Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

What Was the Tallest Great Dane Ever? Historical & Current Record Holders

Written by: Melissa Gunter

Last Updated on April 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

harlequin great dane dog standing outdoors

What Was the Tallest Great Dane Ever? Historical & Current Record Holders

If you’re a dog lover, you already understand just how special it is to cuddle up with your pooch and feel their love. Dogs are easily humankind’s best friend. For some people, when talking about their dogs, they’re meaning small breed dogs that can easily sit in their laps for hours on end. Then there are other pet owners out there who feel the bigger the dog, the better. This is where Great Danes come into play.

Great Danes are one of the largest dog breeds out there. They’re even in the record books; the Guinness World Record Book, to be exact. Great Danes have the prestige of having one of their own, a gentle giant from Michigan named Zeus, crowned as not only the tallest Great Dane ever, but the tallest dog ever. Let’s learn more about Zeus, the namesake following in his footsteps, and Great Danes in general so you can get a newfound respect for these giant dogs.


What Are Great Danes?

If you aren’t familiar with Great Danes, (Scooby-Doo anyone?) they are an amazing dog breed to learn about. They are known for their giant sizes and even bigger hearts. While today’s Great Danes sit on our couches like a human, and most can grab their own snack from the kitchen counter, they weren’t originally bred to be giant pets. Great Danes were created by breeders in Great Britain and Germany to tackle an issue they were having with wild boar. They wanted a dog breed that was not only big and strong enough to take on the boar, but one that was also fast enough to hunt them. Thus, the Great Dane was born.

Breeders in the 14th century decided to take the speed of the Greyhound and combine it with the bulk and power of the English Mastiff. Some reports even cite that the Irish Wolfhound played a role in the breeding, but no one can be certain. Either way, the result was the massive Great Dane who easily took to the job they were bred for. It wasn’t until later on in the 1600s and even into the 1800s that the Great Dane made the switch from wild boar hunter to beloved oversized pet.

Fawn Great Dane dog
Image By: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock

The Size of an Average Great Dane

Like with any dog breed, every Great Dane will grow to a different size. There is no one-size-fits-all formula. However, from the top of its head to its front paw, a Great Dane can measure almost 50 inches tall. If you measure the length of one of these dogs, you’ll find they can be as long as 43 to 49 inches. Great Danes can also weigh in at around 125 to 150 pounds. Either way, you look at it, this is quite impressive for a dog.

Unfortunately, due to their large bulk, Great Danes aren’t known for having long lifespans. Many dogs of this breed only get to spend anywhere from 6 to 8 years with their families. They also have quite a few health issues they may suffer from throughout their lives. For this reason, it is recommended that Great Danes visit the veterinarian regularly to monitor their overall health and well-being.

senior female great dane in the meadow
Image By: anetapics, Shutterstock

Zeus, the Tallest Great Dane Ever

With the Great Dane breed being so large, it isn’t surprising that anomalies happen within the breed. This is where Zeus, a Great Dane from Michigan, enters the conversation. While the Guinness World Record Book has long kept up with the tallest dog alive, Zeus is currently the tallest dog ever. He was the Great Dane of Kevin and Denise Doorlag from Otsego, Michigan, and he sadly passed away in 2014 at 5 years of age.

Zeus was quite remarkable when it came to his measurements. From foot to withers he was 44 inches. When he stood on his hind legs, Zeus measured an astonishing 7 feet 4 inches tall. He weighed in at 155 pounds and ate a mind-blowing 12 cups of dog food per day. While he may have been massive, Zeus was also the gentlest of giants. He loved his family, often sitting on their laps while they grilled, and even had a great relationship with the family’s cat.

Great Great Dane of black
Image By: Dulova Olga, Shutterstock

The Current Tallest Dog Alive Record Holder

Zeus, the record-setting tallest dog ever, was crowned the tallest dog alive on two occasions, in 2012 and 2013, by Guinness. After his passing, other dogs, of course, took that title. However, none of them have yet to take his title of the tallest dog ever, which in turn means he was also the tallest Great Dane ever.

The current tallest dog alive is oddly enough, also named Zeus. He is from the state of Texas and belongs to a woman named Brittany Davis. This Zeus was confirmed by Guinness as coming in at 3 feet and 5 1/8 inches or 41.18 inches at only 2 years of age. When on his hind legs, this 200-pound phenom reaches over 7 feet tall but hasn’t yet reached the heights of the original Zeus. It is said by his owners that he is a gentle dog but can be stubborn. He enjoys lots of food and even uses the kitchen sink as his water bowl.

Great dane dog in beautiful landscape
Image Credit: Al_Er, Shutterstock



As you can see, the Zeuses have it. Yes, the tallest Great Dane to ever live, and the tallest dog to ever live were the same. Zeus, the gentle giant from Michigan was a true record-holding champion. With the unfortunate passing of Zeus, it was only natural that another dog would step up to him at his unimaginable heights. While the new Zeus came close, the original Great Dane phenomenon is still the champion at a whopping 7 feet 4 inches tall. Only time will tell if the current Zeus or another Great Dane who is slowly growing into a giant can step up to the plate and dethrone the true king of the dogs.

Featured Image Credit: Al_Er. Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.