searchandrescue2The German Shepherd Dog breed was initially developed for sheep herding from herding breeds, but it soon became evident that the dog had an ability and intelligence, along with physical prowess, to be utilized as a multi-purpose dog. Today many German Shepherd Dogs are used in the fields of protection and search and rescue.

GSD’s in Search and Rescue

The GSDCA supports the German Shepherd Dog’s utilisation for service in the community in the field of Search and Rescue.

In the recent Christchurch earthquakes the breed was used by a number of countries’ rescue teams to try to locate missing persons.

A number of Victorian and Tasmanian Club members have been active in search and rescue.


[formerly known as Southern Cross Search Dogs]

Elke & Jochen
Elke & Jochen

Australian Search and Rescue K9 Inc. (ASAR-K9) is an organisation that trains handler and dog teams to respond to emergencies to find people missing in the bush or country areas (land search or landSAR), as well as cadaver search to locate deceased people and bring closure to loved ones. Collectively these disciplines are called Search and Rescue (SAR). We are dedicated to training teams for this unique and valuable search service, provided to the community free of charge.
Formerly known as Southern Cross Search Dogs (founded in 1995), the organisation was one of the pioneers of canine search and rescue in Australia. Previously the organisation focused on training dogs to find survivors buried under rubble such as collapsed buildings due to terrorism, explosions, earthquakes, or landslides, also known as Urban Search and Rescue (USAR). Now ASAR-K9 focuses solely on landSAR and cadaver search.
Through our association with the International Search and Rescue Organisation (IRO), we have access to highly qualified and experienced trainers using proven and evolving training methodology. We access this knowledge through a combination of Australian based seminars led by domestic and international trainers, and through member attendance at international workshops and mission readiness exercises.
We also attend SAR exercises, symposiums and workshops in Australia and overseas led by other SAR and general canine training experts to ensure that all ASAR-K9 members have access to current international best practice. 

This organsation was formed in 2014, based on the pioneering efforts of the ASSDA. The ASSDA was founded in 1995, for the purpose of training, testing and making available search dog teams to user agencies, such as the police and fire brigades. In the early years, ASSDA focused on training and testing its teams for persons missing in bushland.

Several winters were also spent at Falls Creek, training teams to search for persons buried under snow or lost in snow conditions. During the last five years, the focus has been, and will continue to be, on training teams to search for victims buried under rubble of collapsed buildings.

To ensure a high standard in training and testing, ASSDA became a partner of REDOG ( ). REDOG trainers and assessors regularly visit Australia, holding extensive and intensive workshops, as well as testing those teams that have reached the requisite standard. In addition, ASSDA Instructors regularly fly to Switzerland to attend REDOG seminars, workshops and courses there.
In recognition of two dogs becoming qualified, the German Shepherd Dog Club of Victoria made a special presentation to “Achim” with Elke Effler, and “Olga” with Peter Effler.

Today, Elke trains her dog, “Jochen” and was very proud to have been called in to assist in the search for missing persons who perished in the devastating Kinglake bushfires in 2008.

Elke & Peter
Elke & Peter

Despite not having been trained as a “cadaver dog”, Jochen was able to identify and signal traces of human remains. A remarkable effort.

In 2012 Elke and Jochen also travelled to Switzerland to train as an Urban Search and Rescue team.