UPDATE: Veterinarians cast doubt over Portuguese dog’s real age after supposedly dying aged 31

Image of Bobi, the world's oldest dog in Portugal.

Image of Bobi in Portugal, the oldest dog of all time. Credit: Guinness World Records

UPDATE: Monday, October 30 at 6:20 pm

FOLLOWING the death of Bobi in Portugal last week, veterinarian experts have subsequently questioned his real age.

The Portuguese mastiff was reported to have been 31 years and 165 days old when he died, making him the world’s oldest dog, a title officially lauded on the pooch by the Guinness Book of Records.

However, in ‘dog years’ that would make Bobi around 200 in human years, something that experts have said was surely not biologically possible.

Added to the doubt are reports that images of Bobi from 1999 show the dog with paws a different colour to those in the images that circulated after his death.

Was Bobi registered on the national pet database?

Although Bobi had been registered on the national pet database, his age would only have been that given by his owner, without actual documentation being provided at the time, the vets pointed out. Genetic tests carried out on the dog merely confirmed that he was old but did not indicate his precise age.

‘We’re aware of the questions around Bobi’s age and are looking into them’, a spokesperson for Guinness told The Guardian.

Danny Chambers is a vet who runs the Veterinary Voices Facebook group which has around 18,000 members online. ‘Not a single one of my veterinary colleagues believe Bobi was actually 31 years old’, the council member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons told the news outlet.

‘This is the equivalent of a human living to over 200 years old which, given our current medical capabilities, is completely implausible. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and no concrete evidence has been provided to prove his age’, explained Mr Chambers.

He added: ‘We are a science-based profession, so for the Guinness Book of Records to maintain their credibility and authority in the eyes of the veterinary profession, they really need to publish some irrefutable evidence’.


Monday, October 23 at 5:16 pm

THE world’s oldest dog, officially recognised by the Guinness Book Of Records has died in Portugal at the age of 31.

His owner, 38-year-old Leonel Costa, explained that after being rushed to hospital last week, Bobi passed away on Saturday, October 21, in Conqueiros, a village in the municipality of Leiria. The Rafeiro do Alentejo was born on a farm on May 11, 1992 and spend his whole life there.

Leonel even threw a party to celebrate Bobi’s 31st birthday in May after being challenged by Guinness to hold it. Around 100 guests from all over the world attended the celebration which Leonel agreed to stage providing it was held at their home, reported observador.pt this Monday 23.

‘This is where Bobi has always lived and we wanted the birthday party to be in his space. I won’t change anything. I just made sure everything looked more beautiful and made sure Bobi had his favorite dishes’, he told the Lusa agency at the time.

Leonel Costa spent around €1,000 on the party, ensuring that there was no shortage of sea bream and pork on a skewer. ‘Bust doesn’t like spaghetti bolognese. Bobi is an angel. He is not a protective dog at all. If someone comes into the house, he lets them. He is very sociable, he is sweet and loves animals and people’, his owner explained.

Who held the record before Bobi?

Bobi took over the role of the world’s oldest dog after an Australian cattle dog named Bluey died at the age of 29 years and 5 months. Living from 1910 to 1939, Bluey held the title for almost 100 years.

Guinnes World Records acknowledged Bobi’s death in a message on their website. Dr Karen Becker, a veterinarian who met Bobi several times broke the news on Facebook.

‘Last night, this sweet boy earned his wings. Despite outliving every dog in history, his 11,478 days on earth would never be enough, for those who loved him. Godspeed, Bobi…you’ve taught the world all you were meant to teach’, she wrote.

What is Bobi’s history?

A remarkably heartwarming story surrounds Bobi, who if things had gone to plan, would not have even lived for a few days.

Born as part of a litter of four male puppies, Bobi and his siblings were doomed to an early grave. Leonel’s father already had several dogs and did not need any more on the farm explained his owner.

‘I was eight years old. My father was a hunter, and we always had many dogs’, Leonel recalled. Unfortunately, at that time it was considered normal by older people who could not have more animals at home to bury the animals in a hole so that they would not survive’.

When his father somehow accidentally left the one pup behind, Leonel and his brothers hid the dog and took care of him. ‘We knew that when the dog opened its eyes, my parents would no longer bury it. It was popular knowledge that this act could not or should be done’, Leonel explained.

Newborn puppies normally open their eyes after two weeks, so by the time Leonel’s parents eventually discovered that they had hiddenBobi, it was too late for them to do anything about him.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com