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What Kind of Dog Is Pluto? Famous Canines Revealed

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove


Even if you’re not a Disney fan, you’ve probably seen pictures of Pluto, the four-legged best friend of Mickey Mouse. Most people can recognize him on sight even if they can’t say what breed he is. Although Pluto is generally considered a mixed breed, he made his debut as a Bloodhound in Disney’s The Chain Gang in 1930.

There are many animated dogs in pop culture, and their cartoonish appearance and goofy mannerisms often make it difficult to tell what breed they’re supposed to be. Pluto was also designed to share traits with several breeds, so it’s even more difficult to figure out what breed he is. However, Pluto was originally designed as a Bloodhound companion to Mickey Mouse.

This guide fills in a few of the blanks about Pluto, his breed, and why he’s so popular. We also introduce you to the Bloodhound breed so you can understand why Pluto was designed the way he was.

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Who Is Pluto?

Recognized by his droopy ears, Pluto — or Pluto the Pup — is one of the biggest stars in the Disney universe and considered one of the “Sensational Six.” He was first introduced in 1930 when a Bloodhound was needed for Mickey Mouse’s escape from a chain gang.

Walt Disney was inspired by the dogs at his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and so Pluto was created. In his debut role, he first appeared with a twin but later became a bigger Disney star.

He wasn’t always known as Pluto, though. He was Minnie Mouse’s dog, Rover, in The Picnic. His name continued to be debated before he became Mickey Mouse’s pet in The Moose Hunt in 1931. Pluto has since become one of the most beloved cartoon characters in the world.

Designed to be a pet and thus lacking human speech capabilities, Pluto proved to be a good way for animators to experiment. They needed to show his personality without relying on words, which led to him being considered the first onscreen cartoon “thinker” with his ability to quietly puzzle through problems.

What Are Bloodhounds?

All dogs are known for their strong noses, but the Bloodhound truly rules over other breeds as the best sniffer. Also known as “sleuth hounds,” these dogs are recognized for their deep wrinkles and long floppy ears. Their natural talent for following scents and stamina means they’re frequently used by the police and search-and-rescue teams to track down criminals and hikers lost on a trail.

Along with their well-developed noses, Bloodhounds are built to endure long days tracking over all sorts of terrain. Their strong muscle structure and stamina can keep them going until they find their quarry, no matter how long it takes.

These days, there are many hound breeds, but the Bloodhound is generally accepted to be the oldest of the lot. The breed itself was developed in Western Europe almost a thousand years ago. Monks of English and French monasteries perfected the breed during medieval times to run with the bishops when they ventured out on horseback.

They were called Bloodhounds due to the efforts of the early breeders to keep the bloodline as pure as possible. The first Bloodhounds were known as “blooded hounds” to acknowledge their aristocratic blood.

When we consider Pluto’s debut role as a tracker in Disney’s “The Chain Gang,” his Bloodhound ancestry makes sense. After all, what other breed could be as well-loved for their tracking ability and adorable, floppy ears?

Image Credit: Degtyaryov Andrey, Shutterstock

What Breed Is Goofy?

Pluto isn’t the only recognizable animated dog character in Disney movies. Goofy is another character whose ancestry is questionable. However, unlike Pluto, who is a dog through and through, Goofy isn’t technically a dog.

Even if he hadn’t risen to fame, Pluto was always intended to be a dog, and his popularity has made him the only pet among the “Sensational Six.” Goofy, on the other hand, is a human who just happens to look like a dog.

Goofy’s human nature is why he’s well known for wearing human clothing, walking on two legs, and speaking. Conversely, Pluto acts like a dog because that’s what he is.

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One of the most well-known animated dogs is Walt Disney’s Pluto. He was designed to have the traits of several breeds, and his personality and appearance make it difficult to determine what breed he is. Although he’s technically considered a mixed breed, he was introduced in 1930 as a Bloodhound.

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Featured Image Credit: Characters by  The Walt Disney Company.  All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is a lover of animals of all sizes but is especially fascinated with the feline variety. She’s the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese, and works every day so he can relax in the sunshine or by the fire. She’s always had a cat in her home and has spent countless days with others, observing behaviors and softening up even the grouchiest of the lot. Nicole wants to share her kitty expertise with you so you and your cat ...Read more

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