If presented with the opportunity to make three wishes, anyone with a dog would likely wish for their pup to live forever. And while dogs typically don't live beyond 15 or so years, there are a few people around the world lucky enough to have pets who break records with their long lifespans. In fact, in May 2023, the dog who holds the record for the world's oldest living dog — as well as the oldest dog to have ever lived — broke his own record by turning 31 years old.
To learn more about this charmed dog, as well as to learn more about a few of the other longest living dogs, keep reading!
The oldest living dog, Bobi, is also the oldest dog to ever walk the Earth, as far as we know.
In February 2023, Guinness World Records declared that a dog named Bobi is officially the oldest living dog in the world. Not only that, but Bobi is also the oldest dog to ever live, at least on record.
Bobi was born on May 11, 1992, meaning that at the time of the record announcement, he was 30 years old. Then, in May 2023, Bobi turned 31.
Bobi celebrated his 31st birthday on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at his family's house in Portugal, with more than 100 people in attendance. As reported by ABC News, a dance group performed for the guests, and Bobi even joined them in one of their dances.
Bobi, a Rafeiro do Alentejo dog, has many secrets to a long life.
According to Guinness World Records, Bobi lives with the Costa family in Conqueiros, Leiria, Portugal. He is a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo dog, a breed often used as a watchdog and livestock protector. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), a Rafeiro do Alentejo dog's lifespan is typically 12 to 14 years — meaning Bobi has lived for double his life expectancy.
As for Bobi's secret to longevity, Leonel Costa thinks it can be attributed to the peaceful rural environment where Bobi lives, and the fact that he has never been attached to a leash or chain. Instead, he has always been allowed to roam freely on the land near the Costa family's property.
Additionally, Bobi typically eats "human food" (that has been soaked in water, to remove the seasonings). Not to mention, according to the AKC, Rafeiro do Alentejos are known for being affectionate with their families — so maybe all that love has helped Bobi to thrive. He is still in good health, as of publication, though his eyesight has worsened, and he is much less active than he once was. Instead of roaming in nature, he now loves chilling with the family's cats.
That said, Bobi's life was not always so tranquil. Leonel Costa, who was 8 when Bobi was born, told Guinness World Records that Bobi was born to their dog Gia, in a litter of four puppies. At the time, it was "considered normal by older people who could not have more animals at home […] to bury the animals in a hole so that they would not survive," as long as they had not yet opened their eyes, he said.
However, when Leonel's parents took the puppies and — tragically — buried them, they accidentally left Bobi behind. Leonel and his brothers found Bobi hiding amongst wood storage soon after, and hid him from their parents until the puppy's eyes opened.
“We knew that when the dog opened its eyes, my parents would no longer bury it,” Leonel explained. “It was popular knowledge that this act could not or should be done.” Leonel's parents punished him and his brother, but they had no choice but to keep Bobi — and obviously, the entire family fell in love with the adorable pooch, and he lived happily ever after.
A few other dogs have held the record for oldest living dog, including Spike.
Just a few weeks before Bobi was crowned the oldest living dog, Guinness World Records announced that a Chihuahua named Spike was the oldest dog on Earth. Spike was born in 1999, meaning he was 23 years old when Guinness World Records declared him the oldest dog on Earth. Obviously, Bobi broke his record soon after — but Spike still has an incredible story.
According to Guinness World Records, 13 years ago, Rita Kimball found Spike in a supermarket parking lot in Ohio. He'd allegedly been there for three days, and his body had visible signs of abuse. Kimball and her family adopted Spike, who was determined to be 10 years old at the time, making him 23 now.
Kimball believes the key to Spike's long life has been his strict routine, which involves "working" on Kimball's farm and playing with the farm animals.
“I believe Spike is still here because after having such a terrible life at first, he makes the best of each day,” she said.
Pebbles, the former oldest living dog, died at 22.
In April 2022, Guinness named a 21-year-old Chihuahua called TobyKeith as the oldest dog in the world. But soon after, Guinness stated that a Toy Fox Terrier named Pebbles had actually surpassed TobyKeith.
Sadly, in October 2022, Pebbles died at the age of 22.
Before that, Bramble and Bluey held the records for oldest dog.
Before these cuties, a dog named Bramble was long known as the oldest living dog. The Border Collie passed away in 2003 at the age of 25 — and interestingly, her long lifespan has been attributed to her vegan diet.
And before Bobi, an Australian cattle dog named Bluey was known as the oldest dog ever on record. He died at the age of 29, way back in the year 1939.
This article, originally published on Feb. 8, 2023, has been updated to reflect Bobi turning 31.