post card printed by the Oban Times Ltd – © H.MacInnes, Glencoe

We are delighted that Hamish MacInnes, is the President of SARDA Scotland

Patrons – Lord Elphinstone, Lord Wakefield, Sir Charles MacLean and Sir Francis Walker
Hon.President – Sir Vivian Fuchs; Hon.Treasurer – W.Elliot;  Hon.Secretary – H.MacInnes