THE canine crowned ‘the oldest ever dog’ has been stripped of his title pending an investigation into whether his age was a fraud.
Portuguese pooch Bobi, whose owner Leonel Costa claims was born on May 11, 1992, lived in Alentejo near the Spanish border.
He was awarded the title last February, when he was allegedly 30 years and 268 days old.
Bobi lived on a further eight months until he passed away on October 21 at the age of 31 years and 163 days – an unbelievable 217 in human years.
Despite his death, he still maintained the title – one it looked like he would hold on to for many years to come.
However, the fanfare around his coronation also brought increased scrutiny towards the Portuguese mastiff, whose average life expectancy is around 13 years.
Eagle-eyed viewers noticed that photos of Bobi from 1999 show him with white paws – whereas on the dog who died in 2023 they were brown.
Then the vets weighed in to further stamp on Bobi’s grave, labelling living to such an age ‘completely implausible’.
Danny Chambers of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons declared to the Guardian that ‘not one’ of the 18,000 members of the Veterinary Voices group believed the late livestock guardian was actually 31 years old.
“We are a science-based profession, so for the Guinness Book of Records to maintain their credibility and authority in the eyes of the veterinary profession, they really need to publish some irrefutable evidence,” he added.
An investigation by Wired revealed that Bobi was only listed with the Portuguese dog registry SIAC in July 2022.
But instead of verifying that the canine had indeed been born in 1992, all they could confirm was that Costa, his owner, claimed he was born in 1992.
Registration of dogs born before 2008 didn’t become mandatory in Portugal until October 2020, meaning although his age could be accurate, it was almost impossible to prove.
“At the time, the animal’s holder declared that it had been born in 1992, but we have no registration or data that can confirm or deny this statement,” said Eurico Cabral, a coordinator at SIAC.
Furthermore, Guinness World Records had never contacted the Portuguese authorities to double check the dog’s age. They had just taken the owner’s word for it.
Guinness World Records have now announced that they have withdrawn Bobi’s posthumous title and are even pausing both the record titles for ‘oldest dog living’ and ‘oldest dog ever’ until they get to the bottom of the matter.
Once matters are cleared up, the title could soon return to Spike, a living chihuahua from Ohio, who briefly held the crown last January at the age of 23 years, before being usurped by Bobi.
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