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
A four-year-old Pomeranian named Jiff has been named the fastest dog on two legs.
He has four of them, but he only needs two — front or rear — to propel himself so speedily and over such great distances that he’ll be honored for two records in the 2015 Guinness World Record book. The 60th anniversary edition is coming out September 10.
Jiff has appeared in several television ads and was featured in “Dark Horse,” a music video by singer Katy Perry. His Facebook page has more than 1.3 million “likes.
Originally from Grayslake, Illinois, Jiff recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, according to his owners, who prefer to remain anonymous.
“When Jiff first walked into our offices, we weren’t even sure he was real,” Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday said. “He looks like a living, breathing cuddly toy.”
(Photo: from Jiff’s Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 30th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2015, animals, celebrity, dark horse, dog, dogs, facebook, guinness, jiff, katy perry, legs, music video, paws, pets, pomeranian, records, two legs, two paws, upright, walking, world
One of Washington, D.C.’s most revered landmarks is moving to the suburbs of Virginia.
It’s not the Washington Monument, or the Lincoln Memorial; it’s Romo — a 150-pound bull mastiff and pit bull mix who has become famous for resting half-in, half-out the first floor living room window of his owner’s home in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.
Romo has been assuming his position, perched on the window sill, for years now — mellowly watching the world go by.
But now the droopy-faced tourist attraction is headed to a new life in the suburbs, WTOP reports.
His owners, Tiffany Bacon and Peter Scourby, are moving this fall out of their Calvert Street apartment to Arlington, where Romo, though losing his street-level window on the world, will have his own suburban (yawn) backyard.
Bacon is hoping the seven-year-old pooch smoothly makes the transition from urban dog to suburban dog.
“I’m a little sad because he doesn’t know anything else; all he knows is this house,” Bacon says. “He loves the city; he loves going to the park; his dog walker is his best friend in the entire world. He’s going to be devastated.”
Bacon said Romo started hanging out the window years ago. She opened it while cleaning the apartment one morning “and then all of a sudden, I looked over and he was hanging out the window,” she says.
After that, she noticed every time she walked into the house, Romo would be perched by the window, waiting for someone to open it. If Bacon just cracked it open slightly, Romo would nudge it up the rest of the way with his nose and then lay across the sill.
Since then, opening the window for Romo has become part of their daily routine — even if it does send their heating and air conditioning bills sky high.
“At 5:30, we’ll open it up, and he’ll be out there, ready, just waiting for the buses. When we’re home, it’s open,” says Scourby. “…He’s so sad when it’s closed.”
Romo rests his chest on the windowsill, and his front paws dangle outside over the edge. He rarely sees anything that gets him worked up. Instead he watches quietly, rarely barking — even when fans stop to say hello or take a photo.
He’s frequently Tweeted, and often Instagrammed, and, of course has his own Facebook page, but he takes it all in stride — even when pedestrians and drivers shout out to him.
“People yell from their cars when they’re stopped at this light here,” Scourby says. “It’s hysterical.”
The move to Arlington is scheduled for October. My guess is that — dogs being creatures of habit, dogs being highly social beasts — Romo will seek out a new front window to hang out of at the new home, no matter how fine a back yard he is offered.
There’s a world out there, and his job — or so it seems — is to watch it.
(Photo: Rachel Nania / WTOP)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 6th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adams morgan, animals, apartment, attraction, calvert street, dc, dog, dogs, famous, landmark, mastiff, mix, move, moving, neighborhood, peter scourby, pets, photographed, photos, pit bull, Romo, suburbs, tiffany bacon, tourist, view, washington, watching, window, window dog, world
There’s a new world’s shortest dog.
A one-pound brown Chihuahua from Puerto Rico, named Miracle Milly, is shorter than a soup can, standing at 3.8 inches when measured from backbone to paw, Guinness World Records announced Thursday. Miracle Milly takes the title from Boo Boo, a long-haired Chihuahua from Kentucky that stands 4 inches tall.
Whether Milly is the world’s smallest dog depends on how you’re measuring.
By height, the 2-year-old Chihuahua is the clear winner, Guinness says. By length, a six-inch-long Florida Chihuahua named Heaven Sent Brandy retains the title.
Milly fit in a teaspoon when she was born — too small to nurse from her mother. She slept in a doll’s crib, next to her owner, Vanesa Semler, who fed her milk every two hours from an eyedropper.
She now sleeps in a baby’s crib, and eats only human food, preferably salmon or chicken. She has a habit of sticking her tongue out when her photo is taken, Semler told The Associated Press.
She doesn’t bark and enjoys chasing birds in Semler’s backyard. Inside, Milly, one of 10 Chihuahuas that Semler owns, enjoys spending time with Paco, a yellow Chihuahua plush toy twice her size. “We give her a new toy almost every week,” Semler said. “She likes to cuddle with them.”
You can keep up with Milly on her Facebook page.
(Photo: Guinness World Records 2014 Edition)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 16th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, book, chihuahua, dogs, guinness, guinness world records, milly, miracle milly, pets, puerto rico, records, small dogs, world, worlds shortest dog, worlds smallest dog
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
Fox News reported yesterday that the world’s oldest dog has died.
Unfortunately, they were dead wrong about that dog’s identity.
According to the initial Fox report: “Chanel, a wire-haired dachshund, died at her owners’ home in Port Jefferson Station on Long Island, N.Y.”
Accurate enough — not to mention fair and balanced — but a bit off, timing-wise. Chanel died at age 20 nearly five months ago.
It was the new World’s Oldest Dog who died this week: Otto (above), also a dachshund, residing in Britain.
Otto, nearly 21, was officially crowned the most senior canine in the world by the Guinness Book of Records in October of last year, after the timely death of Chanel.
On Wednesday, Otto’s owner took him to the vet, who recommended that Otto, suffering from stomach tumors, be put down, according to the Daily Mail
Peter Jones, 68, said he and his wife Lynn, 53, were devastated by the loss. The dachshund-terrier mix was playful to the end. They attributed his longevity to “plenty of love, plenty of good food and regular check-ups at the vets.”
Describing his pet’s final day, Jones, of Shrewsbury, said: “He slept in my bed. He woke up in the morning and he gave me the usual kiss…I was having a bath, he wanted to play, and he brought me his ball. But as soon as I bounced it a couple of times he went asleep again. He was absolutely cream crackered.” (British readers, translation please.)
Most who would pick up the story from the British press got it right. But apparently the folks at Fox News goofed up in Googling, came across the old stories on Chanel (left) and re-reported her death instead.
Others would go on to repeat the error (though we’d hope they’d have it corrected by now), including Shortnews.com.
A new world’s oldest dog will be named by Guinness.
Rest in peace, Otto.
And you, too, Chanel.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 15th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, book, chanel, dachsund, death, dies, dog, dogs, error, fox, fox news, guinness, internet, media, mistake, news, oldest, otto, pets, records, world, world's oldest 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