New Zealand Dog News

Reviewing the dog news in New Zealand with editors comments. Someone needs to keep reviewing how our dogs are doing in society.

January 18, 2010

Special dog trained to help

Vader the huntaway-staffordshire cross is a rare breed - he's one of only three search and rescue dogs in Auckland. Reporter Hannah Norton finds out how valuable he is in a crisis.

When a house collapsed on a group of workers at Manurewa Marae in June this year Auckland's only two search and rescue dogs sprang into service.

One person had already died and another four were missing.

Initially the dogs checked the perimeter of the collapsed house then underneath it where people were believed to be trapped.

The dogs are trained to bark when they find people alive so when one of the dogs started whining it was a sign it had found another person dead.

Senior firefighter and Urban Search and Rescue search dog association president Brendon Irwin says the dogs are invaluable in locating trapped people. MORE>>

Has your dog got what it takes to become and reach and rescue dog? Dogs must be:

  • Healthy, energetic and able to cope with the stress of being around many other dogs, handlers, rescue workers and the noise and confusion of a rescue site
  • Between 18 months and three years old
  • Non-aggressive and not classified as a menacing breed in the Dog Control Act.

For information email


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