Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Well Bobi, a Portuguese Rafeiro do Alentejo (a type of mastiff), may be doing just that.

Bobi died on October 21 at the grand old age of 31 years and 165 days, and he holds the Guinness World Record for the being the world’s oldest dog.

At the time of his death his owner was feted by the media who wanted to know Bobi’s secret to longevity. The answer given was that living a simple life in the countryside on Portugal’s west coast, roaming around without a lead, and eating human food rather than tinned dog food, kept Bobi fit and well.

Bobi took the record from Spike the chihuahua who died in Ohio at the age of 23 years and seven days in 2022.

But awe soon turned into scepticism as vets wondered whether it was biologically possible for a dog to live for the equivalent of 200 human years. Now the Guinness World Record validators are investigating further.

Alongside veterinary incredulity, there has been intense scrutiny online of images of Bobi, not least those dating back to 1999 when he seemed to have different coloured paws from the dog that died in October.

It seems that Bobi’s age was registered on a national pet database that is solely reliant upon an owner’s self-certification; and genetic testing undertaken on Bobi merely proved that he was old rather than giving a precise age.

Bobi was a medium-sized dog, and was clearly overweight, making it all the more surprising that he lived almost three times longer than he should have done.

In general, very large dogs like Great Danes live for seven or eight years, and small dogs like Yorkshire terriers can often live into late teens.

Medium-sized dogs like Bobi come in at around 13 years. It’s not known exactly why large dogs succumb to age-related illnesses sooner than small ones, but a possibility is that accelerated growth may lead to a higher likelihood of abnormal cell growth and death from cancer.

Back to Bobi, a spokesperson for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons said that ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’ and added that Bobi’s story had been picked up by ‘anti-pet food zealots’ who have long campaigned that dog food is killing pets.

We can’t make any promises that Suki, a new arrival in our rescue kennels, will live to a record-rivalling old age but we’re confident that she has several years of love to give a new owner. Suki is 11 years old, and has been a devoted family pet all her life.

She was brought to us because her current owner is getting divorced and simply doesn’t have the time to devote to Suki … not that she’s a very demanding little dog.

It’s not often we have absolutely no ‘caveats’ to make about a dog looking for a new home, but Suki is the exception.

She’s good with other dogs, loves children, and is tolerant of cats.

She’s well-mannered both on and off the lead, and she can be left on her own for several hours; but equally she adores human company. She’s very affectionate and a great kisser.

Suki is a cross between a beagle and a Jack Russell and so, as a small dog, she should live well into her teens. She does have a slight issue with her heart, though, and is on regular medication but this diagnosis does not limit her in any way.

Suki won’t be in our kennels for long, and so if you would like to meet her please contact the kennels on [email protected] as soon as possible and complete a home finder questionnaire (available on our website).