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.

Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Kodak

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Reason Dogs Are Terrified of Thunderstorms—And How You Can Help

The face of a dog who clearly knows that a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
The face of a dog who clearly knows that a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
Charles Deluvio, Unsplash

Deafening thunder can be a little scary even for a full-grown human who knows it’s harmless, so your dog’s terror is understandable. But why exactly do thunderstorms send so many of our pawed pals into a tailspin?

Many dogs are distressed by unexpected loud noises—a condition known as noise aversion, or noise phobia in more severe cases—and sudden thunderclaps fall into that category. What separates a wailing siren or fireworks show from a thunderstorm in a dog's mind, however, is that dogs may actually realize a thunderstorm is coming.

As National Geographic explains, not only can dogs easily see when the sky gets dark and feel when the wind picks up, but they can also perceive the shift in barometric pressure that occurs before a storm. The anxiety of knowing loud noise is on its way may upset your dog as much as the noise itself.

Static electricity could also add to this anxiety, especially for dogs with long and/or thick hair. Tufts University veterinary behaviorist Nicholas Dodman, who also co-founded the Center for Canine Behavior Studies, told National Geographic that a static shock when brushing up against metal may heighten your dog’s agitation during a storm.

It’s difficult to nail down why each dog despises thunderstorms. As Purina points out, one could simply be thrown off by a break from routine, while another may be most troubled by the lightning. In any case, there are ways to help calm your stressed pet.

If your dog’s favorite spot during a storm is in the bathroom, they could be trying to stay near smooth, static-less surfaces for fear of getting shocked. Suiting them up in an anti-static jacket or petting them down with anti-static dryer sheets may help.

You can also make a safe haven for your pup where they’ll be oblivious to signs of a storm. Purina behavior research scientist Ragen T.S. McGowan suggests draping a blanket over their crate, which can help muffle noise. For dogs that don’t use (or like) crates, a cozy room with drawn blinds and a white noise machine can work instead.

Consulting your veterinarian is a good idea, too; if your dog’s thunderstorm-related stress is really causing issues, an anti-anxiety prescription could be the best option.

[h/t National Geographic]