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
As we reported last summer, short-snouted dogs run a far higher risk of death when it comes to air travel, with bulldogs heading the list of cargo hold fatalities, according to federal government statistics.
Bulldogs, pugs and other snub-nosed breeds for whom its harder to take in oxygen accounted for about half of the purebred dog deaths on airplanes in the past five years, the data showed.
Since then two air lines have stop accepting bulldogs as passengers, most recently Delta, which based on its review of animal incidents last year, has opted to no longer carry American, English and French bulldogs.
Of the 16 pets that died on Delta flights in 2010, six were bulldogs.
Animal advocates are praising the decision, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
“We’re pleased that Delta is being attentive and responsive to the particular animal welfare concerns with bulldogs,” said Michael Markarian, chief operating officer of the Humane Society of the United States. Shipping pets in cargo holds “really should only be a last resort, when absolutely necessary,” he said.
Other major carriers have restrictions on bulldogs and some other breeds, or decline to carry any pets in their cargo holds. AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines only accept pets that fit in under-seat carriers. American Airlines stopped carrying snub-nosed dogs and cats last November.
Delta had already restricted a wide range of snub-nosed breeds from flying in hot weather, including pit bulls, pugs and Persian cats.
U.S. Department of Transportation data shows that 122 dogs died on airlines from May 2005 to May 2010. Of those, 25 were English bulldogs and six were French bulldogs.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 8th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air, air lines, air travel, airlines, american bulldogs, animals, bans, breeds, bulldogs, cargo, cargo hold, deaths, delta, dogs, english bulldogs, flying, french bulldogs, health, pets, pugs, restrictions, safety, short, snout, snub-nosed, travel
The short documentary above — and, be warned, it will make you cry — chronicles the last minutes of a dog named Oden.
One of more than 6,500 submissions from thousands of artists and filmmakers, “Last Minutes with Oden” won top honors in a video contest sponsored by Vimeo, the online video sharing website.
The video focuses on Jason Wood and his dog Oden, who got cancer and had a leg amputated last year. But the cancer spread, leading Wood to make the anguishing decision to put down the dog who taught him how to love.
The video by Eliot Rausch documents the last day of Oden’s life. Vimeo’s panel of judges named it the best documentary, and the best video, and Vimeo presented the owners with a grant of $25,000. The awards were presented last month in New York City.
Jeremy Boxer, Co-Director of the Vimeo Festival + Awards called the video “one of those rare, intimate shorts that leads with its heart and soul.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 18th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: amputation, animals, awards, cancer, death, decision, documentary, dog, dogs, eliot rausch, euthanasia, festival, filmmaking, honor, jason wood, judges, last minutes with oden, oden, pets, phos, pictures, put down, sad, short, video, vimeo
A shipper last week checked 14 puppies in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a flight to Chicago, according to SmartTravel.com. Despite the airline’s policy against carrying pets when outside temperatures are expected to exceed 85 degrees, the puppies were in the cargo hold as temperatures on the tarmac rose to 87 degrees by the time the delayed flight departed.
When the flight arrived in Chicago, the puppies were lethargic and in visible distress. They were taken to a vet’s office, but five died initially and two others died later, according to the Associated Press.
The airline declined to identify the shipper, or the breed of the puppies. Animals traveling as cargo on American must be at least eight weeks old, and the airline doesn’t allow dogs or cats that have been sedated.
An airline spokesperson said cargo holds carrying animals are routinely kept between 50 and 70 degrees.
But experts — and statistics – say we shouldn’t count on that.
The deaths come a month after the U.S. Department of Transportation warned that short-snouted dogs such as pugs and bulldogs accounted for about half of the 122 dogs that died during U.S. flights in the last five years.
Add in the tales of dogs getting lost at airports and the best advice is to, whenever possible, avoid shipping a pet as air cargo. There are other alternatives — from using Pet Airways, where pets ride in crates in the cabin, to driving, as Ed Perkins of SmartTravel.com notes in a recent column.
The ASPCA recommends that owners avoid shipping pets in the cargo hold, and offers these tips for those who can’t.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air, air travel, airlines, american, american airlines, animals, cargo, cargo hold, chicago, deaths, died, dogs, fly, flying, heat, pets, puppies, pups, short, snouts, temperatures, transportation, travel, warning
Bulldogs, pugs, and other short-of-snout breeds accounted for about half of the purebred dog deaths on airplanes in the past five years, the data shows.
Overall, 122 dog deaths — 108 of them purebreds — were reported between May 2005, when U.S. airlines were required to start disclosing them, and May 2010, the Transportation Department says.
All the dogs died while being shipped as cargo, as opposed to flying in the cabin.
English bulldogs accounted for the highest number, with 25 deaths. Second highest were pugs, 11 of which died. Seven golden retrievers, six French bulldogs and four American Staffordshire terriers died while flying as cargo in that period. And boxers, cockapoos, Pekingese and Pomeranians accounted for two deaths each.
You can see the full list here.
The Department of Transportation says dog owners should consult with veterinarians before putting their dogs on planes. It believes that the deaths represent a tiny percentage of the pets shipped on airlines.
Short-nose breeds — known as “brachycephalic” — in addition to being less tolerant of heat, have a skull formation that affects their airways, Dan Bandy, chairman of the Bulldog Club of America’s health committee, told the Associated Press.
“The way all dogs cool themselves is basically through respiration, either just panting or the action of breathing in or out, is a method of heat exchange for them,” Bandy said. “A dog that has a long snout or a long muzzle has more surface area within its nasal cavity for that heat exchange to take place. So breeds like labradors or collies or those types of dogs with the long muzzles have a more efficient cooling system.”
Bandy said that in addition to trying to cool themselves, dogs may also pant excessively in the cargo hold because of stress or excitement. But he believes dogs shouldn’t be given tranquilizers before flying because that makes them less able to manage their own cooling process. In addition, airlines generally do not want pets tranquilized, he added.
In all, 144 pet deaths were reported by airlines over the past five years, along with 55 injuries and 33 lost pets.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 18th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air, air travel, airline, animals, boxers, bulldogs, cargo, deaths, dog, dogs, federal, flight, flights, flying, government, health, length, news, nose, pekingese, pets, pugs, purebred, risk, safety, short, snout, transportation, travel
Short, shaggy, smooth or wiry, nearly all the differences in dogs’ coat types result from variations in just three genes, according to newly published research.
Variations in the DNA in more than 1,000 dogs from 80 breeds were studied by the researchers, and compared to descriptions of various coat types, according to an Associated Press report.
The study, published Thursday in the online edition of the journal Science, found that nearly all of the varieties of dog coats can be accounted for by combinations of genes called RSPO2, FGF5 and KRT71.
“What’s important for human health is the way we found the genes involved in dog coats and figured out how they work together, rather than the genes themselves,” said Dr. Elaine A. Ostrander of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda.
“We think this approach will help pinpoint multiple genes involved in complex human conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity,” Ostrander, chief of the cancer genetics branch, said in a statement.
The findings apply to purebred dogs: “We don’t know enough about the genetics of mutts,” commented co-author K. Gordon Lark, a biology professor at the University of Utah.
Dogs are descended from wolves and, like wolves, short-haired dogs such as beagles had only the ancestral forms of the three genes, none with variations.
Dogs like President Obama’s Portuguese Water Dog have variations in all three genes, producing animals with curly hair plus a “mustache” and large eyebrows.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: biology, breeds, coated, coats, dna, dog, dogs, fur, genes, hair, long, national human genome research institute, research, science, shaggy, short, smooth, variations, wiry
The same gene that causes some breeds of dogs to have short, stubby legs might also cause dwarfism in people, a new study says.
Scientists think this gene — called a retrogene — controls certain growth receptors. By comparing breeds like basset hounds, corgis and dachsunds to longer-legged breeds, scientists isolated the gene that stunted growth in dogs, according to a paper in the new issue of the journal Science.
This gene hasn’t “been associated with dwarfism in the past,” says Heidi Parker, first author of the study, so it “opens up a new avenue, a new place to look,” for the cause of some types in humans
Parker, of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Md., compared the genomes of 95 short-legged dogs from eight breeds with the genomes of 702 dogs from 64 breeds without the trait. Then, in a more detailed analysis, the researchers pinpointed an extra stretch of DNA on chromosome 18 in every dog from the eight short-legged breeds, but in none of 204 control dogs they examined, according to an article in Science News.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 17th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: basset hounds, breeds, corgis, dachsunds, development, dna, dwarfism, gene, growth, heidi parker, human genome research institute, isolate, legs, limb, research, retrogene, science, short, stubby, study, stunted