Not too long ago, Matt Harris was watching a video at home on the largest Great Dane in the world and they showed it next to its owner. The dog came up nearly to the person’s chest and the person looked quite small.
Matt turned to Tucker, his Great Dane of six months old at the time, and realised that the dog came up to about the same height when placed next to his wife. “It didn’t appear he was much smaller than this largest dog. And given the size of Singapore and how few Great Danes there are here, I just made a guess he is likely the biggest!”
Yes, he’s now on a quest to find out if indeed Tucker is the biggest Great Dane in Singapore and put paid to the claim.
Matt Harris and his wife Lisa have an obvious partiality towards Great Danes for a long while. Originally from the United States, the couple moved to Singapore from California back in 2011 with their previous two dogs, also Great Danes.
Their children eight-year-old Michaela and six-year-old Parker were born here and they attend an international school. While Lisa works in human resource for a multi-national company, Matt’s been kept busy as an educational consultant. He recently started a local business that uses eLearning to teach Child Abuse prevention techniques in organisations that serve children.
As to their penchant for Great Danes, Matt says: “We have found them to be very loving animals and very loyal. However, they tend to be happier with a companion. When they are in pairs they always have another dog to play with or cuddle when we are not around.”
A chance holiday in June last year saw them in Melbourne, Australia. They drove four hours north to a recommended working vet technician and breeder with a great reputation. “The puppies were nine-days-old when we met them. We fell in love with these two at the time!” Matt got them duly shipped to our sunny shores by September 2019.
Feeding the growing pups was needless to say, an ever-growing affair. Matt feeds them with “grain-free kibble, mixed 30 percent with two cups of Royal Canin Maxi Puppy three times a day.” But that’s not all. There’s the added vitamin C, fish oil, glucosamine and probiotics and about 250g of sweet potatoes to round off their hefty meals.
With two two-footed young ones and two four-footed young ones running around their house Matt says: “It’s a fun challenge, but a challenge for sure.”
The dogs, now just over a year old, are energetic, curious, mischievous, loving, and generally very happy though completely unaware of their size. He adds: “They love to sit in your lap if you get down on the ground with them and they are always good for a cuddle.”
However, the Harris’ has more holes in the yard than they would like and, of course, the children’s toys have been stealthily filched when no one’s looking. He adds: “The kids also fall victim to the dogs sometimes as the dogs can often get pretty excited when playing. It’s a bit difficult when you’re a six-year-old confronted by a playful pooch that outweighs you by 30 kgs.”
The gentle giants like to wrestle and run around the Harris’ garden, but for the most part, they sleep. “Great Danes are not overly energetic (just in spurts, really) so they nap a lot and they always want to be in the same room as one of their people.” Besides, he adds: “they are quite attached to each other, whining loudly when one is taken for a walk alone.”
The size and weight of the dogs now? Matt got them across to the vet (after the first phase of the Circuit Breaker) and promptly got them tallied up. He says: “They are BIG and HEAVY!” Tucker hit the scales at 68kgs and notched 92cm high at the shoulder while Harley came in at 55kg and 81cm in height.
While there is no official confirmation on whether his dogs are the biggest in Singapore, Pets magazine, is looking if there are any other contenders for the position. If you know of any other bigger dog, do write in and let us know.
By Therese Tan | Photos: Matt Harris