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.

Need to Cure of Case of Cabin Fever? Try Backyard Birding

Baltimore orioles are colorful spring migrants.
Baltimore orioles are colorful spring migrants.
Brittany Tande/iStock via Getty Images

No matter how many virtual tours and online classes you take, it's hard not to go a little stir-crazy after weeks of social distancing. If you're already sick of activities that require you to stare at a screen, consider seeking out real-life entertainment in your backyard. As Auburn Pub reports, the New York State Department of Environment Conservation is recommending that residents take up birdwatching during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they stress that it's important to continue to practice social distancing.

Zoos, beaches, and even some national parks are currently closed to the public, but you don't have to travel far to get your daily dose of nature. Spring is in full bloom, and many bird species are currently in the midst of migrating from their winter homes down south to northern states. That means that even urban areas like New York City are becoming places for birds to nest and raise their young.

Local parks are great spots to observe birds while keeping your distance from others, but a trip off your property isn't necessary. If you have a backyard, or even just a tree on the street outside your home, you can watch birds from a patio, balcony, or through a window.

Birding is more than just a way to pass the time when activities are limited. A 2017 study from the University of Exeter found that being able to see birds around your home may reduce levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. If you use birding as an excuse to get out of the house, those benefits may be even greater as being outdoors in general has been shown to boost several facets of mental health.

If you're interested in using your time in isolation to get into birding, there are many resources online you can use. Watch this beginner's guide to birding and read these facts about the birds in your backyard before you get started.

[h/t Auburn Pub]

Beyond Tiger King: 10 Fascinating Animal Documentaries You Can Stream Right Now

A scene from Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit (2018).
A scene from Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit (2018).
Markham Street Films

By now, you've probably already binged Netflix's bewilderingly bonkers docuseries Tiger King (2020). If you're ready to dive deeper into the animal kingdom, there are plenty more documentaries out there. From wildcats to whales, these 10 films will take you on a cinematic adventure around the world, introducing you to captivating creatures and the people who love them.

1. The Tigers of Scotland (2017)

The Tigers of Scotland (2017) brings viewers as up close and personal as possible with a small but mighty feline: the Scottish wildcat. The film delves into the efforts to conserve the disappearing Highland tiger, as well as the history and mythology surrounding the UK’s only “big cat.”

Watch it: Netflix, Amazon, iTunes

2. Ghost of The Mountains (2017)

This 2017 Disneynature documentary will transport you to the world’s highest plateau in search of a family of snow leopards. These cats are famously tough to find, so Ghost of the Mountains offers viewers behind-the-scenes footage of what it’s like to track the elusive beasts.

Watch it: Netflix, Google Play, Youtube

3. Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit (2018)

This delightful documentary takes you deep into the competitive cat show circuit. Both charming and at times cutthroat, the film brings viewers on a journey to see which of the many cool cats and kittens will be crowned Canada's top cat.

Watch it: Netflix

4. Kingdom of the White Wolf (2019)

Follow along as a National Geographic explorer and photographer embeds with a white wolf pack in the high Arctic. These wild wolves aren't used to seeing people, giving the filmmakers—and audience—an intimate window into the pack's daily lives and familial bonds. In addition to showcasing captivating footage of the animals, the three-part docuseries also features sweeping views of the starkly beautiful Ellesmere Island.

Watch it: Disney+, YouTube TV

5. Dogs (2018)

This docuseries, which highlights various dogs and their humans from around the world, celebrates the bond between people and their pups. But it’s more than just a montage of feel-good moments about humankind’s best friend: Each episode tells a broader tale about the human condition, crafting an emotional narrative that pulls at the heartstrings like a puppy tugging on a toy.

Watch it: Netflix

6. Dancing with the Birds (2019)

These birds will put your dad moves to shame. Watch the male avian performers shimmy, shake, and flash their feathers while attempting to woo their female mates. The documentary, narrated by Stephen Fry, offers a colorful look at the wonderfully wacky world of bird mating rituals.

Watch it: Netflix

7. Honeyland (2019)

This documentary follows Hatidze Muratova, one of the last wild beekeepers in a remote village in North Macedonia. She lives with her ailing mother, nurturing a traditional way of beekeeping passed down through the generations and striking a balance between making a living and maintaining ecological balance. But everything changes when a nomadic family settles nearby, threatening Muratova’s way of life. The resulting story is both sweet and stinging.

Watch it: Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play

8. Virunga (2014)

This 2014 documentary highlights the park rangers fighting to protect the Congo’s Virunga National Park, home to the critically endangered mountain gorilla. As poaching and oil exploration threaten the park, the rangers and conservationists risk their lives to guard the rare creatures that inhabit it.

Watch it: Netflix

9. Harry & Snowman (2016)

In the 1950s, Harry deLayer bought Snowman, a run-down plow horse destined for slaughter, for just $80 at an auction. Within months, the two were taking the show jumping circuit by storm, launching both horse and rider to new heights. This documentary tells the story of the friendship the two developed, and chronicles their lives both in and out of the competitive spotlight.

Watch it: Amazon Prime

10. The Whale and the Raven (2019)

The waters around Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest are a haven for whales, who feed and find refuge in the quiet channels. With stunning visuals, this documentary highlights the tension of a community’s push to protect its wild places against the pressures of the ever-encroaching natural gas industry.

Watch it: Amazon Prime

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