Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

What Kind of Dog is Max from The Secret Life of Pets? Facts, Temperament, & FAQ

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

The Secret Life of Pets is a fun and cute family film filled with endearing animal characters. Max is one of the main characters of the movie, and he’s known for his fierce loyalty and bravery. Fans of Max will be delighted to know that he’s designed after a real dog breed—the Jack Russell Terrier. They’ll be even more delighted to know that his personality shares some hallmark traits of this dog breed’s temperament. Here’s how Max and real Jack Russell Terriers compare.

Divider 1General Temperament of a Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers were originally bred as hunting dogs and have the perfect temperament to hunt small prey. They’re compact balls of energy and are a happy and vivacious breed that enjoys working.

To this day, Jack Russell Terriers have kept their strong hunting instincts. They love to run around, chase, and dig. They’re extremely talented jumpers, so owners must supervise them closely, even if they have a fenced yard. These dogs can jump high and clear fences. They can be intelligent escape artists and learn to dig their way out of the yard if something entices their natural curiosity.

Regarding their personality, Jack Russell Terriers are extremely loyal, brave, and playful. They can be quite fearless and up for any adventure with their favorite people. They’re affectionate family dogs, but they also require firm and consistent training.

Does Max Act Like a Real Jack Russell Terrier?

Max, the movie character, is a great portrayal of the Jack Russell Terrier’s devotedness and love for human companionship. A Jack Russell Terrier is likely to be waiting by the door once it senses that it’s about time for its owners to return home.

Max also has a good number of friends, which is consistent with the breed’s social personality. However, real Jack Russell Terriers tend to have a strong prey drive. So, while early socialization may help them get along with small pets, they may never be fully trusted to be around them while unsupervised. It’s pretty unlikely that real Jack Russell Terriers would become good friends with cats, birds, hamsters, and other small animals.

Another thing that people must remember is that despite their small size, Jack Russell Terriers aren’t well-suited for apartment life. They have high exercise demands, and they tend to be loud barkers, making them disruptive to neighbors.

It’s important to remember that although Jack Russell Terriers have general temperaments, their personalities can vary, and some can be completely different from the breed’s typical temperament. Different factors, like early socialization and lifestyle, can impact and influence a dog’s personality. So, even though Max may have some outlier traits, it’s not completely impossible to find a real Jack Russell Terrier that closely resembles his personality.

jack russell terrier dog on green grass outdoor with owner
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Is the Jack Russell Terrier a Good Pet?

A Jack Russell Terrier is a high-spirited dog with a taste for adventure. It has strong companionship tendencies, but it’s not a breed well-suited for everyone, and they’re not the best option for first-time dog owners.

Jack Russell Terriers require an experienced dog owner with the time to invest in consistent obedience training and many exercise opportunities. They’re a great fit for people who have active lifestyles. Jack Russell Terriers will be happy to become running companions or go on hikes or camping trips. They’re also excellent agility dogs and are a breed that can excel in agility courses.

Since these dogs love human companionship, they don’t do well being alone for long hours every day. If you aren’t able to have someone home with them consistently, it’s best to drop them off at a doggy daycare so that they can be around people and get their exercise needs met.

So, Jack Russell Terriers are excellent pets, but it depends on who’s caring for them. They’re the perfect companion for dog owners with an interest in training or those that have active lifestyles.

Jack Russell Terrier dog portrait oil painting
Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock

Divider 1Final Thoughts

While Max from The Secret Life of Pets may not accurately portray the general temperament of a Jack Russell Terrier, he’s still a great representation of the breed’s courageous and loyal nature.

Jack Russell Terriers are excellent dogs, but they require a particular type of care that some people may not be able to meet. They may be adorable and playful, but you can find plenty of other dog breeds that are more easygoing and good pets for first-time dog owners. So, if Max inspires you to adopt a dog, make sure first to research dog breeds so that you can find a dog that best suits your lifestyle.


Featured Image Credit: Characters by  Illumination Entertainment, Universal Studios.  All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database