World's oldest dog
Photo: Guinness World Records

World’s oldest dog ever is Portuguese

Bobi, a 30-year-old Rafeiro Alentejano, breaks Guinness World Record for oldest dog ever

A Portuguese dog who defied death after birth has been crowned the oldest living dog in the world – and the oldest dog ever – by Guinness World Records (GWR).

Bobi is a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo – a breed with a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years –  born on 11 May, 1992. At the age of 30 years and 268 days, he has set a new world record for the oldest dog ever recorded.

According to GWR, he has lived his entire life with the Costa family in the rural village of Conqueiros, in Leiria.

Bobi, who is said to be doing well for his age, 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 and 5 months old.

The official records prove Bobi’s age. He was registered in 1992 with the Serviço Medico-Veterinário do Município de Leiria (Veterinary Medical Service of the Municipality of Leiria), who have confirmed Bobi’s birth date.

Says GWR, Bobi’s age has also been verified by SIAC, a pet database authorized by the Portuguese government and managed by the SNMV (Sindicato Nacional dos Médicos Veterinários; National Union of Veterinarians).

But perharps the most impressive aspect of this story is that Bobi has made history despite being practically condemned at birth. He was born as one of four male pups in an outbuilding where the Costa family stored wood.


“I was eight years old,” Leonel Costa, now 38, told GWR. “My father was a hunter, and we always had many dogs.”

As they already owned several animals, Leonel’s father decided that 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.

The day after the puppies were born, Leonel’s parents entered the room and quickly took them whilst their mother, Gira, was absent. One of the pups, however, was unwittingly left behind.

Leonel recalls that he and his brothers were very sad over the following days, and had noticed that Gira continued to visit the outbuilding where her puppies were born.

Leonel and his siblings found the situation “strange” and decided to investigate, having found newborn Bobi disguised amongst all the wood. Wanting to save Bobi, they decided to keep his 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 not be done.”

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.

“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!”

Longevity attributed to “calm, peaceful environment”

Leonel told GWR that he believes one of the biggest contributing factors to Bobi’s longevity is the “calm, peaceful environment” he lives in, “far from the cities.”

The senior dog has also 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, although he is said to be “less adventurous” now in his old age; walking is difficult, Leonel explained, 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.

Bobi dines like a human

Bobi is treated like a member of the family even when it comes to his meals. In fact, the Rafeiro Alentejano 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 said he always soaks food in water before serving it to his pets, so as to remove most of the seasonings.

He added that he 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.

The full story can be found on the Guinness World Records website.

By Michael Bruxo

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