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Bobi's 'oldest ever dog' title is in question as Guinness World Record investigates

As of Tuesday, Guinness World Record said it is reviewing evidence of Bobi's lifespan, while also looking for new information and "reaching out to experts and those linked to the original application."
Jorge Jeronimo
/
AP
As of Tuesday, Guinness World Record said it is reviewing evidence of Bobi's lifespan, while also looking for new information and "reaching out to experts and those linked to the original application."

Bobi, the purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, seemingly led an idyllic dog life.

His owner, Leonel Costa, says the pooch had free roam of the small Portuguese village where he lived. He had a cadre of "feline friends," and he was on an exclusively human food diet. Costa says he, however, took care to soak Bobi's food in water to wash away any seasoning before feeding him.

By all accounts, Bobi led a calm and peaceful life until his death on October, 20, 2023, at the reported age of 31. But some discrepancies are raising questions about just how long he actually lived.

Now Bobi, once considered the world's "oldest ever dog," has had his title temporarily suspended as the Guinness World Records (GWR) investigates concerns about the canine's real age, a spokeswoman told NPR.

As of Tuesday, the group said it is reviewing evidence on file, while also looking for new information and "reaching out to experts and those linked to the original application."

In documents to GWR, Costa claimed the dog was born on May 11, 1992. In February, the group declared Bobi the world's oldest living dog and oldest dog ever. That ranking dethroned Spike, a 23-year-old Chihuahua mix from Ohio, who had just two weeks earlier earned the title of oldest living dog.

"While our review is ongoing, we have decided to temporarily pause applications on both the record titles for Oldest dog living & Oldest dog ever until all our findings are in place and have been communicated," the group added.

Typically, Rafeiro breeds have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.

The Associated Press reports that GWR officials "received correspondence from some vets questioning the dog's age and took note of public commentary from vets and other professionals."

It's unclear when GWR will conclude its investigation. But should Bobi lose the title of oldest dog ever, it would revert to Bluey, an Australian cattle dog who died in 1939 after living 29 years and five months.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.