Guinness World Records has a new member. He recently stood on the podium Bobbythe oldest living dog -who in turn is the oldest in historywith 30 years and native of Portugal.
The entity certified the dog, which has exactly 30 years and 266 days since February 1, 2023, and dethroned spikethe chihuahua from Ohio who two weeks earlier had received the award for his 23 years of life. Meanwhile, the previous oldest dog in history was an Australian cattle dog named Bluey who lived 29 years and 5 months between 1910 and 1939.
“I never thought of registering Bobi to break the record,” his owner told Guinness. Leonel Costa.
Bobby is a Rafeiro do Alentejo pure, a breed of guard dog whose average life expectancy is 12 to 14 years, according to the American Kennel Club. The dog lived his three decades in the rural village of conquerors, in Leiria, Portugal, something that the family considers key to understanding its longevity. He was always in a “quiet and peaceful environment,” away from the cities, Costa said.
was born on May 11, 1992, date confirmed by the Leiria City Council Veterinary Medical Service and SIAC, a database of companion animals authorized by the Portuguese government. “We see situations like this as a normal result of the life they lead, but Bobi is one of his kind,” they declared after coming across this case.
Bobi was born with three other puppies males at Costa’s house. Unfortunately, the family already had enough animals and their parents decided remove animals from their home almost as soon as they were born, at a time when the puppies’ mother, Gira, was not there.
“I was eight years old. My father was a hunter and we always had many dogs,” said Costa, who is now 38 and recalled that suffered because of the decision made by their parents. “Unfortunately, at that time it was considered normal by the elderly that they could not have more animals at home. […] bury the animals in a hole so they wouldn’t survive,” he said.
However, Costa and his brothers noticed a strange behavior on Gira -who died at the age of 18- after her parents got rid of the puppies: the dog returned again and again to the place where she had given birth to the four dogs.
“It seemed strange to us, because if the animals weren’t there anymore, why would she go?” Costa continues, recounting that one day they decided to follow her to understand what was happening. It was then that they discovered that his parents had left one of the puppies without noticing since it blended in with the forest.
Since then, Bobi has become a secret from Costa and his brothers. “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 and should not be done,” he added. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, this process usually takes between one and two weeks, so when his family found out about his existence it was already too late.
Although their parents yelled at them and punished them when they found out that they had kept the news secret, Costa pointed out that “it was worth it, it was for a good reason.” He even joked that only Bobi could talk about her secret to long life, if she could talk at all.
Bobi spends his days wandering through the woods even though, over the years, he has undertaken fewer and fewer adventures. He has never been chained or tied up and is very sociable. To the surprise of many, he feeds on “human food”. “Between a can of animal food or a piece of meat, Bobi doesn’t hesitate and chooses our food,” Costa joked.
Also, its owner commented that the dog frequently visits the vet and his studies show very positive results despite his age. He only had a “big scare” in 2018 when he collapsed from breathing difficulties and had to be hospitalized.
Because of his longevity, Bobi is the “last of a long generation of animals” in the Costa family, serving as a reminder to them of all the relatives he has lost over the years.
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