Bert – the Black and Tan Coonhound
Simon Read has been a qualified Lowland Rescue Search Technician for just over 2 years. He is a member of Berkshire Search and Rescue dogs as a trainee dog handler along with his trainee Search Dog Bert.
All Lowland Rescue Search Dogs are first and foremost pets who live with their handlers and are very much part of the family, but when called upon, deploy as part of a specialist Search and Rescue team staffed by highly trained volunteers to assist the Police search for high risk vulnerable missing people.
“Bert is a Black and Tan Coonhound, an American breed imported from Nebraska USA and is one of less than 100 in the UK. The breed has recently been awarded Kennel Club recognition and is now a registered pedigree breed in the UK. Bert’s breeder in America is also involved in Search and Rescue and ensured he was ready to take on the challenge of moving to the UK to start his training. These breeds have a strong natural instinct to follow scents and can quickly traverse through difficult terrains. This, along with incredible sense of smell makes them very equipped for trailing.”
Before commencing training, each dog is assessed to ensure they have a suitable temperament, are great with adults and children and of course others dogs who they will be working with as part of a team. This is vital for the role they will play a huge part of.
“Bert has passed all of his stage evaluations, and is almost ready for his final assessment which will see him qualify as a Lowland Rescue Search Dog, and will be one of the first to qualify as a Search Dog Hero, something I am very excited about.”
Bert sired a litter of 10 puppies this year, and since my passion for the breed and for Search and Rescue is so strong, I decided to keep one of the pups to train alongside Bert as a Search Dog. Rogue is a 7 month old girl who has just been assessed for her suitability and will progress to the Search Dog Heroes training workshops. Although every handler and dog are different, this process should take between 18 months to 2 years.
Not only is Bert becoming a hero dog, where he will be deployed with the Search and Rescue team to help find missing people, but his legacy will also live on through his puppies. Along with Rogue, I’m over the moon that 1 more of Bert’s litter will be heading off to another Lowland Rescue team and become a member of the wider Search and Rescue family.”