Toy poodle, Mochi, is joining the police in Japan's Kyoto Prefecture. The four-year-old dog joins a growing number of small dogs that are part of Japanese police departments across the country.
Mochi passed his police dog exam last month and is the third toy poodle to join the police force, and the first to be enlisted as a sniffer dog. He had been trained to sniff out drugs and explosives and will be on call for the next year.
Mochi is only four-pounds, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in intelligence. He is already a certified therapy dog, according to his owner Naomi Yasuda. "Mochi has always been at the top of his class, in training school," Yasuda told ABC News. "I just wanted to find a way for him to help others."
Last year, a long-haired Chihuahua named Momo (Peach), qualified for duty as well. Momo beat out 40 other dogs for the job at Nara Prefecture’s search and rescue squad.
Toy poodles Karin and Fuga also qualified for the police force in Tottori Prefecture. Tottori does not have a full-time police canine-force and relies on about 20 privately-owned dogs with special training to help with investigations when needed. A spokesman for the force said: "Their trainers thought the dogs had keen senses and responded exceptionally well to commands." The dogs are now employed if needed to search for missing hikers in the mountainous region.
Although Japanese police departments traditionally have used breeds such as German Shepherds or Labrador Retrievers for their canine units, they relaxed the rules after some departments struggled to recruit large dogs.
The smaller dogs have already proved their value after the catastrophic tsunami and earthquake last year, as the small dogs could crawl into spaces searching for people, when their larger canine colleagues could not.
Here's a video of Momo just after passing her police dog exam.
View more articles in: Training and Behavior