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The unique bloodhound, Pluto, is already quite the international champion


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Friday, 12 May 2023, 12:59

Pluto is 11 months old and weighs 55 kilos. He is a large, but calm young dog with huge paws that would not hurt a fly. Clearly in that hyper state when a dog meets a friend of its owner, he excitedly makes friends with this reporter. He has just come home from an eight-kilometre run with his owner. According to Pluto's pedigree record, his father is called Loamy Lane's Quarterback Jack, and his mother is M&M's Somewhere Over The Rainbow at Loamy Lane. His official name is Vesper, but his owner prefers to call him Pluto. He is already a champion, proven by the two trophies and four rosettes he has won in the recent international competitions in Granada and Vejer.

His owner, Sebastián Díaz López, is the manager of a family business El Gaucho de Banús and also runs a transfer company. It is the first time he has had a bloodhound, or St Hubert hound, a breed originally from the Belgian Ardennes region. This is not common in this area, where the norm is to have a poodle, a golden retriever or a French bulldog.

THE BLOODHOUND

  • Despite its size, the bloodhound is a docile and affectionate dog that has an unbreakable loyalty to its owner.

  • The breed is called San Huberto in Spanish, named after the patron saint of hunters.

  • Pluto is still a young dog, but he has a lot of strength It is often said that bloodhound owners have one arm longer than the other.

"I have always been a dog lover. I like every type of dog. When I go to a dog show, my favourite thing is seeing all the animals and talking to their owners. I like Molossian dogs, big dogs. Over 20 years ago I had a Spanish pointer which at the time was at risk of extinction. They are the typical dogs of the town."

But Pluto is an affectionate dribbling giant that does not stay still when being photographed.

"Look here, Pluto," says Sebastián, helping the photographer get a good picture.

The breed in Spanish is San Huberto, the name coming from the patron saint of hunters. The breed is formidable at tracking things. There have been cases where bloodhounds were able to follow a 15-day-old scent. King Felipe IV of Spain had one as a guard.

It is not a popular dog, which helps ensure responsible breeding. "Dogs are only thinking about having fun and playing," Santiago says, "The bigger they are, the longer they live. Their lifespans are between 10 and 12 years. A Pyrenean mastiff does not usually live longer than eight or nine years. They often suffer from liver problems. You have to be careful with food and proportion it to the right amount of exercise so that they don't get too big," he explains.

Pluto eats 800 grammes of feed a day, half wet and half dry mixed together.

"I also make a chicken liver paté for him. I put everything in the pressure cooker. When it is all melted, I put it into a blender until it liquidises, then I let it settle. I've tried it and it's good! I cut it into slices to proportion the collagen." When Pluto goes to a dog show, Sebastián always brings a little extra to keep his attention.

Pluto has so far only attended two championships, where he has competed as a puppy and a young dog. "He's a great example of his breed" Sebastián explains. Pluto's mother, Linda, "is the number one in Europe".

Interestingly, "at the end of the 14th century, the dogs used to be a gift from aristocrats when they visited royal houses."

These dogs can have various bloodlines. "The authentic bloodline is the Belgian one." Pluto has 75% European heritage and 25% American, and has a more hanging jaw and shorter legs."

But Pluto does not worry about any of this. He has lain down and is now ready to sleep.

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