On April the 26th in 2002, a magnificent Great Dane was born in the home of Sandy Hall. Gibson, as he was to be named, became Sandy’s most beloved pet – a lively canine who charmed everyone he encountered with his friendly mannerism and handsome appearance. The oldest of twelve pups, Gibson’s fur was a mixture of white, grey and black patches. Just like any dog, Gibson liked to play fetch, earn treats and cuddle up to his owner. Everything about Gibson would make you think he was a normal Great Dane…except for the fact that he also happened to be the tallest dog in recorded history.
Not only was Gibson the tallest dog in the world, he was the tallest therapy dog and tallest Great Dane. At 42.6 inches tall, Gibson measured at an incredible 7 feet when standing on his hind legs. His 180 pound body made him a dinosaur in comparison to his fellow canines. Male Great Danes typically weigh in at 120 pounds and are 30 inches tall. Despite their size, Great Danes are often considered one of the most gentle dog breeds. Over his lifespan, Gibson was awarded numerous titles in recognition of his whooping size. He holds the Guinness World Record for the largest known dog, and was nominated for The American Kennel Club’s ACE Awards. The amazing Gibson could hold a whole regulation basketball in his mouth and had an uncanny ability to vocalise human-like phrases. Indeed, he was most famed for barking “I love you!” toward those for whom he shared affection.
Sadly, Gibson passed away on August the 7th in 2009. As common in Harlequin Great Danes, Gibson lived only a seven year lifespan. He had lost his front leg to bone cancer that same year. Tributes came pouring in after the loss of the world’s most famous dog. But Gibson is not remembered just because of his size. The certified therapy-dog had an unforgettably lovable personality admired by pet-lovers from all over the world. As Sandy Hall once said, “He just puts a smile on people’s faces…In one split second, people forget their cares and worries.” The love felt for the Great Dane Gibson is still commemorated today, as many fondly think of him as one of the greatest dogs that ever lived. Certainly Gibson has earned his place on the list of most famous animals all over the globe.
Fame was naturally a big part of Gibson’s life, but whether or not he understood quite how special he was can never be known. Appearing on shows alongside Oprah Winfrey and Jay Leno, Gibson received a lot of well-deserved attention throughout his life. Gibson made an appearance on ABC’s �Good Morning America’, CNN’s �Larry King Live’ and numerous Animal Planet documentaries. When he wasn’t showing off in front of the camera, Gibson was featured in a variety of magazines – from �Dog Fancy’ to �Life’ to �National Geographic’. Gibson became the promotional star of �Forever Lawns’, a company which specialized in creating artificial turf especially for dogs. The company has since sponsored a canine cancer awareness campaign in tribute of Gibson. Gibson had a son, Brewster, who took over his role in promoting the dog-friendly turf.
Before his death in 2007, Gibson co-wrote his popular autobiography, �Gibson Speaks’. Recounting his journey as one of the most famous animals all over the globe, Gibson tells of his meeting with dog-whisperer Ceaser Milan, his dance with Paris Hilton and his experiences flying first class, taking part in parades and modelling for renowned photographers. Sandy Hall had a special bond with Gibson and often felt as if they could communicate in ways she’d never done with any other animals. In “Gibson Speaks”, Hall has documented Gibson’s thoughts, behaviour and life events in heart-warming detail.
Before Gibson, the Guinness World Record for the world’s tallest dog was held by another Great Dane – the 41 inches tall “Harvey”. Now, the title for the tallest living dog has gone to “Zeus”, a Great Dane from Michigan. At 44 inches from his feet to his withers, Zeus is not quite as big as Gibson was.
The clever Gibson had a great sense of humour and well-behaved demeanor. A fantastic example of the joys that can come about from owning a Great Dane, Gibson’s iconic look shows him wearing a red scarf and standing on his hind legs with his front legs on the shoulders of a human. Sometimes he would sit on a chair like humans, or grab a drink from the sink tap. Everywhere he went, children and adults alike fell in love with him. Sandy Hall hopes Gibson is remembered for the lovely life he lived and the people whose hearts he touched. You can read more about Gibson and his breed on his official tribute website or get a peek of his appearance on Channel 4 News