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.

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.
If you are an aspiring handler, you will find sound advice on puppy selection and our application process, however if you wish to train a search dog, we highly recommend you find an operational handler, trainer or assessor 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 the appropriate skills and qualifications within the alpine environment and will need to have completed the Mountain Safety Council Backcountry Avalanche Course (or equivalent) with supporting documentation and evidence of further application of skills.

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. To be a handler you must supply a completed endorsement form which will support you as a member of your local Land SAR group with the appropriate SAR skills for field deployment.

LandSAR Search Dogs has over 80 members and provides the SAR sector with 9 operational avalanche dogs and 12 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. If you would like to join us as a volunteer please contact our secretary. If you are an aspiring dog handler there is an entry process here.

Please note that we do not search for missing pets. While you have our sympathies if your furry friend has gone missing, we are unable to commit our valuable resources for any search not involving missing person(s) – our dogs are trained to follow human scent.


If you are in a position to help our organisation financially and wish to donate – please click on the secure paypal donation link.

Land SAR New Zealand
Black Hawk Pet Nutrition
Land SAR New Zealand
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Facebook Posts

Congratulations to dog teams Jonny/Pixel, Duncan/Stevie, Rhys/Archie, Dave/Enzo, Emma/Dart and Barry/Red at this years annual South Island Wilderness Assessment Camp at Lake Ruataniwha - and wishing Baxter a happy retirement, thank you Baxter for so many incredible years of Operational Service ... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

Great stuff peps! Lets get that list longer next year 😁

Congratulations to all of you!

Congrats to all

Well done to all

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A fantastic assessment camp at the Snow Farm over the weekend with great results! A BIG congratulations to Cait Hall - operational for the first time!!!
Now 8 operational avo dogs and 4 novice for next winter - that's an amazing outcome 👊🐾❄️
... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

Congrats guys!!!! Awesome to see you guys progressing 🙂

Well done to you all and nice one Cait!



Well done you guys rock!

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3 months ago

Some awesome training with the NI crew this weekend near Taupo. Fantastic new training ground, cosy accomodation and the newest feature of a 4x4 espresso machine. ... See MoreSee Less

Some awesome training with the NI crew this weekend near Taupo.  Fantastic new training ground, cosy accomodation and the newest feature of a 4x4 espresso machine.

3 months ago

NZ LandSAR Search Dogs

Kapiti Coast Brewery, Duncan’s Brewing Co. kindly supporting NZ LandSAR Search Dogs with this nutty tasting Irish Oat Stout in memory of their resident dog, Quad.
Thank you Duncan”s Brewing Co.Kapiti Coast Brewery, Duncan's Brewing Co. have brewed a very special beer called The Quad. A beer brewed in memory of Duncan’s resident brewery dog, Quad. Proceeds from the sale of this beer will be donated to NZ LandSAR Search Dogs 🐶

The Quad, is a 4% IBU 20, and is a roasty toasty traditional Irish Stout, which is sweetened with milk sugar. The Quad has full body and a creamy taste and at 4%, it’s an easy and comforting drink on a cold winter’s day 🍻

The Quad is currently pouring at Duncan's Brewery cellar door, 4B, Sheffield Street, Paraparaumu (note the brewery is closed this weekend of Beervana). The Craft Embassy in Christchurch will be tapping and pouring The Quad over this weekend. Boneface Brewing Company Upper Hutt will also be pouring the beer (date tbc).

If you're going to Wellington beer festival Beervana this weekend, the festival have agreed to allow The Quad to be sold at all four sessions, without taking any c