Description: Viral image / Email joke
Circulating since: 2006
Status: Apparently real (though text is facetious)
Email contributed by Mike R., Oct. 11, 2007:
Dog For Sale: OR free to good home.
Answers to the name of Dolly. Excellent guard dog.
Owner cannot afford to feed him anymore, as there are no more thieves, murderers, rapists or molesters left in the neighborhood for him to eat.
Most of them knew him as "holy sh*t!!"
Your help will be appreciated.
Analysis: A very large dog indeed. It's a mastiff of some kind, probably a Boerboel. These dogs can weigh as much as 180 pounds in adulthood.
I have not been able to determine the origin of the image, which has been circulating online since 2006. The software I use to detect editing tells me the photo has been manipulated, but that could just mean it was cropped or color-adjusted. There are no obvious signs of tinkering, however the dog's size, particularly that of its head, is exaggerated somewhat by perspective. Other photos show mastiffs of similarly impressive size relative to their owners.
An optical illusion may trick some observers into thinking the dog is even bigger than it is. The low stone wall that curves around from the dog's left and all the way up to the blue fence behind the subjects is partly in shadow, and at first glance that shadow may appear to be part of the dog's body, but it isn't (note the dimly visible stones in the shadow).
Hercules, World's Biggest Dog
Urban Legends, 23 February 2010
World's Tallest Dog... for Real, This Time
Urban Legends, 2 April 2008
Sources and further reading:
Mastiff Breeds: Boerboel
Photo: Bull Mastiff
Flickr, uploaded 14 December 2006
Photos: Woman and Large Bull Mastiff Dog
iStockphoto.com, uploaded 22 January 2004
The Enormous Dog Who Can Be Spotted from Space
Daily Mirror, 10 June 2008
Last updated 06/08/10