For General Public

The Minnesota Search & Rescue Dog Association, has grown to be one of the most recognized K-9 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.

MinnSARDA can provide trained K-9/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


The K-9’s of MinnSARDA and their handlers live, train and work together. These highly trained search K-9s are owned and cared for by their handlers. It is imperative that a strong relationship built on trust exists between a handler and their K-9 partner in order for them to work most effectively as a team. Special training works to focus our K-9’s extraordinary sense of smell to specifically detect human scent. The K-9’s endurance, heightened night vision, ranging ability and acute sense of hearing in combination with trailing, tracking or air scent training enables a K-9 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. Our K-9 partners are trained to be friendly towards people and are not used by law enforcement agencies to apprehend criminals.

How Are Teams Used?

Teams are trained to work in three main areas: Trailing/Tracking – The dog follows the scent of a living person on the ground. The K9 works on-long line and harness towing the handler behind; Air Scent – Dogs use air currents to follow scent in to the missing person. Typically, these dogs work off-leash and quarter an area much like a hunting dog; and Human Remains Detection (Cadaver Dogs) – These K9s are trained to locate and alert to the scent of human remains.


Lost Pet?

MinnSARDA K9’s are trained to locate only human scent, therefore we are unable to assist those searching for lost pets. Below are some MN resources that may be able to help you in your search for a missing pet.

  •  The Retrievers is a nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis, Minnesota offering the tools, experience, and expertise to help rescues and individual owners find their lost dogs. You can learn more about The Retrievers at or visit them on Facebook.
  •  Lost Dogs of Minnesota is a volunteer group committed to reuniting families with their lost dogs. Their service is free to dog families, shelters, rescues, and animal control professionals. Lost Dogs of Minnesota is strictly an online forum providing the means to post and match up dogs in an effort to get them home. You can learn more about Lost Dogs of Minnesota at or visit them on Facebook.


*For training and event/demo inquiries, email, or call 763-441-3734.

*For social media and website inquiries, email