Tag: great danes
Zeus, the world’s tallest dog, is dead.
The Great Dane passed away earlier this month — two months shy of his sixth birthday — from “symptoms of old age,” according to his owner.
Great Danes have shorter life spans than most dogs — most likely the result of breeders intent on making the breed larger yet, and the strain that size puts on their organs — which only makes the death of Zeus doubly sad.
“We’ll really miss him,” said Zeus’ owner, Kevin Doorlag, of Otsego, Michigan.
Doorlag and his wife, Denise say Zeus was a “wonderful dog” — famous both for Guinness World Record-setting size, and for his work as a therapy dog in their hometown.
He stood 44 inches at the shoulder — 7 feet, 4 inches on his hind legs. He claimed the Guinness World Record in 2012, and still held the title in the 2013 and 2014 editions.
The previous World’s Tallest Dog was Giant George, a Tuscon, Arizona, Great Dane. He died at age 7.
Kevin Doorlag said one of the things he will miss most is seeing the joy Zeus brought to others.
The death of Zeus is, first and foremost, a time to remember and celebrate Zeus.
But if it makes us question why, in the name of seeking extremes, we accept purebred breeding practices that lead to ill health and short lives, that’s fine, too. They’re in need of questioning.
What there’s less need for — whether it’s in pursuit of ribbons, world records, or sales — is making fluffy dogs fluffier, long and skinny dogs longer and skinnier, short snouted dogs even more shortly snouted.
We don’t need (sorry, Marmaduke) cartoonish dogs, or dogs that, through breeding them with close relatives, become exaggerated caricatures of their breed.
Healthy dogs will do just fine.
(Photo: Kalamazoo Gazette)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 13th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, big dogs, breeding, caricature, dead, death, dies, dogs, giant george, great dane, great danes, guinness, guinness world records, life span, michigan, old age, otsego, pets, practices, purebred, records, short, tallest, tallest dog, world, world's tallest dog, zeus
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.
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.)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, baltimore, breeds, dog park, dog's country, dogs, dogs on the road, dogscountry, encounter, federal hill, freeloading, friends, great dane, great danes, home, mikey, parks, pets, play, pug, pugs, riverside park, road trip, roadside, roadside encounters, socializing, soju, spring, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace
Among the dogs we met in Charlotte during our visit to The Dog Bar, were Skyler and Pierce, two white Great Danes who — one being half blind, one being deaf, neither having the distinct black markings harlequin Great Danes are supposed to have — were headed to the kind of future “defective” dogs often face.
Namely, no future at all.
They were part of a larger litter that turned out to be unprofitable. All the pups were affected by a strain of distemper — but because of their additional handicaps, Skyler and Pierce, the breeder decided, couldn’t even be given away, and therefore should be put down.
That’s when Laura Moss and Fred Metzler stepped in. Laura was working at an animal emergency clinic at the time. The litter of Great Danes ended up there. She already had three dogs at home, so she asked Fred, her friend of several years, to adopt the two future-less siblings.
Fred, a sales manager for a company that makes automatic doors, agreed. But, because he traveled a lot, he often called upon Laura to pet sit the duo — Skyler, the deaf one, and Pierce, the blind one — when he was out of town.
At Fred’s house, Laura noticed, the two pups — as they did at the hospital — continued to stay at each others’ sides. When they went to sleep, Skyler would lay her head on top of Pierce.
“That way, if he hears something, he’ll react. Then she’ll be the police dog and go check it out. They’ve been that way since they were babies,” Laura said. “There’s no way we could separate them.”
Skyler, named for her sky blue eyes, is 106 pounds; Pierce, named, for his handsomeness, after actor Pierce Brosnan, is 175 pounds. Despite their handicaps, they manage, with help from each other, to do all that dogs do.
Fred and Laura have come up with a system of sign language to communicate with Skyler, including more than 20 commands. The two dogs have become a striking and familiar sight in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood. They even march in the local St. Patrick’s Day parade.
And they get along fine with Laura’s other dogs — a miniature pinscher named Jade, a Boston terrier named Halley and a dalmatian named Dax, who she also brought home from the animal hospital. His former owner dropped him off and, once learning he had heartworm, never picked him up.
Since she talked him into adopting the dogs, Laura and Fred have become a couple, and now share a residence with all five of their dogs.
Laura doesn’t give the Great Danes full credit for bringing two humans together — but maybe, on some level, the relationship between the two big white dogs represents a lesson to be learned: Having someone in your life you can turn to, and depend on, and whose strengths can compliment your weaknesses, has its advantages.
Or maybe that’s reading too much into it.
“The friendship is what brought us together,” Laura says, “but the Great Danes didn’t hurt.”
Posted by John Woestendiek August 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, animals, blind, breeders, charlotte, deaf, dependence, disabilities, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, fred metzler, great danes, handicaps, harlequin, laura moss, noda, pets, pierce, relationships, rescue, rescued, road trip, sign language, skyler, the dog bar, travel, traveling with dogs, white
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)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arizona, blind, blue, contested, david nasser, deaf, diana taylor, dispute, disputed, dogs, george, giant, giant george, gibson, great dane, great danes, guinness, oprah, pets, record, records, san diego, show, tallest, titan, title, tucson, white, winfrey, world, world's tallest dog
When 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.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 15th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: dave nasser, debate, diana taylor, disagreement, dog, dogs, goerge, great dane, great danes, guinness, height, pets, records, tall, tallest, titan, world, world's tallest dog
India, home to nearly half of the world’s hungry, has seen a surge in pricey dogs (including pugs, like the one pictured, featured in the advertising of a cell phone company, Vodaphone) and pricey dog goods and services.
it’s not uncommon for wealthy families to spend more on imported dog food in a week than the weekly budget of the 420 million Indians officially classified as poor.
Pets are becoming big business in India, and predictions are that the industry will continue to experience annual growth of 10-15 percent, Agence France-Presse reports — even though about 40 percent of India’s population lives below the global poverty line of less than $1.25 a day.
India’s pet industry is valued at around $45 million dollars annually, according to the research firm Euromonitor, compared to the annual $40 billion dollars of the U.S. market.
Experts say that thanks to the economic boom of the past decade, pets have become status symbols in a society that is seeing shifts in its family structure.
“Often both parents work and there’s no longer any grandparents around for the children to come home to, only the maid,” said Linda Brady Hawke, publisher of Indian pet care magazine Creature Companion. “An animal is something which will greet the children with love,” she said.
Among the breeds seeing increasingly popularity are Great Danes, dalmatians, Afghan hounds and pugs, which soared in popularity after one was featured in a mobile phone TV advertisement.
Labradors and golden retrievers have shown staying power, with owners willing to spend up to 300,000 rupees (6,000 dollars) for a championship-level imported purebred specimen — and to leave the air-conditioning on so thick-coated breeds such as giant St. Bernards won’t perish in the summer heat, the article says.
Money’s not an object, either, with many clients of ScoobyScrub, offering such services as “full body massage” and hair streaking, which can cost up to 1,000 rupees, more than most maids earn in a week.
“Families want to spend more on pets whether it’s branded foods or toys — that’s part of the ‘humanization’ process” of the animal, said Euromonitor researcher Yvonne Kok.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghan hounds, animals, dalmatians, dog, dogs, great danes, india, industry, luxury, new delhi, pampering, pet products, pets, pugs, purebreds, spending
That’s how a publicist describes a wealthy accountant and his doctor wife who are spending a quarter of a million pounds — just under $400,000 — on a house for their two Great Danes.
The doggie domicile will feature a 52-inch plasma TV; a retina-scan entry system that will allow the Danes, but no other dogs, entry; two bedrooms and a separate lounging area; two elevated temperature-controlled beds lined with sheepskin, from which the dogs can see out through the giant windows; automatic dispensers of food and chilled, filtered water; a temperature-controlled pool/spa; and an outdoor adventure play area — all of which can be controlled and viewed by the owners via computer from anywhere in the world.
The 1,000-square-foot kennel will adjjoin the main house, both of which are being built on the exclusive Lower Mill Estate near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, according to the London Daily Mail.
Work is due to start next April and take around 18 months. The owners have requested anonymity.
“All we can say is that they are a retired couple who are completely dog-mad,” a publicist said. “They said: ‘We want the perfect living space for us and our dogs’ and that’s what they are getting.”
(Illustration by London Daily Mail)