|Barked: Tue Jul 10, '07 9:05am PST |
Dog believed to be Britain's tallest
Standing 6ft 5in tall on his hind legs, it's no wonder visitors think twice about walking down the garden path when Samson pops his head over the gate to greet them.
But although he might be the size of a small horse, owners Julie and Ray Woods insisted yesterday that Samson's bark is most definitely worst than his bite.
The Great Dane/Newfoundland cross tips the scales at an incredible 19 stone 10lb (276lb) and is believed to be Britain's tallest dog.
Yesterday, Mrs Woods, from Boston, Lincolnshire, told how the dog boasts a 59in chest and a 29in neck and takes up the whole three-seater sofa at home.
He has already out-grown two specially-made collars and is so big he can fit into a pony coat during walkies in the rain.
Mrs Woods, 54, said: "People are often instantly intimidated when they first see him but he is so gentle and wouldn't harm a fly.
"He loves being patted and is very affectionate.
"We've never had such a large dog, our last was a small terrier, but we wouldn't swap Samson for the world.
"He towers over Ray who is almost six feet tall and when he jumps up on the garden gate, it's enough to frighten the life out of anyone."
The couple spend £60 a month on dried dog food and Samson gets through two large bowls of the mix each day - around average for the breeds - and the odd turkey leg for a treat.
His legs are so big that the Woods have to raise his bowl about a foot off the floor on a special stand so he can reach down and eat.
Mr Woods, 65, said passers-by do a double take and other dogs keep a safe distance when they spot Samson straining on the leash during their daily eight-mile walks.
He added: "The looks on people's faces when I take him is priceless.
"Some people are visibly shocked, passing motorists sound their horns and other dogs tend to give him a wide berth.
"But even though he looks big and imposing, he's actually a softie at heart - a gentle giant."
The current world's tallest dog is a harlequin Great Dane called Gibson, from Grass Valley, California.
He measured 42.2in tall (107cm) when standing on all fours to the top of his shoulders when he claimed the title in August 2004.
Samson stands 37 inches (94cm) to the shoulder, but at the age of three, is unlikely to grow much further.
Mrs Woods, who receives disability benefits after a stroke left her unable to work, and her husband, who acts as her full-time carer, chose Samson from an RSPCA centre when he was six-months-old, making a donation in return.
The dog had been abandoned by his previous owners because he was destructive, but the Woods say they have had no problems with him.
Despite being a puppy, he was already well over five feet on his hind legs and weighed 16 stone 2lbs (170lb).
His mother was a Newfoundland, a breed famed for it's powerful build while his father was a Great Dane, dogs renowned for their height.
They belonged to the same owner and were not meant to mate but when they did they produced a litter of 11 puppies.
Samson, however, was literally head and shoulders above his brothers and sisters.
Mrs Woods, a grandmother of eight, added: "The other puppies were big but none of them came close to Samson.
"The staff at the RSPCA centre said they'd never seen such a large dog."
A spokesperson from the Kennel Club said: "Newfoundlands are notoriously burly dogs and Great Dane's are renowned for their height.
"Samson is the product of the biggest qualities of both breeds. That is the secret of his enormous size.
"Samson is clearly is excellent health he has just grown beyond belief. I think it is all down to his unique parentage."
Samson's vet, Maxine Briggs, said: "He's certainly a giant dog - the biggest I've dealt with, and he's certainly not overfed.
"He's a cross between two of the biggest breeds of dog so he was bound to be big."
A Guinness World Records spokesman said there is no individual record kept for Britain's tallest dog.
The record for the world's heaviest dog was scrapped to prevent pet owners from over-feeding their animals in a bid to claim the title.
The last dog to hold the title was believed to be English Mastiff called Hercules from Massachusetts. The dog tipped the scales at 20.3 stone (284lb)in 2001.
Newfie + Dane = Giant Lab!
(my own observation of the picture,despite differences.)
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