Record-breaking Great Dane who loves chicken dinners is oldest in world

A British Great Dane who loves chicken dinners is thought to be the oldest in the world after smashing the previous record by years.

Pirate the pooch is 11-and-a-half years old and has been adored by the Valentino family since they rescued him from the RSPCA more than a decade ago.

One of the biggest breeds in the world, Great Danes often don't live for longer than six or seven years.

But the 5ft 10in giant will be celebrating his 12th birthday in a few months time, and is thought to the the oldest of his breed in the world.

The title was previously held by 7ft Freddy, currently the largest dog in the world, who celebrated his eighth birthday this year.

But Pirate is nearly four years older – and still in great health.

His proud owner Sarah Valentino, 36, put his long life down to his healthy diet – include custom made food and chicken dinners – and lots of love and cuddles.

Sarah, a painter and wedding cake maker, from Doncaster, Yorkshire, said: "Pirate is incredibly spoiled.

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"He loves his meals — especially chicken. I can't say the word without him going bonkers – to be honest I can't even spell it or he goes mad! He bounces all over the place.

"I cook it in the oven for him. If I cook it and give him half, he knows, and he starts shouting at me until I give him the rest. He's starting to show his age — unless I say chicken."

Pirate was rescued by the RSPCA and adopted by the family in February 2010, when he was one, alongside his four-year-old brother Digby.

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They only planned to rehome one great dane, but couldn't bear to split up the pair who had an unhappy start in life, cooped up in a small home without enough food.

They quickly settled in and Digby, who died a few years ago, became a 'daddy's boy' to Sarah's now-husband Laurence, 34, a site supervisor, while Pirate was a 'mummy's boy'.

"Having two Great Danes in bed with two of you was quite funny," said Sarah.

"We'd end up squished or falling off the edge. They really do get the run of the house."

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    "He mostly likes to lay down and sleep or have cuddles these days," added Sarah, who also has two pet pythons.

    Pirate also enjoys raiding Sarah's daughter Emily's room and stealing cuddly toys, as well as snuggling in between Sarah and Laurence on the sofa.

    "He gets very jealous and likes to split us up," she said.

    "Even if I'm on the phone to someone else, he gets a bit jealous."

    Despite the breed being prone to illness and ailments, due to their size, Pirate rarely gets poorly.

    She puts his old age down to specialist dog food from Tails and added: "He started on that six years ago and it has made such a difference to him. But also it's down to lots of love and cuddles.

    "It's hard to see because of his droopy face, but he's always smiling. I think happiness has a lot to do with it."

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