Among the secrets to Bobi’s long life were good nutrition and never being leashed or tied up, according to his owners
The world’s oldest dog, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo named Bobi, died aged 31 at his home in Conqueiros, Portugal on Saturday, veterinarian Karen Becker revealed in a Facebook post on Sunday.
“Bobi has inspired the dog world to focus on the basics of wellbeing to accomplish extraordinary health and what an amazing role model he’s been to millions of pet parents around the world,” Becker told Newsweek.
The Portuguese mastiff made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as both the oldest living dog and longest-lived dog thanks to a combination of “good nutrition, constant contact with nature, freedom to discover his environment, consistent veterinary care, and love,” Becker wrote in her Facebook post. She added that plenty of exercise and a “calm, peaceful environment” with strong social ties were beneficial for humans and canines alike.
Owner Leonel Costa never kept Bobi on a leash or tied him up, and never fed him processed “dog food,” instead serving the herding dog fresh, homemade human food, he told Guinness earlier this year when the dog was recognized for his advanced age.
“What we ate, they ate too,” he said, explaining that he soaked the food in water to wash off the seasoning for the canine.
Bobi had many animal friends, including several cats, according to his owner.
His age was confirmed by the Veterinary Medical Service of the Municipality of Leiria along with his birthdate of May 11, 1992. Portuguese mastiffs usually live between 12 and 14 years.
Bobi nearly didn’t live to see his first birthday as one of four male puppies discovered in an outbuilding on Costa’s parents’ property at a time when the family believed they already had too many animals. While the other puppies were buried alive, as was apparently the custom at the time, Bobi escaped notice by hiding in a woodpile, and Costa and his brothers found him by following the pups’ mother back to the shed.
Costa cared for Bobi until the puppy’s eyes opened and then showed him to his parents, who “screamed a lot and punished [the children], but it was worth it and for a good reason,” he said.
Bobi came from a family of long-living dogs – his mother Gira lived to 18, while another family dog, Chicote, made it to 22.
The previous record-holder for longest-lived dog was Bluey, an Australian cattle dog who died in 1939 aged 29 years and five months.