As a little girl, Brittany Davis of Bedford, Texas, dreamed of someday owning a Great Dane. Now, as an adult, she is the loving owner of the record-holding Zeus, who was just confirmed to be the world's tallest living dog (male) by Guinness World Records. The 2-year-old gentle giant stands 3 feet 5.18 inches (1.046 meters) from foot to withers.
Zeus joined the Davis family when Brittany's brother, Garrett, gifted her the 8-week-old pup. Zeus was the largest in a litter of five. “He's been a big dog since we got him, even for a puppy. He had huge paws,” says Davis. At first, she had a few reservations about having such a large dog in the house, but now, she says, “It's like having another person.” Though Zeus' namesake is an imposing figure, the dog is actually laid back, often spending his time walking around the neighborhood with his best friend (Davis' teenage son), sleeping by the window, and accompanying his humans to farmers markets—particularly the Dallas Farmers Market, where he's quite the celebrity. “Everyone knows him, and the vendors all know him,” Davis explains. “He gets extra treats and lots of attention.”
Standing out as he does, both Zeus and his owners are used to the attention by now. People love to comment, Wow, that's a horse! They also ask, Can I ride him? and Does he have a saddle? “The answer to all those questions is ‘no,'” Davis chuckles.
Though Zeus is generally well-behaved, he knows his size and uses it to his advantage, stealing the baby's pacifier off the counter, or any food left within reach. To those interested in owning a large dog breed, Davis has a warning for you: be prepared to spend a lot on dog food! Zeus typically goes through six cups of “Gentle Giants” large breed dog food for breakfast, and again in the afternoon. He's also so tall that his water bowl is the sink.
The idea to reach out to Guinness World Records was first brought up at a family gathering, when someone suggested that Zeus may be taller than the former tallest living dog, another Great Dane named Freddy, who stood 3 feet 4.74 inches (1.035 meters) tall. However, neither of these dogs claim the title of “Tallest Dog Ever;” that belongs to yet another late Great Dane, also named Zeus, who holds the record at 3 feet 6 inches (1.066 meters.) At first, the family didn't think it was a possibility that Zeus could be a record contender; but, Davis says, “Once we measured him, we realized he probably was. This has been a whirlwind and unexpected. We never thought we would own the largest living dog.”
To the Davis family, the achievement just emphasizes how special of a dog Zeus has always been. Still, the confirmation of a Guinness World Record naturally comes with bragging rights. “We get a lot of comments like, ‘Wow, that's the tallest dog I've ever seen,' so it's cool to now be able to say, ‘Yes, it's definitely the tallest dog you've ever seen!'”