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Tag: great dane

The soon-to-be world’s tallest dog?

***EXCLUSIVE***  SOUTHEND-ON-SEA, UNITED KINGDOM - UNDATED: Britain's biggest dog, 18 month old great Dane, Freddy seen realxing on the sofa with it's owner Claire Stoneman at their home in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England.  Canine colossus Freddy is believed to be Britain's biggest dog. The Great Dane has been measured at 7ft 4in (2.24m) on his hind legs by owner Claire Stoneman. Although no official measurement has yet been made, that would make Freddy as tall as world-record holder Zeus, and significantly larger than Britain's current biggest dog Samson, who is 6ft 6in (1.98m). The gigantic dog began life as the runt of the litter, but experienced an astonishing growth spurt to reach his current size. Claire, a 38-year-old taxi driver from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, who drives a Barbie-pink cab, lives with Freddy and his sister Fleur.   PHOTOGRAPH BY Matt Writtle / Barcroft Media  UK Office, London. T +44 845 370 2233 W www.barcroftmedia.com  USA Office, New York City. T +1 212 796 2458 W www.barcroftusa.com  Indian Office, Delhi. T +91 11 4053 2429 W www.barcroftindia.com

Freddy, an 18-month-old Great Dane from Great Britain, already stands 7-foot-4 on his hind legs, and he appears headed to taking the world’s tallest dog title away from a Great Dane in Michigan.

***EXCLUSIVE***  SOUTHEND-ON-SEA, UNITED KINGDOM - UNDATED: Britain's biggest dog, 18 month old great Dane, Freddy stands on its hind legs as owner Claire Stoneman feeds him outside her home in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England.  Canine colossus Freddy is believed to be Britain's biggest dog. The Great Dane has been measured at 7ft 4in (2.24m) on his hind legs by owner Claire Stoneman. Although no official measurement has yet been made, that would make Freddy as tall as world-record holder Zeus, and significantly larger than Britain's current biggest dog Samson, who is 6ft 6in (1.98m). The gigantic dog began life as the runt of the litter, but experienced an astonishing growth spurt to reach his current size. Claire, a 38-year-old taxi driver from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, who drives a Barbie-pink cab, lives with Freddy and his sister Fleur.   PHOTOGRAPH BY Matt Writtle / Barcroft Media  UK Office, London. T +44 845 370 2233 W www.barcroftmedia.com  USA Office, New York City. T +1 212 796 2458 W www.barcroftusa.com  Indian Office, Delhi. T +91 11 4053 2429 W www.barcroftindia.comHe’s outgrown Britain’s previous tallest dog, and has long since surpassed, in terms of height, his owner, Claire Stoneman, who stands 5 feet 4 inches.

Stoneman said Freddy was the runt of the litter, but he has grown quickly on a diet of regular dog food ($100 worth a week), peanut butter on toast, and sofas, of which he has destroyed — but not consumed — 14.

Stoneman said it took a while for Freddy, who now weighs 154 pounds, to get used to her small home in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

Stoneman said she and Freddy get up early for walks so they won’t encounter other dogs.

“If he wants to run after a dog, I wouldn’t be able to stop him,” she said.

The current world’s tallest dog is Zeus, a Great Dane from Otsego, Mich., who was 7-foot-4 (standing on his hind legs) when he was recognized by Guinness World Record in 2012.

You can find more photos of Freddy at the New York Post (click the link for the full slide show).

Freddy now measures 41 inches from foot to shoulder blade, compared with Zeus’ 44 inches.

(Photos: Bancroft Media via New York Post)

Supersize me: Americans turning to big dogs

SONY DSC

Big dogs — not that they ever left — are coming back.

In its annual report on breed popularity in the U.S., the American Kennel Club notes that, while the Labrador retriever is again the most popular dog breed, other large breeds are quickly moving up the list, including Dobermans, giant schnauzers and Great Danes.

According to the AKC, it could be a sign of an improving economy.

“Owning bigger breeds – an economic indicator of sorts – has been on the rise during the past five years,” said Lisa Peterson, AKC spokeswoman. “As the economy has improved, people are turning back to the big dogs they love, which cost more to feed and care for than the smaller breeds that saw a rise in popularity in 2007 and 2008.”

Labs took the top spot for the 23rd straight year, the longest consecutive reign of any dog in the annual ranking. The rankings are based on the number of AKC dog registrations across the country.

Here are the top 10, with links to their AKC profiles:

1. Labrador Retriever
2. German Shepherd Dog
3. Golden Retriever
4. Beagle
5. Bulldog
6. Yorkshire Terrier
7. Boxer
8. Poodle
9. Rottweiler
10. Dachshund

Comparing those rankings to the 2009 list, there’s evidence of a decline in small dog popularity — Yorkies dropped three places, from third, dachshunds dropped two, from eighth, and shih tzus fell out of the top 10 entirely.

Some smaller breeds saw a gain in popularity, like the French bulldog (now 11th). But far greater gains were made by greatly sized dogs: Doberman Pinschers rose from 22 to 12; Great Danes from 27 to 16; and Bernese Mountain Dogs from 47 to 32.

The AKC announced its rankings Friday, in advance of the upcoming Westminster Kennel Club dog show at Madison Square Garden.

Three new breeds will compete this year: rat terriers, Chinooks, and Portuguese Podengo Pequenos.

(Photo: Ash, a lab, or perhaps a lab mix (we didn’t ask for his papers), at play; by John Woestendiek)

Traumatized dog finds some deer friends

Eleven days after Lacy, a Great Dane, ran away from a highway accident in Michigan she was found and returned to her owner.

But the odd part of this story came at the nine-day mark, when Lacy’s owner, Jamie Brill, who’d been searching for days with her boyfriend, spotted her dog in a field, through a pair of binoculars.

Lacy was standing next to two adult whitetail does and two fawns.

“Mark handed me the binoculars and said, ‘Do you believe this?’ I looked, and Lacy was licking the head of one of the fawns,” Brill told Lansing State Journal columnist John Schneider.

When Brill tried calling Lacy from afar, she didn’t budge, remaining instead with the deer.

Brill, stationed with the U.S. Navy in Grand Rapids, rolled her Mini Cooper on Interstate 96 on Aug. 11. Her two dogs – Lacy and Koko – were in the car. Brill was taken to the hospital. Koko was taken to a veterinarian, and Lacy ran off.

Two days after Lacy was spotted hobnobbing with the deer, Schneider, the newspaper columnist, got a call from a man who had spotted Lacy — whose disappearance by then had become a big story.

Schneider called Brill in Grand Rapids, and she called a Lansing veterinarian who had been involved in the search and agreed to check out the sighting.

Veterinarian Leslie Ortlieb drove to the vacant house and on its porch saw Lacy, who was described as being a skittish sort even before the accident.

But Ortlieb apparently said the right words: “Do you want to go see Koko?”

The Great Dane walked up to her and got into her car.

Lacy was emaciated and had a small cut on her leg, but otherwise appeared in good health.

Roadside Encounter: Clyde

Name: Clyde

Breed: Great Dane mix

Age: About 1

Encountered: At Riverside Park in Baltimore

Backstory: We ran into this handsome Great Dane mix at the park Friday. Clyde was found last year at a school near Patterson Park. Signs were posted seeking his owners, who eventually responded and said they didn’t want him anymore, according to his new owner.

Clyde has been in his new home since October, adopted through a rescue organization.

He was a new face, for us, and even though Clyde seemed very mellow and non-threatening, Ace, contrary to his normal behavior, seemed to feel the need to let Clyde know who was in charge.

Generally, Ace doesn’t throw his weight around, unless he sees some dogs fighting, or some humping going on. Then he responds swiftly, letting both parties know they need to break it up.

While Ace always acts like he’s the sheriff of the park, he usually doesn’t go all macho — but with Clyde he did, following him around, leaning his head over Clyde’s back, and seemingly challenging him to a showdown at the water fountain.

A couple of times he has met dogs he, at first, didn’t seem to like — usually large black male ones, especially if they still have all their boy equipment. He’ll do a bit of posturing, but usually nothing comes of it and they end up friends.

With Clyde, Ace continued following and  hovering over and around him until he left.  Clyde didn’t seem bothered by the attempted indimidation. All the Great Danes I’ve known seem cool that way. Their ability to take things in stride is as huge as their actual stride.

Ace, would go on acting strange, long after our encounter with Clyde. Later that night, he switched into wimpy, ultra-sensitive mode, as he’ll do sometimes when there’s a loud noise. He was antsy, his tail between his legs, seemingly afraid to be outside. The heavy winds seemed to be bothering him, or maybe, someone suggested, the full moon was the cause.

In any event, he had, in a matter of  hours, gone from Bruce Willis to Woody Allen. He’s quite complex, my dog, with moods as interchangeable as my own, which is all OK. As long as he doesn’t start acting like Mel Gibson.

Roadside Encounters: Mikey and Soju

Names: Mikey and Soju 

Breeds: Pug and Great Dane 

Encountered: At Riverside Park in Baltimore

Backstory: I got to spend some time with two of my favorite local dogs yesterday — a day whose warm temperatures led both humans and canines to linger at Riverside Park, in no particular hurry to get back home.

Even if it’s not here to stay, the mild weather was welcome — especially to Ace, after a winter of being rushed through the dog walk by an owner hoping to quickly get the “mission” accomplished and himself back indoors …

“C’mon, do your business, my toes are frozen. It’s too cold. Let’s go.”

In retrospect, in this past month, I’ve probably been, in Ace’s eye, a bit of a buzzkill.

Doing his duty, I don’t think, has ever been the foremost mission in Ace’s mind during trips to the park (hence the urging). He sees it as more of a happy hour, or preferably two – a chance to add to his scent portfolio, visit old dog friends, meet some new ones, and track down those folks who, at some point in history, have provided him with a treat.

Yesterday was the kind of visit he likes best — a long one, with good dog friends to play with, new ones to sniff out, and lots of humans to mooch off. (If you have treats in your pocket, Ace will determine which pocket and, should you need prompting, attempt to insert his nose inside it. When it comes to freeloading, I think I have learned some of his skills, and he has picked up some of mine.)

We got to catch up with our old friend Soju — he’s named after the vodka-like (but sweeter) Korean beverage. Soju and Ace are old friends, and they used to wrestle endlessly at Riverside, a true up-on-the-hind-legs, paw-swinging battle of the titans. When one of them went down, you could almost feel the earth shake.

They went at it for a bit yesterday, with Ace, the older of the two, watching as Soju galloped around him in circles, then tackling him like a lazy linebacker when Soju veered close enough.

Mikey stayed out of the fray — a wise choice given he’s not much bigger than a football. Mikey, a therapy dog with one of the more expressive faces you’ll ever see, generally avoids the roughhousing, choosing instead to sit at your feet, looking up at you with big brown bulging eyes until you give him a treat, no matter how long it takes.

Good things, he seems to know, come to those who wait – and spring is one example. Yesterday didn’t mark it’s arrival, but even a false precursor was welcome, and dogs and humans soaked it up. It occurs to me that we should send thank you notes to spring — perhaps that would lead her to stay around a little longer and forestall the inevitable arrival of her evil sister summer, who always comes to early and stays past her welcome.

Speaking of staying past one’s welcome, Ace and I — after a glorious month in a friend’s empty house in Federal Hill — will be hitting the road again next week.

As of now, it appears we will be heading south, where we plan to stay in an undetermined location for an indeterminate period of time. How’s that for a plan?

Once again, we’ll tear ourselves away from Baltimore, where — in addition to promoting my new book — the last month has allowed us to get ourselves organized, experience a semblance of stability, soak in a hot tub on a rooftop deck (just me, not Ace) and savor the pleasures of our old neighborhood.

I’ll miss my corner bar. Ace will miss his favorite park. But, as I think I said nine months ago — when Ace and I first embarked on our journey to discover America, its dogs and the people who love them — there’s one thing we’ll miss most of all:

Friends … big and small.

(To see all our Roadside Encounters, click here.)

Giant George ousts Titan as world’s tallest dog

giantgeorge

 
The Great (Dane) Debate is over:  The “World’s Tallest Dog” is Giant George of Tucson, Guinness World’s Records has proclaimed.

The 250-pound blue Great Dane wrested the title away from Titan, a white, partly blind Great Dane from San Diego who held it little more than three months.

Guinness World Records says George is the tallest dog ever on record, standing 43 inches tall at the shoulder, three-quarters of an inch taller than Titan.

Titan was named World’s Tallest Dog last November after the death of the previous title-holder, Gibson, a harlequin Great Dane from Grass Valley, Calif., who died of bone cancer.

Giant George was in the running then, but disputed measurements and late paperwork left his owner, David Nasser, unable to qualify.

Guinness officials say there were conflicting reports about Giant George’s height, so they sent a judge to verify it.

Guinness made the announcement this morning, and George and Nasser appeared this afternoon on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Diana Taylor, Titan’s owner, told the San Diego Union-Tribune she didn’t intend to watch the show because she was busy Monday trying to find a swim vest that would fit Titan, her 190-pound deaf, epileptic and partly blind “special needs dog,” for his first water therapy session.

A blog post on Titan’s website site argues that Titan should still be tops. Taylor says she intends to lodge a dispute but won’t exert a lot of energy on a challenge if Titan’s reign is officially over.

Giant George, we should point out, has his own website as well, which, according to Taylor, was part of a massive public relations effort to steal the title away from her dog.

“Regardless of whether he’s the world’s tallest dog or not, he’s still this beautiful deaf and blind Great Dane, and no one can take that away from him,” Taylor said of Titan.

The blog post read, in part:

“Despite the fact that it detracted from our mission of helping rescue and special-needs dogs, I strived to take the high road. But now, after months of having our accomplishment overshadowed by this media blitz-kreig of poor sportsmanship (and on the eve of this dog actually being on Oprah) I’ve decided it’s time to let the public know the truth about ‘Giant’ George.

“…Confused at how to measure his dog, this owner took two official measurements… one at the shoulder and another halfway up the neck. Guinness requirements state an animal must be measured at the shoulder. See below — when measured correctly George is only 39 1/8″ compared to Titan’s certified height of 42.25″.

“George’s ‘record-breaking’ 43″ is based on a measurement halfway up the neck, a procedure that does not follow industry standards or meet Guinness requirements…”

Guinness spokeswoman Jamie Panas said last week that Nasser’s claim to the title was one of more than 100 the company received since late last year.“It’s a huge record for us,” she said. “The pet records resonate the most with our readers.”

(Photo: Courtesy of Guinness World Records)

Know your state dogs — the answers

Chesapeake Bay retriever

Chesapeake Bay retriever - Maryland

Here are the answers to yesterday’s quiz (which you can find here) on state dogs.

Surely, if you live in Maryland, you got the first one right. Maryland designated the Chesapeake Bay retriever as the official state dog in 1964. The breed came to be after Newfoundlands rescued from a shipwreck off the Maryland coast were bred to local retrievers, including the English otter hound and flat and curly coated retrievers.

Boston terrier

Boston terrier - Massachusetts

The other one I’m betting most everyone got is the Boston terrier, recognized by the Massachusetts legislature as official state dog in 1979.

It’s actually a cross between an English bulldog and an English terrier, and is considered by some to be the first “purebred” dog developed in America. It was originally developed, after the Civil War, as a fighting dog.

Plott hound

Plott hound - North Carolina

North Carolina designated the Plott hound as the official state dog in 1989. The breed was developed in the mountains by German immigrant Jonathan Plott around 1750 to help hunt wild boars.

It was recognized as a purebred breed by the American Kennel Club in 2006. If you own one, and it gains weight, you can say “the Plott thickens.”

Catahoula leopard dog

Catahoula leopard dog - Louisiana

Louisiana designated the Catahoula leopard dog as its official state dog in 1979. Leopard dogs are believed to be a cross between the Carolina dog, or American dingo, domesticated by native Americans, and a Spanish “war dog” that was brought into the U.S. in the early 1500′s.

They come in all colors but are best known for a blue-grey coat. Often their eyes are two different colors.

boykinspaniel

Boykin spaniel - South Carolina

South Carolina designated the Boykin spaniel as official state dog in 1985.

Known for their mild temperament and hunting abilities, the breed was developed in South Carolina in the early 1900s by L. Whitaker Boykin.

The breed, originally used to hunt wild turkeys, received AKC recognition this year.

Blue Lacy

Blue Lacy - Texas

The blue Lacy was designated the “official state dog breed of Texas” in 2005. Originating in Texas in the mid-1800′s, the blue Lacy was named after the Lacy Brothers of Burnet County (Frank, George, Edwin, and Harry Lacy).

The Lacy brothers noted the dog to be a coyote, greyhound and scenthound mixture.

Great Dane

Great Dane - Pennsylvania

The Great Dane was designated the official state dog of Pennsylvania in 1965. Why? Because the state’s founder, William Penn, had one. A portrait of Penn and his dog hangs in the governor’s reception room.

When a vote on naming the Great Dane state dog was called for, legislators responded with barks and yips, and the Speaker of the House declared, “The arfs have it.”

American foxhound

American foxhound - Virginia

Virginia designated the American foxhound as the official state dog in 1966. Known for their loyal disposition, and ceaseless energy, American foxhounds were developed in colonial times by landed gentry to help them hunt foxes.

George Washington, in addition to being the father of our country, is considered the father of the American Foxhound. He ran a breeding program and often referred to his hounds in his journals.

American water spaniel

American water spaniel - Wisc.

The American water spaniel was designated the official state dog of Wisconsin in 1985 — the only official state dog, I’m pretty sure, to be chosen by citizens.

An active and muscular breed, with a tightly curled or wavy coat, the American Water Spaniel was developed  in the Great Lakes region of the United States in the mid-1800’s. It’s a mix of Irish water spaniel and curly-coated retriever. A hunting dog, it was particularly valued for its ability to retrieve game from a boat.

chinook

Chinook - New Hampshire

And one more — not included in our original quiz:  The most recently proclaimed state dog is the Chinook in New Hampshire. The breed is said to have originated in New Hampshire. The bill was the idea of a group of seventh graders at the Ross A. Lurgio Middle School in Bedford.

(Photo credits: American Water Spaniel by Norm and Mary Kangas, via Flickr; Blue Lacy by Brooke Shaw on Wikipedia; Catahoula leopard dog from PetsFact.com; Chesapeake Bay retriever by Mary Bloom, American Kennel Club;  Plott hound, Boykin Spaniel, American foxhound, courtesy of American Kennel Club, great Dane and Boston terrier by John Woestendiek, ohmidog!)

Know your state dogs — a quiz

Chesapeake Bay retriever

Chesapeake Bay retriever

Boston terrier

Boston terrier

Plott hound

Plott hound

Catahoula leopard dog

Catahoula leopard dog

boykinspaniel

Boykin spaniel

Blue Lacy

Blue Lacy

Great Dane

Great Dane

American foxhound

American foxhound

American water spaniel

American water spaniel

Sure, you may know your state capitals, but do you know your state dogs?

With Missouri poised to name the Newfoundland its official state dog — possibly an attempt by what’s been called the puppy mill capital of the U.S. to gain some good doggie PR — there could soon be 10 states with their own state dogs.

Perhaps there’s some purpose to naming a state dog — other than as a favor to friends or supporters, other than providing a little fun for state legislators — but I don’t immediately see it. I do see an opportunity for a quiz, though. So here’s your challenge:

Match the nine breeds to the nine states that have designated them as their state dogs. The first two are no-brainers, but after that they get a little harder. If you get all nine right, you win …

My admiration.

For the answers, click here.

And if your wondering why a state like Missouri would opt to pick as its official  breed a dog most often associated with the icy northeast coast, think Lewis and Clark.

The explorers, on their expedition of the new territory acquired by the United States through the Louisiana Purchase, were accompanied by Seaman, a Newfoundland.

wisconsin

louisiana

south_carolina

maryland

texas

north_carolina

massachusetts

virginia

pennsylvania

  

Update: New Hampshire declared the Chinook its state dog in Aug. 2009. A sled and work dog, the Chinook is the only breed to have originated in New Hampshire. The breed was started by Arthur Walden in Wonalancet NH in 1917. The bill designating the state dog was the idea of a group of seventh graders at the Ross A. Lurgio Middle School in Bedford.

(Photo credits: American Water Spaniel by Norm and Mary Kangas, via Flickr; Blue Lacy by Brooke Shaw on Wikipedia; Catahoula Leopard dog from PetsFact.com; Chesapeake Bay Retriever by Mary Bloom, American Kennel Club;  Plott hound, Boykin Spaniel, American Foxhound, courtesy of American Kennel Club, Great Dane and Boston Terrier by John Woestendiek, ohmidog!)

 

Which Dane is Greater? Titan vs. George

titan2georgeWhen is the world’s tallest dog not the world’s tallest dog?

When there’s quite possibly a taller one, but that one’s owner doesn’t get the paperwork into Guinness World Records officials in time.

Titan, left, was crowned the world’s tallest dog Thursday by Guinness World Records officials. But Arizona Realtor Dave Nasser, who has been campaigning to get his dog George, right, named the world’s tallest, says his dog, by some measurements at least, is three-fourths of an inch higher.

After his dog was measured at 42 inches, Nasser got a second and third opinion on his dog’s height, which, respectively, showed George to be 42.625, or 43 inches tall at the shoulder.

Proving, I guess, that the top of the shoulder is in the eye of the beholder.

As a result of all the measurement seeking, Nasser didn’t get the application into Guinness in time to compete with Titan, who is owned by Diana Taylor of San Diego, and is 42.25 inches tall.

“It’s just bad timing. I can’t say anything bad about Guinness,” said Nasser. “We sent the paperwork to them Tuesday and they got it Thursday. The winner had a plaque in hand Thursday. … we were just late to the game.”

Nasser said he wasn’t aware of a deadline, or that Nov. 12 was Guinness World Record Day, Phil Villarreal reported in the Arizona Daily Star.

Nasser said he spoke on the phone Friday with a Guinness representative in London, who said the company was verifying George’s application and that there was no time frame as to when a decision will be made on whether George will displace Titan..

“Guinness World Records received a massive influx of claims after the death of Gibson (the previous world’s tallest dog) this year. The organization is familiar with George’s claim but is still assessing proper evidence before properly authenticating,” a Guinness spokesman told the Star on Friday … Verifying record proposals is a meticulous process that is not done overnight. It could take months for the research team to make the decision. ”

Nasser says he has offered to bring George and Titan together to see which dog is bigger.

For an update on this story, click here.

Meet Titan: The new tallest dog in the world

titanTitan, a 4-year-old white Great Dane from San Diego, is blind, deaf, epileptic and requires chiropractic adjustments every three weeks.

He’s also now officially the world’s tallest dog.

Titan’s designation was announced yesterday— the official Guinness World Record Day, the Associated Press reported.

“Titan is magical,” owner Diana Taylor said. “He’s low-key, calm and has a wonderful demeanor about him. He gets along with all dogs, even the tiny ones.”

Titan, as measured by a veterinarian, is a over 3½ feet tall from floor to shoulder. Add in his head, and he’s over 4 feet tall.

Standing on his hind legs — which is something Titan doesn’t do — he would be nearly 7 feet tall.

Titan weighs 190 pounds.

Titan takes the title held by Gibson, a 7-year-old harlequin Great Dane from Grass Valley, who died earlier this year after battling bone cancer.

Taylor was living in Atlanta when she adopted Titan as a puppy from the Middle Tennessee Great Dane Rescue. When he could see out of one eye, she taught him sign language. As he went blind, they learned to communicate by touch.