Bobi officially loses “oldest dog ever” title after Guinness World Records investigation

Last year, people everywhere were inspired by the story of Bobi, the allegedly 30-year-old dog who broke the longstanding Guinness World Record to become the oldest dog ever.

Unfortunately, Bobi has posthumously been stripped of his title, after an investigation found that there wasn’t enough evidence to support his claimed age.

Bobi, who died in October, made the record books in February 2023 after records indicated that he was 30 years old, making him both the oldest living dog and the oldest dog ever.

Bobi, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, had reportedly lived more than twice the life expectancy of his breed, and the remarkable story made worldwide headlines.

But last month, Guinness announced that they were “pausing” Bobi’s records and launching an investigation, following doubts about Bobi’s age.

“While our review is ongoing we have decided to temporarily pause both the record titles for oldest dog living & ever just until all of our findings are in place,” a spokesperson told CNN last month.

In a February 22 news release, Guinness said that they had concluded their investigation and stated the organization “no longer has the evidence it needs to support Bobi’s claim as the record holder,” thus stripping Bobi of his official titles.

Guinness originally verified Bobi’s age through the Portuguese pet database SIAC, based on a 1992 veterinarian registration. But, according to an investigation by Wired, registration of dogs didn’t become mandatory in Portugal until 2020, and it was only taken on the owner’s word that Bobi was born in 1992.

While it is still possible Bobi truly was born in 1992, Guinness determined that there isn’t enough verifiable evidence to give Bobi the official title.

“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,” said Mark McKinley, Director of Records at Guinness World records, who conducted the review.

“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,” he said, adding that Guinness would “assess any new evidence should we receive any.”

Skepticism about Bobi’s age emerged soon after the dog’s passing, with some experts doubting that Bobi, who appeared overweight in some photos, could’ve lived such a long life.

Danny Chambers, a vet and council member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, told The Guardian that “not a single one of my veterinary colleagues believe Bobi was actually 31 years old.”

Bobi’s owner, Leonel Costa of Portugal, has not commented on Bobi being stripped of his title, but has consistently defended his claim, saying that Guinness already investigated the matter for over a year and that he made no money off of Bobi’s record.

According to Reuters, Costa also suggested a conspiracy was to blame, saying vets were unhappy that he credited Bobi’s long life to human food.

“An elite within the veterinary world … tried to give people the idea that Bobi’s life story was not true,” Costa said. “Everything would be different if we had said he (Bobi) ate pet food for three decades.”

Bobi lived with Costa and his family on farmland in Leiria, Portugal. Costa said that he had Bobi since he was an 8-year-old boy, and that he and his siblings saved Bobi as a puppy from being drowned by his parents.

Guinness World Records did not immediately bestow Bobi’s records to a new dog, and indicated that they would carefully look at the evidence for a new title holder.

“It’s going to take a long time for microchip uptake around the world to catch up with pet ownership, especially of older pets,” McKinley said in the release. “Until that time, we’ll require documentary evidence for all years of a pet’s life, we’ll continue to ask for vet and witness statements and we’ll also consider microchip data as well where available.”

Before Bobi, the title of the oldest dog ever was held for decades by Bluey, who died at the age of 29 in 1939. And a 23-year-old Chihuahua named Spike was named the oldest living dog just weeks before Bobi, though it’s unclear if he will reclaim the title now.

It’s unfortunate that Bobi lost his records, and we’ll never know for certain whether he was truly the oldest dog in the world, but he still had a good long life, well cared for and loved by many.

Please share this update on Bobi’s story.