After six months of official academy training, four-year-old Mochi, who weighs less than four pounds, passed his police dog exam last month, and will be sworn in as the Kyoto police department’s first sniffer dog.Mochi has been trained to detect drugs, explosives, and other odors, and will be used on a “case-by-case” basis for the next year, reports ABC News.
In January 2011 two valiant female Toy Poodles, Karin and Fuga, joined the police in Japan’s Kyoto Prefectureas crime fighters, mirroring a growing trend in Japanese law-enforcement to enlist miniature canines.
Four-year-old, Mochi, who weighs less than four pounds, is considered small for a toy poodle, but his owner Naomi Yasuda say he has the same intelligence and courage aslarger, more traditional law-enforcement canines.Mochi’s background check revealed training and experience as a therapy dog.He has spent the last few years providing affection and comfort to nursing home patients.
Japan has traditionally used large dogs like German Shepherds for K-9 units but it is now turning to smaller breeds increasingly.Karin and Fuga became minor celebrities last year after qualifying for the Tottori police force, soon after Miniature Schnauzer “Kuu” joined the local police force in Wakayama, and a long-haired Chihuahua, named “Momo,” qualified for duty, along with “Ginny,” the Beagle.
The emergence of the alternative breeds isn’t coincidence. Some police departments struggling to recruit and maintain large dogs recently amended rules that said tinier pups weren’t fit for duty. The small canine force may not be able to take down a big bad guy on the street, but they proved their worth in the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami last year, when they crawled into tiny spaces their larger counterparts could not, in search of bodies.
“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.”