Welcome to the home of NZ LAnd SAR Search Dogs!


You will find information on both our wilderness dogs and avalanche dogs and current updated lists of our operational avalanche and operational wilderness dog teams.
NZ Land SAR is the volunteer organisation that provides land search and rescue services to the police and as a specialist group under Land SAR, we are the official search dog group in New Zealand.
If you are an aspiring handler, you will find sound advice on puppy selection and training tips, however if you wish to train a search dog, we highly recommend you find an operational handler in your region to talk to before getting a dog. You will also need to be prepared to spend many hours training as a volunteer and join your local SAR group. There is an application form to become a member of Land SAR Search Dogs which includes agreement to our Constitution and Code of Conduct.

We have a set of operational standards for dog teams and all dogs are assessed annually.
To become operational the dogs undergo a rigorous assessment process and have to achieve the standards set by NZLandSAR and the NZ Police Dog Section.
Avalanche dogs use airborne scent to locate people under the snow. Handlers need a good level of skiing/riding ability to be considered and avalanche safety, first aid and mountaineering qualifications are an advantage.

Wilderness dogs are trained in tracking (following ground scent where people have walked) and / or area search where the dog uses the airborne scent of a lost person.
LandSAR Search Dogs has over 80 members and provides the SAR sector with 12 operational avalanche dogs and 15 operational wilderness search dogs.
Our members volunteer over 16,000 training hours per year. 1000 hours are given up for administration and the operational teams average over 1000 hours (combined total) on searches per year.

Without our volunteers, Land SAR Search Dogs could not continue. To donate time, resources or funds please click here.