5 of History's Biggest Dogs

iStock.com/shorrocks
iStock.com/shorrocks

Being a good dog is highly subjective and depends quite a bit on how recently one has chewed their owner’s shoes or tugged a pizza off of the counter.

Being a big dog, however, is purely about height and weight—objective metrics that can be stacked against other dogs to garner the honor of being the world's biggest canine. It turns out there have been a few contenders. Take a look at our list of dogs that could give Clifford a run for his money.

1. Zeus

Fetching the title of world’s biggest dog depends on how people define “biggest.” If you go by the distance between paws to shoulder blades, then the lanky Great Danes are perennial contenders, and a Dane named Zeus was the tallest of them all. The Otsego, Michigan resident measured 44 inches in height and could stretch to a full 7 feet, 4 inches when standing on his hind legs. Zeus spent his time as a certified therapy dog, lending his comfort to people in area hospitals. On walks, his owners would be asked if he had a saddle. He passed away in 2015 at the age of 6; Guinness World Records acknowledged him as the world’s tallest dog in 2011, displacing another Great Dane, Giant George, by an inch. He currently holds the record for Tallest Dog Ever.

2. Freddy

The current Guinness title holder for tallest dog is Freddy, a Dane who measures 40.75 inches tall and resides in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England. In addition to a robust diet of minced beef (two pounds daily), casserole steak, and liver, Freddy has a tendency to eat sofas. His owner, Claire Stoneman, told The Telegraph that Freddy has destroyed 26 couches (and counting) in collusion with his sister, Fleur.

3. Aicama Zorba

This Old English Mastiff hailing from London, England, scored points from Guinness in 2008 for being the longest dog on record at the time—a whopping 8 feet, 3 inches from nose to tail as measured in 1987. Guinness also cited Zorba as the world’s heaviest dog, weighing in at 343 pounds in 1989. Since male Mastiffs generally grow to be 230 pounds at most, Zorba’s waistline far exceeded expectations for his breed. Though he obviously would have been a social media star today, Zorba had to settle for photos—some of which can be seen in the video above—and an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman in 1989.

4. Boomer

In 2009, the Associated Press profiled Boomer, a Landseer Newfoundland who measured 7 feet in length and weighed 180 pounds. While not quite as formidable a presence as some of the others on this list (at 36 inches, he failed to meet the Guinness minimum height of 40 inches for consideration as a world record holder), Boomer’s stature was such that his tail would knock things off counters and he could drink from the kitchen faucet without hopping on the counter. As a puppy, he grew at such a fast rate that stitches from abdominal surgery kept ripping. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 6.

5. Euphrates

It’s a little too early in the game to call Euphrates a giant among giants, but the American Molossus is shaping up to be a contender. In March 2018, the “puppy” from Salt Lake City, Utah measured 6 feet on her hind legs and weighed over 180 pounds. The Molossus is the result of cross-breeding between two formidable dogs: English and Neapolitan Mastiffs. They’re intended to resemble the Mesopotamian Molossus, a towering canine that dates back to 5000 BCE and was bred to be a battle dog by Alexander the Great.

Euhprates hasn't stormed any battlefields, but her owner, Jared Howser, said that a string of car break-ins in his neighborhood didn't affect his vehicle—likely a consequence of having a war dog on the premises.

The Tower of London Welcomes New Baby Ravens for the First Time in 30 Years

Some of the baby ravens born at the Tower of London
Some of the baby ravens born at the Tower of London
Tower of London Twitter (screenshot)

There are some new residents at the Tower of London. They're only about 11 inches tall, are very noisy, and eat rats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Fortunately, they're also adorable—not to mention protected by legend.

On May 17, the Tower of London announced that their breeding pair of ravens, Huginn and Muninn, had welcomed four healthy chicks, the first born at the Tower since 1989. The ravens are part of an unkindness that's been located at the Tower for centuries as a sort of protective asset. According to legend, the Tower must always have ravens, or both the Tower and the kingdom will fall. It's not exactly clear when the legend began, but according to the Tower, Charles II decreed there must always be six ravens present.

Huginn and Muninn are newer additions, having arrived at the Tower in late 2018, and they weren't expected to breed this spring. So it was a surprise in mid-April when the devoted Tower Ravenmaster, Yeoman Warder Chris Skaife, noticed something exciting going on. "My suspicions were first piqued that we might have a chance of baby chicks when the parents built a huge nest suddenly overnight and then almost immediately the female bird started to sit on it," Skaife said in a Tower press release. On April 23, Skaife noticed the birds flying to the nest with food, but it was only this week he was able to get close enough to see the four healthy chicks. The sight delighted him: "Having worked with the ravens here at the Tower for the last 13 years and getting to know each of them, I feel like a proud father!"

The chicks have grown quickly, already quadrupling in size since they were born, and eat a diet of quail, rats, and mice the Ravenmaster provides. The raven parents have an egalitarian feeding arrangement: Huginn, the male, preps the food and passes it to Muninn, the female, who feeds it to her tiny chicks.

The plan is for one of the chicks to stay at the Tower and join the rest of the ravens there. "As the ravens started to hatch on the 23 April, St. George’s Day, the raven that will be staying at the Tower will be called George or Georgina in honor of the occasion," the Tower explained in a press release. According to The Telegraph, the breeding program at the Tower kicked off in response to a decline in the number of legal raven breeders in the UK.

The last raven chick born at the Tower was Ronald Raven, born May 1, 1989. In his 2018 book, The Ravenmaster: My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London, Skaife wrote that "a baby raven looks a bit like a grotesque miniature gargoyle, but then you see them grow and develop ... It really is wonderful."

The baby ravens born at the Tower of London in 2019
The baby ravens born at the Tower of London in 2019 making some noise
Yeoman Warder Chris Skaife

Dozens of Donkeys, Mini-Donkeys, and Baby Donkeys Are Looking for New Homes

iStock.com/huggy1
iStock.com/huggy1

Cats and dogs aren't the only rescue animals that need permanent homes. At the Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT), there are over 60 donkeys, miniature donkeys, baby donkeys, and Thoroughbred horses up for adoption, the Cleburne Times-Review reports.

Many of the equines at HSNT's ranch in Joshua, Texas came from owners who had to give them up, and others were transferred from different animal rescue groups. As part of the ASPCA’s Help A Horse Home Challenge, HSNT is hosting events to help find new homes for its horses and donkeys.

Between April 26 and June 30 this year, the ASPCA is challenging equine organizations to adopt out as many animals as they can. The groups that see the biggest increases in adoptions between this year and last year's Help A Horse Home Challenge will share $150,000 in grant funding. On May 18 and June 8, HSNT is holding open houses at its ranch for anyone interested in adopting an animal. The events will also be used as opportunities to educate the public about the demands of equine ownership.

If you're not free to swing by one of HSNT's open houses, you can still apply to adopt a horse or donkey. Interested owners can fill out and submit this form [PDF] to equine@hsnt.org. And if you'd like to spend time with baby and mini-donkeys without taking one home, HSNT is also looking for volunteers.

[h/t Cleburne Times-Review]

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