Guinness World Records Crowns Oldest Dog Ever—See the Good Boy

February 4, 2023
2 mins read

There’s a new—or should we say old—top dog in town.

On Feb. 2, Guinness World Records replaced Spike, who held the title of oldest dog alive as of just two weeks ago, with Bobi, who now reigns supreme as not only the oldest dog alive, but the oldest dog ever.

The esteemed title was bestowed upon the 30-year-old purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo—a breed of livestock guardian dog with an average life expectancy of 12-14 years—who has now graced Earth for a whopping 133 “human years,” per a converted estimate from a canine expert. The pooch will turn 31 on May 11, 2023.

Bobi has lived his entire life with the Costa family in the rural village of Conqueiros, in Leiria, Portugal, and has now barked his way into an almost century-old record.

The previous oldest dog ever, Bluey (1910-1939), was an Australian cattle-dog who lived to be 29 years and 5 months old.

Bobi’s story is a phenomenal one, as he was born as one of four male pups in humble circumstances—an outbuilding where the Costa family stored wood—and was actually never meant to survive, let alone, live such a lengthy life.

“I was eight years old,” said Leonel Costa, now 38, of the dog’s birth. “My father was a hunter, and we always had many dogs.”

However, due to the large number of animals they already owned back then, Leonel’s father decided 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 of the cultural standard, per the Guinness World Records website.

The day after the puppies were born, Leonel’s parents took them in haste, accidentally leaving one behind.

Leonel recalled he and his brothers being very sad over the days that followed, noticing that Gira, the puppies’ mother, oddly continued to visit the outbuilding where her offspring were born.

“We found the situation strange, because if the animals were no longer there, why would she go there?!” he recounted.

Deciding to follow Gira on one of her trips, they discovered Bobi, who had luckily evaded the same fate as his siblings, as he was disguised amongst all the wood.

Leonel and his siblings secretly kept the dog, with the knowledge that, in their culture, once the newborn pup opened his eyes—which generally takes up to two weeks once their central nervous system has developed and their eyes have fully formed—the animal would no longer be buried.

“It was popular knowledge that this act could not or should not be done,” Costa expounded.

Ultimately, Bobi became a part of the family once Leonel’s parents found out about his existence, though he and his brothers were punished for withholding the information—something the man said was “worth it and for a good reason.”

When it comes to the old dog’s longevity, his owner believes it can be attributed to the “calm, peaceful environment” Bobi lives in, “far from the cities.” He has reportedly always eaten “human” food, 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, living a full, natural life.

In his old age, Bobi’s walking abilities and eyesight have deteriorated, so he now spends much of his time resting, relaxing and hanging out in the backyard, accompanied by four feline friends.

Photo Credit: Guinness World Records

“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 realize that Bobi would also be the oldest dog ever,” according to the entity.

“I never thought of registering Bobi to break the record because fortunately our animals have always lasted for many years,” he explained, sentimentally adding, “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.”

We’re wishing continued good health for one-of-a-kind Bobi!

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