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A Portuguese pooch that was almost killed at birth has become the world's oldest dog

Bobi, a 30-year-old livestock guardian dog from Portugal, evaded death when he was born. Today, he is considered the world's oldest dog ever.
Guinness World Records
Bobi, a 30-year-old livestock guardian dog from Portugal, evaded death when he was born. Today, he is considered the world's oldest dog ever.

Two weeks after Guinness World Records announced a 23-year-old Chihuahua as the world's oldest living dog, a much more senior canine came out of the woodwork to claim the title.

Bobi is 30 years and 266 days old as of Feb. 1, according to Guinness. He is a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, a livestock guardian dog with an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.

Now he's the world record holder for oldest living dog. But originally, Bobi wasn't supposed to live long at all.

Bobi was born, along with three other male puppies, in the rural village of Conqueiros in Portugal. At the time, the family who owned them already had a number of animals and decided they could not take care of any more.

One of the family's sons is Bobi's current owner, Leonel Costa, 38. He told Guinness World Records that it was common for people to bury newborn puppies they could not keep. So, once Bobi and his brothers were born, Costa's father took them away to be buried.

But days after, Costa noticed something strange. Bobi's mother, Gira, continued to return to the shed where her puppies were born, despite it being empty. One day, Costa and his brothers decided to follow Gira and soon discovered that Bobi was alive, still in the shed.

Costa believes his father possibly overlooked Bobi because his brown fur coat camouflaged him in the shed. Costa and his siblings decided to keep Bobi a secret for a few weeks, just until Bobi was old enough that his eyes would open and Costa's parents would not have the heart to turn him away, Costa recalled.

"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!" Costa said.

Bobi has gone on to live a long, peaceful life. Costa said Bobi has never been chained or leashed, but instead is allowed to roam free in forests and farmland that surrounded Costa's family home. He has always eaten unseasoned human food, which Costa thinks has contributed to Bobi's longevity.

At 30 years old, Bobi has difficulty walking and his eyesight has worsened, according to Costas. But the elderly dog continues to enjoy each day, resting, spending time with feline friends and relaxing by the fire when it gets chilly.

Bobi spends his old age spending time with his feline friends.
/ Guinness World Records
/
Guinness World Records
Bobi spends his old age spending time with his feline friends.

Bobi is not only believed to be the oldest living dog currently, but possibly the oldest dog ever. Before Bobi, the nearly century-old record was held by Bluey, an Australian cattle dog who was born in 1910. Bluey lived to be 29 years and 5 months old, according to Guinness World Records.

Costa was stunned to learn that his dog beat two world records, but he has always considered Bobi special.

"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, my brother, or my grandparents," he said. "Bobi represents those generations."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.