When Bobi died in October in Portugal, he was hailed as the oldest dog ever to have lived, at 31 years, 5 months.
But doubts about his true age have led the Guinness Book of World Records to say on Tuesday that it will “temporarily pause” the record for an investigation.
Bobi was a Rafeiro do Alentejo, a type of large dog native to Portugal that started as a hunting dog and now often guards livestock.
In February 2023, Bobi was declared the oldest dog ever by the Guinness book, which said he surpassed the record set by Bluey, an Australian cattle dog who died in 1939 at 29.
Bobi’s advanced age was remarkable: Dogs of his breed normally live 12 to 14 years. And although there are many exceptions, smaller dogs in general live longer than midsize ones, who live longer than the largest.
Wired published a skeptical article about his age in December. It noted that while Bobi had been registered on a Portuguese government database, his listed age was based entirely on the owner’s say-so.
Questions were also raised because the dog appeared to be overweight in photos, not a good sign for extreme longevity.
“Not a single one of my veterinary colleagues believe Bobi was actually 31 years old,” Danny Chambers, a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, told The Guardian.
Leonel Costa, the dog’s owner from Conqueiros, Portugal, could not be reached on Tuesday.
The Guinness book said that it had begun a “formal review” of the case that would include looking at new evidence and speaking with interested parties and experts. It said that while the timeline could vary, it sought to keep such investigations to three or fewer months.
Guinness said it was “reviewing the evidence we already have on file, seeking new evidence, reaching out to experts and those linked to the original application.”
Bobi drew attention for his colorful history and character as well as his supposed age. Mr. Costa told reporters that Bobi had escaped death as a puppy when some of his littermates were euthanized after being first concealed in a pile of logs and then hidden by Mr. Costa and his brother.
Bobi’s longevity was credited to roaming free and eating human food. Among other colorful details, he was said to have been best friends with four cats.