Guinness World Records have received evidence of an older dog. A much older dog. In fact, Bobi (b. 11 May 1992) is not just the oldest dog living; he’s the oldest dog ever.
Bobi is 30 years 266 days old as of 1 February 2023.
He has lived his entire life with the Costa family in the rural village of Conqueiros, in Leiria, Portugal.
Bobi is a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, which is a breed of livestock guardian dog with an average life expectancy of 12-14 years.
The Portuguese pooch has broken an almost century-old record; the previous oldest dog ever, Bluey (1910-1939), was an Australian cattle-dog who lived to be 29 years 5 months old.
In 1992 Bobi was registered with Serviço Medico-Veterinário do Município de Leiria (Veterinary Medical Service of the Municipality of Leiria), who have confirmed Bobi’s birth date.
From being condemned at birth to now being the oldest verified dog ever, Bobi’s story is a miraculous one.
He was born as one of four male pups, in an outbuilding where the Costa family stored wood.
“I was eight years old,” said Leonel Costa, now aged 38. “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.
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.”
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.
“I confess that when they found out that we already knew, they screamed a lot and punished us, but it was worth it and for a good reason!”
“If Bobi spoke only he could explain this,” Leonel said when discussing reasons for Bobi’s longevity.
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 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 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.
“I never thought of registering Bobi to break the record because fortunately our animals have always lasted for many years,” he explained.
Leonel said that 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.”
As Bobi looks forward to his 31st birthday in May – oblivious to the fact that he’s made history as the oldest verified dog ever – we wish him continued good health and happiness.