There’s been an unexpected twist in one of Guinness World Records’ most heartwarming stories: they’ve suspended the “oldest dog ever” record belonging to Bobi, the reportedly 31-year-old dog who died in October.
A Guinness World Records spokesperson told CNN that they were “pausing” Bobi’s record as they investigated claims regarding the dog’s age claims.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
Bobi, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo who lived with his owner Leonel Costa and his family in Leiria, Portugal, made the record books in February 2023, when records indicated that he was 30 years old, making him both the oldest living dog and the oldest dog ever, beating the all-time record long held by Bluey, who died at the age of 29 in 1939.
Bobi’s age was verified by the Portuguese pet database SIAC, based on a 1992 veterinarian registration.
The dog’s remarkable longevity — more than twice the life expectancy of a dog of his breed — made worldwide headlines. Bobi’s story was especially miraculous: Costa reportedly saved Bobi as a puppy when their parents wanted to bury him with his siblings, as they already had too many dogs.
In October, veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker announced that Bobi had died, after 31 years and 163 days.
The record-setting Bobi was widely mourned by animal lovers everywhere. But, according to CNN, suspicions about his age records emerged soon after his death.
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.”
An investigation by Wired found that Bobi was registered by SIAC in July 2022, but it was only taken on the owner’s word that the dog was born in 1992. Since registration of dogs didn’t become mandatory in Portugal until 2020, it’s still possible that Bobi was born in 1992, but there is no official paperwork proving it.
One expert consulted in Wired’s investigation questioned whether Bobi, who appeared to be overweight, could’ve lived to be 31. Others said that the attempt to remove Bobi’s record was an elaborate conspiracy by big dog food companies (Bobi enjoyed “human food,” according to his owner). The article ultimately leaves the question unanswered.
Still, there is evidently enough skepticism to warrant a formal review by Guinness. The spokesperson said that they would review the evidence and consult experts on the matter.
In an email to AP, owner Leonel Costa defended his claim, saying that Guinness World Records investigated the matter for over a year, and that he made no money off his dog’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.”
What do you think of this news? Do you think Bobi lived to 31 or do you side with the skeptics in this case? We will have to wait and see what the investigation says.
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