Meet Japan's newest police dog- all 6.6 lbs of her. In what is a first for Japan, and perhaps the world, a long-haired Chihuahua named "Momo" (which translates to "Peach") passed her exams to become a police dog in the western Japanese prefecture of Nara. The tiny brown and white (and perky!) Momo was one of 32 dogs out of 70 to successfully pass her exams. She completed 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 7-year-old Momo bounding across grass or sitting proudly, long hair blowing in the breeze. Momo will be used for rescue operations in the case of disasters such as earthquakes, in the hopes that she may be able to squeeze her tiny frame into places too narrow for the more usual breed of rescue dogs, 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."
Thanks to Reuters for the photograph and original version of this story.