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What was the first dog ever born?

A Portuguese pooch that was almost killed at birth has become the world’s oldest dog

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Bobi, a 30-year-old livestock guardian dog from Portugal, evaded death when he was born. Today, he is considered the world’s oldest dog ever.

Guinness World Records

Two weeks after Guinness World Records announced a 23-year-old Chihuahua as the world’s oldest living dog, a much more senior canine came out of the woodwork to claim the title.

Bobi is 30 years and 266 days old as of Feb. 1, according to Guinness. He is a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, a livestock guardian dog with an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.

Now he’s the world record holder for oldest living dog. But originally, Bobi wasn’t supposed to live long at all.

Bobi was born, along with three other male puppies, in the rural village of Conqueiros in Portugal. At the time, the family who owned them already had a number of animals and decided they could not take care of any more.

Eebbers, TSA's oldest and cutest bomb-sniffing dog, retires after a decade of service


Eebbers, TSA’s oldest and cutest bomb-sniffing dog, retires after a decade of service

One of the family’s sons is Bobi’s current owner, Leonel Costa, 38. He told Guinness World Records that it was common for people to bury newborn puppies they could not keep. So, once Bobi and his brothers were born, Costa’s father took them away to be buried.

But days after, Costa noticed something strange. Bobi’s mother, Gira, continued to return to the shed where her puppies were born, despite it being empty. One day, Costa and his brothers decided to follow Gira and soon discovered that Bobi was alive, still in the shed.


Costa believes his father possibly overlooked Bobi because his brown fur coat camouflaged him in the shed. Costa and his siblings decided to keep Bobi a secret for a few weeks, just until Bobi was old enough that his eyes would open and Costa’s parents would not have the heart to turn him away, Costa recalled.

«I confess that when they found out that we already knew, they screamed a lot and punished us, but it was worth it and for a good reason!» Costa said.

Bobi has gone on to live a long, peaceful life. Costa said Bobi has never been chained or leashed, but instead is allowed to roam free in forests and farmland that surrounded Costa’s family home. He has always eaten unseasoned human food, which Costa thinks has contributed to Bobi’s longevity.

At 30 years old, Bobi has difficulty walking and his eyesight has worsened, according to Costas. But the elderly dog continues to enjoy each day, resting, spending time with feline friends and relaxing by the fire when it gets chilly.

Bobi spends his old age spending time with his feline friends. Guinness World Records hide caption

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Guinness World Records

Bobi spends his old age spending time with his feline friends.

Guinness World Records

Bobi is not only believed to be the oldest living dog currently, but possibly the oldest dog ever. Before Bobi, the nearly century-old record was held by Bluey, an Australian cattle dog who was born in 1910. Bluey lived to be 29 years and 5 months old, according to Guinness World Records.

Costa was stunned to learn that his dog beat two world records, but he has always considered Bobi special.

«Bobi is special because looking at him is like remembering the people who were part of our family and unfortunately are no longer here, like my father, my brother, or my grandparents,» he said. «Bobi represents those generations.»

History of Pet Food

People have fed, domesticated, and kept dogs and cats for work and/or pleasure for millennia. While scientists aren’t yet certain exactly when these animals transitioned from work animals (employed primarily to guard livestock, assist with the hunt, or catch vermin, etc.) to our best friends, dogs and cats have a long history of living with humans. Learn more about the long history of pet food:

A Long-Standing Relationship

Research suggests that dogs were domesticated 16,000 years ago, and possibly were keeping company with humans for more than 30,000 years. By 2000 BCE, humans were giving consideration into what to feed their dogs. Roman poet and philosopher Marcus Terentius Varro wrote a manual on farming, “Farm Topics,” that advised providing dogs with meat and bones, and barley soaked in milk.

Near the end of the 14th century, Gaston III, the eleventh Count of Foix Count in Southwestern France and an avid hunter, wrote a book in which he described how his beloved greyhounds were to be cared for. This included reference to what they were to be fed: bran bread, some of the meat from the hunt, and if the dog was sick, goat’s milk, bean broth, chopped meat or buttered eggs.

In common households during the middle ages and through the mid-19 th centuries however, little consideration was given to feeding dogs, as a dog’s diet was much like that of its owners, consisting of whatever owners could spare, such as knuckles of bone, cabbage, potatoes, onions and crusts of bread. In the mid-1800’s, a dog or cat’s diet may have been more slightly more varied in cities where it was common for people to purchase horse meat for their pets, as working horses would die in the city streets.

Since then, dogs and cats have become an integral part of our households, and the scientific understanding of pet nutrition and food safety has advanced to help better protect the health of four-legged family members.

Pets as Companion Animals

With the Industrial Revolution and rise of the middle class in the 19 th century, families with disposable income began to keep domesticated dogs and cats as companion animals – rather than just as working animals.

Businessman James Spratt introduced the first commercially-prepared pet food in England in approximately 1860. After seeing dogs being fed leftover biscuits from a ship, Spratt formulated the first dog biscuit: a mix of wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot and beef blood. Spratt’s business venture was a success, meeting a new market demand and selling to English country gentlemen for sporting dogs.

A British public company took over Spratt’s formula and production began at a U.S. operation in about 1890. Additional companies began to develop their own recipes for biscuits and dry kibble, using the current nutritional knowledge of the time period. Canned dog food, “Ken-L Ration,” was introduced in 1922. Its main ingredient was horsemeat, which was considered an acceptable ingredient source at the time. Our understanding of and relationship with horses has since evolved, and as they have become pets, there is no longer a market for horse meat.

An Evolving Understanding of Pets and Nutrition

The desire for prepared dog food resulted from a combination of dogs being viewed as luxury items with a need to protect the owners’ investments, the increasing availability of such food (dog biscuits, dog bread, canned food, etc.) and marketing. The science of veterinary nutrition emerged in the late 1800s. Our understanding of animal science and nutrition also continued to evolve throughout the 20 th century—the first pet food specifically formulated for the unique nutritional needs of puppies was introduced in the early 1960s—as more people came to view their dogs and cats part of the family.

In the mid-1980s, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council published nutritional requirements for dogs and cats, and released updated profiles in 2006 that reflected the evolving science and understanding of animal nutrition. Most commercially-prepared U.S. pet food is now formulated to be “complete and balanced,” meaning that it is provides all of a pet’s nutritional requirements at the correct levels.

Meeting Safety Requirements

Currently, both federal and state officials inspect pet food manufacturing facilities and test products on retail shelves for compliance with safety and/or nutritional requirements.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), an organization of state and federal regulatory officials, develops model legislation for pet food safety regulations, that can then be adopted by states. First known as the Association of Feed Control Officials, AAFCO was founded more than 100 years ago in 1909. AAFCO first included language for pet food in their model bills in 1917. The regulation of pet food continued to advance over the years. Examples include in the 1933 decision to prohibit the word “pure” from a brand name in 1933, or establishing a definition for “complete and balanced” pet food in 1969.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law in 2011, is a more recent regulatory evolution. FSMA represents one of the most comprehensive changes to U.S. food safety regulation in more than 70 years, and requires the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and food producers (for both food for humans and animals) to focus on preventing foodborne illness.

Most popular dog breed the year you were born

Blonde haired teen girl with black beret hat posed behind the wheel of a convertible car with her Cocker Spaniel dog.

Thousands of years before mankind developed the first known complex civilization in Sumer, Mesopotamia, it is possible that humans had already discovered their longtime best friend. A 2013 comparative analysis of mitochondrial genomes in hundreds of dogs, wolves, and fossils by UCLA professor Bob Wayne and his team revealed dogs were likely domesticated somewhere between 18,800 and 32,100 years ago in Europe or western Siberia.

Ever since then, humans have been utterly infatuated with the friendly and loyal four-legged creatures, as dogs have been mercilessly appreciated, given celebrity status in mainstream media, and even deified in certain cultures. For every key event in recent human history, dogs have been there right there beside people, and since they are intrinsically a reflection of culture, the advancement of time has also seen a change in preference as it pertains to certain dog breeds.

To track changes in breed popularity over time, Stacker referenced American Kennel Club data to list the most popular dog breed from every year since 1925. Read on to see which dog breed was the most popular the year you were born.

1925–1928: German shepherd dogs

As immortalized in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic «The Great Gatsby,» the 1920s were a decade of great excess as America’s wealth doubled. Known for speakeasies, flapper dresses, and jazz music, this also marked the first time more Americans lived in cities than on farms , which might make the popularity of the German shepherd, a farming dog, seem odd.

However, canine movie stars of the era like Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart ensured they’d be popular despite this drastic change in American life.

1929–1935: Boston terriers

Boston terriers top the list during one of the most tumultuous times in American history. Starting with the Stock Market Crash in October 1929 , the country was plunged into the Great Depression through the 1930s, which at its peak left nearly 25% of the country unemployed.

Farmers in the South and Midwest forced to leave home after the Dust Bowl ravaged their farms and forced them to look for work out West. The portability and sturdiness of the Boston terrier, and the fact that they’re well-suited to live in cities, made the breed fit into an era full of unemployed urbanites, and everyone else, on the move.

1936–1952: Cocker spaniels

Cocker spaniel’s time as #1 dog in America coincides with the latter half of the Great Depression as well as World War II. In fact, the Cocker spaniel won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1940 and 1941 ; the U.S. would enter the war only a few months after the second victory, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

The country’s entry into this war that would finally allow the U.S. and the world to recover from the Depression, but not before tens of millions of lives were lost . The baby boom, which began after the war ended in 1945, aligned well with the Cocker spaniel’s peak in popularity at this time, as the breed plays well with kids and families.

1953–1959: Beagles

The beagle’s seven years of popularity coincides with an equally prosperous time for the country as a whole. The post-war economic boom was in full swing; the U.S.’ gross domestic product more than doubled by 1960 , increasing wages and government spending. These increased wages, as well as the baby boom and increased urban development, spurned a move into the suburbs , perfect for an active and adventurous family breed like the beagle.

However, suburbanization wasn’t entirely caused by economic prosperity. The prospect of integrated schools caused some white families to move to suburbs out of reach for most black families after the Supreme Court overturned school segregation in the Brown vs. Board of Education case in 1954.

1960–1982: Poodles

Shortly following the trend of the poodle skirt in the 1950s, poodles remained the most popular dog in America for a period as active as the breed . The Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union intensified in the early 1960s as well, with the Cuban Missile Crisis in April 1961 and construction of the Berlin Wall that August.

The civil rights movement reached its peak a few years later in the 1960s with the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 196 4 . Later, the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1973 led to a draft and a wave of protests that swept across the country. Alongside a wave of other rights movements inspired by the civil rights movements, the poodle’s popularity was a constant in a rapidly shifting world.

1983–1990: Cocker spaniels

The only dog to take the top spot for two different eras, the cocker spaniel reclaimed its #1 standing for the first time since the early 1950s, their popularity enduring in part due to famous cocker spaniels like Lady in Disney’s 1955 classic «Lady and the Tramp ,» as well as Richard Nixon’s dog, Checkers . The cocker spaniel’s shorter second reign as #1 coincided with the Reagan administration, and the rise of a new conservatism, which often called back to more prosperous times after World War II, the last time the cocker spaniel reigned supreme.

1991–2019: Labrador retrievers

From the end of the Cold War and into the present, the Labrador retriever has retained the top spot in a shifting world. After nearly 30 years on the list, the Labrador retriever has been a constant through the rise of the personal computer, smartphone, and social media . The debate on the effects technology and social media have on human relationships is still ongoing , but the friendliness of the Labrador and the bonds it forms with its owners might speak to why it has managed to capture national affection for so many years.

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