The World’s Oldest Dog: Bobi Celebrates His 31st Birthday

Bobi and his Guinness World Record.

The Guinness World Records crowned Bobi, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo from rural Portugal, the oldest dog to ever live. (Image: via Guinness World Records)

A Portuguese dog named Bobi has broken an 81-year record to become the new world’s oldest dog ever. 

On February 1, Guinness World Records gave Bobi the title after verifying his age at 30 years and 266 days. So now, the purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo from Conquieros, southern Portugal, is the oldest living dog recorded in history.

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“I never thought of registering Bobi to break the record because, fortunately, our animals have always lasted for many years,” Bobi’s 38-year-old owner, Leonel Costa, told Guinness. 

Bobi’s 31st birthday

Almost three months after being crowned, Bobi hit a new milestone. On May 11, he turned 31, and his owner Costa planned a large birthday party to celebrate another year with his friend. He said it would be a “very traditional” Portuguese party with about 100 guests. They celebrated Bobi’s birthday with dance, song, and a wide array of local meat and fish — Bobi only eats what humans eat.

According to Guinness, some guests even came from abroad for this birthday. And Bobi even participated in the troupe dance.

Bobi, age 31, sits in Conqueiros, Portugal, earlier this year.
Bobi, age 31, sits in Conqueiros, Portugal, earlier this year. (Image: Guinness World Records)

How he miraculously survived as a pup

Bobi almost met a tragic end as a pup, Costa said. In 1992, Costa was around eight when Bobi’s mother dog, Gira, had eight puppies. His father, a hunter, thought eight more dogs would be too hard to care for, so they had to get rid of the pups.

“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,” Costa told Guinness. 

Costa’s father entered the shed and took the puppies while Gira was out. It was a sad moment for Costa and his brothers, but they noticed Gira returned to the shed even though her puppies weren’t around. Curious, the brothers followed Gira, and to their joy, a tiny puppy hid behind the logs. They first kept the puppy a secret, waiting for its eyes to open so that when his parents found out, they couldn’t get rid of it.

“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!” he said. 

Now, three decades later, Bobi is still with him.

Bobi loves to roam in the forest

As mentioned, Bobi is a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, a breed that gets its name from its area of origin — Alentejo, southern Portugal. This Portuguese breed is often used as a livestock guardian dog and usually lives about 12 to 14 years.

Costa believes one of the most significant factors for Bobi’s record-breaking age is the “calm, peaceful environment.” Throughout his life, Bobi has never been put on a leash and was free to explore the forest surrounding Costa’s home. He is also a “very sociable dog,” according to Costa, and he grew up around many farm animals, so he was never lonely.

However, in his old age, Bobi doesn’t make frequent trips to the forest. He cannot walk far because of his age, and Costa says his eyesight has suffered too. Also, since being crowned by Guinness, Bobi has had many visitors come to take a photo with him.

“We’ve had a lot of journalists and people come from all over the world to take a picture with Bobi,”

Costa took Bobi to a vet recently. He was concerned the constant attention from adoring fans would affect the dog. The good news is that Bobi is still healthy, though he now prefers to take longer rests, especially in front of the fire after meals.

Bobi the dog and Ceguinho the cat belong to the Costa family.
Bobi the dog and Ceguinho the cat belong to the Costa family. (Image: Guinness World Records)

A family treasure

Old age may be catching up, but Bobi will become one of the oldest dogs in recorded history. Initially, the record was held by Bluey, an Australian Cattle dog who lived 29 years and five 5 months. Finally, it’s Bobi’s turn, but to his owners, he’s more than a record holder; he’s family and a representation of their generations.

“Bobi is special because looking at him is like remembering the people who were part of our family and unfortunately are no longer here, like my father, brother, or grandparents who have already left this world,” Costa said.

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