The Record for the Best Tracking Dog: His Breed May Surprise You

Outside of Cape Town, South Africa, in little towns known as Robertson, Rawonsville, Irene, and Worcester, an unlikely local legend is remembered.

His name was “Sauer, a dog born in 1917 on the premises of the South African Police Dog School.  Blessed with a sound pedigree, Sauer, nevertheless, failed to impress his trainers early on as he was thought to be too jittery for police work. Sauer, however, was immensely bonded with his trainer, Detective-Sergeant Herbert Kruger, and with careful training, Sauer came around, but only for Kruger. The patience paid off. Early in his career, Sauer followed a trail that was 132 hours old, thought to be a world record at the time. Sauer would perform other dazzling feats, but the one he achieved in 1925 etched his name in history.

Sauer,karoo, Doberman Pinscher,record,

The Karoo

Kruger and “Sauer” were called in to find a cattle rustler. Without stopping, the pair tracked the thief on foot for 100 miles across the hot, merciless semi-desert known as the Great Karoo (see above).  They got their man. To this day, the feat has never been equaled, and “Sauer,” the dog once thought to be a police dog washout, still holds the world tracking record.

“Sauer” was a Doberman Pinscher.

Sauer died at the age of nine in De Aar and was laid to rest in a place of honor on police property.


doberman pinscher, sauer,tracking dog,dachshund,guinness book of records,police dog


There is a bit more information on Sauer here.

Update: For a long time – and to the disappointment of everyone taken with his story –  there was no photograph of Sauer (that anyone knew of, anyway). Thanks to Vicki Mueller Roudonis, a post she had written about Sauer for Doberman Video Central resulted in a wonderfully surprising message from Jenny Wolfaardt, the grand-daughter of Detective-Sergeant Herbert Kruger. She said there is a pic of Sauer, and that her mother, Krueger’s daughter, had it.  Because of Vicki and Jenny, we’re able to share it below. Sauer is pictured with another Doberman, a bitch named Rossalin:

Doberman Pinscher, police dog, tracking, Sauer, Guinness Book of Record


Tracking image by Heather Wilson is available as a t-shirt, note card, mug and more here. Dachshund meme found on Pinterest and happily credited upon receipt of information

4 thoughts on “The Record for the Best Tracking Dog: His Breed May Surprise You”

  1. GREAT STUFF! Such feats ~ and those involved ~should not be allowed to be forgotten.

    • Agreed, Jackson, and we’re doing our best to find these gems about our breeds and sharing them! Thanks for writing!

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