If you’re a fan of Christmas but a bit less traditional, giving your dog a name based on one of your favorite Christmas movies might be the best way to go. Not only does it help to provide them a unique identity but also says a bit more about their personality and yours for that matter, especially if you happen to go with a memorable character or easily recognizable name. With any luck, you’ll not only find a good name, but remind yourself that every time you call your dog’s name or watch your favorite movie, the two will be inextricably linked, even years after they are no longer with you — which makes a timeless Christmas gift in itself.
Christmas Movie Dog Names in Pop Culture
In the theme of underdogs, very few come close to that of Max, the Grinch’s patient and tolerant dog from How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
If it wasn’t enough that Max is adorable even in his animated form, his character plays an often overlooked and pivotal role in the film. Outside of being endlessly patient, kind, loyal, and hard-working, all qualities most people look for in a companion, he is also the Grinch’s sounding board when he finally realizes the meaning of Christmas and besides almost teetering off the edge of a cliff, also helps the Grinch in attempting to pull the sleigh to safety.
The original Max was certainly going to be hard to duplicate, let alone draw the same kind of adoration as the animated version, but the crew behind director Ron Howard’s 2000 remake of the same name did a fantastic job not only filling the role, but getting dogs and performances that made Max nearly just as much of a star as Jim Carrey who played the Grinch. Believe it or not, there were actually six dogs that played Max, each of which had to get identical haircuts and wear a lightweight head harness with long ears attached to match the look of the original. Kelly, Chip, Topsy, Stella, Zelda, and Bo, the canine actors chosen for the part, were actually all mixed-breed shelter rescues, so needless to say these previously abandoned pups got the Hollywood treatment during and after their show-stealing performances.
But unlike the original Max, who had significantly fewer opportunities to truly influence the story, the new, more thoroughly fleshed out storyline gave Max, or Maxes in this case, the opportunity to shine, even if it took a considerable amount of training with each of them. Throughout the movie, Max’s true character shows through his good-natured heart when he tries to stop the Grinch from mixing up the Whos' mail, his loyalty when he stands by his master’s side through good and evil intentions, and generally stands as the Grinch’s moral compass throughout the movie.
But maybe even more impressive than the group performance of Max is that all six dogs that played him were treated as individuals, each assigned tasks that they were most comfortable with and trained accordingly, receiving roles that best worked with their personalities rather than being expected to be all-encompassing masters of canine acting and performance. And better yet, all six dogs were officially adopted either during the film’s shooting, or shortly after.
Now there’s a perfect Christmas present that both human and dog can truly enjoy.
Christmas Movie Dog Name Considerations
There are a lot of ways to go about picking a suitable name for your dog, so there is understandably a lot to consider. Generally speaking, personality and looks are usually the easiest way to generate ideas, although you can also keep things super simple and just give them your favorite character’s name from your favorite movie. But if you’re looking for something more apt, here are a few examples.
If you’re using looks, think about your dog’s face, haircut, markings and so on. For instance, if you have a poodle with a bit of extra curly hair on top of their head, Marv might be a great choice, as Marv Merchants from Home Alone sported a considerable bush of hair. If they are tall and lanky, both Jack, after Jack Skellington, and Arthur, after Arthur Christmas, work. If they look like Max from the Grinch, which isn’t hard to do for small brown dogs with folded ears, well, that’s easy enough.
In terms of personality, the door opens even wider, as there is no shortage of complete and utter characters from various Christmas movies. If they like to steal things, maybe give them the name Harry, Lime, or Bandit after Harry Lime, one of the “Wet Bandits” from Home Alone. If they’re a bit of a bully, giving them the name Farkus (or Barkus if you want to be extra clever), Buzz, or Grinch would be appropriate as they are all bullies from A Christmas Story, Home Alone, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas respectively.
Whatever you choose, don’t forget to enjoy yourself by doing a bit of research watching a few of these classics. Chances are something will pop out to remind you of your dog, or even watching them might make you realize the same in reverse.