- Year created: 1930
- Breed: Pointer
- Best friend: Mickey Mouse
Pluto, also called Pluto the Pup, is a cartoon character created in 1930 by Walt Disney Productions. He is golden, medium-sized, short-haired dog with black ears. Unlike Goofy, Pluto is not anthropomorphic beyond some characteristics such as facial expression, though he did speak for a short portion of his history. The Pluto dog is Mickey Mouse’s pet. Officially a mixed-breed dog, Pluto is clearly modeled on the English Pointer breed, most evident in the film “The Pointer”. The prominent Disney artist Norm Ferguson owned an English Pointer. Together with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy, Pluto is one of the “Big Five”—the biggest stars in the Disney universe. Though all five are non-human animals, the Pluto dog alone is not dressed as a human. The Pluto dog first and most often appears in the Mickey Mouse series of cartoons. On rare occasions he is paired with Donald Duck.
The Pluto dog debuted in animated cartoons and appeared in 24 Mickey Mouse films before receiving his own series in 1937. All together Pluto appeared in 89 short films between 1930 and 1953. Several of these were nominated for an Academy Award. Because Pluto does not speak, his films generally rely on physical humor. This made Pluto a pioneering figure in character animation, which is expressing personality through animation rather than dialogue. In 1998, Disney’s copyright on the Pluto dog, set to expire in several years, was extended by the passage of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Disney, along with other studios, lobbied for passage of the act to preserve their copyrights on characters such as Pluto for 20 additional years.
Man’s Best Friend
The Pluto dog first appeared as a nameless bloodhound tracking the escaped convict Mickey in the film The Chain Gang (1930). A month and a half later, Pluto appeared as Minnie Mouse’s dog named Rover who comes along with her and Mickey on a picnic. By his third appearance, in The Moose Hunt (1931), the Pluto dog is Mickey’s pet, now named “Pluto”. Several months had passed between the naming of what was believed to have been the ninth planet, Pluto, on March 24, 1930, and the attachment of that name to the dog character. Venetia Burney (later Venetia Phair), who as an eleven-year-old schoolgirl had suggested the name Pluto for the planet, remarked in 2006: “The name had nothing to do with the Disney cartoon. Mickey Mouse’s dog was named after the planet, not the other way around.” Although it has been claimed that Disney named the Pluto dog after the planet, rather than after the mythical god of the underworld, this has not been verified.
Some of this article uses modified material from the Wikipedia article on The Pluto dog “Pluto_(Disney)“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.