Search and Rescue Dogs

South Wales / De Cymru

About Us

The Search and Rescue Dog Association of South Wales is a team of volunteers dedicated to saving lives. Our operational area covers the whole of south and mid Wales from Pembrokeshire in the west and into English counties over the border when necessary. We also provide support for other SARDA teams in major incidents. We provide assistance to those lost and missing in both upland and lowland areas. Our callouts can range from the high points of the Brecon Beacons National Park to the Valleys and down to the coastal cities, and whilst much of our work is in remote and rural areas, we also operate in urban areas. Our dog handlers are all members of Search and Rescue teams in the area, called on to assist the Police and Mountain Rescue Teams in searching for missing walkers, mountain bike riders, children and vulnerable adults. We attend on average 30 callouts a year and are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The team is a charity supported entirely by public donations.


All of our Dog and Handler Teams are individually part of Mountain Rescue England and Wales teams and this is a pre-requirement to train a dog with SARDA SW. The dogs are required to pass a set of challenging obedience tests before being considered for the role, then the hard work begins.

When the searching begins dogs bodies are used, these are all volunteers who give up their time to help be a missing person for the dogs, who are non-discriminatory air scenting dogs (they find all people using scent on the wind, and don’t need anything of the missing person to start with). In the initial stages for the dogs the bodies are very animated and exciting, which starts the “search game”, in the later days it is a great way to spend a weekend, laying out on a hill, reading a book but ultimately helping with mountain safety. All handlers are required to give 6 months of training to be bodies, this is important to learn how all of the stages work and to see the dogs in action.

It can take several years of hard training to grade a SARDA dog and requires huge commitment from the dog, the handler and their families. All of the SARDA dogs are also much loved pets.

Our Dogs

Steve and Rusty

Brecon Mountain Rescue Team

Collie X Kelpie

Rory and Griff

Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue

Border Collie

Claire and Rhedyn

Brecon Mountain Rescue Team

Welsh Collie

Mark and Cizzie & Cassie

Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team

Border Collie

Josh and Bran

Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team

Border Collie

Our Trainees

Rhi and Dug

Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team

Yellow Lab

Zoé and Celyn

Aberdyfi Search and Rescue Team

Welsh Sheepdog

Mike and Buddy

Yellow Lab


Our dogs work on the scent given off by human bodies, so our dogs and handlers are unable to train without additional human assistance in the form of the team’s Dogsbodies. Our Dogsbodies help to socialise young dogs, play with them, and work with them through the various stages of training. Being a Dogsbody can be very active, involving running around excitedly with equally excited puppies, or it can be much more relaxed, hiding away in the countryside with a book, mp3 player or just dozing, acting as a ‘casualty’ for the dog to find.

We can provide the necessary kit, but you’ll need to have warm and waterproof clothing yourself. If you like dogs, like exploring the countryside close up and in detail, and don’t mind whatever the weather throws at you, then this is probably the most relaxing way of contributing to mountain safety you’ll ever find!

Support Us

No matter your background, there's likely a way for you to help us!

We require extensive land for training, and at times, buildings and light industrial spaces for our dogs to practice searching across various environments. If you own land and are open to having our dogs trained on your property, we are eager to connect with you.

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