A British Great Dane set a new world record as the world's tallest dog, towering almost eight feet tall above the competition. The Guinness World Records association recognised Freddy's achievement in September, when he was measured at 1.035m (40.75ins) tall and 2.3m (7ft 6ins) on his hind legs - but the achievement could only be made public in December.

The four-year-old, 14-stone canine lives in Leigh-on-Sea with his sister Fleur, and proud owner Claire Stoneman spends almost £100 a week to feed him. Freddy's favourites include a whole roast chicken or peanut butter on toast – but as a puppy he also had a taste for sofas, destroying 23 of them.

Stoneman got Freddy when he was a puppy, the runt of the litter, and was the first to express her surprise at how rapidly the dog grew through the years.

"I got him a couple of weeks earlier than I should have done because he wasn't feeling off mum, so he was pretty poorly" she explained, sitting on her couch in front of the Guinness World Records certificate.

"He was half the size of Fleur when he was tiny so I had no idea he was going to be this big at all."

It took about eight months before Stoneman realised there was something special about her Great Dane when people started commenting on social media about his impressive size. "I had no experience with Danes and how big they should be and no expectations" she explained, lovingly stroking Freddy's paws.

The previous record holder was Zeus, a Great Dane from Michigan, who passed away in 2014, at the age of five. He was awarded the record in 2011 and stretched to 7ft 4ins on his hind legs.

Another American Great Dane holds the record for world's tallest female dog. Lizzy, from Florida, is tiny in comparison with Freddy, but still measures an impressive 3ft 1.96ins tall.