“While our review is ongoing we have decided to temporarily pause both the record titles for ‘oldest dog living’ and ‘oldest dog ever’ – just until all of our findings are in place,” a spokeswoman for Guinness World Records told The Times.
A canine that was named the oldest dog ever has lost his title amid an investigation into the animal’s past.
Bobi, who lived in Portugal, was said to have been 30 years and 268 days when he was named the world’s oldest by Guinness World Records last February.
In October 2023, he died at the reported age of 31 years and 163 days.
But doubts have now been raised over whether he really was the oldest canine ever – despite his birth apparently being confirmed by the Portuguese government’s pet database and the National Union of Veterinarians.
Bobi was a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, a breed of livestock guardian dog with an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
Sceptics have asked why photos purportedly of Bobi in his youth would show him with white paws when they were brown in his later years, reported The Times.
Guinness World Records has said it is withdrawing his title until an investigation is completed.
“While our review is ongoing we have decided to temporarily pause both the record titles for ‘oldest dog living’ and ‘oldest dog ever’ – just until all of our findings are in place,” a spokeswoman told The Times.
The publication said it appeared his grand old age may have instead been due to slack fact-checking.
An investigation by Wired magazine found Bobi had only been registered on the Portuguese government’s pet database in 2022, a year before he died.
At the time, Bobi’s owner had declared the canine had been born in 1992, but an official for the database stated it had “no registration or data that can confirm or deny this statement”, Wired reported.
Registration of dogs born before 2008 didn’t become mandatory in Portugal until October 2020, so it’s possible Bobi really was born in 1992, but his owner didn’t have the paperwork to prove it, according to Wired.
The title could go to Spike, a living chihuahua from Ohio, who briefly held the crown last January at the age of 23 years, before being usurped by Bobi.
For Spike’s initial verification, his owner Rita Kimball provided Guinness World Records with vet records and bills that placed his date of birth in 1999 as well as photos of him through the years.
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However she said she had not had him since he was a puppy and she found him in 2009 in a car park.
And her proof may not be enough, the organisation told her.
Wired reported that in an email to Ms Kimball, a Guinness World Records representative wrote: “We are reviewing how we verify animal age records at the moment, so ahead of reinstating Spike as the record-holder, we would like to discuss the possibility of you arranging for a second vet to assess Spike and confirm his age.
“It’s likely many of our record categories will require a second opinion for verification in the future.”