Guinness World Records reviews evidence related to 'world's oldest dog' title

The move follows complaints by veterinarians who raised doubts over his age

By Reuters

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Bobi, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo Portuguese dog, poses for a photo with his Guinness World Record certificates for the oldest dog, at his home in Conqueiros, central Portugal, Saturday, May 20, 2023. — AP
Bobi, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo Portuguese dog, poses for a photo with his Guinness World Record certificates for the oldest dog, at his home in Conqueiros, central Portugal, Saturday, May 20, 2023. — AP

Published: Wed 17 Jan 2024, 2:26 PM

Guinness World Records (GWR) said on Tuesday it was conducting a formal review of the "world's oldest dog" title it gave to a Portuguese dog named Bobi who died last year. The move follows complaints by veterinarians who raised doubts over his age.

Bobi was a purebred Rafeiro Alentejano who spent his life in a village in central Portugal. GWR originally said the creature lived for 31 years and 165 days, breaking a record held since 1939 by an Australian cattle-dog that died at 29 years and five months.

Bobi, who died in October last year, was declared the world's oldest dog in February.

Bobi's breed, traditionally used as sheepdogs, has a normal life expectancy of 12-14 years.

A spokesperson for GWR said the review into Bobi's record was ongoing and it included looking over evidence again, seeking new evidence, reaching out to experts and those linked to the original application.

"While our review is ongoing, we have decided to temporarily pause applications on both the record titles for oldest dog living and (oldest dog) ever until all of our findings are in place and have been communicated," the spokesperson said.

Bobi's owner, Leonel Costa, said in a statement on Tuesday that after his dog's death, "an elite within the veterinary world ... tried to give people the idea that Bobi's life story was not true."

According to Costa, some veterinarians were upset because he attributed Bobi's longevity to factors including a steady diet of "human food" rather than pet food, which he said was often recommended by those in the sector.

"Everything would be different if we had said he (Bobi) ate pet food for three decades," Costa said, adding that all requirements requested by the GWR were met.

Costa said GWR has not reached out to him.

No action has yet been taken regarding any record holders, GWR said. It added that any action would be determined by the review's outcome.

Prior to his death, Bobi still loved walks but had become less adventurous, Costa previously told Reuters. His fur was thinning, his eyesight had worsened and he needed to rest more than in earlier years.


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