This is only what I have heard before from a couple of sites in the past.
One person believed that a lesser weight, malinois type dog is better for Police work because sometimes the handler has to carry/lift the dog into windows of buildings and stuff. Just what I have heard. I guess some GSD's can also be as fit and trim as a Malinois too. I have heard and seen on some sites also for the smaller weight dogs being good for SAR because they can be rapelled or carried over harsh terrain/ladders, etc.
For USAR (aka disaster SAR), I prefer a medium-sized dog. 40 to 70 lbs. is generally a good size (on average). Dogs of this size are easier to lift. Also, medium-sized dogs tend to be more agile than large dogs (although this isn't always true - it depends on how the large dog is built). In my experience, it seems that the larger dogs tend to suffer more from the heat while working, although this again isn't always true.
From a logistics standpoint, a smaller dog is easier to transport. A lot of us USAR handlers travel to various training sites via commercial airline. The dog is allowed to sit with us on the plane, although we have to somehow jam them into the floorspace in front of us. A smaller dog definitely fits better into this space. I know people in USAR who train comparatively huge GSDs (90+lbs). I have no idea how they travel with these dogs on planes.
The dog can't be too small though. Although I know of a rat terrier who does USAR, it is important that the dog be large enough to maneuver through rubble/debris without tiring quickly. Some people believe a rat terrier-sized dog can be a good speciality dog for accessing and searching smaller voids within collapsed structures.
Of course, I'd be willing to train/work a dog that is larger or smaller than the ideal if it was an outstanding candidate for USAR based on temperament.
Note to Liz - we don't carry our dogs up and down ladders - we teach them to climb!
Yes Konnie, :lol: :lol: :lol: I know that is the preferable way too.
I was kind of referring to obstacle ladders too hard for them to climb, some rope ladders are difficult. At one training centre, I saw men carrying their dogs on their shoulders because the climbs where so extreme.
But a perfect point you make.
I prefer smaller dogs 40 to 75 lbs for my own personal use.I have also learned to prefer females.
For dogs that I am going to sell for PSD dual purpose,They will be a bit larger 60 to 85 lbs.Single purpose detection dogs can be pretty small.They can get into vehicles so much easier.Some trainers ask for smaller dogs.Ive never heard a request for a really big dog for any LE or SAR purpose.
I have heard people that want a "big scary dog" and I admit a large dark colored dog will be a stronger deterrant than a little mali.
The best boat dog (cadaver) I ever saw was a 36lb Australian Shepherd. She could manuver all around a small boat without crowding.
I'd love to see more JRTs doing SAR. They have all the drive any Mal has and like a Mal, are easy to train if you understand them.
Smaller dogs 60 to 70 seem to work quite well. It's a lot easier to pick one up and throw it over a fence. Like Jeff pointed out so elequently though, there are always those that want the monster. I think it goes with the gargoyle glasses and the fingerless gloves. If the dog is good, I don't care so much about size, it's like chosing whether you want to be hit with .223 or a .45.
Besides, I always thought "size didn't matter". Maybe I'm thinking something else.
david--who ever told you "size doesn't matter" was lying.
connie--picture this: you're sneaking around dark alleyways, scoping out likely places to, shall we say, "borrow" something from. when, out of the dark, here comes a set of pearly whites, with a full-throated roar behind them. you never saw the "rest of the dog" b/c he/she's black or dark-colored.
i know that i cannot see brix in the dark except as a movement, and even then, only b/c i know where he's "likely" to be, and know to watch for the movement. (he's colored just like becky schilling's dog). our human vision isn't all that great at night, and i personally, would pee my pants if i were sneaking around and suddenly said "HI" to a big black defensive dog.
but i'm a chickens**t--which is why i HAVE a big black dog!! :lol: