Though the AKC lists the Irish Wolfhound as the tallest of the breeds, that is a generalization. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the tallest dog alive is a Harlequin (black and white spotted) Great Dane named Gibson.
Gibson is a whopping 170 lbs of Dane that stands over 7 feet tall when he is on his back legs! At his shoulder he measures 42.6 inches! The average Irish Wolfhound stands about 34 inches at the shoulder – this should give you some prospective on just how massive Gibson truly is! His height has made him quite the celebrity; Gibson has been seen on Oprah, Larry King Live and Good Morning America (just to name a few!).
Photo by BinBopSG
On the other side of the coin, or should we say, bone, we have Heaven Sent Brandy. She is stated to be the Worlds Smallest Living Dog (lengthwise) by Guiness. A short coated Chihuahua who only measures 6 inches from her nose to the end of her tail! That is one tiny pooch! While Chi’s are supposed to be small, they aren’t supposed to be *that* small!
So why are there such size extremes in the canine world? Researchers have discovered that the answer may lie in a single gene that they are calling a “master regulator”. All dogs have this as part of their DNA but large dogs have one version of the gene, and small dogs have another version. You can read more about it in this NPR article. Of course, the dogs pictured here aren’t typical – they’re the tallest and the smallest the canine world has to offer!