Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, first introduced us to the character of Max when he wrote the beloved children’s book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. So what kind of dog is Max from the Grinch?
Max is an all American Mutt. Mutts, or mixed breed dogs, are simply mixes of different breeds. Visually, the original Max appears to be a hound mix. His long ears, reddish coloring, and narrow nose remind me of the hound mixes or “Dixie Dogs” we see filling shelters in the southern portions of the United States. Max has the coloring of a Redbone Coonhound, the face of an Italian Greyhound, and the lovable temperament of a Beagle. And, like most mixed breed dogs, Max is loyal, loving, and has all the makings of a sidekick hero. Even when the Grinch throws his worst at the world, Max stays by his side providing love and companionship. He even helps guide the Grinch into becoming a better version of himself.
All of the versions of Max are mixed breed dogs. The original book, along with the original 1966 movie, and the newer released 2018 animated version titled The Grinch, all portrayed a similar looking small reddish colored hound mix. The 2000 live action version starring Jim Carrey, used a different looking dog. Their max, while shaggier and lighter in appearance, was also a mixed breed dog. Actually, Max was played by six different rescue dogs!
Mixed breed dogs are… well… mixed. There are so many factors that influence the characteristics of any particular dog. You can expect the behaviors of a mixed breed dog to be influenced by the specific breeds the dog is comprised of, the history and care of the particular dog in question, and the individual temperament of the dog in question. There are no standards for mixed breed dogs. Each one is unique and will bring with it a combination of the nature of their makeup and the environment they have experienced in this world. They also each bring unlimited potential. A dog showed love, patience, and a little guidance, will provide years of joy and companionship to those willing to put in a little work.
I love that a mixed breed dog was used to represent the sweet character of Max. Both the Grinch and Max are the true underdogs of society. They are the throwaways, the undesirables, the ones without a pedigree. Together, the Grinch and Max prove that they are more than their initial appearance. Together, they exemplify redemption and what it means to be a member of society. They give us hope that when offered love, love will be returned. They provide us with the lessons that anyone who has ever rescued a shelter dog already knows. Loyalty, love, and companionship need not be bought. They are right there for us to find, if only we can look past the pedigree and look instead into our hearts.