It was only two weeks ago that Spike, a 23-year-old chihuahua mix from Ohio, was named the oldest living dog. Now, he has been utterly dethroned.
Bobi, at the age of 30 years and 268 days, has been crowned the world’s oldest living dog – and the oldest dog to ever live – by Guinness World Records (GWR).
The Portuguese purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo – a breed of livestock guardian dog – has lived for double his life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, according to a statement from GWR.
In doing so, the pooch, who has spent his whole life with the Costa family in the village of Conqueiros, in Leiria, western Portugal, has broken an almost century-old record held by Australian cattle dog Bluey, who lived for 29 years and 5 months between 1910 and 1939.
While another Australian dog, Chilla, was believed to have lived to the age of 32 years and 3 days upon her death on March 8, 1983, this was not officially verified. Bobi’s age has been confirmed by the Veterinary Medical Service of the Municipality of Leiria, and SIAC, a pet database authorized by the Portuguese government.
Owner Leonel Costa, who was just 8 years old when Bobi was born on May 11, 1992, said in the statement: “Bobi has been a warrior for all these years, only he knows how he’s been holding on, it must not be easy because the average dog’s life span is not that high and if he spoke only he could explain this success.”
The Costa family are used to long-lived dogs. According to a post on the the GWR website, Bobi’s mother, Gira, lived to the age of 18, and another of the family’s dogs, Chicote, lived for 22 years. So, Costa, who still hopes Bobi could father some puppies of his own one day, said he never thought of registering him as the oldest ever dog when he applied for the oldest living dog title.
“We see situations like this as a normal result of the life that they have, but Bobi is one of a kind,” he said in the statement.
But Bobi nearly didn’t make it beyond infancy. When he and his three brothers were born in the family’s woodshed, Costa’s father decided they already had too many animals at home.
Costa and his brother thought their parents had taken all the puppies away to be destroyed. However, a few sad days later, they found Bobi alive, safely hidden in a pile of logs.
Costa and his brother kept the pup’s existence a secret until his eyes were open: “We knew that when the dog opened its eyes, my parents would no longer bury it,” Costa said, adding that “it was worth it.”
Bobi grew up “very sociable,” alongside many other animals, and roamed free in the forests and farmland around the house, according to the statement.
Costa puts his pet’s longevity down, in part, to the “calm, peaceful environment” in which he grew up, as well as his taste for human food.
In his old age, Bobi has become less adventurous. He has difficulty walking and sometimes collides with objects as his eyesight has deteriorated. He likes a nap after meals, and spends most of his time hanging out in the backyard with four cat friends.
The pooch had “one big scare” in 2018, ending up in the hospital after collapsing with breathing difficulties. However, regular assessments at the vet’s “have always shown that he is doing well for his advanced age,” Costa said.
“We are very happy and grateful to life for allowing us, after 30 years, to have Bobi in our daily lives,” he said.