Bobi, a Rafeiro do Alentejo
Bobi, a Rafeiro do Alentejo, was born on his family's farm in Conqueiros, Portugal, on May 11, 1992. Guinness World Records says he's not only the oldest dog but also the oldest to have ever lived. Image Credit: Guinness World Records/via WP

Lisbon: Bobi the Dog's title as the world's oldest canine was suspended on Tuesday, after the Guinness World Records began to have doubts about his real age.

He died in October at the official age of 31 years and 165 days, eight months after the record-breakers' hall of fame declared on its website that he was the world's oldest living dog.

The purebred Rafeiro - a Portuguese race of livestock guard dog whose life expectancy is usually between 12 and 14 - was also declared the oldest dog ever, breaking a nearly century-old record held by Australian cattle dog Bluey, who died in 1939 aged 29 years and five months.

The reference site for extreme achievements did not say what had raised their suspicions.

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"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 Guinness spokesman told AFP.

But sceptics cited by British and US media said Bobi's feet appeared to be a different colour in photos of him as a puppy and snaps of him in his dotage.

Bobi oldest dog
Leonel Costa walks the dog, Bobi, that broke the record for oldest dog ever at 30 years-old, at Conqueiros, in Leiria, Portugal, February 4, 2023. Image Credit: Reuters

And Lisbon vet Miguel Figuereido told AFP last year: "He doesn't look like a very old dog ... with mobility problems... or with an old dog's muscle mass."

Guinness World Records insisted the suspension was "temporary, while (the review) is ongoing".

Bobi, who was officially born on May 11, 1992, cheated death in his first days of life.

He and three other puppies were from a litter born in a wood shed owned by the Costa family in the village of Conqueiros in central Portugal.

Because the family already owned so many animals, the parents decided to get rid of the newborn puppies, recalled Bobi's owner Leonel Costa, who was eight at the time.

They unwittingly left one puppy - Bobi - behind and were eventually persuaded by Costa and his sister to keep him.

Costa attributed Bobi's longevity to the tranquility of country living and his varied diet.

He was never chained up or put on a lead and used to roam the woods around the village before he got too old to move much and spent his days lolling around the yard with the family cats.