The first for Japan, perhap the world, a long-haired Chihuahua named “Momo” (Peach) passed exams to become a police dog in the western Japanese prefecture of Nara.
Momo 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.
The 3kg (6.6lb) dog is set to become part of a search-and-rescue team used for disasters such as earthquakes. Its small size means it will be able to squeeze into places too narrow for dogs such as German Shepherds.
“It’s quite rare for us to have a chihuahua work as a police dog,” said a police spokeswoman in Nara, western Japan.
“We would like it to work hard by taking advantage of its small size.”