At 44 inches tall at the shoulder and 7 feet, 4 inches on his hind legs, Zeus became the Guinness World Records’ Tallest Living Dog in 2012. Just two years later, he’s gone. According to his owner, he died from old age. Zeus was just five years old.
His owner, Kevin Doorlag, says his family and the town they lived in, Otsego, Michigan, will miss the dog. He was well-known in and around area as a therapy dog, visiting schools and hospitals. Doorlag told Michigan Live that the joy he brought others is one of the things he’ll miss most about Zeus.
“Those are some of the things I’ll never forget about him,” Doorlag said. “He was definitely a great dog.”
“Zeus as a very laid-back, gentle personality,” Denise Doorlag told Guinness in 2012 when he won the record. “He gets along very well with our other animals, he gets along well with anybody that we meet in the street — he’s a pet therapy dog, so he’s very comfortable around people and is always very gentle with them.”
Though Great Danes generally don’t live very long — the average lifespan is around nine years — Zeus’ untimely passing still comes as a surprise. The only information the family has released is that Zeus died from symptoms of old age.
When we first wrote about Zeus, commenters were concerned about the dog’s weight, thinking he was too thin. In a follow-up story on irresponsible breeding, Dogster writer Casey Lomonaco said of Zeus: “I see a dog that looks uncomfortable in his own skin. His legs are bow-legged, his toes pointed outward. At three years old, his movement seems awkward and uncomfortable, and I can’t help but wondering how he will move at five, or if he will be able to move at all by the time he’s seven.”
Unfortunately, Zeus never made it that far. Let’s remember the dog in his better years, with the Guinness video in which Denise describes their life with Zeus:
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