On his last birthday, Bobi basking in adulation
On his last birthday, Bobi basking in adulation

Bobi, “oldest dog in world from Portugal”, loses title under cloud

Portugal’s good feeling story turns sour

Only a few months ago, the country was basking in the good feeling story that its ‘oldest dog in the world’ had finally crossed the Rainbow Bridge and was testimony to years of untroubled bucolic life and healthy home-cooked food.

Now, the story has lurched horribly sideways; the famous Bobi for whom folkloric groups pranced and visitors flocked has lost his title, his 31 years of existence apparently ‘under investigation’.

Much of this story made little sense from the outset. Bobi – clearly a cuddly overweight mutt – was constantly referred to as a Rafeiro Alentejano, a much more majestic, much larger animal whose very size would preclude such longevity.

Then, there was the ‘inconvenient photograph’ of Bobi in the early days, when he apparently had ‘white socks’ (unlike the markings on his feet in later years…).

Shortly after Bobi’s title was splashed across the world’s media (the BBC World Service even ran a slot on Bobi in one of its podcasts), stories emerged that all may not have been quite as it had been described.

Now, the Guinness World Records organisation has admitted Bobi’s age is under investigation.

According to reports, “the veterinary community has raised some doubts over the longevity of the famous Portuguese dog”.

International reports confuse themselves by citing the average age of a Rafeiro Alentejano (which Bobi patently wasn’t). He was a ‘rafeiro’ with a small ‘r’ (meaning mongrel), and he was Alentejano, in that that is the region where he lived. But he was not a Rafeiro Alentejano with capital letters… he was more a regular mongrel, slightly overweight.

The original story goes that Bobi was born on May 11, 1992 and lived a stress free life with a family that fed him home-cooked food’ for the next 31 years (Bobi died on October 21 last year). There was even the detail that he began life on home-cooked food because the children of the family were keeping him secretly at the time.

It is unclear how long Guinness will need to clear this unpleasantness up. For now, Bobi has lost his title, post-mortem, but may find it restored if investigations show he did indeed live the life his owners say he lived for 31 trouble-free years.

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