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Caryn Weber's purebred Landseer Newfoundland, Boomer, may be the tallest dog on record and will be measured today in Casselton. The dog measures about 7 feet from nose to tail and weighs about 180 pounds. Dave Wallis / The Forum

Casselton, N.D., Newfoundland in running for tallest dog record

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CASSELTON, N.D. - Most dogs described by their owners as "skin and bones" and "all legs" don't weigh 180 pounds.

But then, Boomer is no common canine.

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With all four paws on the floor, the 3-year-old Landseer Newfoundland drinks from the kitchen faucet and stares into a car window eye to eye with the driver.

If they stretched out side by side, Shaq would only have an inch on the dog.

Today, Boomer's owner, Caryn Weber of rural Casselton, will officially measure him and send the results to Guinness World Records for consideration as the tallest living dog.

The previous record holder, a harlequin Great Dane named Gibson, died from bone cancer Aug. 7.

The colossal Californian measured 42.2 inches tall at the shoulders, according to Guinness World Records, and 7-foot-1 standing on his hind legs, according to his owner's Web site.

Weber said she's aware of another Great Dane whose owners are trying to secure the record, and she hopes to beat them to the punch.

Boomer stands 36 inches tall at the top of the shoulders, weighs 180 pounds and measures about 7 feet long from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail cartilage, she said.

An average male Newfoundland stands 28 inches tall at the shoulders and weighs 130 to 150 pounds, according to the American Kennel Club.

"He is way off the charts for a Newfoundland," Weber said.

She initially submitted Boomer for world's tallest Newfoundland, but she said Guinness told her it no longer keeps records for individual dog breeds.

If Boomer doesn't measure up as the tallest living dog, Weber hopes Guinness will consider establishing a new record category for world's longest dog.

Boomer's bear-like size is intimidating for those who visit the farm, Weber said.

"Living out here, we've had potential hunters come into the yard, and a few have seen him standing there and they've turned around, because he's got a pretty good-sized bark, too," she said.

The dog is protective of his master and her two sons. But when Weber lets him know a visitor is welcome, he warms up quickly, rubbing his snout against arms and elbows, his floppy jowls leaving globs of slobber.

Boomer was born Dec. 2, 2005, with an abdominal hernia that required multiple surgeries, Weber said. He grew so fast his stitches ripped out, earning him the nickname "Ripley." Weber and her sons changed his name to Boomer when they heard the 3-month-old puppy's unusually deep, hoarse bark.

Laurie Bauer, part owner of Casselton Veterinary Service and one of Boomer's doctors, said the dog is "definitely in the top 2 percent as far as size."

As with other giant breeds, Boomer's is prone to heart defects and hip dysplasia and has a life expectancy of only six to eight years, Bauer said.

Boomer isn't showing signs of slowing down yet.

The family's newest member, an 8-month-old Newfoundland/black Lab cross, Baxter, is keeping Boomer on his toes.

"My hope for him beefing up a little bit probably isn't going to happen soon," Weber said.

Boomer doesn't eat as much as one might think, going through a 20-pound bag of dry food every couple of weeks, Weber said, noting the Labs she used to have ate more than that.

"He looks like skin and bones because he's so tall," she said.

Living with such a big dog has its challenges.

"He comes into the house, and his tail is so high, everything gets knocked around," Weber said. "He's always thought of himself as a puppy."

One witness at today's measurement will be Greg Kempel, Weber's friend and who led an effort to break the Guinness World Record for longest parade of fire trucks in Casselton on Aug. 15. Kempel said he's still waiting for verification of the record.

About the Newfoundland

* The Newfoundland is a multipurpose dog, at home, in the water and on land. It is a master at long-distance swimming and has natural lifesaving instincts.

* Average adult height is 28 inches for males, 26 inches for females.

* Weight ranges from 130 to 150 pounds for males and 100 to 120 pounds for females.

* Recognized Newfoundland colors are black, brown, gray, and white and black, the latter being known as a Landseer coat.

Source: American Kennel Club

If you go

* What: Attempt to break world record for tallest living dog and/or establish new record category for world's longest dog

* When: 5:30 p.m. today

* Where: Governor's Park in Casselton

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