The Canine Spectrum
by Beth Novey
Danka Kordak Slovakia, a long-haired Chihuahua, was the world's smallest dog until his death in September 2006. He was 5.4 inches tall. AFP/Getty Images
NPR.org, April 5, 2007 · Danka Kordak Slovakia, a long-haired Chihuahua from Revuca, Slovakia, held the record of world's smallest dog until his death in September 2006. Danka was 5.4 inches tall and 7.4 inches long. Weighing just 27 ounces, he ate 2.5 ounces of dog food a day. Since his death, no one has put forth a paw to claim the title of world's smallest dog.
While Danka was the tiniest dog in terms of height, Heaven Sent Brandy, a female Chihuahua from Florida, currently holds the record lengthwise; she is 6 inches from her nose to the tip of her tail. She is not allowed on her owner's couch, for fear that she will injure herself jumping off.
On the other end of the spectrum, the tallest living dog is Gibson, a harlequin Great Dane, who is 43 inches tall. He weighs in at 170 pounds and is over 7 feet tall when standing on his hind legs. Gibson has been measured against several professional basketball players. He lives with his owner, Sandy Hall, in Grass Valley, Calif.
Gibson, a harlequin Great Dane, is currently the tallest dog in the world. When standing on his hind legs, he is over 7 feet tall. Courtesy of Sandy Hall
Though the Guinness Book of World Records does not currently list the world's heaviest dog, as of 2001, the heaviest living dog was a 284-pound English mastiff named Hercules. According to his owner, he eats a pound of dry dog food each day.
On average, small dogs (8 inches and under) tend to live longer than large dogs (24 inches and up). Small dogs usually live 12 to 15 years, while large dogs have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years.
Sources: The Guinness Book of World Records; CNN; St. Petersburg Times; Paul Jones; and Sandy Hall.