Skip to comments.He's doggone huge! America's biggest dog.
Posted on 11/20/2001 10:16:26 AM PST by Incorrigible
BY PATTY PAUGH
His name is Moose, but he's more the size of a black bear.
Weighing in at almost 300 pounds, Donna and Steve Vazquez's family dog is a king-sized wad of fur and slobber.
When he sits, he creates an audible and palpable thud. When the usually docile animal barks, the sound can shake the walls. And when he's facing the wrong way in the kitchen of his home on Baldwin Drive in Vernon, Moose makes a U-turn to reach his food bowl.
No prissy show dog, Moose still hit the big time. The soon-to-be 8-year-old English mastiff beat out two other beefy hounds to earn the title of largest dog in America during a television appearance on "Live with Regis and Kelly" this month.
He got a limo ride directly into a Manhattan studio, sporting only a hardware store chain around his neck. Even extra-large dog collars don't fit this guy.
"I kept thinking, 'He's a fat dog from Vernon, and you're treating him like a movie star,' " Mrs. Vazquez said.
At the TV studio, Moose and the two other contestants -- all English mastiffs -- climbed onto a makeshift scale. Moose topped them both, weighing in at a gargantuan 286 pounds, but Mrs. Vazquez thinks that's a low number. Moose's rear end simply didn't fit on the scales.
English mastiffs can claim a hefty leg up in the bulk department. The breed produces some of the heaviest dogs found anywhere, with full-grown males ranging from 160 and 230 pounds.
But some mastiffs, like Moose, are anything from average. Zorba, an English mastiff from London, held the world record for largest dog when he tipped the scales at 343 pounds in 1989, according to the Mastiff Club of America. He died six years ago at the age of 13.
These days, Mrs. Vazquez wonders if she is living with a potential record-holder. She said Moose weighed 276 pounds at the vet's office in 2000, but he wasn't weighed this year because the scale was broken. (She swears Moose isn't responsible.)
Even her veterinarian, George Pinkham of New Milford, N.Y., has prodded her to check whether Moose can lay claim to being a canine colossus, according to Mrs. Vazquez. Pinkham could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Lucie Fainsbert of Somerset, a rescue volunteer for the Mastiff Club of America, criticized heavy dog competitions and records because she said they encourage overfeeding.
Suzanne Smith, president-elect of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, agreed it can be a bad idea to seek animals for beauty contest attributes, be it the smallest or largest.
"It's unusual to get a dog that's over 200 pounds unless it's obese," Smith said.
Pinkham has recommended Moose lose weight, according to Mrs. Vazquez. To help him out, she's been feeding him reduced-calorie chow for more than two years and is thinking of cutting his daily provisions of up to five cups of food a daily. His rations cost the family about $40 a month.
"After seeing him on TV, he really does need to lose weight," she said.
At home, the always mellow Moose lumbers about and will show off a trick or two, if prodded. Ask him to speak, he'll bark. Ask him to lay down, he'll drop to the floor.
Even though Mrs. Vazquez baby-sits children in her home, she worries more about the toddlers hurting Moose, not the reverse.
"He's so gentle. He's so good. He's very non-intimidating," she said.
She's gotten used to stepping over him in the kitchen and seeing him sprawled on a king-sized cushion in her bedroom.
"It's almost like having a little pony in your house," she said.
Patty Paugh covers Sussex County. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (973) 383-0516.
Not for commercial use. For educational and discussion purposes only.
(And for those who's sister has been bitten by a Moose!)
Regis and Kelly should be ashamed to let him walk away with the title!
8 years is a long lifespan for a big dog.
They ought to export him to China or Korea while they can still make a profit.
The hand-wringers weigh in.
Have mop, will travel.
Mastiffs are great dogs (bull mastiffs, too).
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