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Doggone it: Bobi may not be the world’s oldest dog after all – Global News Toronto

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Ed. Note: The Guinness Book of World Records rescinded Bobi’s title of world’s oldest dog in February 2024.

Less than three months after his death, there’s a scandal brewing around Bobi, the Guinness World Records certified “oldest ever dog.”
On Tuesday, Bobi — whose Portuguese owner said the dog died in October at 31 years and 165 days old — was temporarily stripped of his record-breaking title. The posthumous decision came after veterinarians on an international level questioned whether Bobi was really as old as his owner claimed.
Bobi, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, was crowned both the world’s oldest living dog and the oldest dog ever in February 2023.
Though a 31-year-old dog may seem far-fetched to some, Bobi won over international audiences in part due to his owner’s claims that a rural, free-range lifestyle and a healthy diet likely contributed to Bobi’s astounding age (which, for the record, is over 200 “dog” years).
But healthy lifestyle wasn’t enough to appease Bobi’s skeptics. In a Wired exposé about Bobi, a representative from the Portuguese government database used to register and track pet information in the country, called SIAC, said officials could not verify Bobi’s real age.
“We are able to confirm that indeed a dog named Bobi was registered with SIAC on the 3rd of July, 2022,” a SIAC coordinator revealed. “At the time, the animal’s holder declared that it had been born in 1992, but we have no registration or data that can confirm or deny this statement.”
The coordinator claimed Guinness World Records never contacted SIAC to verify Bobi’s information.
(In Portugal, it was not required for pet owners with dogs born before 2008 to register their animal until October 2020, so it is possible there may not be a paper trail for Bobi, who was born on a farm.)
What’s more, Bobi’s overweight appearance made canine experts especially doubtful about his longevity.
As the skepticism snowballed, others suggested there may have been more than one Bobi, as the colour of his fur appeared to change from reddish to brown over the years. The hue of Bobi’s paws has been of special interest to his naysayers, who point that they seemingly changed colour as he’s aged in photos.
Genetic testing of Bobi was able to confirm that the dog was old but could not say exactly what age he was.
Bobi’s owner, Leonel Costa, has not commented publicly on the situation.
Guinness World Records public relations executive Alina Polianskaya told Wired that the record-keeper was “aware of the questions surrounding the legitimacy of the record.”
Polianskaya said a review is currently underway, though Bobi’s Guinness titles have been paused until more information is gathered.
The average lifespan of a dog is 10 to 13 years. For Bobi’s breed specifically, most Rafeiro do Alentejo live to be less than half Bobi’s alleged age, with a lifespan between 12 to 14 years, according to Guinness.
Before Bobi, an Australian cattle dog named Bluey formerly held the record for the oldest dog to ever live. Bluey, born in 1910, was 29 years and five months at the time of his death in 1939.
As for the oldest living dog record, before Bobi the honour was briefly held by Spike, a 23-year-old chihuahua mix from rural Ohio. It is not clear who the current record-holding pooch is.
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