Meet Japan’s newest police dog – all 6.6 lb of her.
In what is a world first, a long-haired Chihuahua named ‘Momo’ has passed exams to become a police dog in the western Japanese prefecture of Nara.
The brown-and-white dog was one of 32 successful candidates out of 70 dogs, passing a search and rescue test by finding a person in five minutes after merely sniffing their cap.
‘Any breed of dog can be entered to become a police dog in the search and rescue division,’ said a Nara police spokesman.
But he admitted that news a Chihuahua had been entered may still come as a surprise to many.
‘It’s quite unusual,’ he said.
Television footage showed the seven-year-old Momo bounding across grass or sitting proudly, long hair blowing in the breeze.
Momo will be used for rescue operations in case of disasters such as earthquakes, in the hope that she may be able to squeeze her tiny frame into places too narrow for more usual rescue dogs, which tend to be German Shepherds.
The public response to the news of Momo’s selection took police by surprise, the spokesman said, adding: ‘The phone’s been ringing all afternoon.’
‘It’s quite rare for us to have a chihuahua work as a police dog,’ the spokeswoman said.
Chihuahuas, named after a Mexican state, are the smallest breed of dog.
‘We would like it to work hard by taking advantage of its small size,’ a Nara police department official told the Sankei Shimbun daily.
The brown-and-white Chihuahua, a first for Japan and perhaps the world, was one of 32 successful candidates out of 70 dogs
Go get em girl: Momo takes part in a police dog examination, managing to find a person by merely sniffing a cap he had been wearing