Let Hercules himself do what he may/The cat will mew, and dog will have his day.
September 14, 2012 9:40 AM   Subscribe

The 2013 Guinness Book of World Records has spoken and Ostego, MI's 3'8" Zeus the Great Dane is the tallest dog in the world.
posted by griphus (59 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's a little disappointing that they didn't name him Shrimpy or Thumbelina or Napoleon or something.
posted by elizardbits at 9:42 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is too much dog
posted by The Whelk at 9:44 AM on September 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Hubby wanted to, got over ruled.
posted by Optamystic at 9:44 AM on September 14, 2012


I would make him pull me to work in a little wagon. Also I would totally dress him up like a thoroughbred and get a chihuahua dressed as a jockey to sit on his back.
posted by elizardbits at 9:45 AM on September 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yeah, "Tiny" would be a Looney-Tunes perfect nickname.

Great Danes are beautiful, gentle, good-natured animals, and it is a shame they don't live long.
posted by oneironaut at 9:45 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


What is the lifespan of a dog that size? He looks like his hips hurt.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:47 AM on September 14, 2012


it is a shame they don't live long

Pity no one told the creators of Marmaduke about that.
posted by yoink at 9:47 AM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nobody can explain it (except the author of "Marmaduke Explained").
posted by DU at 9:48 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lifespan on Great Danes and Irish Wolfhound is painfully short, 6-8 years is pretty much the norm.
posted by vuron at 9:48 AM on September 14, 2012


Also that is a whole lot of poop to pick up.
posted by elizardbits at 9:51 AM on September 14, 2012


I don't know, the dude with the insane arms is scarier.
posted by Mezentian at 9:52 AM on September 14, 2012


I had a friend once who came back very drunk from a rural pub and related how they had a huge dog in the garden, that almost the size of a Shetland pony. He went back a couple of days later, and realized that it was a Shetland pony.

Beautiful dog.
posted by carter at 9:53 AM on September 14, 2012 [16 favorites]


All I can picture is a herd of dachshunds and corgis seething while milling around his ankles.
posted by skrozidile at 9:56 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Friend of mine in high-school had a dog that was a cross between an Irish Wolfhound and a Great Dane. IIRC, he made it to 12. He was an ENORMOUS dog but the very definition of a gentle-giant. Though he did tend to great new people...enthusiastically.
posted by VTX at 10:00 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


More like Great Dang. I like at ~1:07 where she's giving the dogs treats and his little knees are quaking. And about the poop, ugh, my in-laws have one (and have had several), and if he poops in their house (he's growing out of that) it's like as if a homeless man broke in and just dumped on their floor, it's such an enormous pile. Love that dog, though. His name's Joker, and when our two-year old sees him she immediately runs up, smiling, pats him HARD on the nose and says "Joker, NO JOKING," which is what we taught her to do to keep him from completely destroying her.
posted by resurrexit at 10:00 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I grew up with Great Danes. They were always the dog we had. We had 5 of them throughout my childhood. One of the best types of dogs to have. I've never met a mean one. They are extremely gentle and caring.

Like everyone said, the problem is that they don't live long. Kaiser was the last one we had and he only lived til 4 when wobbler disease set in. It hurts the heart to own them.

Most puppies look like puppies and change features as they get older and lose their "puppy" look. Great danes never look like puppies, they just look like miniature great danes. They grow like a cartoon, just straight out in all directions. Almost like adding water to a dinosaur sponge and watching it grow.
posted by Tavern at 10:00 AM on September 14, 2012 [17 favorites]


King of Denmark used to get Great Danes from a kennel in Michigan (but those were Harlequins). Fun fact.

Also, it's Otsego, not Ostego. Amazingly, I knew that. (From other side of the state).
posted by Goofyy at 10:01 AM on September 14, 2012


CAN LICK ALL OF THE THINGS
posted by A dead Quaker at 10:07 AM on September 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Speaking as the owner of two Great Pyrenees, fuck Great Danes.
posted by breakfast_yeti at 10:09 AM on September 14, 2012


My sister-in-law has a 170lb Great Dane. Almost as tall. He thinks he's a lap dog.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:12 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


He can go on the big rides, Zeus can!
posted by Mister_A at 10:12 AM on September 14, 2012


Our cross alley neighbor has a Dane, Jerry. I swear he could just step over the fence if he wanted to. I swear his bark is nearly subsonic, it's so low. I was walking up the alley after a run one day, and a mom with a five-year-old were coming the other way, and I overheard the kid say, "Mommy, why is that horsey barking?"
posted by notsnot at 10:13 AM on September 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was going to make a joke about how this should be broken down by breed so that we can all enjoy the world's tallest pug, corgi, and pomeranian....

Until I found this...
posted by schmod at 10:18 AM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


TALL PUG IS TALL
posted by griphus at 10:21 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy crap! That's like 24' tall in dog feet!
posted by aubilenon at 10:23 AM on September 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


Big dogs can get into places small dogs can't :)
posted by HappyHippo at 10:39 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


His legs are longer than his owners!!

Seriously, I need to hug that dog.
posted by Fig at 10:40 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most of my experience with the great dane comes from that one movie, The Leopard, from which one can get a pretty good sense of the jarring incongruity between the breed's size and its greyhound-like lightness of movement. I am, of course, talking about Alain Delon.
posted by flechsig at 10:42 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I grew up with Great Danes, too, as a kid. My dad loved them but after the third one passed away--cancer--he didn't have the heart in him anymore to adopt another. They are amazing, gentle, loveable dogs. The most recent Dane that passed away had a great reputation in my dad's neighborhood as the defender of the various stray cats that camped out in the woods behind the house. If another neighborhood dog tried to hurt them (and in one case, succeeded in eating a baby kitten), you bet your sweet bippy my dad's Dane was out there telling him in immense terrifying woofs to get the fuck off his lawn before he made them.
posted by Kitteh at 10:45 AM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Lifespan on Great Danes and Irish Wolfhound is painfully short, 6-8 years is pretty much the norm.
For some reason large dogs have shorter lifespans than their smaller cousins. When we had our greyhound, he lived to be 13, which the vet told us was pretty surprising. He thought maybe because Trai had been retired from racing at age 2 that he didn't show the typical signs of aging until he was 11 years old (usually large breeds' bodies start giving out around 8 or 9...) When old age did hit Trai, it hit quickly and hard - arthritis in the spine and shoulders and for the last six months of his life he required assistance to be eased down from a standing to laying position. I've always loved big dogs since I was a kid, and used to want a Great Dane, but as a teen a friend of mine had two Danes, and while they were playful gentle giants, they did drool and slobber a lot. That's messy enough when you're young, but when you're a grown-up who spends part of your day in dress clothes for work, visible slobber becomes a deal-breaker. Luckily, greys drool and shed very little (subtle plug for anyone considering adoption....)
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:47 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


My parents used to breed Danes. We just kept the one bitch and would hire studs. But one year, we decided to keep one puppy out of a litter because his colouration was so beautiful. He grew to 3'6". He also only lived 3 years before dying of heart failure.
posted by 256 at 10:49 AM on September 14, 2012


My Brother had a Great Dane she was awesome and very much a lap dog. Their lifespan makes me never want to have one though. When she died downstairs at my brothers house, he obviously needed help to bring her to be cremated... and I went over to help. It quickly turned into a comical event when we could not lift her body and realized he had an old carpet so we did the organized crime thing and rolled her in it to get better purchase with the weight. I remember the neighbors face until we explained the situation.
Also she was harlequin and kids always asked if she was a skinny cow!
posted by mrgroweler at 10:49 AM on September 14, 2012


There was a Great Dane on my paper route when I was a kid. I remember sitting on my Stingray looking him straight in the eye.

He was a great dog, but when I would ring the bell to collect the whole house would shake when he ran into the front door (which he did every time. Solid wood door or he would have been outside in a flash).
posted by tommasz at 10:52 AM on September 14, 2012


He was a great dog, but when I would ring the bell to collect the whole house would shake when he ran into the front door (which he did every time. Solid wood door or he would have been outside in a flash).

Yeah, my parents stopped breeding dogs a long time ago, and my mom has renovated the house more than once since then, but there is still one solid indicator that it used to be a Great Dane house. All the interior doors of the house are made from light pine but one. There is a steel door on what used to be the dog room.
posted by 256 at 11:06 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


the very definition of a gentle-giant. Though he did tend to great new people...enthusiastically.

When I was about 11, some people moved in next door with a friendly Great Dane. So friendly it reared up on its hind legs and then stuck its paws out to balance but sadly the most convenient surface was the top of my sister's head (she was about 8). I earned a lifetime achievement award from the emergency room doc who had to stitch her head closed as I borrowed his marker, sketched a face above my navel and proceeded to "talk" to my sister for the duration of the stitching.
posted by yerfatma at 11:38 AM on September 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


The previous tallest dog, Giant George was also a Great Dane. The book on George is quite well written and his people seem like such sweet folks. The part about how George couldn't go to the puppy side of the dog park was particularly touching. Apparently he was so big that the other puppies and their owners were freaked, but he was too young to be able to play properly with the grown up dogs and kept getting bullied.

I have joked in the past to my 6'9" husband that the next dog is going to be a Great Dane, just so he can have a dog that makes him look like a normal dude. But after reading about George's life, I want to get him one just so he can have someone in the house who understands his plight of being too large for the average world.
posted by teleri025 at 11:42 AM on September 14, 2012


This is terrifying. I'm barely 5' and would be very uncomfortable around this dog. At least it's nose wouldn't be the same height as my crotch, which is usually how it works with dogs (ugh!).
posted by evening at 11:54 AM on September 14, 2012


We've always had big dogs in my family. Growing up we had german shepherds. Our last one, Dar, was enormous. Not just long legs- the circumference of his chest was astounding. And his paws here massive. We lived on the corner lot, and people stopped at the stop sign would comment on how large and gorgeous he was if we were outside playing fetch.
Now grown up, my sister has taken to rottweilers. Her first one, Jumbeaux [she didn't name him, he was rescued] was also massive. Thick and tall, with the biggest square head you've ever seen. Never barked, though. Maybe once. Mostly he was just quiet and cuddly.
It's sad living in an apartment, now. I miss having a dog so much.
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:56 AM on September 14, 2012


Like everyone said, the problem is that they don't live long. Kaiser was the last one we had and he only lived til 4 when wobbler disease set in. It hurts the heart to own them.

Most puppies look like puppies and change features as they get older and lose their "puppy" look. Great danes never look like puppies, they just look like miniature great danes. They grow like a cartoon, just straight out in all directions. Almost like adding water to a dinosaur sponge and watching it grow.
posted by Tavern


This is a startling and WONDERFUL observation, Tavern-- and I'd bet it's the key to understanding their short life-span too.

If their entire life-cycle is simply compressed-- so that it takes place at three times the speed of the average dogs', say-- then they'd spend a substantial part of the time other dogs spend looking like puppies inside the womb and come out looking very unusually mature.

Their cell cycle could be very fast; that would cause them to reach their Hayflick limits (the fixed number of divisions most somatic cells can sustain due to the fact that telomeres shorten with every division, then when they're too short, the chromosomes are destabilized) three times sooner than the average dog, but there are other possibilities.
posted by jamjam at 12:01 PM on September 14, 2012


Maybe I'm not the best judge, because our dachshund was always roly-poly despite our best efforts, but he looks painfully thin to me. Are you supposed to be able to see the ribs and spine so clearly on a healthy weight dog?
posted by amarynth at 12:01 PM on September 14, 2012


I love big dogs. I have a Presa Canario that weight about 125 or so pounds, all muscle with a big, giant head. He's a brindle and the kids in the neighborhood call him 'the tiger dog.' I've wanted to get him a Great Dane, someone big and strong enough for him to play with. Men have to watch out around my big boy, he wags his tail really hard and it's right at crotch height. He's made more than one man nearly double over. For this same reason, I'm careful with him around small kids. He can a wack a kid in the head pretty hard just walking past wagging his tail.
posted by shoesietart at 12:03 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


weight = weighs

Amarynth, I thought he looked too thin as well. But, with giant breeds, being even a little overweight can cause joint problems. Still, I thought he was kind of skinny.
posted by shoesietart at 12:07 PM on September 14, 2012


Danes are definitely supposed to be that skinny if they are healthy.
posted by 256 at 12:12 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would love to have a big dog, but I'm afraid I would end up with a stubborn one. With my little ones, if they don't want to walk into the vet's office, I can easily scoop them up and carry them. If Zeus doesnt want to go into the vet's office .....? Not a fight I'm willing to be in.

However, if anyone with a giant dog needs someone to cuddle with theirs and laugh at their GIANT antics, we can work something out.
posted by Fig at 12:15 PM on September 14, 2012


My first thought was also that he's painfully thin. 155 pounds is a more typical weight for a slightly-larger-than-average male dane, not a "tallest dog in the world" dane. For reference, Giant George, one inch shorter, weighs a solid 100lbs more than Zeus. It could well be that at his size, it's safer to keep Zeus underweight for some reason (heart, joints?), but the photo disturbs me nonetheless - and I say that as the owner of a greyhound, the original all-you-see-is-bones-and-skin breed.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 1:27 PM on September 14, 2012


...but man, do I love me some Great Danes. If it weren't for the slobber problem (well, and the cost of feeding an appetite that big), I'd probably have a couple monopolizing my couch right now.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 1:28 PM on September 14, 2012


I swear, I have seen a larger dog. 'Twas an evening in April, 20 years ago now, outside of the Salvador Dali Museum in France. The sun was setting, and around the corner came a dog the size of a bear. It wasn't just tall, it was bulky, and covered with thick, matted black fur, fur of such density that I couldn't even see the creature's eyes. It was peeing constantly, stopping every three feet or so to pee on a line of cars parked outside the museum. This dog was so large it looked unreal, it was at least as strange as anything I'd seen in the museum. Perhaps I would've taken the beast for a hallucination of some kind, had my father not been with me to verify that he saw it too.

Ladies and gentlemen, I assure you, if Zeus is indeed the largest dog on the planet today, he is by no means the largest dog that ever lived!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:32 PM on September 14, 2012


I just ran across this bit about the relationship between dogs and early man, bolded bit of interest:
Shipman speculates that the affinity between humans and dogs manifested itself mainly in the way that it would go on to do for many more thousands of years: in the hunt. Dogs would help humans to identify their prey; but they would also work, the theory goes, as beasts of burden -- playing the same role for early humans as they played for the Blackfeet and Hidatsa of the American West, who bred large, strong dogs specifically for hauling strapped-on packs. (Paleolithic dogs were big to begin with: They had, their skeletons suggest, a body mass of at least 70 pounds and a shoulder height of at least 2 feet -- which would make them, at minimum, the size of a modern-day German Shepherd.) Since transporting animal carcasses is an energy-intensive task, getting dogs to do that work would mean that humans could concentrate their energy on more productive endeavors: hunting, gathering, reproducing.
posted by dhartung at 2:42 PM on September 14, 2012


The sun was setting, and around the corner came a dog the size of a bear.

Amusingly, nearly every bear sighting my family has ever had has started with "HOLY SHIT THAT'S A BIG DO-- oh, it's a bear, that's why." Perhaps you really did see a French bear (are there confusable-with-large-dogs bears in France?)

This is what happens when your hometown is the epicenter of a black bear comeback. "Oh, it's just a bear" becomes a not-abnormal utterance!
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 2:42 PM on September 14, 2012


badgermushroomSNAKE, I believe what I saw was some mutant variation of a black russian terrier. It looked like one of those dogs, except larger and shaggier and piss-ier. Perhaps it was some sort of escapee from a lab experiment involving the crossbreeding of a dog and a hippopotamus.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:59 PM on September 14, 2012


We had a dog that was Great Dane and Sharpei mixed (and we think a little doberman.) He was enormous and dumb as a rock. his head came almost to my chest when he was on all fours (I'm 5 foot 3) and he was much taller than me when he was on his hind legs.

Homer was his name and when he was about 8 months old (and already pony sized) he got out and ran in the road. A big old fashioned 1960s all metal pickup truck hit him. We took him to the vet, he got a few stitches and came home, none the worst for the wear. He was a sneaky dog, we never could keep him in the house, so he ran the neighborhood.

As we lived in the country, but in a subdivision, every one knew Homer. He got pets and treats and love from everyone and when they were tired of him hanging around, they would holler "Homer go home, they miss you."

His big ass would trot on home and scratch at the door until someone let him in. The babies in the family could lay all over him, pull his tail, ride him like a pony and he would let them.

In fact, when my brother brought his son home (teenage parents) Homer would lie at the door of whatever room the baby was in. If the baby cried and someone didn't instantly go to him, Homer would come get us.

Not only did he love the kids, he thought he was a lap dog. Now imagine 125-140 pounds of great big, drool-covered, horse leaning on you like he was a 10 pound puppy? Yeah, painful and he wasn't lap sized past about eight weeks of age.

When Homer was 10, he started acting funny late one Friday night. Saturday, he refused to eat, Sunday, the same. We called the vet, set an appointment for Monday, by then he couldn't stand. My husband and sisters carried him to my sister's car, where they took him to the vet.

He was full of cancer, there was nothing they could do. Friday until Monday and we had to let him go. They put him to sleep without bringing him home.

This was eight years ago and I still tear up thinking about it. He was the greatest dog anyone could ever have and I wish we could have cloned him. Dumb as a rock, silly as hell, but such a loving animal. Stupid cancer.
posted by SuzySmith at 3:06 PM on September 14, 2012 [13 favorites]


Homer doesn't really sound dumb as a rock at all, but now, dang it, I seem to have gotten something in my eye.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 3:15 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dogs. Dammit, there's nothing worse than losing a great dog. Nothing.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:53 PM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


I swear, I have seen a larger dog.

The english mastiff is a bigger dog, just not taller. Newfoundlands and St. Bernards are also usually more massive and they have a lot more fur so they appear larger. You have seen a Newfoundland (they are all black) or a cross between a Newfoundland and some other giant breed. Something like that would be nearly as tall but have a LOT more mass.
posted by VTX at 7:56 PM on September 14, 2012


The dumb part comes from him getting stuck places. When he was first home, he'd lie under the coffee table, stand up, then walk out from under it. That didn't last long as he got too tall quickly.

The first time he stood up and the table went with him, he looked puzzled, the second and third as well. When it got to about the 40th time we were counting and laughing. Eventually, a glass of water spilled on him, and that cured him of standing up under the table. He'd still crawl under there, but, he'd look all pitiful until one of us would remind him, he had to crawl out.

He got stuck in a lot of places, actually. The worst was when it would thunder. Now, this horse sized dog hated thunder. One little crack and he was under the desk, under my legs, and curled in a ball.

My desk was tiny. It barely had enough room for my legs, rather yet a huge dog. I'd have to wiggle my legs out, then when the storm would pass, we'd have to help him wiggle out, often by picking up the desk to let him out.

He really was an awesome dog. I cried while I wrote the earlier post about him, just a few tears, but you just cannot top a dog that is so loyal, so loving, so friendly, yet so protective. He was a mutt, obviously, and my sisters just brought him home to try and convince Mom to let us have him.

He wasn't in the house more than 10 minutes, before all of us had named him, and Daddy was in love with him. Mom tried to act like she never liked him, but she always bought him the one kind of dog food he would eat (puppy food, kibbles and bits, yes, the horse dog only ate puppy food,) the snacks he loved, and bones for him.

When my sisters pulled away with him, Mom broke down and not only was she said because we were losing a sweetheart of a dog, but he had to ride in a car on what we were sure was his last day. Homer hated riding in the car. He would shake and drool and whine.

I still wish to this day that we had begged the vet to come out and put him to sleep, but, we all were holding onto a shred of hope that he was just sick and would be coming home again.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:50 PM on September 14, 2012


We had a Great Pyrenees. Our vet pointed out that large breeds of dogs tend to have end of life diagnosis that are often "riddled with x" due to what the vets describe as stoicism.

They don't give any outward signs of discomfort or pain. His experience was that the dogs aren't failing to communicate their pain, but just that they don't respond to pain until it reaches the "can't be ignored" level.

Stoic.

Right after we put Mardi down, he asked if I minded answering a few questions(me and this vet had been through several dogs over many years).

"Knowing the difficulties and shortened lifespan of a giant breed, will you get another?"

No.

"Without the shortened lifespan would you get another?"

I would have at least one Pyrenees forever.

*sigh*
posted by dglynn at 6:23 AM on September 15, 2012


We've has Danes in my family for years now. I personally had a Dane/German Shepherd mix who lived for 12.5 years. You get used to the slobber and having a 100+ lb. lap warmer and when they are gone you miss it.
posted by crankylex at 8:59 AM on September 15, 2012


Chilling out on the tube.. like a boss.
posted by homunculus at 3:51 PM on September 15, 2012


My dane mix just recently died at 13 years old. http://ackackack.com/boom.jpg
Dane mixes are surprising healthy and sweet. Mine was a dane/american pit mix..a real doll.
posted by xjudson at 7:23 AM on September 17, 2012


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