What Happened to Max from The Grinch? Is the Dog Still Alive?

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The Grinch is one of the most well-known fictional characters in history, originating in Dr. Seuss’ 1957 book called ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’. Numerous adaptations have been made, but the most popular is certainly the live-action movie from 2000 starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch, and his fellow pup, Max. So, what has happened to Max since then? Is the dog still alive?

Max from the 2000 live-action Grinch movie was actually played by six different pups. They were all adopted from a shelter and trained to become Hollywood stars, being paid for their magnificent work with treats. Seeing that there were six pups in total, it’s hard to tell if they are still alive or have passed away.

There’s a lot to unpack on this subject, however. For instance, what happens to Max in the movie, and how did he even get to live with the Grinch in the first place? What happened to the pups who played Max? What breed was Max in the Grinch, and how did the pup pass away in real life? If you want to learn the answers to all of those questions, you’re in the right place.

What breed was Max from How The Grinch Stole Christmas?

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In Dr. Seuss’ story, Max was a mutt – meaning he was a mixed-breed dog with no particular pedigree. As Dr. Seuss illustrated him, he looked as if he had some terrier in him, but the point is that Max wasn’t your breed dog – he was just a kind, loyal, sweet pup that nobody wanted. And that’s kind of what the real-life Maxes were, too.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, six pups portrayed Max in the live-action movie. Their names were Bo, Chip, Kelly, Stella, Topsy, and Zelda. They all looked exactly like Max from the Dr. Seuss book, but it required some movie magic and costume trickery to get them all to look spot-on.

Max from Dr. Seuss’ story had very long, fluffy ears, so the pups had to wear a comfortable headpiece to look identical and to appear more like Max.

The most beautiful part for me, though, is that all six pups that portrayed Max in the movie were also mixed-breed mutts that didn’t really have a home before the movie. That all changed after the film, however, which makes the story that much more heartwarming.

What happened to the dog(s) portraying Max?

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This piece of information will likely warm your heart and make you cry happy tears. All six dogs that were used to portray Max were actually shelter dogs, trained to act in the movie in exchange for treats. And after the filming, all six pups were adopted and lived happy lives with their designated families.

As for the Max actors on set, they were incredibly well-behaved, and the crew adored them. They had to wear headpieces to resemble Max’s fluffy ears and another headpiece to wear that funny antler on their head. 

Additionally, the pups wore fluffy harnesses for those ‘flying’ scenes with the sleigh on Mount Crumpit, but each piece was crafted with comfort and care for the pups in mind, and they were never in any danger or harm.


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Now, we know that the Grinch was abusive to Max in virtually every adaptation of the story – yelling and even kicking his furry friend. However, no pup was kicked during filming, of course – the crew used ‘stuffies’ to shoot the kicking scenes. Stuffies are a kind of stuffed puppet that was shaped like a dog to look like Max in those ugly, sad scenes.

We don’t know a lot about where all the doggies that portrayed Max went after the filming other than they were adopted by loving families. We learned more about Kelly – one of the pups who played Max – in a documentary called Spoonfed Reality. In the documentary, we learn that Kelly was actually the pup that played most of the scenes with Max.

What happened to Max in the movie?

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At the end of the film, the Grinch starts ‘feeling’ and apologizes to Max for his ugly behavior, to which Max jumps on him and kisses him repeatedly. We know the ending, but do we know the beginning? How did Max even become the Grinch’s dog?

Well, no adaptations ever gave us a backstory on Max – not even the original book from Dr. Seuss. However, there’s a heartbreaking theory from one fan that makes tons of sense, and that will certainly hit you right in the feels.

There’s a quote from the Grinch in the movie where he talks about the materialistic behavior of the people in Whoville, saying:

“That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? That’s what it’s always been about. Gifts, gifts… gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts. You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I’m saying? In your garbage.”

If you think about it, that’s probably how he got Max. Max was probably a Christmas gift as a puppy, and then, when he grew (or when the kids got bored with him), somebody just threw the poor pup in the trash, and he ended up on Mount Crumpit with the Grinch, who took him in. That would explain why Max was so loyal to him despite the grumpiness and, sometimes, violence.

Are the dog(s) that played Max still alive?

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Seeing that six pups portrayed Max in the movie, it’s hard to say what happened to all of them, especially considering the fact that they were all adopted and most of them were removed from the public eye.

Unfortunately, however, it’s hard to believe that any of the pups are still alive since they were already adult dogs when the filming took place, and the movie was filmed in 1999-2000. It would make the pups 25+ years old, making them among the oldest dogs ever to live.


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Interestingly, one of the oldest dogs that ever lived was actually named Max. His owner was Janelle DeRouen, who adopted the pup from a sugar cane farmer in Louisiana in 1983. Max died on May 18, 2013, aged 29.

The record for the oldest dog ever isn’t his anymore, though. The oldest dog ever is named Bobi, and he is still alive. He was just recently crowned by Guinness World Records at the age of 30 years and 268 days. Way to go, Bobi!

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