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Japanese police use toy poodles for search and rescue

Although most police dogs are large breeds like Labradors and shepherds, the Japanese police are recruiting a pair of toy poodles. The dogs, Fuga and Karin, recently passed tests to become police canines for Tottori Prefecture Police, AFP reports.

The dogs will join a search and rescue team as early as January and will be put to work finding missing hikers in the region's mountains, the news source reports.

Although they are the first toy poodles to join the force, they may not be the last, according to The Wall Street Journal. Japan is starting to see more value in small dogs after this year's natural disasters. Dogs that are below typical police animal size can help police as they search nooks and crannies of collapsed buildings. Their light weight - less than four kilograms each - is also an asset.

At the same time, these poodles proved their intelligence. A spokesman for the police department told AFP that the trainers who prepared the dogs for their tests said that they had "keen senses and responded exceptionally well to commands."
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