Two legendary-but-real canine specimens made the news in recent weeks, one living and one dead, both having achieved their 15 minutes of doggy fame by winning notice in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Gibson (left), a harlequin great Dane in Grass Valley, California, is currently the world's tallest dog, standing 7 feet tall on his hind legs. Hercules, a 282-pound English mastiff in Peabody, Massachussetts, cinched the record in 2001 for world's heaviest dog. Both animals will be featured in an upcoming British documentary.
The late, great Hercules also lives on as a different kind of legend -- the "urban" kind -- his name and reputation having been appropriated by Internet pranksters to lend faux credibility to a fabricated image (right) showing a Neapolitan mastiff almost as big as a horse.
Update: August 7, 2009 - World's Tallest Dog Gibson died of bone cancer after battling the disease for several months.
Read more about it:
• Gibson, the World's Tallest Dog - Official website
• California Canine to Star in Film About World's Tallest Dog - Associated Press
• Legend of World's Largest Dog Lives On - Salem News
• Hercules, Worlds Biggest Dog - Netlore Archive
Top image (c) 2008 Guinness World Records
Bottom image source unknown, circulating via email