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World’s tallest dog loses battle to bone cancer, pneumonia

Zeus, formerly the world's tallest living dog, walked away from a longhorn on Oct. 12 at the Fort Worth Stockyards. He passed away early in the morning of Sept. 12, 2023.
Cristian ArguetaSoto
Fort Worth Report
Zeus, formerly the world's tallest living dog, walked away from a longhorn on Oct. 12 at the Fort Worth Stockyards. He passed away early in the morning of Sept. 12, 2023.

Zeus, a pure-bred American Great Dane who measured 7 feet tall when standing on his hind legs, has died following a battle with cancer and a bout of pneumonia, his family confirmed early Sept. 12.

Brittany Davis, his human mother, told the Report that he died with his head in her lap and received ear scratches and kisses to the very end.

“Zeus was a truly special dog. He was gentle, loving, very stubborn but always happy to see his family and many, many friends on his adventures around Dallas & Fort Worth. Zeus packed a lot of life into 3.5 short years and was primed to beat cancer’s butt,” she said in an email to the Report.

At the end of August, Davis started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for the Guinness World Record-holder’s medical treatment. A bone cancer diagnosis meant that the towering Great Dane would need to have one of his legs amputated.

Davis reported a successful surgery on Sept. 8, and shared that when the vet staff realized they didn’t have a T-shirt large enough to give Zeus for his post-surgery recovery, his oncologist lent hers.

Zeus prefers drinking out of the sink because it's at his height. (Courtesy Video | Donnie Davis)

His family deeply loved their dog, who was a big fan of sitting on laps and drew crowds and comments about his stature whenever he went out in public.

Last year, they told the Report that Zeus measured about 43 inches tall, or 3 feet, 7 inches, and weighed between 175 and 185 pounds. They also shared a few other fun facts about Zeus: His favorite food was peanut butter, he loved to drink out of the sink – because it was easier than bending over – and his favorite toy was a small, squishy hedgehog. Zeus loved to lounge on his king-size Lovesac chair in the living room.

“We are so grateful for the time we had with Zeus. He brought us so much joy and happiness to so many people. He will be deeply missed by our entire family. We are so thankful for the amazing team of humans who have been with us through this,” the family’s statement continued.

“Zeus had the absolute best doctors and nurses working around the clock to help him, but in the end, he was just too sick. We would also like to thank everyone who has reached out to us with their condolences. It means a lot to us during this difficult time.”

Measuring a record-breaking dog

The measurement for this record title – World’s Tallest Dog – is taken from the base of the foot of the front leg, vertically in a line to the top of the withers while the dog is fully standing, said Noel Hampton, a public relations executive for TrizCom, a firm that works with Guinness World Records. The “withers” describe the area above the shoulder of a dog, and is used by professionals when measuring a dog’s height from the ground.

Three measurements were taken professionally by Zeus’ veterinarian, in accordance with Guinness World Records’ guidelines, Hampton said.

The Davis family submitted the official paperwork in January 2021. Zeus was declared the world’s tallest dog by September that year, when he was almost 2 years old. He will hold the record until another dog measures taller.

Source: Fort Worth Report archives

Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at marcheta.fornoff@fortworthreport.org or on Twitter.

This article first appeared on Fort Worth Report and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Marcheta Fornoff | Fort Worth Report