Roll over, Spike, there’s a new, much older dog still walking around the block.
Only two weeks ago the Guinness World Records crowned Spike, a 23-year-old chihuahua mix from rural Ohio, as the oldest living dog. On Thursday, the record keeper announced a new champion has claimed both the title of oldest living dog and the oldest dog to ever live.
Bobi, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo from rural Portugal, is 30 years and 268 days old. The average lifespan of the breed is about 12 to 14 years, according to Guinness.
Though Bobi is known as a well-mannered, peaceful dog today, his life didn’t start that way. Bobi and his three male siblings were born in May 1992 to a hunting dog owned by the Costa family in the Portuguese village Conqueiros.
Leonel Costa, 38, told Guinness that his father planned to kill the four puppies, as the family already owned several animals that were housed on the property.
“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 told Guinness.
Eight-year-old Leonel and his siblings were devastated by the death of the puppies but noticed the family’s dog Gira, who birthed the litter, continued to return to the woodshed where the dogs were born. When the children followed Gira one day, they discovered that Bobi had been saved from his grisly fate and was camouflaged amid a pile of logs.
They waited until Bobi was old enough to open his eyes for the first time — which usually occurs between 10 and 14 days old — before telling their parents about him. They knew by then their parents would no longer be willing to kill the puppy.
“I confess that 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!” Leonel said.
From that moment on, Bobi was a member of the Costa family.
Leonel has several theories to potentially explain why Bobi has lived so long. Apart from his rocky start in life, Bobi grew up in a peaceful, rural area, a considerable distance from any nearby cities.
Bobi has always been allowed to roam free and has never been chained or leashed. He also eats unseasoned “human food” and drinks a litre of water every day.
Though Guinness claims Bobi is “less adventurous” in his old age, he can often be found sunbathing with his four cat friends in the yard.
Walking has become difficult for Bobi in recent years and his eyesight has lessened, but he is otherwise healthy, especially considering his advanced age.
Before Bobi, an Australian cattle dog named Bluey held the record for the oldest dog to ever live. Bluey, born in 1910, was 29 years and five months at the time of his death in 1939.
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