Just two weeks after announcing Spike as the world’s oldest dog living, Guinness World Records received evidence of an even older dog, much older.
This dog is called Bobi and he is not just the oldest living dog in the world, he is the oldest dog in recorded history.
Born on May 11, 1992, Bobi is 30 years and 266 days old as of February 1, 2023.
According to Guinness World Records, Bobi has lived his entire life with the Costa family in the rural village of Conqueiros, Leiria, Portugal.
He is a pure-bred Rafeiro do Alentejo, a livestock guardian dog with an average life expectancy of 12-14 years.
The previous record that Bobi broke was held for close to a hundred years by an Australian cattle dog, Bluey (1910-1939), who lived to be 29 years and 5 months old.
Bobi was registered with the Veterinary Medical Service of the Municipality of Leiria, which confirmed his birth date. His age was also verified by SIAC, a pet database authorised by the Portuguese government and managed by the National Union of Veterinarians.
Bobi was born as part of a litter of four male pups in a building the Costa family stored wood.
“I was 8 years old,” Leonel Costa, now aged 38, told Guinness World Records.
“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.
The day after the puppies were born, Leonel’s parents entered the room and quickly took them while their mother, Gira, was absent. However, in their haste, they didn’t realise that they’d left one behind.
According to Leonel, the older generation would humanely put newborn animals to sleep if the family could not afford to care for them. But Leonel noticed the mother still visited the barn even after his parents had taken the pups.
They decided to follow Gira on one of her trips, where they discovered Bobi. He had luckily evaded the same fate as his siblings as he was disguised among all 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,” Leonel said.
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. Bobi was now part of the family.
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.
Due to his age, Bobi rests more than he used to, and he likes to lie in bed after meals. On colder days he prefers to relax by the fire.
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.”
Leonel always soaks food in water before serving it to his pets, so as to remove most of the seasonings.
“He drinks a lot of water – about one litre per day – making him urinate several times…”
Healthwise, 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 and now has regular check-ups at the vet.
“I never thought of registering Bobi to break the record because fortunately, our animals have always lasted for many years,” he explained.
Leonel said 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 is the “last of a long generation of animals” in the Costa family. He’s also a living reminder for Leonel of times gone by and of all the relatives he’s lost over the years.
“Bobi is special because looking at him is like remembering the people who were part of our family and unfortunately are no longer here, like my father, my brother, or my grandparents who have already left this world. Bobi represents those generations,” Leonel concluded.