In Warner Bros. early summer flick Max, an ex-Military Working Dog manages to overcome the trauma of losing his beloved handler and saves his owner’s life from the criminal who killed his older brother. He is shown as a dog that would be the perfect addition to the average American family and given the influence Hollywood has on the general public, clueless moviegoers probably wanted a Max of their very own.
However, Malinois owners around the world beg you: please, don’t get one of these dogs just because you saw a heartwarming family-friendly movie.
To begin, the Malinois did not earn the nickname of “furry velociraptor” because they’re couch potatoes. This breed was bred to work and unless you’re prepared to enroll your new furry friend into ten different kinds of dog sport classes, they don’t make good pets for the average American family. Your beloved Max will become destructive if you don’t spend hours giving him the mental and physical exercise that he so desperately requires.
Chris Wodja of Lucid Dog Training told Oregon Live that whenever Hollywood decides to showcase a breed in a movie, people immediately fall in love with them and rush out to purchase one without ever doing any research into whether the breed is right for them. In the case of Max, Malinois owners are worried that dogs will flood the shelter because the clueless moviegoers will realize that their supposed hero dog is becoming destructive because they left him to his own devices in the backyard.
For a breed that excels in dog sports such as IPO and has saved countless lives as military working dogs, this would be a disaster. Animal-loving moviegoers often don’t realize the time and effort it takes to train dogs to perform in films such as Max.
Previously, breeds such as Dalmatians were ruined because Hollywood managed to put them on a pedestal. After the release of the live-action 101 Dalmatians, the New York Times noted that moviegoers flocked to buy their own Pongo and Perdita so their kids can grow up with their very own Disney dog. The families were shocked to discover that Dalmatians hated kids, shed enough to make two dogs, and were pretty snappy.
In short, they were not the perfect well-trained movie stars that the owners wanted them to be. The amount of abandoned Dalmatians practically doubled after the remake, and they filled the shelters in droves. If they were dropped at a high-kill shelter, many were likely euthanized. To make matters worse, puppy mills and backyard breeders started shelling out Dalmatians, which only added to the breed’s health issues.
In order to prevent the Malinois from suffering Pongo and Perdita’s fate, owners and breed enthusiasts have taken to social media to show what life really is like with Max. The Facebook page So You Think You Want A Malinois gleefully posts pictures of accidental bites from IPO training sessions or hilarious photos showing the destructive side of the furry raptors. There’s even a YouTube video called Saving Max that shows this stunning working breed in all of its glory and highlights why the average pet owner shouldn’t run out to get a Malinois of their very own.
While this may seem cruel to the Joe Smiths of America, it’s better for pet owners in the long run to be dissuaded from purchasing a Malinois after seeing photos of bite marks or watching a video of a dog swimming for four hours.
So, average dog owners who are reading this, it’s okay to give up on your dreams of bringing home a Max for your kids. Not many people have the time or discipline to own a Malinois. While you may never own a Disney-eqsue pet, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t the right breed for you out there. With some careful research and a lot of training, your all-American shelter mutt or adorable little Bichon Frise will be a much better furry friend for you then Max ever could!