At the end of the last century rescue dogs were used to find wounded soldiers. These dogs were called ambulance dogs. Ambulance dogs were also used in World War I(1914-1918) and many wounded soldiers thank their lives to the rescue dogs. In World War II dogs were used in London to locate victims under the rubble after the bombardments.
This painting from Louis Agossiz Puertes (1919) shows Ambulance dogs on the battlefield.
Edwin Noble painted in 1921 one of the bloodhounds that were trained as "Ambulance dogs" by E. H. Richardson.
At the end of the fifties there were some experiments in the Netherlands with rescue dogs and in 1961 the "Nederlandse Reddingshonden Brigade" (Dutch Rescue Dog Brigade) was founded.At the end of the sixties the interest in rescue dogs diminished. In 1961 the Civil Defence group in Dordrecht started with Rescue dog training of dogs bred by Leendert Saarloos. These dogs were wolf-dog hybrids (German Shepherd with a quart wolf) and are now known as Saarloos wolfdogs. The death of Leendert Saarloos in 1969 and the lack of a good successor was the reason that the training of these dogs stopped.
After a period with not much rescue dog activity , Ruud Haak and several other people started in 1980 the "Reddingshonden Hulpdienst Holland". A few years later several Rescue dog groups were founded in the Netherlands. In 1992 the "Stichting Inzet Reddingshonden Nederland" was founded. This is an organization that coordinates the various rescue dog groups in The Netherlands in case of larger national searches or international disasters.
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