About Us

Why Dogs?

When a person is missing in a rural or mountain environment a dog team will be much more efficient at finding them than a search team made up of people only. If the missing person is ill, injured or vulnerable this added speed and efficiency can make the difference between life and death. Dog teams can also operate effectively in thick cloud or darkness where people struggle.

The Dogs

It takes anywhere between 2-3 years to qualify a Search Dog. All of our dogs are both family pets and working dogs, and live at home with their Handlers.

We train two main types of search dog.

Air Scenting Dogs

These dogs search areas looking for human scent particles.

Air Scenting Dogs do not look for specific people but will look for anyone that is in the area. They do not discriminate different human scent.

Once they find a person they will return to their handler, indicate with a bark or by jumping up and take their handler back to the body and get a reward.

Scent Specific Trailing Dogs

These dogs discriminate human scent.

Trailing dogs are given an article of the missing persons clothing and will then hunt for a trail that matches that scent. They will indicate the trail to the handler and then they will follow the trail to the missing person.

Once they find the person they will indicate the find to the handler and to get a reward.

The People

Whether a Dog Handler or Dogsbody, we are all volunteers who love working with dogs and are committed to Search and Rescue.

Dog Handlers

Many of our handlers are members of Mountain Rescue, Lowland Rescue or Coastguard Teams.

Everyone in SARDA Wales is a volunteer, and that includes our Dog Handlers who dedicate a considerable amount of time to develop their skills and their dog let alone attending any callouts.

Most of our Dog Handlers are members of Mountain Rescue, Lowland Rescue or HM Coastguard Search and Rescue Teams. We do however accept applications from individuals who are not members of Search and Rescue Teams.

To find out more about becoming a SARDA Wales Dog Handler click here


It is impossible to train a search dog if they have no one to search for!

SARDA Wales are very lucky to have a great team of people we call ‘Dogsbodies’. This fantastic group of individuals turn up at every training session to hide in fields, under caravans, boulders and various other locations until the dogs find them.

Dogsbodies must be patient, comfortable in the outdoors and most important of all – have a love for dogs! Our Dogsbodies have a key role to play in rewarding the dogs success in finding them.

If you think this is something you would enjoy click here.

Support Us

Your money will help us save lives.

Everyone who is involved in SARDA is an unpaid volunteer and we rely on donations from the public to provide the service that we do. If you are keen to help there are several ways that you can get involved and your help will be very much appreciated.

Click below to find out how to make a donation with us or just go straight to our JustGiving page here

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