Cane Corso As A Search And Rescue Dog

The search and rescue dog, as we remember, finds any smells. It can be light concentrations brought by the wind or traces – it doesn’t matter to the dog. The smell arrived, the dog worked it out, drew conclusions, and began to look. Suppose, if a person becomes ill, he loses consciousness and rolls into a ravine – a search and rescue dog will find him, even if no traces lead there.

Now the question is can we use purebred Cane Corsos as search and rescue dogs? Well, to know that, you need to know in detail about these large dog breeds. Let’s know in detail about Cane Corso breed to know if This dog breed can be used as a search and rescue dog or not.

What Is Search And Rescue Dog?

The Search and Rescue Service (PSS) is a set of governing bodies, forces, and means designed to solve problems in the prevention and elimination of emergencies.

A rescue dog is not just a profession, it is a noble cause, to which the animal and the dog owner must devote a lot of time and effort. At the same time, the four-legged heroes simply do their job.

The most suitable pups for such as job can be a Cane Corso, German Shepherd, Retriever, Belgian Shepherd, Border Collie, Giant Schnauzer, Doberman, Russian Spaniel, Newfoundland, Terrier, etc. It should also be taken into account that a service dog like Cane Corso has to work with people of different ages, sometimes very frightened (under stress), so the dog must be non-aggressive.

The territories in which the search for victims is carried out can be very diverse and occupy significant areas, which requires a good orienting reaction from the dog. The dog should not be cowardly and should calmly endure frequent crossings on any form of transport.

Cowardice, lack of activity, insufficient hearing and smell, nervousness, and fear of gunshots, loud noises, and smoke make the dog unsuitable for search and rescue services.

General Facts About Search & Rescue Dogs

Here are a few general facts you need to know about Cane Corsos as a search & rescue dog.

Not every dog ​​is suitable for this service

Not every purebred and even service breed dog is suitable. The myth that any dog ​​can be “taken off the couch” and prepared is harmful and incorrect. A candidate dog for training is subject to criteria that are difficult in modern realities – it is necessary to have a healthy, willing-to-work, and balanced animal in terms of its mental qualities, including not having pronounced phobias. 

Needs at least 2 years of training

The average time for training a dog “from scratch” is about two years, provided that at least two training sessions take place on average per week. At the same time, the period of “explaining” to the dog its task is insignificant compared to the periods of setting signal behavior and gaining experience sufficient for the dog to be able to solve search problems in any situation. 

The dog must be physically prepared and enduring

In addition to the search skills, the dog must be physically prepared and enduring – for the RPS, the dog, on average, covers a path over rough terrain 1.5-1.7 times more than the path of the cynologist. 20 kilometers is quite common. 

Obedience skills are essential

Yes, obedience skills are essential for a search and rescue dog. Controllability is one of the important skills for an animal, other skills are built based on this skill, including search ones, and first of all, contact working relationships are built in a pair of handler-dog, allowing the calculation to act as efficiently as possible. 

Required Qualities Of Cane Corsos For Search And Rescue Service

The performance of such complex and exhausting work is possible only if the dog has excellent natural data, which are developed and improved by special professional training of dogs. To work in the PSS, a dog must have excellent hearing, a keen sense of smell, endurance, and remarkable strength.

It should be no higher than 45-50 cm, which will facilitate its transportation and movement in hard-to-reach places. A dog for PSS must have a strong and balanced character, be well-trained and trust people. Even strangers and animals should not cause her aggression. Lethargic or vice versa, overly excitable animals are of little use for rescue work.

Even though PSS is a rather difficult job, it does not require the selection of dogs of special breeds with special pedigrees. It can be a bodyguard dog, fighting dog, farmer’s dog, etc. Experience shows that German shepherds, huskies, collies, Cane Corsos, etc. large dogs do well with the service. As for age, not only a puppy is suitable for training, but also a well-developed dog up to two years of age.

Taking into account the specifics of the work, trainers use both more hardy and strong males and attentive and careful bitches. Not age, breed, and gender, but competent preparation of animals and proper care for them affect the final result.

Why Cane Corsos Make Good Search & Rescue Dogs?

Of the service breeds, undoubtedly, the Cane Corso is the best for the PSS. Dogs of this breed perfectly produce all types of search and never show aggression towards strangers. They have a great “intelligence”, that is, a pronounced rational activity.

These big dogs were from ancient Rome and were bred to guard the farm and protect livestock. They also were used in fighting. The Cane Corso nearly went vanished after World War II, however, experienced a revival in the 1970s in Italy. And this breed was acknowledged by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2010.

They are purebred and mixed-breed dogs. However, if you are interested in using a Cane Corso for Search & rescue job, make sure you buy one from a professional breeder or adopt one from a National Cane Corso rescue center.

With good visibility, these large pups work independently, being at a great distance from the handler. It is necessary to develop a search skill in a Cane Corso puppy from an early age, and training as well as early socialization according to the PSS course should begin from 1-1.5 years.

Dog training at a special search and rescue service course begins after the development of OKD skills, however, interest in searching the area and digging up buried sources of smell begins to develop from an early age.

How To Teach A Cane Corso to Report The Handler About A Found Person

The development of this technique is aimed at developing the dog’s skill of barking at the detected helper before the trainer approaches, without showing aggressiveness towards him. To develop this technique, you need to start after the dog is accustomed to searching for a person in an open area.

To practice this technique, 2-3 assistants are disguised as in the previous case. The trainer sends the dog the command “Search” and a gesture to search for a disguised person. After detection, the assistant encourages the dog with the exclamation “Good” and gives the command “Voice”. After barking at the dog, the helper encourages the dog to give treats, only after that the trainer comes and takes the dog aside.

When the next helper is found, the same actions are repeated. With repeated repetition of such actions, the dog develops the skill of barking at the person it has found, without showing aggressiveness. In the future, the encouragement the dog is made by the trainer himself when approaching the “victim”.

The technique is considered to be worked out when the dog, at the trainer’s command, actively searches, finds a disguised helper, and independently barks him until the trainer approaches


Cane Corsos are excellent companions who can cope up with other pets and strangers if you can provide proper training from a young age. It’s important to socialize pups well with people as well as other animals to develop a better temperament and Behavioral issues.

With proper training and mental stimulation, your Cane Corso pup can make one of the best Search & rescue dogs.

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Hi, my name is Aapt. I walked my my dog alongside a neighbour dog and saw the calm energy of one make the other visibly less stressed while they walked side by side.