We all want to believe that our beloved dogs would save our lives if disaster were to strike. I mean, they bark at the UPS guy and mutilate houseflies on our behalf, so is it so much of a stretch to think they’d drag our limp bodies from a burning building? Certain breeds just seem to have heroism coursing through their bloodstreams. They’re the Supermen to our Lois Lane. Other breeds tend to identify more with Homer Simpson. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with that! It takes all kinds, pups!
The large, muscular body of a Newfie looks as if it was specifically designed to perform dramatic water rescues. They have webbed feet for paddling, a double hair coat for warmth and repelling moisture, plus a rudder-like muscular tail to propel them through rough waters. The breed was officially established by English fishermen in the 1700s, and it was rare to see a fishing vessel leave port without one if these canine rescuers on board (akc.org). The English, French and Italian Coast Guards still call upon them for rescue missions. The video below features Newfies trained to leap from helicopters in order to perform water rescues!
2. Saint Bernard
These regal beasts are often depicted in snowy rescue scenes with wooden jugs of warming brandy around their necks. Monks living in the Swiss Alps in the 1600s recognized the breed’s ability to not only sense impending avalanches, but also to track and locate survivors. Once the freezing victims were located, the Saint Bernards would dig them from their snowy prisons and cover them with their huge, warm bodies until help arrived. Even if you don’t live in an area prone to avalanches, this breed can still come in handy. Their uncanny smelling abilities have led them to extraordinary acts of heroism in rescuing hoomans from house fires.
3. German Shepherd
There’s a reason these guys are so frequently chosen for service in the military and public safety. Stories of German Shepherd heroism date right back to the breed’s official recognition in the late 1800’s. They are high energy, intelligent, courageous and highly trainable. Loyal to the people who earn their trust and aloof and wary towards strangers, it’s difficult to sneak ill intentions past a German Shepherd. Watch this Shepherd’s display of panic when she thinks her dad is drowning in the pool. You can almost feel her desperation!
We all remember when Lassie saved Timmy from that well. Hollywood actually had it right for a change, because Collies have been awarded Dog Hero Of The Year more times than any other breed. A Collie named Tang won the very first award in its 1954 inaugural year. Tang saved several children from being hit in the road by herding them out of the way. Three years later, an elderly Collie named Blaze rescued a toddler from a vicious sow attack earning him the award for that year. Collies have even served their time in the armed forces, acting as sentries to patrolling soldiers. Read the story of Allie, a rescued South Korean Collie who saved her 88 year old dad after a brutal fall.
5. Golden Retriever
As their name suggests, Goldens were originally bred to retrieve the bodies of ducks from swamps and lakes. They are energetic, intelligent and eager to please. Coupled with their speed and swimming skills, they made the ideal companions for hunters. Goldies are loyal, playful and devoted to a fault. The internet is absolutely packed with tales of their bravery. They’ve served as search and rescue dogs in the aftermath of 9/11 and risked their own lives countless times to save those of humans. Figo, the Golden Retriever who saved his blind owner from being hit by a school bus is just one heartwarming example of this faithful breed’s many good deeds.
In all seriousness, we BarkPosters know that just about any breed combo is capable of remarkable heroism. It’s all about heart, and any dog lover can tell you, they ALL have plenty of that! The breeds featured have had years of training and strategic breeding to bring out their heroic qualities. Maybe the smaller breeds can’t drag you to safety, but they can certainly save lives in other ways. A twenty pound mutt in Poland saved a toddler by keeping her warm in frigid temperatures until rescuers arrived.
If that’s not proof enough, check out Harley, the 2015 Hero Dog of the Year! This one eyed, bow legged puppy mill survivor teaches us that amazing things can definitely come in tiny, derpy packages!
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