'Giant George' Snags 'Tallest Dog Ever' Record
Owner David Nasser, of Tucson, Ariz., with Great Dane George, who was named "tallest living dog" and "tallest dog ever" by Guinness World Records. (Zootoo Pet News Photo by Jacob Chinn/Guinness World Records)
NEW YORK - By George, he's got it! A nearly 250-pound Great Dane, George, has claimed the records for both the "tallest living dog" and the "tallest dog ever," as officially announced by Guinness World Records.
Now dubbed "Giant George," the 4-year-old pooch, owned by David Nasser of Tucson, Ariz., measures more than 7 feet from head to tail, as recorded by Guinness World Records.
"This is a hotly contested record and after some controversy and conflicting media reports, we decided to send our own official adjudicator to put the final stamp on this record holder," said Craig Glenday, editor in chief of Guinness World Records. "We can indeed say now that George is the top dog."
Nasser attested to the vigorous process that he and his wife, Christine, went through to claim the title for George.
"It's been a lot of work to get to this point - a lot more than people would think," Nasser said. "[Guinness World Records] are very stringent and it takes a lot of documents to get there."
Measuring 43 inches from paw to shoulder, as verified by an official GWR adjudicator, George inched out the previous record holder, Titan, by a mere 0.75 inches. After clinching the world title, George made his first television appearance as a star on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Monday afternoon.
"Oh, George loved Oprah! He was following her and going as high as he could to say 'hi' to her," said Nasser, describing how George stretched his neck to get his nose as far as he could towards the megastar. "He doesn't do that with someone unless he likes them."
So just how high can George reach? "If he is standing in an alert stance, he is 52 inches tall," Nasser reported. "If he extends his nose, he can get another 6 inches from that - about 58 inches - like he was doing to Oprah."
Due to his size, George, an AKC-registered Great Dane, leads an abnormal doggie life. Nasser says his pet consumes 110 pounds of food every month, bends over to drink out of the kitchen faucet, and sits in a chair like a human. And for his first birthday, George celebrated by weighing in at a whopping 180 pounds.
So what kind of doggie bed can hold up to a Great Dane of such proportions? "We started him out on a twin-sized bed and he outgrew that. So we went to a queen, where he could sprawl out and relax when he reached his max," Nasser said.
George is not alone in the history of Great Danes who have claimed Guinness' lofty title. The previous record holder, Titan, a 4-year-old Great Dane from San Diego, CA, stands 42.25 inches tall and was crowned "tallest dog" by Guinness World Records in 2009. Prior to Titan, the title holder was Gibson of Grass Valley, CA, who stood at 42.2 inches tall.
Although Guinness does not record pounds for animals, it is arguable that George's weight is title-worthy as well.
"At 245 pounds, some large mastiffs might be heavier than him within a few pounds, yet they are much shorter," Nasser explained. "No other dogs are near his height and weight, which is what makes him look so handsome. George is in really good shape - pretty lean and just big everywhere. He's just a perfect stud, I guess - the George Clooney of dogs."
With that kind of weight on the other end of a leash, walks could be an interesting struggle if George were to get a mind of his own, but Nasser says George is well-behaved. "The older he has gotten, he listens to my commands perfectly. He will pull a little bit at the end of the day when he is eager to get into the dog park, but I can always command him down with 'slow' or 'wait.'"
Once in the dog park, Nasser is never surprised by others' reactions, and has heard a lifetime of jokes about George resembling a horse or needing a saddle. Still, his favorite reactions are those of other dogs.
"The dog reactions can be as funny as the human reactions," Nasser said. "They look at him, they walk away, turn around and look, keep walking and then stop and look again. He is a rock star whenever you go out with him. You will always get people crowding around and wanting to pet him."
Although George is in demand, most of his future media appearances will have to be via satellite, due to the difficulty of traveling by any other method than driving. The trip to Chicago to appear on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" proved especially challenging.
"It became a mass scramble to get an airline that would take him," said Nasser. "They didn't know if he would fit, so the day before we left, we had to take him to a dormant, vacant plane and walk around to find a place for him to sit."
The family eventually traveled on American Airlines, after George's special accommodations were approved. But Nasser says that even with the aid of the show's travel department, it was a tough flight to book.
"At the bulkhead of the aisle, he had enough room. His head went out into the aisle a little bit but it wasn't too bad," explained Nasser. George occupied the floor space in front of three seats, while Nasser and his wife booked two additional seats for themselves. "He was not in a crate, he was right there with us. People were amazed."
On the return trip from Chicago, American Airlines even provided George and the Nassers with a special VIP suite during their wait at the airport. Finally, George could relax away from his adoring public - a crowd of eager dog-petters. "He was getting overstimulated at that point," says Nasser.
While George and the Nassers are doing their best to accommodate appearance requests, they like to share the limelight with other pets in need by actively supporting the Humane Society of the United States. Donations to the charity can be made through George's website.
George's story has Guinness World Records imploring owners to consider the unique aspects of their pets. "This record has sparked great interest in finding other pet records," said Glenday. "So we're asking everyone to check their dog houses, scratch posts and under the bed - they just might be living with a record-breaking pet!"
Guinness World Records is searching for new pet records in the following categories: "Dog With the Longest Ears," "Smallest Dog (Length)," "Oldest Dog," "Smallest Cat," and "Oldest Cat."
For a chance to be included in the Guinness World Records 2011 edition, pet owners can submit a record proposal at GuinnessWorldRecords.com.
For more information on George, follow him on Twitter @GiantGeorgeAZ or visit GiantGeorge.com.
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