World's oldest dog? Guinness World Records suspends Bobi the dog's title amid doubts about his age

Posted at 11:36 AM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-16 13:36:52-05

A dog's title as the world's oldest canine was suspended on Tuesday, after Guinness World Records began to have doubts about his real age. The dog named Bobi died in October at the reported age of 31 years and 165 days, eight months after the record-breakers' hall of fame declared on its website that he was the world's oldest living dog.

The purebred Rafeiro — a Portuguese race of livestock guard dog whose life expectancy is usually between 12 and 14 — was also declared the oldest dog ever, breaking a nearly century-old record held by Australian cattle dog Bluey, who died in 1939 at the age of 29 years and 5 months.

"While our review is ongoing we have decided to temporarily pause both the record titles for Oldest Dog Living and (Oldest Dog) Ever just until all of our findings are in place," a Guinness spokesman told Agence France-Presse.

The group said it had received correspondence from some vets questioning the dog's age and took note of public commentary from vets and other professionals, according to the Associated Press. Calls to the dog's owner rang unanswered and he didn't respond to text messages.

Sceptics cited by British and U.S. media said Bobi's feet appeared to be a different color in photos of him as a puppy and snaps of him in his dotage.

And Lisbon vet Miguel Figuereido told AFP last year: "He doesn't look like a very old dog ... with mobility problems... or with an old dog's muscle mass."

Guinness World Records insisted the suspension was "temporary, while (the review) is ongoing."

Bobi, who was allegedly born on May 11, 1992, cheated death in his first days of life.

He and three other puppies were from a litter born in a woodshed owned by the Costa family in the village of Conqueiros in central Portugal.

Because the family already owned so many animals, the parents decided to get rid of the newborn puppies, recalled Bobi's owner Leonel Costa, who was 8 at the time.

They unwittingly left one puppy — Bobi — behind and were eventually persuaded by Costa and his sister to keep him.

Costa attributed Bobi's longevity to the tranquility of country living and his varied diet.

The dog was never chained up or put on a leash and used to roam the woods around the village before he got too old to move much and spent his days lolling around the yard with the family cats.