Pets & Animals

Boston police dog-in-training 'Tuco' is cutest future K-9 cop ever

A German Shepherd puppy named Tuco might work for the Boston Police Department one day when he grows up, but for now he'll have to settle for being the cutest K-9 dog in training we've ever seen. 

Tuco, named after the maniacal drug dealer character Tuco Salamanca from the TV show "Breaking Bad," has melted hearts online after the nonprofit Massachusetts Vest-A-Dog posted a picture of him trying on a bulletproof vest from the K-9 unit on Facebook on Sunday. 

Thing is, he's still a little too small for the vest.

"It hasn't gone to Tuco's head yet,'' joked Officer James Kenneally, a spokesperson for the Boston Police Department's K-9 unit, to TODAY.com, of the dog's newfound viral fame.

He said officer Troy Caisey, who is training the dog, named him Tuco "because they want strong two-syllable names, and (Caisey) liked the name just for the way it sounds, not because of what the character represents on 'Breaking Bad.' We're not advocating the sale of illegal narcotics."

Tuco is only nine weeks old, which is why the vest that he may wear one day looks so oversized. 

"It's unusual to train a dog as a puppy,'' Kenneally said. "The majority of the time, (Caisey) gets them when they are about 14 to 16 months old and trains them after that. It usually takes about four to six months to get them up to speed to do actual police work." 

The Vest-A-Dog organization works to raise money to purchase protective vests for the K-9 unit dogs that are worn while assisting police. The organization put out the picture of Tuco because it is selling calendars featuring photos of other K-9 dogs and the officers they work with in order to raise money for the vests, after having paid for 380 of them since 2000. 

In his quest to one day become part of the K-9 unit, Tuco is working with Caisey, a 22-year veteran who trains dogs for the Boston K-9 unit and other units throughout the state. Caisey got Tuco from a friend and is raising him to one day work with the K-9 unit, but the dog could be passed along to work with another officer depending on how he progresses. 

Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter and Google+

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