Founded in 1986, the Mountain Canine Corps (MCC) is a proud member of the New Mexico search and rescue community.  We are a nonprofit search and rescue (SAR) organization that is composed entirely of volunteers. Our mission is the training and fielding of search dogs and personnel to help locate missing persons. Our motto is that of the SAR community - “that others may live.” Although Mountain Canine Cops focuses primarily on wilderness missions, our team also has experienced handlers and canines in urban disaster SAR. 

MCC is a member of the New Mexico Emergency Services Council, the New Mexico Search and Rescue Council and the National Association for Search and Rescue.

 As part of the search and rescue community in New Mexico and the four corners region, we are called out for searches, often along with numerous other teams, through the Incident Command System. We respond to search missions 24 hours a day/7 days a week.  We deploy on search missions in all kinds of weather, over all kinds of terrain. Our minimal deployment size in the field is the canine's handler, the canine, and a support specialist. Although we are volunteers, MCC's size means that we can often deploy 4 or more of these teams on a mission.

MCC devotes a considerable amount of time and dedication to training.  We train twice per week in the field, regardless of the weather, with occasional classroom sessions.  Whenever possible we also participate in mock searches and joint trainings with other SAR teams.  To further pursue our education in SAR, we also attend SAR conferences and events across the country, with and without our dogs.  Team members who are handlers train their own dogs; all team members assist in the training of MCC dogs.


In October 2009 Outside magazine senior editor Grayson Schaffer and his dog Danger joined the Los Alamos Mountain Canine Corps so that Danger could become a search and rescue dog.

To meet the challenges of missions, our team must be diverse in nature.  MCC trains and fields several different types of search dogs. A tracking/trailing dog finds and follows the specific scent trail left by a missing person. An air scent dog follows scent carried by the wind that is emanating from a person. MCC also fields cadaver dogs, trained to detect and locate the source of decomposed human remains, to aid in the recovery of missing individuals.

 As a nationally recognized search and rescue team, MCC handlers are required at a minimum to have passed FEMA’s ICS-100, Introduction to Incident Command System and ICS-200, ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incident, and be field certified by the New Mexico Search and Rescue Council.  Aside from training in dog and scent theory we also train in areas such as navigation, wilderness medicine, crime scene preservation, amateur radio, and man tracking.

Our team’s ranks include licensed HAM radio operators, Wilderness First Responders, numerous Wilderness Advanced First Aid certificated members and FEMA representatives.  In addition, many of our members contribute to missions in base camp as we also have a number of section chief- and field coordinator-trained individuals on the team.

Team members who are handlers train their own dogs; all team members assist in the training of MCC dogs.



What we don't do

MCC does not train other people's dogs for SAR or other activities. We also do not adopt dogs into the team.