Established 1992

Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States (SARDUS) is non-profit national association supporting search and rescue dog teams and search managers.

When a person is lost or goes missing a team of Professionals from law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and rescue organizations work together with the community to reunite the missing with their families.  Search dog teams are a proven lifesaving resource.   

A dog's nose can do what no other resource can:

·        Find a child lost in the wilderness or missing from their homes.

·        Follow a patient with Alzheimer's missing from a nursing home.

·        Locate a skier buried in an avalanche.

·        Assist law enforcement with crime scenes.

·        Find live people trapped in collapsed buildings.

·        Locate drowning victims.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children report that 2100 children go missing every day.  58,000 children are taken by someone they do not know each year.  Most of these searches do not have search and rescue dogs to help find them.

Most searches go without the benefit of a Professional search and rescue dog team.  If you would like to help click here...

We need your help

SARDUS is the financial sponsor of, which is a major communication tool for national and state disaster teams, as well as other countries developing a disaster canine program. 

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SARDUS  we provide certification, training, and education for search and rescue dog teams.

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A brief History... 


In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the United States search dog community went through a momentous and tumultuous time …… canine handlers from all over the country began working on, and completed, a national disaster dog standard. This effort followed years of deployments to international incidents, culminating in the response to the Mexico City earthquake in 1985. Those responding canine handlers, with incredible honesty, acknowledged that the training, certification, and response capability of the disaster teams from the United States was not adequate. The FEMA Disaster Canine system was born, and is now a model for many other countries that wish to develop a disaster canine response capability.


The model of a national organization attracted the interest of wilderness search dog handlers from all over the country. At that time, many different search dog groups existed, some with minimal standards and frustrating performance issues. In 1991, eleven handlers from various organizations and teams met in St. Louis to discuss the founding of a national organization devoted to excellence in canine response – from providing training opportunities to developing a comprehensive standard of certification. The result of the meeting was Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States (SARDUS). The early days of SARDUS and FEMA both relied heavily on the expertise found in the international Rescue Dog Organization. Handlers from the United States attended seminars in Berlin, Stockholm, Austria, Prague, and Seoul... and SARDUS was asked to host an International Rescue Dog Symposium in Boulder, CO in 1995. Front Range Rescue Dogs was the co-host with SARDUS. Teams from all over the world and the United States attended, and the cooperation and learning opportunities were inspiring to many.


For many years SARDUS offered training stipends to groups all over the country to help provide the education and experience that search dog teams needed to reach excellence. In an effort to further this goal, SARDUS sponsored an evaluator seminar in Estes Park in 2009, and since then has provided numerous clinics and evaluation opportunities in Colorado, Montana, Michigan, Kansas, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia. SARDUS has NIMS compliant standards in Area, Trailing, HRD, Avalanche, Water, and Disaster Search. Our website is


SARDUS remains committed to the education, training, and evaluation of canine teams, through cooperation and mutual trust with other agencies and teams.


By Ann Wichmann