Minnesota Search and Rescue Dog Association



Contact us

Who is MinnSARDA

What are SAR Dogs

How you can help

Supporters club

Become a handler

Training Standards

Meet the teams


Training dates

Training locations


Who we are....

The Minnesota Search & Rescue Dog Association, has grown to be one of the most recognized K9 Search and Rescue teams in Minnesota and the surrounding areas. Established in 1981 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, our unit provides specially trained dog/handler teams to assist public safety agencies in lost person searches and homicide investigations.

The K9's of MinnSARDA and their handlers live, train and work together. These highly trained search K9s are owned and cared for by their handlers. It is imperative that a strong relationship built on trust exists between a handler and their K9 partner in order for them to work most effectively as a team. Special training works to focus our K9's extraordinary sense of smell to specifically detect human scent. The K9's endurance, heightened night vision, ranging ability and acute sense of hearing in combination with trailing, tracking or air scent training enables a K9 team to search large areas in a variety of terrain efficiently. All unit members provide and maintain their own vehicle, communications equipment, uniforms and training gear. MinnSARDA K9's are trained to locate only human scent, therefore we are unable to assist those searching for lost pets. Our K9 partners are trained to be friendly towards people and are not used by law enforcement agencies to apprehend criminals.


MinnSARDA sets high internal training standards. Prior to being put on the active roster, dogs must be certified Canine Good Citizens (CGC) by the American Kennel Club. The handler must, at a minimum, have their first Aid/CPR and SARTECH II certificates. (SARTECH II is a designation from the National Search and Rescue Association (NASAR) which includes a 160 question written test and five practical stations focusing on search strategies and navigation). Handlers must also be certified by the unit in field support and base camp support. K9/handler teams are required to complete a test administered by an outside unit or individual evaluator before they can be considered eligible to participate in a search. All team members are certified in their respective areas and must recertify periodically to verify that they are still performing up to standard. A copy of our training standards can be requested via email.

MinnSARDA recognizes the need for nationally uniform standards to maintain quality search and rescue units. Our K9 handlers, base and field support members train to nationally accepted standards. MinnSARDA supports NASAR in their efforts to educate the Search and Rescue community. This level of preparedness is necessary considering the serious nature of the service we provide.

Click on the NASAR logo to link to the National Association for Search and Rescue site.






What we do....

MinnSARDA can provide trained K9/handler teams for the following types of searches:

  • Wilderness Trailing/Air Scent

  • Urban Trailing/Air Scent
  • Cadaver
  • Disaster Searches (including fire scene)
  • Evidence Search
  • Search Management



MinnSARDA K9's are trained to locate only human scent, therefore we are unable to assist those searching for lost pets.

MinnSARDA can provide free demonstrations of our capabilities upon request by any public safety agency or interested community group. This could include outdoor demonstrations, slide and or video presentations, instructional classes by experienced MinnSARDA members on search strategy, use of search dogs and other topics related to search and rescue.

References are available to agencies upon request.


MinnSARDA Wish List: MinnSARDA is seeking donations for the following items - Vet services, PFDs (Personal floatation devices for handlers and canines), dog crates - medium to extra large, dog treats and tough dog toys, gift certificates to pet stores and home improvement stores, batteries, AA and AAA, general office supplies - stamps, 8 1/2 x 11 copy paper, print and copy services, gas cards and cash donations for the following programs, public education and Seminar/training fees for Handler/K9 teams.

Please click on "How you can help"



MinnSARDA is committed to providing thoroughly trained K9/handler teams fully equipped to meet the demands of a search competently and professionally.




Contact MinnSARDA 24/7 by calling Anoka County Central Communications at

(763) 427-1212 or at ORI MN00200C1

Use the above contact information whether you want to call us to come on a mission or to inquire whether MinnSARDA dogs and handlers would be suitable and available for your search. For NON-EMERGENCY issues and general information, please click on "Contact Us" and see the bottom of the page for additional ways to contact MinnSARDA.

When you call, please have available:

  • Call back number for you or the search manager;
  • Approximate location of the search, e.g., nearest town or other major landmark, and the name of the county where the search will be conducted;
  • Short description of the type of search, e.g., missing person, drowning, etc.;
  • Short description of the subject's characteristics, e.g., age, health condition, etc.;
  • Place and time the subject was last seen (if known);
  • Approximate size of the area(s) to be searched; and
  • Description of the current weather conditions at the scene.

A MinnSARDA representative will call you back as soon as possible.





 © 2013 Minnesota Search and Rescue Dog Association