Character and conformation
The dog’s character and conformation is more important than its breed. Very large dogs are often too heavy and slow-moving for search work. Very small dogs lack the speed and stamina necessary to cover the large distances involved.
Trainable and intelligent
The dog will be trainable and intelligent with a strong desire to please the owner. Very independent minded types – such as terriers – are harder to train.
The dog will need good scenting abilities. All dogs can scent well, but some types are more amenable to training to focus on human scent. Addtionally some breeds of dogs are known to have better scenting capability than others.
Friendly and sociable
The dog will be friendly with people and other dogs. Guarding type dogs, or fighting dogs are often not suitable in temperament
Agile and energetic with good stamina
The dog will be agile with good physical stamina and the physique and mental concentration for long hours of searching. The dog must be highly motivated to continue to work for its reward.
It is best to begin with a young puppy which is specifically intended for search work. This will enable the handler and dog to develop a good working relationship. Older dogs are only suitable if they already have a strong working bond with their owner