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Last month, a 30-year-old dog named Bobi broke not one but two Guinness World Records. On February 1, he was crowned both the oldest living dog and the oldest dog ever, breaking a longstanding world record for canine longevity. He is also the first verified dog to reach the age of 30.
Bobi was born in the Portuguese village of Conqueiros on May 11, 1992. The typical lifespan for a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo like Bobi is 12 to 14 years – which Bobi has now more than doubled. Prior to Bobi’s world record, the record for the oldest canine ever was held by an Australian cattle dog named Bluey, who lived for 29 years and 5 months, from 1910 to 1939.
Beyond his incredible longevity, perhaps the most amazing part of Bobi’s story was his unusual start in life. Now owned by Leonel Costa, 38, Bobi was born in a woodshed belonging to the Costa family. When Bobi and his littermates were born, Leonel's parents decided they already had enough pets, and got rid of the newborn puppies by burying them in a hole when their mother was away. Yet the puppies' mother, Gira, kept returning to the woodshed, and Leonel and his brother discovered a tiny puppy hidden behind some logs, having escaped his siblings' tragic fate. The boys kept the puppy hidden from their parents until the young dog opened his eyes, and nearly 31 years later, Bobi is still part of the family.
How old is that in dog years?
- Bobi has led a reasonably healthy life, especially considering his great age. Leonel Costa thinks that Bobi’s freedom to roam the forests and countryside kept him healthy, as well as his diet of human food soaked in water to remove the seasoning. He also comes from a family of long-lived dogs, with his mother living to age 18.
- Bobi’s age has been verified by the Serviço Medico-Veterinário do Município de Leiria, with which he was registered in 1992, as well as a government-authorized pet database managed by Portugal's National Union of Veterinarians.
- Unsurprisingly, Bobi is far less active than he used to be. His eyesight and mobility have declined and he spends much of his time relaxing in the backyard or sleeping by the fire, but there's little reason to doubt he'll reach his 31st birthday in a couple of months.