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

Facebook Posts

1 day ago

NZ LandSAR Search Dogs

The new operational Avalanche Search Dog jackets are finally here! Looking sharp.. ... See MoreSee Less


Comment on Facebook

Very flash and a good looking model x

Those are nice! Where did you get them if you dont mind me asking?

Sally Middleton

Great looking models

Those would look even better on a yellow dog!!

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2 months ago

NZ LandSAR Search Dogs

Great weekend at the annual search dogs South Island assessment camp ... See MoreSee Less


Comment on Facebook

Thanks for a great weekend team!

2 months ago

This is a great piece of kit! Even if you don’t win you can get access to a discounted rate.THIS PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACON WORTH $500+ COULD BE YOURS!
More importantly it could save your life! join our page, show your mates this competition and enter your email at the link below so we can contact the winner on October the 8th. Even if you don't win we will send you a link where you can save hundreds off a range of locator beacons.

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2 months ago

NZ LandSAR Search Dogs

Another busy weekend at the Land SAR Dogs Avalanche Assessment Camp at Snow Farm, New Zealand
Congratulations to everyone who qualified and special mention of the 3 newly qualified teams - Brendan Kearns & Tussock (Treble Cone) and Dave McKinley & Stellar (Mt Cook) both operational again with their new dogs plus Vladka Kennett & Zara (Glenorchy) now certified as Novice.
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