In 2000, Hollywood decided audiences needed a live-action movie starring Jim Carrey as the terrifying-looking green creature from Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The film later won multiple Oscars, became one of the highest-grossing holiday films of all time, and remains one of the most beloved Christmas specials to date. But the real star of the movie isn’t Carrey as the Grinch; it’s Max the Dog, his ever-loyal best friend.
According to the Animal Humane Association, Max is played by six different mixed-breed shelter rescue dogs: Kelly, Chip, Topsy, Stella, Zelda, and Bo. Lots of harnesses and precautions were employed to bring Maxs scenes to life, and it was worth it, too — that pup is the best part of the movie. “Max is much more than just the Grinchs loyal dog and unwitting accomplice,” the Animal Humane Association wrote on its website. “In fact, Max may be the true hero of the story, as his humor, devotion, and likeability outshine even the Whos down in Whoville.”
This pup stands by his owner through it all — even the Grinchs deranged plan to, you know, steal Christmas from Whoville. “Max is the world’s greatest dog, let alone the Grinchs best companion,” actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who voiced the Grinch in a 2018 animated adaptation, told USA Today. “Anyone should be so lucky to have a Max in their life.”
Max is the dog and companion of The Grinch, debuting as the secondary antagonist in the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Max is also a prominent character in the television special, the film adaptation, and the musical adaptation (See The CGI Version of Max). He acts as The Grinchs reindeer in the book and its adaptations.
In the television special, Max has slightly changed in appearance, mainly in his face. He was voiced by Dallas McKennon, then voiced by Henry Gibson and now Frank Welker (narrator of “Maxs Playhouse” DVD segment “The Care and Feeding of a Grinch”). His only two speaking lines are “Yipe!” and “Raaaahhh!” performed by Dallas McKennon, while being hit by the Grinchs whip. He has brown curved ears and tan fur.
Maxs role will be expanded with his own mini-feature on “The Grinch” Blu-ray, which features the pooch selflessly helping his master get over a cold.
“It’s those cute puppy eyes. It’s all about the eyes,” says Cumberbatch, who stars as the Christmas-loathing green-skinned creature in the animated film “The Grinch” (out on Blu-ray Feb. 5). “Max is the world’s greatest dog, let alone the Grinchs best companion. Anyone should be so lucky to have a Max in their life.”
In the box office hit “The Grinch,” Maxs central role is fleshed out even further. He continues to take the brunt of much of Mr. Grinchs bad moods, but he gets more begrudging love from his cranky master.
“More Max is definitely something people can get excited about. He’s the most lovable character from the movie,” says Scott Mosier, who directed “The Grinch” with Yarrow Cheney.”
“Max sees something the audience is not seeing. He knows this guy,” says Mosier. “It’s that unconditional love that makes Max so appealing.”
He’s Willing To Try New Things
The Grinch dresses Max up as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to lead his stealing-Christmas sleigh, and Max is kind of willing to roll with it — until his owner realizes the whole thing is a bad idea.
Is Max the dog still alive from The Grinch?
How did The Grinch get Max the dog?