Bobi, the most ancient canine to grace history, has crossed the ethereal Rainbow Bridge. This venerable dog, Bobi, reached the awe-inspiring age of 31 years and 165 days before he peacefully passed away in the comfort of his home on a poignant Saturday, October 21st. Bobi’s life unfolded in the rural village of Conqueiros, where the Costa family provided him with a loving sanctuary. He was a proud member of the Rafeiro do Alentejo breed, also known as the Portuguese mastiff, renowned for their role as livestock guardian dogs. These dogs typically have an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
Dr. Karen Becker, expressing the collective sentiment, shared on a somber Sunday: “Last night this sweet boy earned his wings”. She eloquently encapsulated the heartfelt sentiments of everyone who adored Bobi. He may have outlived every canine in recorded history, but his 11,478 days on this planet could never be enough for those who held him dear.
In the annals of history, Bobi secured his place as a Guinness World Record holder in February 2023. His age was meticulously authenticated through the pet database of the Portuguese government, a record dating back to his registration in 1992.
Bobi’s extraordinary longevity propels him to the pinnacle of canine history, supplanting a nearly century-old record. The previous record holder was Bluey, an Australian cattle dog, who reached the impressive age of 29 years and 5 months.
Bobi’s remarkable journey nearly ended before it even began. Leonel Costa, his owner, recollected the hardships that could have robbed the world of this beloved companion. The family, facing a dearth of resources and an abundance of animals, contemplated euthanizing Bobi and his siblings shortly after their birth in a humble woodshed.
“I was eight years old”, Costa disclosed in a conversation with the Guinness Book of World Records. “My father was a hunter, and we always had many dogs. Unfortunately, at that 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.”
Just a day after the pups came into the world, Bobi’s parents clandestinely entered the woodshed, intending to end their lives. However, in their haste, they failed to notice Bobi, who had taken refuge behind a stack of firewood. Young Costa and his siblings were dismayed by what had transpired, but they couldn’t ignore that Gira, Bobi’s mother, persistently returned to the woodshed.
It was Gira’s unwavering maternal instincts that revealed Bobi’s presence, and the children decided to shield him from their parents until his 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 not be done.”
The revelation of Bobi’s existence inevitably led to their parents’ fury, and the children were reprimanded. Nevertheless, for Leonel, the sacrifices they endured were “worth it and for a good reason”. Bobi seamlessly integrated into the Costa family, receiving not only the warmth of their love but also a diet of human-grade food. The family was no stranger to longevity among their four-legged friends; Bobi outlived his mother, who reached the age of 18, and another family dog who celebrated 22 years of life.
Bobi’s existence was relatively free from major health ailments, but in his final months, he contended with the challenges of weakened mobility and fading eyesight. Leonel attributed Bobi’s remarkable longevity to the “calm, peaceful environment” he inhabited. Bobi was granted the freedom to wander the sprawling property without restraint, forging heartwarming friendships with the diverse array of animals that called the farm home.
In honor of Bobi’s incredible life, the family is preparing to hold a joyous celebration in May, commemorating the enduring legacy of their cherished companion.