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WELCOME TO THE HOME OF NZ LAND SAR SEARCH DOGS!

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.

AVALANCHE DOGS

Avalanche dogs use airborne scent to locate people under the snow. Handlers need a good level of skiing/riding ability to be considered and there are minimum requirements for avalanche qualifications and location of the team.

Avalanche dogs use airborne scent to locate people under the snow. Handlers need a good level of skiing/riding ability to be considered and there are minimum requirements for avalanche qualifications and team location. Speed, efficiency and a nose capable of detecting human scent deep beneath the surface of the snow has allowed the Avalanche Search Dog to earn itself the reputation of becoming an invaluable asset in the context of snow and avalanche rescue. Avalanche search dogs are one tool used to find lost persons buried in an avalanche. Probe teams and transceivers (if used by the buried person) are about the only other options used to find avalanche victims until the snowpack melts. The sense of urgency during a search for a person buried by an avalanche cannot be understated.

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TRACKING DOGS

These dogs are trained to follow ground scent where a person or persons has walked. The ground scent is made up of some personal scent from the person as well as scent created by the crushing of soil, vegetation and organisms on the ground.

Tracking dogs can be a very useful tool in the hands of an experienced handler. They can track much better and quicker than a person using visual sign and can be used to sign cut tracks, ridges, creek beds and other areas. It is important that the tracking dog is called early as time is the biggest enemy of ground scent. It is also important that the area is not contaminated by other searches as the dog will follow the most recently laid line of scent. The limitations of tracking dogs are determined by time delay, weather conditions and the surface they are asked to track on. When conditions get tough the handler will call on his, or his team mates visual tracking skills to supplement the dog’s ability to search.

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AREA SEARCH DOGS

A New Zealand qualified area search (or air scent) search dog will 'follow up' the scent to the lost person, through heavy bush, along beaches, lake shores, over farmland and parks, during the day, evening and in the dark.

All humans emit microscopic particles bearing human scent. By the millions, these particles become airborne and can be carried by the wind for considerable distances. Airborne scent is concentrated near its source and follows the air currents, becoming more dilute the further it travels. The handler will determine how the area is to be searched, no matter which direction the wind is blowing. A qualified area search dog will ‘follow up’ scent to the lost person, through heavy bush, along beaches, lake shores, over farmland and parks, during the day, evening and in the dark. Bad weather does not limit the use of search dogs and they can search long after the track is obliterated and contaminated, zeroing in on where the person is now, regardless of how they got there.

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LandSAR Search Dogs has over 80 members and provides the SAR sector with 8 operational avalanche dogs and 10 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.

HELP LAND SAR SEARCH DOGS

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
Land SAR New Zealand
Land SAR New Zealand

Facebook Posts

1 month ago

NZ LandSAR Search Dogs

Wow - have a look at this , here is our new website !!Here's another Nor'west Arch website just gone live! Land SAR Search Dogs is an organisation close to my heart so it was a privilege and pleasure to rebuild the existing site built by us over 7 years ago. My how things have changed. 😁
www.searchdogs.co.nz/
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Wow - have a look at this , here is our new website !!

Introducing our latest Wilderness Search Dog Team based in Hokitika : Rhys Martin and Archie. Well done team, such a great effort and valuable asset in helping Search and Rescue. Rhys and Archie join 10 other operational Wilderness Search Dogs team throughout New Zealand !!!Massive congratulations to Rhys and Archie for passing their final Search Dog Team Assessments last weekend in Waiouru. These guys have worked bloody hard to get to this point and will be a welcome addition to the Hokitika team, and asset to the wider region. Big thank you to Duncan for his mentoring to get them up to operational level. ... See MoreSee Less

Introducing our latest Wilderness Search Dog Team based in Hokitika : Rhys Martin and Archie. Well done team, such a great effort and valuable asset in helping Search and Rescue. Rhys and Archie join 10 other operational Wilderness Search Dogs team throughout New Zealand !!!

3 months ago

NZ LandSAR Search Dogs

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Comment on Facebook

Jill McCarthy Melody Waltz Callahan Andrea Spain

Thanks Beth!

3 months ago

NZ LandSAR Search Dogs

RIP Rua - rest easy x ... See MoreSee Less

RIP Rua - rest easy x

Comment on Facebook

So sad to hear, Anna. Sending you, Ra, Gary and Riley a big hug. xoxox

Anna so sorry for your loss. Rua was such an awesome dog. Sending hugs

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