Were he able to don boxing gloves, bob and weave, his 111 kg mass would allow him to fight as a heavyweight. And if he could dribble and shoot, his 2.2 metres would make him the envy of the NBA.

But seeing as his paws — not to mention several sporting rules — disqualify him from either pursuit, “Giant George” the Great Dane will instead have to content himself with the title of world's tallest dog.

George, who lives with his owner, David Nasser, in Tucson, Arizona, has clinched the Guinness world record after his stats — 109 cm from paw to shoulder; 220cm from head to tail — were confirmed by an official adjudicator following some controversy.

The lofty canine saw off competition from the previous record holder, a four-year-old Great Dane named Titan, thanks to his extra 1.9 cm. The breed appears to have the title sewn up: before Titan took the 2009 crown, the glory belonged to Gibson of Grass Valley, California.

“This is a hotly contested record and after some controversy and conflicting media reports we decided to send our own official adjudicator to put the final stamp on this record holder,” said Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief of Guinness World Records. “We can indeed say now that George is the top dog.” — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2010