The latest addition to a Japanese police force has proven that size isn’t all that important. A chihuahua—the world’s smallest breed of dog—named Momo (meaning “peach” in Japanese) recently passed the entrance exam to become part of a police search-and-rescue team in the Nara prefecture. The 6.6-lb. long-haired dog impressed judges by finding a “trapped” victim of a simulated natural disaster in less than five minutes, after sniffing his scent on a hat.
The seven-year-old chihuahua is one of 32 new police dogs to join the force. In January, Momo will begin her one-year contract in a search-and-rescue role focused on locating people buried under the rubble after disasters, including earthquakes. The dog’s tiny stature is thought to be an asset to the team because she is able to fit in places too small for traditional rescue dogs, such as retrievers and German shepherds.
Keiko Matsuyoshi, Momo’s owner, was overjoyed about her pet’s accomplishments, and said she’d cook Momo’s favourite dish as a reward for earning the new job: tomato-stewed chicken breasts.