Japan's Newest Cop: A 6.6 Lb. Chihuahua

Japan police dog

The newest cop on the streets of Nara, Japan is a 6.6-pound Chihuahua.

The diminutive pooch will help his human colleagues on search-and-rescue missions in the prefecture on the southern part of Japan's main island.

"Momo" - Japanese for peach and a common nickname - passed the test by "finding a person in five minutes after merely sniffing their cap," Reuters reported.

Search-and-rescue is a vital service in earthquake-prone Japan. The 7-year-old Momo will be uniquely valuable because he can fit into small spaces where more common police breeds, such as German Shepherds, could not.

About 70 golden retrievers, beagles and German Shepherds competed for spots on the force, but only 32 made it.

"I think there are situations when small dogs come in useful, I would like to keep up with the training," said her owner, identified in the Japanese media as 31-year old Keiko Matsuyoshi.

Japan's Nikkan Sports papers reports that as reward for being top dog at the police academy, Matsuyoshi cooked Momo her favorite dish of tomato-stewed chicken breasts.

Momo is not due to start work until January and her contract will last for at least a year (longer in dog years).