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Jack Russell terriers are the SAS’s latest secret weapon.
The dinky dogs are being trained for daring missions behind enemy lines.
Military chiefs chose them because they are easy to train, loyal, tenacious, and fast runners.
Once trained, the dogs will also be able to detect ammunition, explosives and humans.
A two-year-old terrier named Patron, pictured left with its handler, has been working with the State Emergency Service of Ukraine – sniffing out Russian weapons. So far, it has found nearly 90 bombs.
It is understood the SAS dogs will sometimes be fitted with a harness so they can carry cameras and recording equipment.
The infrared and thermal imaging will provide real-time coverage day or night and help find enemy forces inside buildings.
The SAS already has a specialist dog unit which works exclusively with the Belgian malinois – dubbed “land sharks” by troops.
Commanders now think having some smaller, more agile dogs will add flexibility.
A source said: “The special forces have been training with several dogs but the one which has done really well on exercises is the Jack Russell.
“They have incredible stamina and are eager to please. This means they learn quickly and are loyal.
“Malinois are great but they are quite big and we have seen in Afghanistan and Syria that the enemy will often target the dog.
“The Jack Russell’s size makes it a much smaller target – it’s basically the size of a rabbit.
“They are very quick so they can cover the ground very quickly and are also very easy to carry and to maintain on operations.”
Our source revealed the dogs have been trained to conduct reconnaissance on houses, compounds and vehicles.
They added: “The dog’s amazing sense of smell means it can find explosives and mines. It will be able to pick up a trail and head directly towards the explosives… as they are so small they can get very close.”
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