World's largest dog?  Truth! & Fiction!

World’s Largest Dog?-Truth! & Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:
A story with a picture about a dog said to be named Hercules that has become the “World’s Largest Dog” in the Guinness World Records.  It is an English Mastiff that weights in at 282-pounds and has a 38-inch neck.
The Truth:
Hercules, the massive English Mastiff, was real but his time in the limelight was in 2001 when he was the Guinness world record for the World’s Largest Dog.  For some reason the story began circulating widely on the Internet in March, 2007, and was accompanied by a picture of an enormous dog being walked near a horse.  That picture is not of Hercules because it’s a Neapolitan mastiff and Hercules is an English mastiff.  Also, the picture appears to be fabricated.  The dog is about half the size of the horse and an average horse is around 1,000 pounds.
The real Hercules was owned by John Flynn of Peabody, Massachusetts.  In an interview with WBZ television in Boston in June, 2001, he commented that he weighed 270 pounds so his dog weighed more than he did.  It was a comment by a 9-year old friend of his that led to the Guinness world record.  The friend, David Delauri, was thumbing through the Guinness Book of World Records and commented that there was a dog in there that looked like Hercules.  It turned out to be a 296-pound mastiff but that had died and after submitting veterinary records to the folks at Guinness, Hercules became the heaviest.   There are other categories for the tallest such as Geat Danes and Irish Woulfhounds.
There is a larger English Mastiff on record named Zorba from the United Kingdom.  He weighed in at 343 pounds and measured 8 feet from nose to tail, according to, a site about large dogs.

Updated 4/12/07