In Civitavecchia, Italy, the Italian School of Water Rescue Dogs has certified more than 300 pups through a three-year program to become lifeguards.
These dogs are not just any type of lifeguard, these “canine lifeguards” are so highly trained that they can jump from helicopters and boats, carry a buoy or raft, and tow victims safely to shore. According to the school, the Italian Coast Guard relies heavily on them to conduct rescues around the year.
According to Roberto Gasbarri, the program coordinator for the school, canine lifeguards have an advantage over humans because they are quite strong and can even jump into the water and reach a victim faster than humans.
Now there is a catch, not every dog can be trained as a lifeguards - for example a Chihuahua - the minimal weight needs to be at least 30 kilograms (66 pounds) and additionally the dog must feel confident in the water, as any dog-owner must know there are a lot of water phobic pups out there. According to the school, Labrador Retrievers and New-Foundlands the best lifeguards.