In 1999 a group of life savers founded the “ International Water Rescue Dog Academy vzw”.

Goal of this association was to restore and further develop the instinctive life saver abilities of the Newfoundland dog and the Landseer ECT.

During many centuries the Newfoundland dog and the Landseer ECT were the most important rescue means for saving drowning persons. Many of them owe their lives to these brave life savers that never feared the stormy weather. The price they paid for their loyalty was high, many died during the rescue attempts.

In evolving new rescue means and better trained human life savers, the instinctive qualities were only used in sporting events, called water trials. Thanks to these water trials the instinctive life saver qualities of both breeds were preserved.

 The goal of the academy is to restore, further develop and “live” use of these magnificent animals in their natural environment. With the support of the Belgian Rescue Federation, a course was developed and the necessary diplomas were issued. As part of a genuine life saver team “Water Rescue Dog Team” the Newfoundland dog and the Landseer ECT will support their companion during a life saving operation.

The swimming capacities of both the Newfoundland dog and Landseer ECT are very specific and remarkable. They can swim for more than two kilometres and keep a victim afloat for an hour. They can bring floating objects as rescue belts, manacles, ropes to the victims. Even boats loaded with 10 persons are easily pulled. In freezing water and temperatures below zero the human life saver is helpless without special equipment. Our four-legged life savers, due to their double coat, swim equally easy at those freezing temperatures.