Bobi has never been chained up or attached to a leash
A farm dog called Bobi has been crowned the oldest living dog – just two weeks Guinness World Records gave the title to a a 23-year-old dog called Spike.
Bobi, who lives in the Leira district of Portugal, is 30 years and 267 days old and his record was recognised on February 1 as the oldest dog ever. He is a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, which is a breed of livestock guardian dog with an average life expectancy of 12-14 years.
Spike, of Ohio, was announced as the record holder in December. The previous oldest dog was Bluey, an Australian cattle dog who lived to 29 years and 5 months.
Bobi stays on the family-run farm where he was born in the village of Conqueiros, and, despite his age, is still healthy enough to play with the family’s four cats.
In 1992, Bobi was registered with Serviço Medico-Veterinário do Município de Leiria (Veterinary Medical Service of the Municipality of Leiria), who have confirmed Bobi’s birth date and it has also been verified by SIAC, a pet database authorised by the Portuguese government and managed by the SNMV (Sindicato Nacional dos Médicos Veterinários; National Union of Veterinarians).
Bobi was born in an outbuilding where the Costa family stored food, along with three other pups.
“I was eight years old,” said Leonel Costa, now aged 38.
“My father was a hunter, and we always had many dogs.”
Due to the number of animals they already owned, Leonel’s father decided that they couldn’t keep the newborn puppies.
“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,” Leonel explained.
But the day after the puppies were born, Leonel’s parents entered the room and quickly took them whilst the dogs mother, Gira, was absent.
However, in their haste, they didn’t realise that they’d left one behind.
Leonel recalls that he and his brothers were very sad over the following days, however, they noticed that Gira continued to visit the outbuilding where her puppies were born.
“We found the situation strange, because if the animals were no longer there, why would she go there?!”
Say hello to Bobi, the oldest dog ever recorded by Guinness World Records at 30 years and 266 days! ?️ pic.twitter.com/xeTflsWTat
— Guinness World Records (@GWR) February 2, 2023
Bobi is best friends with four cats in his old age ?https://t.co/gSF6JfXMg2
— Guinness World Records (@GWR) February 2, 2023
After following Gira, they discovered Bobi, who had escaped the fate of his siblings as he hidden amongst the wood.
Leonel and his brothers decided to keep Bobi’s existence a secret.
“We knew that when the dog opened its eyes, my parents would no longer bury it,” Leonel explained.
“It was popular knowledge that this act could not or should be done.”
It usually takes one to two weeks for newborn puppies to open their eyes for the first time; they can only do so once their central nervous system has developed and their eyes have fully formed.
When Leonel’s parents eventually discovered Bobi, it was too late – the young pup had already opened his eyes – and he was now part of the family.
“I confess that when they found out that we already knew, they screamed a lot and punished us, but it was worth it and for a good reason!”
“If Bobi spoke only he could explain this,” Leonel said when discussing reasons for Bobi’s longevity.
Leonel thinks that one of the biggest contributing factors is the “calm, peaceful environment” Bobi lives in, “far from the cities.”
Bobi has never been chained up nor attached to a leash, and has always enjoyed free roam of the forests and farmland surrounding the Costa family house.
Leonel describes Bobi as “very sociable” as he grew up with many other animals.
Bobi is less adventurous now in his old age; walking is difficult so he mostly spends his time hanging out in the backyard with his four feline friends.
Bobi’s eyesight has worsened too; Leonel often notices him colliding with obstacles when he walks.
As for his diet, Bobi has always eaten “human food.”
“What we ate, they ate too,” Leonel said.
He believes that this has contributed greatly to Bobi’s longevity.
“Between a can of animal food or a piece of meat, Bobi doesn’t hesitate and chooses our food.”
Bobi has enjoyed a relatively trouble-free life, although he gave Leonel “one big scare” in 2018 when he was hospitalised after suddenly collapsing due to breathing difficulty.
Fortunately, Bobi managed to pull through. “We have regular [vet] appointments with him and the exams have always shown that he is doing well for his advanced age,” Leonel revealed.
Leonel never considered that Bobi might be the world’s oldest dog until recently. In fact, when he sent in Bobi’s application for the title of oldest dog living, he didn’t even realise that Bobi would also be the oldest dog ever.
“I never thought of registering Bobi to break the record because fortunately our animals have always lasted for many years,” he explained.
Leonel said that Bobi’s mother, Gira, lived to the age of 18, and another one of their dogs, Chicote, lived to be 22.
“We see situations like this as a normal result of the life that they have, but Bobi is one of a kind.”
Bobi turns 31 in May.