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.

10 LEGO Sets For Every Type of LEGO Builder 

Amazon
Amazon

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

If you’re looking for a timeless gift to give this holiday season, look no further than a LEGO set. With kits that cater to a wide age range—from toddlers fine-tuning their motor skills to adults looking for a more engaged way to relax—there’s a LEGO set out there for everyone. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite sets on Amazon to help you find the LEGO box that will make your loved one smile this year. If you end up getting one for yourself too, don’t worry: we won’t tell.

1. Classic Large Creative Gift Box; $44

Amazon

You can never go wrong with a classic. This 790-piece box contains dozens of types of colored bricks so builders of any age can let their inner architect shine. With toy windows, doors, tires, and tire rims included in addition to traditional bricks, the building possibilities are truly endless. The bricks are compatible with all LEGO construction sets, so builders have the option of creating their own world or building a new addition onto an existing set.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Harry Potter Hogwarts Express; $64

Amazon

Experience the magic of Hogwarts with this buildable Hogwarts Express box. The Prisoner Of Azkaban-inspired kit not only features Hogwarts's signature mode of transportation, but also Platform 9 ¾, a railway bridge, and some of your favorite Harry Potter characters. Once the train is built, the sides and roof can be removed for play within the cars. There is a Dementor on board … but after a few spells cast by Harry and Lupin, the only ride he’ll take is a trip to the naughty list.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Star Wars Battle of Hoth; $160

Amazon

Star Wars fans can go into battle—and rewrite the course of history—by recreating a terrifying AT-AT Walker from the Battle of Hoth. Complete with 1267 pieces to make this a fun challenge for ages 10 and up, the Walker has elements like spring-loaded shooters, a cockpit, and foldout panels to reveal its deadly inner workings. But never fear: Even though the situation might look dire, Luke Skywalker and his thermal detonator are ready to save the day.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Super Mario Adventures Starter Course; $60

Amazon

Kids can play Super Mario in 3D with LEGO’s interactive set. After constructing one of the courses, young designers can turn on the electronic Mario figurine to get started. Mario’s built-in color sensors and LCD screens allow him to express more than 100 different reactions as he travels through the course. He’ll encounter obstacles, collect coins, and avoid Goomba and Bowser to the sound of the Mario soundtrack (played via an included speaker). This is a great gift for encouraging problem-solving and creativity in addition to gaming smarts.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Gingerbread House; $212

Amazon

Gingerbread houses are a great way to enjoy the holidays … but this expert-level kit takes cookie construction to a whole new level. The outside of the LEGO house rotates around to show the interior of a sweet gingerbread family’s home. Although the living room is the standout with its brick light fireplace, the house also has a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and outdoor furniture. A LEGO Christmas tree and presents can be laid out as the holidays draw closer, making this a seasonal treat you can enjoy with your family every year.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Elsa and Olaf’s Tea Party; $18

Amazon

LEGO isn’t just for big kids. Toddlers and preschoolers can start their LEGO journey early by constructing an adorable tea party with their favorite Frozen characters. As they set up Elsa and Olaf’s ice seats, house, and tea fixings, they’ll work on fine-motor, visual-spatial, and emotional skills. Building the set from scratch will enable them to put their own creative spin on a favorite movie, and will prepare them for building more complicated sets as they get older.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Collectible Art Set Building Kits; $120

Amazon

Why buy art when you can build it yourself? LEGO’s Beatles and Warhol Marilyn Monroe sets contain four options for LEGO art that can be built and displayed inside your home. Each kit comes with a downloadable soundtrack you can listen to while you build, turning your art experience into a relaxing one. Once you’re finished building your creation it can be exhibited within a LEGO brick frame, with the option to hang it or dismantle it to start on a new piece. If the 1960s aren’t your thing, check out these Sith and Iron Man options.

Buy it: Amazon

8. NASA Apollo Saturn V; $120

Amazon

The sky (or just the contents of your LEGO box) is the limit with LEGO’s Saturn V expert-level kit. Designed for ages 14 and up, this to-scale rocket includes three removable rocket stages, along with a command and service module, Lunar Lander, and more. Once the rocket is complete, two small astronaut figurines can plant a tiny American flag to mark a successful launch. The rocket comes with three stands so it can be displayed after completion, as well as a booklet for learning more about the Apollo moon missions.

Buy it: Amazon

9. The White House; $100

Amazon

Reconstruct the First Family’s home (and one of America’s most famous landmarks) by erecting this display model of the White House. The model, which can be split into three distinct sections, features the Executive Residence, the West Wing, and the East Wing of the complex. Plant lovers can keep an eye out for the colorful rose garden and Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, which flank the Executive Residence. If you’re unable to visit the White House anytime soon, this model is the next best thing.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Volkswagen Camper Van; $120

Amazon

Road trip lovers and camping fanatics alike will love this vintage-inspired camper. Based on the iconic 1962 VW vehicle, LEGO’s camper gets every detail right, from the trademark safari windshield on the outside to the foldable furniture inside. Small details, like a “Make LEGO Models, Not War” LEGO T-shirt and a detailed engine add an authentic touch to the piece. Whether you’re into old car mechanics or simply want to take a trip back in time, this LEGO car will take you on a journey you won’t soon forget.

Buy it: Amazon

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

Why Do Cats Throw Up So Often?

Pixabay, Pexels
Pixabay, Pexels

Nearly every cat owner is used to regularly finding something their kitty coughed up hidden around their home. Vomiting in cats can happen so often that it's easy to grow desensitized to the behavior, but veterinarians say that the sight of your cat throwing up should never be ignored. Though it's usually benign, vomiting may indicate a health problem that needs to be taken care of.

To gauge whether your cat's puke is a sign of something serious, look for certain clues. According to The Spruce Pets, eating too fast is one of the most common causes of vomiting in cats, and it's usually harmless. If your cat hacks up undigested food immediately following meal times, that's likely the culprit. This behavior can be prevented by feeding your pet smaller portions, or adding an obstruction like a medium-sized ball to their bowl that they have to eat around. If the problem still persists, there may be something else causing it.

Hairballs are another potential source of your cat's retching. They may be just a gross annoyance to you, but to your cat, they can pose a serious health risk. Cats cough up the fur they can't digest, and if they don't, it could create a dangerous obstruction in their bowels. One way to help your hairball-prone cat is to brush them regularly. That way, there will be less fur for them to lick up.

These are the less concerning reasons for a cat to throw up. Vomiting can also be a symptom of health problems like feline inflammatory bowel disease, feline diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and chronic kidney disease. It's also possible that your cat ingested something harmful.

If there's no obvious explanation for your cat's vomiting, it's a good idea to reach out to your vet. While throwing up one to three times a month is considered normal, a cat that throws up multiple times in a short period may need medical attention. When analyzing your pet's behavior, look for other symptoms as well: Cats that exhibit symptoms like diarrhea or loss of appetite in addition to throwing up should always be taken to the vet.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.