Canine units: the specializations

The CNSAS dog units are essential in many scenarios. From avalanche intervention to research on the surface – without forgetting the long scented trail followed by the molecular dogs – every year dozens of interventions are solved thanks to the training and preparation of dogs and conductors of the CNSAS.

The schools that train the dog units within the Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico are specialized in surface research (UCRS), avalanche (UCV) and with UCRM, the molecular dog units. To these units already mentioned, must also be added the UCRC, the dog units specialized in catastrophes.

The CNSAS National Schools of canine units are recognized by the Italian State through Law n.74 of 21/03/2001, which provides for the training and verification of the Alpine and Speleological Mountain Dog Units for the research for missing persons. Represented by National Instructors distributed throughout the territory, it organizes courses where, in collaboration with Scuola Nazionale Tecnici (Technicians National School), it trains and evaluates the conductors and their dogs in order to release the patent for the operations of the Surface Research Dog Unit. By participating to the national courses the conductor/dog pair acquires the skills and technical notions necessary to move in total safety in a mountain/impervious environment, optimizing the work of the dog in the detection of scents that can be connected to the possible missing person.

Participation in national courses for dog units requires registration in the register of C.N.S.A.S. and the operational qualification of Operatore di Soccorso Alpino; more information can be obtained by contacting the Stazione di Soccorso Alpino nearest to your residence.

The technical professionality, the operational capacity and the organization that distinguishes the Corpo Nazionale del Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico have made UCRS an indispensable tool to optimize resources and time in the research of missing persons.

The UCV National School has a long and fascinating history, drawn from an experience that lasts since more than fifty years. On 1st April 1960, near the town of Solda in South Tyrol, Mohrele, a half-breed dog belonging to a local mountain guide, began to show signs of restlessness while its master was working near a large avalanche that in the previous January overwhelmed the priest of the town while he was returning to the village. The insistence of the little dog caused its master to convince himself to dig into the indicated point: the snow quickly returned the body of the priest who had been researched for days and days by numerous volunteers. Starting from this brilliant intuition, the first tormented and pioneering phases will take place with enthusiasm and conviction; the first National Course for avalanche research dogs of the Corpo Nazionale del Soccorso Alpino will eventually be organized in Solda in 1966. Since 1987, the UCV National School is recognized at national level as the guarantor of the canine units to be used in Protezione Civile interventions with ministerial decree 3/053/13 Emerg. of 30/04/1987. Currently the National School, making use of its instructors, is present in the various delegations, using them in the training of future conductors, in the delicate task of choosing new puppies and in the operational exercises of each regional service. Through this path, the students are taken to admission to the National Courses, for the acquisition of the operating UCV patent.

The commitment of the CNSAS in supporting such a demanding and highly professional path makes it possible to avail the organization even today of the irreplaceability of the binomial man-dog that, despite the advanced technological era, is sometimes the key element in saving human lives.


BassoStefano SantoroSergio Giovanni
CesaChristianZanoliAndrea Eugenio