King County Search Dogs

KCSD is an all-volunteer unit of the King County Search and Rescue Association

Please call 911 if you have a search emergency

Search Missions since 1996
Total Training Hours in 2023

What we do


King County Search Dog teams are deployed by County Sheriffs or State Emergency Management to help locate missing persons and evidence. KCSD volunteers and their dogs are certified in one or more of our three main search disciplines; airscent (looking for any human in a wilderness or urban environment), trailing (looking for a specific human using a subject’s unique smells) and human remains detection. Some KCSD teams have additional specialty search & rescue certifications in avalanche, disaster, water search work. You can learn more in the WHAT we do pages.


King County Search Dogs train a lot! It takes eighteen months or more of training several times a week to develop a reliable airscent or trailing dog. Continued training is then required to pass periodic re-certification tests. In order to comply with the demanding core competency standards of the King County Search and Rescue Association, KCSD handlers and support personnel also undergo extensive training and testing in areas such as wilderness navigation, search & rescue techniques, radio communication, crime scene management, helicopter safety and searcher survival.


Many KCSD members are respected search dog experts who in turn teach throughout the northwest and around the world.  KCSD also has an active outreach program to raise awareness of KCSD and to promote personal safety in the wilderness. KCSD members and their dogs visit schools, camps and other groups around King County to provide informative talks and demonstrations. You can find additional information on the Stay Safe and Education Pages.

More about what we do

WHO we are

KCSD Members are all volunteers from the Seattle metropolitan area (King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties) who give up hundreds of hours each year training their personal dogs to the professional calibre required for effective search missions. KCSD volunteers are available for missions 24 hours a day, seven days a week and come from all walks of life. Some members have been engaged in search and rescue work for over twenty years!  You can learn more about the history and governance of KCSD, browse photo and video albums, and find information on current and past KCSD teams and support personnel in the WHO we are pages.

YOU can help

KCSD dogs love to search! Nevertheless, we would much rather meet you at one of our outreach events than as the subject of a Sheriff’s search mission. Before you go out to enjoy the wonderful pacific northwest learn what common sense preparations you can make to keep your activities fun and safe. KCSD is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization and depends on help from the community it serves. You can help KCSD continue its important work through cash or in-kind donations to help the ongoing need for expensive specialized equipment and maintenance. Learn more on the YOU can help pages.

King County Search Dog News

May Matching Madness

Here’s your chance to support K9 Alta and the rest of the KCSD dog pack during our fundraising campaign called “May Matching Madness”.  The REALLY BIG NEWS is that a generous donor has offered to match every dollar we raise during the month of May including the annual GiveBIG event. What a great way for you to leverage your gift and Give Bigger! See our donation page for more. Thanks to the very talented Nikki Frumkin for the watercolor of K9 Alta.

Raise a glass for K9 Syrah!

WOW! On Saturday K9 Syrah and handler Brittney found their first “lost person” in under 5 minutes and the second at 45 minutes to pass the KCSD air scent certification test well within the two hour limit. Brittney is a graduate student in Applied Animal Behavior & Welfare at Virginia Tech and has a Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior from U. Washington. Highly motivated K9 Syrah is a Belgian Malinois adopted from Woof Project Rescue that loves her reward toy. When the team was asked which end of the leash is smarter, Brittney looked at Syrah who just smirked. Let’s […]

Farewell K9 Oso

We grieve: K9 Oso died peacefully at home last week after a conspiracy of health problems overtook him far too young. Named in honor of the tragic 2014 Snohomish County landslide where his handler Heather Jo Cutting worked along side so many other rescuers, K9 Oso lived up to his name responding to over 160 search missions and making several important finds during his career. He earned KCSD and National Search Dog Alliance certifications in airscent and human remains detection and also used those skills searching from boats and in the snow. Whether jumping out of a helicopter at first […]

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