How long a dog can live may vary significantly with several factors, including breed, size, and general health. I bet you’re also curious about your pet dog’s lifespan (if you have one).
Generally, the average lifespan for dogs is between 10 to 13 years. However, some are known even to live longer than this.
Now, have you ever wondered what dog is the oldest living dog today? What if I tell you that the age of the oldest living dog in the world is twice that average lifespan?
Meet Bobi, a 31-year-old dog who Guinness World Records has officially crowned as the world’s oldest living dog and oldest dog ever to live.
He’s a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, a breed of Portuguese dog trained to guard livestock. This dog breed has an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
Bobi was born on May 11, 1992, and has lived for over three decades with his owner Leonel and the Costa family in Conqueiros, a small, rural Portuguese village.
He recently celebrated his 31st birthday at home—a traditional Portuguese party with more than 100 guests and a performing dance troupe. They served local meats and fish to the guests.
The Portuguese pooch broke an almost century-old record; the previous record holder for the oldest dog was Bluey, an Australian cattle dog born in 1910 and lived for 29 years 5 months old.
Bobi also beat the record of Spike, who was recently crowned as the world’s oldest living dog. Spike is a Chihuahua mix and is 23 years and 7 days old.
According to Guinness World Records, Bobi’s age was confirmed through registration in the Veterinary Medical Service of the Municipality of Leira made in 1992.
It was also verified by SIAC, a Portuguese pet database approved by the Portuguese government and handled by the SNMV (Sindicato Nacional dos Médicos Veterinários; National Union of Veterinarians).
But did you know that Bobi almost didn’t survive when he was still a puppy?
Bobi was born, along with his brothers, in the Costa family woodshed in 1992. Leonel, the owner, was only eight years old then. His father, a hunter, decided they couldn’t keep the puppies because the family already had too many animals.
“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 they would not survive,” Leonel says.
The day after the puppies were born, Leonel’s father entered the woodshed and took them while their mother, Gira, was out. However, his father didn’t notice they left one (Bobi) behind in haste.
Leonal and his brothers were sad for the following days. But they noticed that Gira continued to visit the woodshed where her puppies were born. Curious, they followed her and discovered a single tiny puppy safely hidden in a pile of logs, evading the same fate as his siblings.
They kept Bobi’s existence a secret from their parents until his eyes were open. This is because it’s common knowledge that once the dog opens its eyes, their parents will no longer bury it.
When their parents eventually discovered Bobi, Bobi’s eyes had already opened, and it was too late. Leonel confessed that their parents were angry and punished them, but it was worth it.
Now, Bobi was part of the family.
Leonel thinks that the “calm, peaceful environment far from the cities” Bobi lives in is one of the biggest reasons for his long life.
He has never been attached to a leash or chained up, and has the freedom to roam the forests and farmland close to their home. They also attribute Bobi’s long life to his healthy diet which includes unseasoned human food rather than standard dog food.
Leonel also describes Bobi as friendly with many other animals and likes long naps by the fire.
Now in his old age, Bobi rests more and likes to lie in bed instead or sleep by the fire. His eyesight is also failing, and he has difficulty walking, often colliding with objects.
But despite being less adventurous than before, Bobi mostly spends of his time hanging out with his four cat friends in the backyard.