Biggest Dog In The World

Biggest Dog in the World: Zeus the Great Dane

Here’s a quick bio on the Great Dane named Zeus, famous for holding the title of the biggest, tallest dog in the world by the Guinness World Records.

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Imagine if your dog was the size of a donkey or even a horse! 

That's how Guinness World Records described Zeus, the world’s tallest dog.

Great Danes have held the record for the last two decades (though it’s worth mentioning that Irish Wolfhounds, another huge breed, are often close runners-up).

The tallest dog recorded in Guinness World Records history is Zeus, a humongous Great Dane of mythical proportions who stood over seven feet tall. 

Let’s learn more about the life of Zeus and the “Gentle Giants” we know as Great Danes.

Zeus, The Greatest Dane

Despite her husband’s objections and desire for a “cuter” name, Denise Doorlag preferred a name fit for a god, and “Zeus” was perfect. The Doorlag family treated Zeus as if he was their own child; he was a lap dog despite his very not-lap-dog size.

Zeus was a certified therapy dog and performed his job well, frequently traveling to hospitals and schools in the Kalamazoo area to bring good vibes and help ease anxious patients and students alike. 

He touched the lives of many, both locally and internationally, and had a fervent Facebook following. 


Being the titan he was, Zeus consumed approximately 12 cups of food per day (now that’s a lot of food!). He weighed 155 lbs, and was so tall that he could drink water directly from the kitchen faucet.

Zeus lived from 2008 until 2014, when he sadly passed away from old age at six years old. 

In an interview with The Kalamazoo Gazette shortly after Zeus passed, Kevin and his wife Denise said they would especially miss letting Zeus sit on their laps while out grilling on their deck. 

Zeus was truly loved by his family.

Guinness World Record: Biggest Dog in the World

In October 2011, Zeus the Great Dane was named the world’s tallest dog by Guinness World Records. 

Dog height is measured from the base of the foot up to the withers — which is the highest point above a dog’s shoulder blade. At the age of three, Zeus already measured 44 inches tall (i.e. 3 feet 8 inches, more than 1.1 meters!). 

Standing on his hind legs, Zeus was even taller — stretching out to 7 ft 4 in, landing him the title of “Biggest Dog in the World.”

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Other Record-Holding Great Danes

Preceding Zeus was another Great Dane named Giant George, who was actually a Great Blue Dane. Giant George was one inch shorter than Zeus, measuring in at 43 inches. For a visual reference, just think about two average-sized Golden Retrievers stacked on top of each other. 

Giant George passed away at the ripe old age of seven (which is about average for dogs of his size). 

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After George, Freddy the Great Dane was named the next biggest dog in 2016. Freddy’s owner, Claire Stoneman from Essex, UK, mentioned that Freddy was actually the runt of the litter, but still grew as tall as 7 ft 5.5 in when standing on his hind legs. Later on, Freddy passed away at the even riper age of eight and a half years old.

The current Great Dane holding the record for the world’s biggest dog is Atlas, who is a German Harlequin Great Dane residing with his owners in Navarre, Florida. At six years old, Atlas weighs 225 lbs. He stands 4 ft, 4 in from his paws to his shoulders, just a few inches shorter than Zeus.

Great Danes FAQs

Great Danes are truly a giant breed.

The breed is said to have originated in Germany in the 1800s and was bred specifically for boar-hunting. However, their history seems to date back much further into Egyptian times, with drawings resembling this beautiful breed found on Egyptian monuments dating as far back as 3,000 B.C. 

Are Great Danes Really Gentle Giants?

Today, the Great Dane is known as the “Apollo of Dogs.” That said, don’t let their size fool you — Great Danes are an affectionate, social breed that is a great fit for families and kids. They have a calm personality, living up to their nickname of “Gentle Giant.” Great Danes are also a patient breed that loves to please, making them one of the easiest breeds to train.

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Are Great Danes Low-Maintenance?

Although they’re considered working dogs, Great Danes actually require minimal exercise. Since they don’t have high energy levels, a brisk walk is generally enough to keep them healthy exercise-wise.

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Great Danes are also short-haired and don’t really shed. Because of this, grooming generally doesn’t come at a high cost. That said, it's still very important to maintain a normal hygiene regimen that includes brushing, bathing, teeth cleaning, and nail trimming. 

How Big Do Great Danes Grow?

Male and female Great Danes differ in size, but not by much. Male Great Danes will average 20-34 inches in height and between 140-175 lbs in weight. Females are slightly smaller, averaging 28-32 inches in height and between 110-140 lbs in weight.

Do Great Danes Make Good Therapy or Service Dogs?

When you think of a therapy pet, perhaps a Great Dane isn’t the first breed to come to mind.  However, their gentle personality and disposition paired with their ability to help individuals with mobility needs make them one of the best breeds for the job!

After all, being the biggest dog comes with lots of advantages. Great Danes can easily push open a door, and can even help pull a wheelchair up a steep ramp. Many Great Danes also serve as mobility service animals, serving as a source of physical support for people who need help walking or need stability when moving around. Plus, given their disposition to please, there is no task too big for this giant breed.

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How Long Do Great Danes Live?

Great Danes live their lives in the fast lane, and like many large dog breeds, live comparatively shorter lives than smaller breeds. The average lifespan of a Great Dane is typically between eight to ten years.

What Are the Most Common Health Problems in Great Danes?

Great Danes are prone to a number of health conditions that may affect their lifespan. These include:

  • Joint and bone issues, including a predisposition to hip dysplasia
  • Allergies and skin sensitivity 
  • Cardiovascular and circulatory problems

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There are a number of options to help Great Danes and other large breeds build and maintain a healthy musculoskeletal system. 

Joint supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin have been shown to help support joint health in large breeds. Natural soothing ingredients like turmeric, paired with powerful antioxidants and essential nutrients like vitamins C and E can also help to support mobility. 

The Bottom Line

Great Danes are some of the sweetest, most patient dogs around, and are often considered true members of the family.

Thanks to their size, they are one of the largest breeds of dogs globally and lead the rankings for the biggest dogs in the world, according to the Guinness World Records. 

If you’re thinking about owning a Great Dane or any other larger breed, make sure you’re doing everything you can to support their hips and joints — they’re more susceptible to mobility issues as they get older, and one of the best things you can do for your pup is to give them the nutrients they need to achieve and sustain good health from the very start.

While a balanced diet plays a huge role, supplements can also vastly help to support your pup’s health and wellness, whether that’s promoting hip and joint health, giving them calm through stressful times, or providing vitamins and minerals they may lack in their diet. 

Visit Finn today for science-based supplements that can help keep your dog happy and healthy. 


Zeus The Great Dane, World's Tallest Dog, Dies | NPR

Great Danes: 8 Fun Facts About These Graceful, Gentle Giant Dogs | AKC

Great Dane Life Span & Health Issues | American Kennel Club

Tallest dog ever (male) | Guinness World Records

Meet Atlas! Great Dane from Navarre might be the world's tallest living dog | PNJ



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