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Pluto (formerly known as Pluto the Pup) is an animated cartoon character made famous in a series of Disney short cartoons. He has most frequently appeared as Mickey Mouse's pet dog. He also had an independent starring role in 48 Disney shorts in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Pluto is unusual for a Disney character in that he is not anthropomorphized beyond showing an unusually broad range of facial expressions or use of his front paws at key points; he is actually represented as a normal dog (unlike Goofy who is an anthropomorphic dog).
Pluto was initially a minor character until 1934, when Disney animator Norm Ferguson gave the dog a key role in the cartoon Playful Pluto. Pluto becomes entangled with a sticky piece of flypaper, and Ferguson expanded the sequence significantly. The segment became a classic, demonstrating how Disney artists can take a simple circumstance and build humor through a character.

Pluto is considered one of the first Disney characters to break out of the "rubber hose and circle" formula style the studio had relied on; the dog's design gave him the appearance of actually being round instead of flat. In addition, Pluto is one of the first cartoon characters that is actually shown to have thought processes through the use of character animation.
In Pluto's own cartoons, his friends included Fifi the Peke, Dinah the Dachshund, and Ronnie the St. Bernard Puppy. His enemies included Black Pete, Donald Duck, Salty the Seal, Butch the Bulldog, Figaro the Kitten, Chip 'n Dale, Spike the Bee, Ol' Benttail the Coyote, Milton the cat and other characters. In Disney's 1937 animated short Pluto's Quinpuplets, Pluto has a son who is simply referred to as "Pluto Junior." In the 1946 animated short Pluto's Kid Brother, Pluto has a younger brother named K.B.

Although Pluto does not normally speak, like his anthropomorphized companions, he communicates in a series of dog barks, facial expressions and body movement. The only words ever heard out of Pluto was in the cartoon The Moose Hunt (1931) where he says "Kiss me." Also in the film Squatter's Rights (1946), when Mickey asks Pluto "You wanna build a fire don't ya?" Pluto clearly responds "Yeah!"
he pup first appeared in Walt Disney's short The Chain Gang, released in the USA on January 4, 1930. However, the dog had no name. In the next appearance on October 23, 1930, in The Picnic the dog is named not Pluto, but Rover. It was in The Moose Hunt, released on May 8, 1931, that the dog is called Pluto the Pup, the studio's original name. A September 1931 model sheet for the character with that name is illustrated in Barrier's Hollywood Cartoons.

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 the Disney studio named the dog after the planet (rather than after the mythical god of the underworld), this has not been verified. Disney animator Ben Sharpsteen has said: "We thought the name [Rover] was too common, so we had to look for something else. We changed it to Pluto the Pup, but I don't honestly remember why."
Two unnamed bloodhounds which are seen in the 1930 Mickey Mouse cartoon The Chain Gang resemble what would in later cartoons appear as Pluto the Pup, Mickey's pet dog. The Picnic, another Mickey Mouse cartoon from the same year features a pet dog of Minnie, referred to as "my little rover". The same canine appears as Mickey's pet dog in the 1931 cartoon The Moose Hunt and is named as Pluto for the first time. On rare occasions the dog was paired with Donald Duck in such toons as "The Window Cleaners" (1940). From then onwards, Pluto has joined the Mickey gang as a permanent character.

His first comics appearance was in the Mickey Mouse daily strips in 1931 two months after the release of The Moose Hunt. Pluto Saves the Ship, a comic book published in 1942, is one of the first Disney comics prepared for publication outside newspaper strips. However, not counting a few cereal give-away mini-comics in 1947 and 1951, he did not have his own comics title until 1952.

Pluto runs his own neighborhood in Disney's Toontown Online. It's called the Brrrgh and it's always snowing there except during Halloween. During April Toons Week, a weekly event that is very silly, Pluto switches playgrounds with Minnie(all other characters do this as well). Pluto actually talks in Minnie's Melodyland.

Pluto has also appeared in the television series Mickey Mouse Works, Disney's House of Mouse and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Curiously enough, however, Pluto was the only standard Disney character not included when the whole gang was reunited for the 1983 featurette Mickey's Christmas Carol, although he did return in The Prince and the Pauper in 1990 and Runaway Brain five years later, and was also spotted in Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988. In 1996, he made a cameo appearance in the Quack Pack episode "The Really Mighty Ducks".

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