Gran told hubby new dog was jack russell…but he grew into one of the biggest in UK
A grandma fibbed to her husband that the puppy they had adopted was a Jack Russell only him to grow into one of the biggest dogs in the UK.
Grandmother-of-four Sue Markham fell in love with 1lb 15oz puppy Yogi but husband Robert, both 57, had said he didn’t want a ‘big dog’.
But the ‘Jack Russell’ didn’t stop growing and turned into a 15-stone monster who chomps his way through £37 worth of food every week.
Yogi, known in the village as ‘Bear’ due to his size, turned out to be a Boston Great Dane that now has his own three-acre paddock for exercise and wears an outdoor horse coat since he was too big for any designed for dogs.
The nine-year-old has even claimed his own sofa, eats cooked breakfasts and has adopted his own pet cat.
Sue, from Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, said: “When I saw Bear I fell in love with him and knew I wanted him but I knew Robert didn’t want a big dog.
“So I told a little fib and said he was a Jack Russell. But it started to become fairly obvious when Bear dwarfed any other dogs in the village, so the game was up.”
Robert, who looks after maintenance at an oil refinery, said: “I thought a big dog would be a lot of work and could be trouble, all the food they eat, all the space they take up and so on. We only have a small living room so I dreaded the thought of a big dog.
“But I thought ‘How much trouble could a Jack Russell be?’
“Obviously as the weeks went by, Yogi just kept growing, bigger and bigger and he never stopped eating.
“By the time Bear was five months old, he was bigger than any Jack Russell that he came across at the park and he had this big tongue that lolled out of his mouth and a tail like a baseball bat.
“I couldn’t be annoyed though as I’d already fallen in love with Bear. He’s a very good natured dog with a lot of character so it would be hard for anyone not to love him or be angry with him.”
Bear enjoys a cooked breakfast of FOUR scrambled eggs and sausages every morning but likes nothing more than snacking on yoghurt, popcorn, bananas and milk when he’s feeling peckish between meals.
Chomping his way through a 45 15kg bag of dried food every three weeks, along with countless tins of dog food, Sue and Robert have to fork out 37 a week on food and 8 a week on pet insurance.
The spoilt dog has his own sofa with a quilt that he refuses to share with anyone except a stray cat named Toffee that he adopted last winter.
Bear often likes to sleep in and is known for hiding under his duvet like a teenager not wanting to go to school in the morning.
Bear also has an odd habit of taking bath towels and rolling them into a ball to chew like chewing gum, before ripping them to shreds with his powerful jaws destroying a towel every few days.
Sue said: “Bear sees himself as one of the family, he certainly thinks of himself as a real person.
“He sits on his own sofa and watches the TV with us in front of the fire. It’s quite funny watching him climb on it, as he slides his bum on there and then sits on it like a person.
“He’s very protective of it. If a stranger comes in, he won’t let them go and sit on his sofa he sees it as his.
“But last winter, an old female cat we call Toffee started coming in the house for warmth. She must have been about 10 or 11, so quite old like Bear. We thought he wouldn’t be a fan, but instead he welcomed her onto his sofa and they often curl up and sleep together.
“She now regularly comes to see him to keep warm or to keep company. It’s very odd as she’s not our cat she seems to just come to see him! They’re good friends and Toffee is always following him around, and he will happily lick her on the head very gently. Bear sees Toffee as his own pet I think she’s certainly not our cat.”
In one incident Bear went missing while out walking in local woods. Robert and Sue began running through the woods looking for their beloved pet, shouting ‘Bear’ as they went.
When some casual walkers came across the duo running and shouting ‘Bear’, they turned to flee too thinking a wild animal was on the loose. Thankfully Bear was found before any further panic was caused.
Despite his shoulder measuring 36 inches from the ground and having a chest measuring 48 inches in diameter, Bear is not aware of own size.
Sue, who works as a volunteer at the Salvation Army, said: “Bear is a big softy, he really doesn’t know his own size at all.
“If we take him to new places he often gets quite scared and will be nervous walking around. It takes him a couple of visits to get used to somewhere.
“That said, we do feel very safe with him around, mainly due to his size. If anyone tried to come in our house and looked through the glass of the back door to see the giant shadow of Bear looming, Id don’t think it very likely they would try to come in. I think they would run a mile!”
Bear loves going out with Robert and Sue, turning heads wherever he goes.
Robert said: “He manages to squeeze into the back seat of our Volkswagon Bora, but only just. Wherever he goes he turns heads and has people coming over to see him.
“We get all the usual comments I think the most common is ‘do you have a saddle for him?’ Everyone says they have never seen a dog as big as him in their life.”
Sue said: “While he’s very well behaved now, he has got into a bit of mischief through his life. With a tail like a baseball bat, things routinely go flying so we’ve learnt to not put anything on the edge of tables and so on.
“When he was growing up we would sometimes come home to find all the sofas and chairs moved around he was so big he could just tip them over at will if he was feeling boisterous. And once he ate the entire arm of a sofa, which was a bit of a disaster.
“But he’s very well behaved now and no longer does that sort of thing he just thinks he’s the king and likes to be looked after!”
The tallest dog in the world is believed to be Zeus, a five-year-old Great Dane from Michigan, US, who is 7ft 4inches tall when stood up.
Bear has never stood on his hind legs before as Robert and Sue believe he is ‘too lazy to bother’, but he measures 6ft 10in from the top of his head to his back foot, meaning he would mostly hit seven feet tall if stood on his hind legs.
Weekly food breakdown: £37.25 (conservative estimate costs)
James Wellbeloved dog food – 13
Minced beef – 4
Eggs – 2
Rice – 1
Sausages – 2
Yoghurts – 4
Tinned dog food – 2
Bones – 2
Milk – 1
Bananas – 1
Denta sticks for his teeth – 5
Ginger biscuits – 25p a packet