Not all heroes wear capes… Some of them wear dog harnesses instead. I’m not saying that dogs are better than cats, but canines are usually the ones that save the day.
Pooches are real-life heroes that unconditionally provide support and protection for their hoomans. Their natural senses and skills enable them to become excellent search and rescue, therapy, service, military, and police dogs.
It’s time to give some of the most courageous canines the recognition they deserve!
Dog Heroes We All Love
Labs, German Sheppies, Belgian Malinois, and other search and rescue dogs have been saving hooman lives for hundreds of years.
It’s no surprise that these pups often appear in newspapers for their heroic acts, and I think that now is the right time to honor them once again for everything they’ve done for us:
#1 Mission Completed, Proteo
German Shepherds are known for their amazing skills and intelligence, which is why they’re usually trained to become police canines or search and rescue dogs.
The story of Proteo, a brave Mexican German Shepherd that gave his life for victims of the disastrous earthquake that hit Turkey, has left many in tears, including myself.
Proteo was a hero that the world needed. According to the Daily Sabah’s article, this courageous rescue canine saved two lives in Turkey and lost his life trying to find more people under the rubble.
The whole world paid tribute to this heroic dog, including the Mexican military officers who organized a heart-touching farewell to their furry colleague.
You have been a good boy indeed, Proteo.
#2 Jake, The Rescuer
Their intelligence and agility are just some of the reasons why Labradors are known as one of the most popular SAR canines in the USA. 
In the case of Jake, the courageous black Lab, his heroism started from an early age. Jake was left on the street as an injured puppy.
However, a broken leg and hip dysplasia didn’t stop Mary Flood, a member of the Utah Task Force 1, to rescue and train him to become a certified rescue canine.
This brave Labrador participated in numerous search and rescue missions, including the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina, which is what the world will forever remember him for.
#3 Bretagne, The Golden Hero
Bretagne is one of the heroic dogs that was involved in saving the lives of victims of the 9/11 attacks, hurricanes Rita and Katrina, as well as other search and rescue missions.
Bretagne’s admirable contribution to society made her a nominee for the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Award in 2014, while her positive attitude and cheerful personality that she displayed in her birthday video stole the hearts of many people around the world.
Bretagne was special for many reasons, including the fact that she lived for 16 years, which is quite impressive for Golden Retrievers, as they usually live up to 12 years of age.
Unfortunately, this courageous doggie had to be put down because of her illness, but the firefighters from Houston gathered to make her final moments as special as she was. 
#4 Shiraz, The ArcheoPup
The Belgian Malinois is a breed that definitely deserves more recognition as brave SAR dogs with an impeccable sense of smell and amazing intelligence, which makes them easily trainable and obedient.
Shiraz is one of the canines that proves everything I mentioned above. Her extraordinary abilities are the main reason why she was the winner of the 2020 AKC award for the best search and rescue pup.
This amazing Belgian Malinois was involved in more than seventy missions, during which she uncovered unmarked graves of slaves, Native Americans, and other people who were buried in unmarked places for hundreds of years.
Her owner, Susan Goodhope, is extremely proud of her pup, not only for her achievements as a Human Remains Detection Dog, but also for her empathy and attention she shows to everyone in need.
After Susan’s husband passed away, Shiraz became very supportive towards her owner and motivated her to go on with her life.
#5 Judge, the Arson Dog Hero
Here is another Lab hero from Allentown, Pennsylvania, that has managed to reduce the number of attacks and fires by arson in the city by more than 50% during his service, according to the American Humane.
This courageous pooch might not be actively involved in SAR missions, but his contribution to the safety of Allentown is incredible. Judge, the Lab, is responsible for a great number of arrests that involved arson fires and fraud.
But, that’s not all, folks!
Judge is a great teacher and motivator as well. He was included in more than 500 projects about fire safety, including a program that involves the safety of children with autism.
This adorable Lab didn’t just make his city a safer place to live in, but he also stole the hearts of everyone who got the chance to meet him!
But, according to the video below, he’s now definitely enjoying his retirement days.
Video: Judge’s Page
#6 Keb, The Mischievous Hero
Fierce energy and extreme courage might be challenging to handle, but I’m sure that Keb’s owner wouldn’t want it any other way.
This Labrador Retriever is one of the nominees for the American Humane’s Search And Rescue dog award of 2022. This isn’t a surprise considering that this doggie has been trained as both a SAR and human remains detection canine.
Keb has been a part of over 100 rescue missions, which includes the Washington Landslide, snowfield accidents, and mountain rescues.
Unfortunately, not all lives could be saved, but this canine managed to bring peace to the families of the missing by finding human remains in a great number of locations across the USA.
You can see the full story of this amazing doggie and her beloved owner in this video.
#7 Trakr, The “Cloned” Hero
It’s difficult to say goodbye to our furry buddies, be it a family companion or a K-9 colleague. Therefore, Trakr’s owner, James Symington, decided to clone his brave pup and continue his legacy of saving people before Trakr passed away.
According to Phys.org, there are five clones of this brave German Sheppie, all of which belong to Trakr’s owner who trained them to become search and rescue canines.
During his career, Trakr found a great number of missing persons (the exact number is not known), but one of the cases that made him famous was the rescue of the last 9/11 survivor, Genelle Guzman.
His service will never be forgotten, and his story will inspire future generations of German Shepherd owners to train their pups to become just as courageous as Trakr.
Unusual Dog Heroes That Break All Myths
Yes, we all know that German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers are excellent search and rescue pooches, but that doesn’t mean other breeds are any less valuable than them.
Chihus, Pitbulls, and mixed breed doggies can also save your life, be it by rescuing you physically or motivating you to overcome obstacles in your life with their positive stories.
Here are some of the pups that broke the myths regarding their breeds and taught us once again that we should never judge a book by its cover.
#1 Zoey, The Chihuahua That Saved The Day
Chihus are like toddlers – they’re sweet and lovable, but you can’t wait until they fall asleep just to have a moment of peace and quiet in the house.
Unfortunately, their undisciplined (even hostile) behavior they occasionally display is why Chihuahuas are often considered one of the worst breeds to own.
However, Zoey the Chihuahua is one of the examples that shows just how precious these doggies are, and why they deserve all the love and attention from their owner.
This brave Chihu sacrificed herself in order to save her hooman’s grandchild from a snake attack. She didn’t skip a beat when she saw a rattlesnake coming close to the one-year-old Booker West, who had no idea what was going on at the moment.
Zoey received multiple bites from the snake, but according to the owner’s words, she recovered quite quickly.
#2 Ethan, The Brave Shelter Hero
You don’t have to be there physically to save someone. Ethan, a mixed breed pup, has become an inspiration for a great number of people who didn’t see the light at the end of their trouble tunnel.
That is why Ethan’s story entered and won the American Humane’s competition – the “American Humane Hero Dog Awards” in 2022.
His story is truly miraculous, as his owner described in this video. There weren’t many people who believed in his recovery, but Ethan has proven that strong will can move mountains.
Ethan’s recovery has served as a strong motivation for a great number of people to fight harder for their life. The owner of this courageous dog has stated that he received plenty of thank-you letters, which made him even more proud of his pup.
Ethan is now a valuable member of the Kentucky Humane Society, where he encourages other canines to fight against all the odds and recover from serious medical conditions.
#3 Jake, The FirePittie
People from the city of Hanahan, in South Carolina, don’t need to worry about the condition of fire hydrants around the town because of Jake, the brave firefighter pup who regularly accompanies his colleagues to make sure everything is up to the pup standard.
This brave doggie has won an important battle at a very young age – the battle for his life. His owner saved him from fire when Jake was just a puppy, and since then, the two have been inseparable.
Now, Jake is a beloved member of the fire station, but he’s also a part of the fire safety school program, where he helps teach future generations about this serious issue.
Pitbulls have been dealing with a bad reputation for decades , which is why Jake is also a hero of his own breed that proves these doggies can be just as loyal and lovable as every other breed.
The Final Word
It would be impossible to mention all of the heroic dogs that have made this world a better place in one article.
There are thousands of stories around the world that prove that dogs are truly man’s best friend.
These precious furry creatures will always take a special place, not only in the hearts of their owner, but in all the people they saved.
Your service will never be forgotten, our furry friends.
1. Iliopoulou, M. A., Carleton, C. L., & Reese, L. A. (2019). Beloved Companion or Problem Animal, Society & Animals, 27(3), 327-346. DOI
2. McLean, Justin. “Use of Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs.” University of Colorado, Department Of Emergency Medicine Website.
3. Kriss, Randa. (June 07, 2016.) “A Hero’s Goodbye For 9/11 Search Dog Bretagne.” American Kennel Club Website.