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Bobi loses title of world's oldest dog ever, after Guinness investigation

A dog named Bobi, who'd been deemed the world's oldest dog last year, had his title posthumously stripped on Thursday by Guinness World Records. 

Guinness suspended the dog's title in January amid doubts about his age. Bobi, who lived in Portugal until his death last fall, earned the record when he was reportedly 30 years old. After a review, Guinness said it didn't have the evidence it needed to support Bobi's claim as the record holder. 

"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," Guinness director of records Mark McKinley said. "Of course, as with any record, we'll gladly assess any new evidence should we receive any."

Reviewing Bobi's claim

McKinley said Guinness requires evidence before it grants a record. Guinness usually needs a minimum of two statements from witnesses and subject experts alongside pictures and video. Sometimes Guinness also assesses data, such as microchip data to prove the age of a pet.

Bobi the dog
Bobi poses with his Guinness World Record certificates in Leiria, Portugal on July 2, 2023.  Luis Boza/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

"Central to Bobi's evidence was microchip data sourced from the Portuguese government database, the SIAC, which it transpires, when chipped in 2022, did not require proof of age for dogs born before 2008," McKinley said. "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."

So who is the oldest dog in the world?

Before Bobi, there was Bluey, an Australian cattle-dog who was the previous record-holder for oldest dog ever. Bluey lived to be 29 years and 5 months old, Guinness said.

McKinley said the future of the title will require "microchip uptake around the world to catch up with pet ownership."

"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," McKinley said. 

"It's for this reason that we're not yet in a position to confirm a new holder for the record, although we certainly hope that the publicity around the record title encourages pet owners from around the world to get in touch."

Remembering Bobi

Bobi died in October 2023, just months after celebrating what was reportedly his 31st birthday.

Bobi was a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, a breed known for protecting livestock, according to the American Kennel Club. Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs have an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. 

Leonel Costa, Bobi's owner, previously attributed Bobi's longevity to the "calm, peaceful environment" he lived in. He said Bobi's diet of human food also contributed. Bobi was never tied up, chained or leashed, and was allowed to roam around his home. 

Bobi's family told Guinness he loved being petted and enjoyed playing with his four cat siblings. They described him as very calm and sociable.

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