Photo courtesy Wall Street Journal and Miyamoto Pet Dog Training Center

What type of dogs come to mind when you think of police dogs? German shepherds? Labrador retrievers? Maybe a rottweiler?

What about a toy poodle?

A pair of toy poodles are set to join a Japanese police search and rescue squad as early as January, after passing the local police dog test earlier this month. The dogs, Karin and Fuga, weigh only about 6 pounds each. Other small breed dogs on the force are a chihuahua, a miniature schnauzer and a Japanese Shiba.

Small dogs have the advantage of being able to search in tight spaces and to gain access to collapsed buildings where heavier dogs couldn’t go.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Natsue Miyamoto, who runs the Miyamoto Pet Dog Training Center in Tottori city, says, “I hope that this will show that not all police dogs have to be big and scary types like German Shepherds, but that small cute dogs can also do the work of a police dog.”