A Portuguese dog’s Guinness World Records (GWR) title as ‘world’s oldest dog’ is being investigated, after doubt was cast on his true age.
The investigation was launched after Wired magazine suggested that GWR’s verification of the age of Bobi, a rafeiro do Alentejo, was insufficient.
Bobi was awarded the title of ‘oldest dog ever’ and ‘oldest dog living’ in February 2023, when his owner claimed he was 30 years and 266 days old. He took the title of oldest living dog from a 23-year-old Chihuahua named Spike.
Although he passed away at the age of 31 last October, he still holds the title of world’s oldest dog.
However, Wired magazine has since accused GWR of insufficient verification of Bobi’s claim. Their article suggests that GWR failed to contact Portugal’s pet database to verify the claims, with a co-ordinator from the database telling their journalist that Bobi’s owner had produced no registration or data to confirm his age.
The announcement of Bobi’s accolade also received doubt from members of the veterinary community.
Speaking to the Guardian in October 2023, Danny Chambers, a veterinary surgeon and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) council member, said that none of the members of the Veterinary Voices group believed that Bobi was 31 years old.
He said: “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.”
GWR have responded by opening a formal investigation into Bobi’s claim of the title, and the process used to verify his age. They have also temporarily paused applications for ‘oldest dog living’ and ‘oldest dog ever’ until their investigation is concluded.
A GWR spokesperson said: “I can confirm a formal review into the oldest dog record is taking place, which involves GWR reviewing evidence we have on file, seeking new evidence, reaching out to experts and those linked to the original application.
“While our review is ongoing, we have decided to temporarily pause applications on both the record titles for oldest dog living & ever until all of our findings are in place and have been communicated. Some of today's reporting has been a little misleading, no action has been taken in relation to any record holders yet, any actions are to be determined by the outcome of the review.”
Image © Guinness World Records