About USAR Dogs in NZ

Why do we need USAR Search Dogs in New Zealand?

Looking at the snow capped mountains of the South Island, or visiting the hot pools of Rotorua reminds us that New Zealand sits at the junction of two of the earth’s tectonic plates. USAR Seach Dog Association - SachaNumerous fault lines traverse our countryside including the large Alpine Fault. Regularly New Zealanders feel the effect of the shakey islesThis combined with the notoriously unpredictable and diverse weather and manmade events makes the risk of structural collapse in New Zealand real and constant.


Whats special about USAR Search Dogs?

Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Search Dogs are unique and incredibly valuable as a resource in the location of people trapped following the collapse of structures. The fast and effective location of trapped victims increases their chances of rescue and recovery. Humans shed up to 40,000 skin cells every minute and it is these tiny particles floating in the air that USAR dogs are trained to locate. These amazing animals must be healthy, energetic, high USAR Seach Dog Association - Earthquake Supportdrive dogs who can cope with the stress of being around many other dogs, handlers, rescue workers and the noise, confusion and stress of a rescue site.



The dogs are only one part of the team. USAR dog handlers are all volunteers based throughout New Zealand. They must undertake basic rescue training to work safely in the rescue environment and fit this around many hours training with their canine partners. While hard work, training a USAR dog is very rewarding. It offers a great opportunity to help the community in a time of need.


Documentary on NZ USAR Dogs

USAR Seach Dog Association - Earthquake supportHere is a link to a story done for Animal Academy on USAR Dogs in New Zealand. It features one of our teams, Tim Drennan with Boo. It also talks about USAR dogs in general. The film crew came to the 2010 National Training Weekend in held in Auckland.



The NZ USAR Search Dog Association is an Incorportated Society. The Association has a Management Committee chosen from its members with a President taking the lead role.An Association Coordinator runs the USAR SDA day to day and it is the first point of contact for enquiries.Please see the Committee and Contacts section.

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NZ USAR Search Dog Association


The Teams are split between 3 regions of New Zealand - Northern, Central and Southern. Read about our current and past handlers and search dogs.

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NZ USAR Search Dog Association


USAR Search Dog handlers in New Zealand are all volunteers. They come from all sorts of backgrounds, from firefighters to computer programmers. What they share is basic fitness, the ability to work in a team, the desire to serve the wider community and a dedication to the development of USAR Search Dogs.

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