Allegedly 31-Year-Old Bobi Stripped of ‘World’s Oldest Dog’ Title

Catarina Demony/Reuters
Catarina Demony/Reuters

Guinness World Records announced Thursday that it no longer considers Bobi—a purportedly 31-year-old dog that died in October—the oldest dog that ever lived.

The superannuated Rafeiro do Alentejo who lived in Portugal was given the title of “world’s oldest dog” in February 2023, but the records organization launched a review last month after some veterinarians questioned Bobi’s age. After combing through the evidence, GWR concluded there’s no way it can definitively prove how old he was.

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The decision to posthumously take the accolade away from Bobi—who was given his title when he was supposedly 31 years and 165 days old—came down to microchip data taken from an official Portuguese government database. The data was at the heart of Bobi’s claim to being the oldest dog ever, but it emerged that the chipping didn’t require proof of age for dogs born before 2008.

“With the additional veterinary statement provided as evidence for Bobi’s age also citing this microchip data, we’re left with no conclusive evidence which can definitively prove Bobi’s date of birth,” Mark McKinley, GWR’s director of records, said in a statement. “Without any conclusive evidence available to us right now, we simply can’t retain Bobi as the record holder and honestly claim to maintain the high standards we set ourselves.”

After Bobi’s death, a Wired investigation in December found that Portugal’s pet database had registered Bobi as having been born in 1992, but they held “no registration or data that can confirm or deny this statement.” Other outlets had earlier reported on vets raising doubts about his age and online scrutiny surrounding photos which appeared to show him having different colored paws in photos taken in 1999 compared with the hue they had when he died last year.

When the GWR launched its review, Bobi’s owner Leonel Costa told the BBC that “an elite within the veterinary world” had “tried to give people the idea that Bobi's life story was not true.” He also speculated that the scrutiny around Bobi’s real age was part of a backlash against his claims that his pet had lived so long because he fed him human food rather than dog food.

“Everything would be different if we had said he ate pet food for three decades,” Costa said.

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