Loveable rare breed Max enjoying new celebrity status

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Monday, 4pm - A newcomer to Stathern, in the Vale of Belvoir, has become a local celebrity.

Monday, 4pm - A newcomer to Stathern, in the Vale of Belvoir, has become a local celebrity.He isn't an A-list film star or famous footballer, but a four-year-old Otterhound called Max who moved to the village in December when his family bought The Plough Inn.

Max, whose rare breed is feared to be more endangered than the giant panda, has been attracting people from all over the area, desperate to see an Otterhound in the flesh.

The huge loveable dog, which weighs in at over nine stone, personally greets every customer at the door.

He spends most days socialising with working dogs brought into the pub, rolling over on the floor and enjoying cuddles with his adoring fans.

Landlord Dave Wilson, who owns Max with his son and pub chef Martin, said: "We have had so many people come in specially to see Max because they have never seen an Otterhound.

"Some even bring friends and family in too because they want them to meet him.

"People in this area love animals and their response to Max has been amazing. When we take him out on walks everyone stops because they are fascinated.

"He is so friendly and gets on with everyone, from kids to working dogs who belong to local farmers.

"When anyone leaves the pub he starts baying because he doesn't want them to go. You've never heard anything like it. He is a wonderful pet."

The Otterhound is on the Kennel Club's list of native vulnerable breeds and some experts predict they could be extinct within the next decade.

Otterhounds are one of the country's oldest breeds and were originally bred to help control the otter population by hunting them in packs.

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