North Dakota Newfoundland: Boomer's world record a bust
Boomer's bid for a world record turned out to be somewhat of a bummer, with some hard lessons for the dog's owner.
Last month, Caryn Weber of rural Durbin, N.D., submitted her 3-foot-tall Newfoundland to Guinness World Records for consideration as the world's tallest living dog.
After submitting the application - and spending $650 to put it on the "fast track" for verification - she was informed by Guinness that it had instituted a 40-inch minimum height requirement for the record.
"It's just so silly, and certainly not honest," Weber said.
The guidelines e-mailed to Weber by Guinness on Oct. 13, which she forwarded to The Forum, don't mention a minimum height requirement.
"These Guidelines will be appropriate for achieving a Guinness World Record as at the date of this letter," an accompanying e-mail stated. "However, please be aware that as and when required, the Guidelines may be updated by us from time to time and without further notice to you."
Guinness Records Manager Aleksandr Vypirailenko wrote in an Oct. 16 e-mail to Weber that Guinness had received "good evidence" for at least one dog significantly taller than Boomer, at 42.25 inches.
He wrote that Guinness was refraining from announcing the new record holder until going through the "flood of claims" it received after the Aug. 7 death of the previous record holder, Gibson, a harlequin Great Dane from California that measured 42.2 inches tall.
In a follow-up e-mail on Oct. 20, Vypirailenko explained that the 40-inch minimum was set after Weber got the guidelines.
Weber said it was "deceptive" to establish the minimum after the fact, and she never would have spent the fast-track money had she known about it.
"We're just laughing really, because it's a sad discovery. But on the other hand, they're making money and that's what they're in for. They don't just sell books," she said.
Weber said she has requested but hasn't received documentation of the height requirement.
In response to a similar request by The Forum, Guinness spokesperson Jamie Panas wrote in an e-mail: "The height minimums set are always at the discretion of our research team and the record is pending until we find a verified claim for over 40 inches."
Weber said she believes that because Boomer's measurements were verified, he should have held the record at least for a short time until a taller dog was verified.
Media outlets from all over the country and world latched on to Boomer's story after the 180-pound, 7-foot-long dog was featured in The Forum on Oct. 7.
It even prompted an Arizona dog owner, Dave Nasser, to go public with his bid to have his Great Dane, George, entered into the record book.
Nasser said last week his team is assembling the paperwork and plans to submit it for the record soon. George's Web site claims his height at 42.625 inches, although Nasser said he'll submit "something a little bit different, but it's very close."
Nasser declined to talk about the height requirement, saying, "I don't really want to get into it."
Despite being somewhat turned off by the process, Weber said she made great memories and met interesting people through the ordeal.
"And it was fun to see people smiling and talking about a big fluffy dog," she said.