Midge, a six pound chihauhau-rat terrier mix, is the newest member of an Ohio Sheriff's K-9 unit, for sniffing out drugs. The sheriff got the idea of using smaller dogs from the US Customs Department, which uses beagles for luggage sniffers.
Suzanne Trevino, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Customs, said the agency has used beagles for years, mainly to check fruits, vegetables, meat and other agriculture coming into the country that may carry harmful pests or plant diseases. Besides their manageable size, beagles have a mild manner and hunting instincts.
Smaller dogs are being used more often in police work. Many police forces are using a breed called Belgian Malinois, with a weight of 40 pounds, instead of the usual german shephard, because they are quicker, have better endurance and last longer than the shephards.
“Genetically, they hold up a lot better than the German shepherds,” [an Ohio dog trainer] says. “Size wise, endurance wise they last longer. They can jump fences at 6 months.”
And there are other advantages to smaller dogs, says [another Ohio police dog trainer]. "Smaller pups can get into smaller and tighter spaces in order to carry out their searches," Eden says.