Disney’s Little Mermaid Dog: Max The Charming Sheepdog

In the world of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, a charming Old English Sheepdog named Max stole the hearts of many with his playful and loyal demeanor.

As Prince Eric’s faithful companion, Max not only provided comic relief but also played a subtle yet pivotal role in the unfolding romance between the prince and Ariel, the mermaid princess.

His keen instincts and endearing interactions with the characters underscored the importance of pets in storytelling, even in a fantasy setting.

Max’s presence in the film highlights the skilled animation work that brought him to life. Unlike human characters, animators had to capture the essence of an animal’s movement and personality, which they achieved with Max splendidly.

Each wag of his tail and joyous bark added depth to the narrative, reinforcing the emotional bonds shared with his human counterparts. Behind the animated scenes, Max’s character was meticulously crafted to resonate with audiences, enhancing the overall magical experience of the movie.

Max’s Role in ‘The Little Mermaid’

Everyone remembers Max—the shaggy and endearing Old English Sheepdog who stands by Prince Eric’s side in Disney’s classic, “The Little Mermaid.”

His connection with the main characters, especially Eric and Ariel, helps to create some of the most charming and heartfelt moments in the film.

The Breed Behind the Character

Max is an Old English Sheepdog, a breed known for its fluffy coat and amiable nature.

This breed is frequently recognized by its distinctive shaggy fur, which covers the body and face. Though his breed is quite capable of herding, in “The Little Mermaid,” Max serves more as a loyal companion and friend than a working dog.

Max’s Relationship with Other Characters

Prince Eric: Max shares a special bond with his owner, Prince Eric. As a loyal friend, Max is always by Eric’s side, providing not just companionship but also acting as an intuitive emotional support for the prince during his adventures and decisions.

Ariel: When Ariel first comes ashore, Max is one of the first to welcome her, displaying his friendly nature. His immediate acceptance of her plays a subtle yet key role in helping Eric to connect with Ariel, sensing the goodness in her even before Eric does.

Sebastian and Flounder: Although he doesn’t interact with them as much, Max also encounters Ariel’s companions, Sebastian the crab and Flounder the fish. His interactions are brief, but they highlight the various friendships formed among characters in the story.

Through these relationships, it becomes clear that Max is more than just a pet—he’s a bridge between characters and a communication aide, helping them understand each other better with his perceptive and friendly demeanor.

Character Development and Animation

When you think of The Little Mermaid, you probably picture Ariel, her vibrant undersea world, and the catchy songs. But let’s not overlook Max, Prince Eric’s charming pupper. In the film, Max is the epitome of a loyal companion: both smart and playful, making him quite the memorable figure in the supporting cast.

Developing Max for the animated screen involved careful consideration of his breed’s characteristics. Your typical Old English Sheepdog is known for its shaggy coat and amiable nature, features that animators distilled into Max’s endearing on-screen personality.

The animation team sought to capture the essence of his breed’s behaviors, ensuring Max’s movements and actions reflected a genuine dog’s spirit.

Here’s how the animation process unfolded for Max:

  • Sketching: Preliminary drawings focused on Max’s shaggy fur and expressive doggy features.
  • Personality Crafting: Max was given a smart and playful demeanor, traits that shine through his interactions and provide comic relief.
  • Animating: Careful frame-by-frame animation brought fluidity to Max’s movements.

During production, his every wag, bark, and frolic had to be convincing to viewers like you. Max’s vocal effects were provided by Frank Welker, a seasoned voice actor who helped breathe life into the character through sound alone.

Remember, in animation, each character, no matter how big or small, is meticulously brought to life to add depth and joy to the cinematic experience. And that’s precisely what the animation team achieved with Max, blending art and technology to create a character true to his breed and to the heart of The Little Mermaid.

Behind the Scenes with Max

When you dive into the behind-the-scenes world of The Little Mermaid live-action adaptation, you might be charmed to learn more about Max, the Old English Sheepdog that played Prince Eric’s loyal four-legged companion.

Bagel, who is actually a female dog despite portraying a male character, had her own spotlight moments and effortlessly won the hearts of the audience.

On Set with the Cast

  • Bagel got to interact with the stellar cast, bringing life to the beloved character.
  • The interplay between this fluffy canine and human actors added an authentic touch to the production.

Training and Direction

  • She was well-rehearsed, likely undergoing extensive training to follow cues flawlessly alongside her human co-stars.

Live-Action Charm

  • Choosing to use a real dog instead of CGI ensured that the live-action scenes with Max felt genuine and engaging.

Music and Performances

  • Though Bagel didn’t have a singing role, she was part of a production that featured iconic songs by Alan Menken.

Disney Parks Appearance

  • It’s not common for the live-action animals to appear at Disney Parks, but Max’s popularity could pave the way for special appearances, giving you the chance to meet this furry celebrity in person.

Encountering Bagel as Max behind the scenes, you would see not just the dog’s role but also the careful planning that goes into incorporating real animals into live-action performances, ensuring they’re comfortable and can shine on screen just like their human counterparts.

Max’s Cultural Impact

Voice and Sound Effects for Max

Max’s character speaks volumes without saying a word, relying heavily on carefully crafted sound effects to express emotions and actions.

In “The Little Mermaid,” you might remember Max growling at Prince Eric’s statue—a snarl actually recycled from another Disney film, “The Great Mouse Detective.” This clever use of sound effects highlights how Disney recycles and repurposes sounds to bring animated animals to life, establishing an endearing and memorable character in Max.

Comparing Max to Real Old English Sheepdogs

Max’s depiction in “The Little Mermaid” struck a chord with fans of Old English Sheepdogs, a popular breed known for their gentle nature.

While the movie introduced Max as a sheepdog, the casting of a real animal in the Little Mermaid Live led to mixed reactions since the chosen dog was not the same breed. This decision sparked discussions among viewers and fans of the original breed, showcasing Max’s recognizability and the audience’s expectation for authenticity when it comes to iconic characters.

Max’s Legacy in Disney Films

Max, the cheerful Old English Sheepdog from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, has won the hearts of audiences with his loyal and playful demeanor.

In the film, you’d see Max bounding alongside his owner, Prince Eric, showcasing a character full of joy and loyalty.

Max and Disney’s Canine Stars:

When you watch Max, you’ll notice his animation and sounds bring a sense of realism to Prince Eric’s character, similar to how Rajah provides a companion to Jasmine in Aladdin or how Zazu adds to Mufasa’s majesty in The Lion King.

Each animal character in these films complements their human counterparts, enhancing the narrative.

Max’s animation and expression offer a standard for subsequent Disney films. His character, though non-speaking, interacts with humans and expresses a range of emotions. This portrayal, indeed, set a bar for later Disney animals, underlining the silent yet meaningful relationships they can depict.

Max in ‘The Little Mermaid’ Merchandise

If you’re a fan of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, you might have noticed that among the wide range of merchandisable characters.

Max, the Old English Sheepdog, has his own special spot. From the variety of items available, you can find your own Max in several forms to bring a part of the human world into your home.

Collectibles and Toys:

  • Plush Toys: Cuddle up with a soft and huggable Max plush toy. It’s perfect for kids and collectors alike.
  • Action Figures: Display Max in all his glory with detailed action figures that capture his lovable spirit.


Home and Decor:

  • Statuettes and Ornaments: Decorate your space with adorable Max statuettes, perfect for any shelf or mantlepiece.
  • Bedding and Throws: Dream sweet ocean dreams with Max bedding sets and soft throws that feature his likeness.

Visual Media:

Each piece of merchandise brings a bit of the loveable character into your life. You can showcase your affection for The Little Mermaid’s memorable canine with pictures on your wall and videos where he’s featured.

Max’s merchandise promises a splash of seaside charm and a glimpse into the enchanting world where he belongs. Don’t forget, these items also make delightful gifts for any Disney enthusiast in your life!