Home Tech A Scandal Is Tearing the World of Record-Breaking Dogs Apart

A Scandal Is Tearing the World of Record-Breaking Dogs Apart

by Elijah
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The only way to be sure of a dog’s origins is to have a record of him since birth, or at least since he was a puppy. In Britain, dogs must be microchipped with unique identification before they are eight weeks old. A combination of microchip data and photos showing a dog’s aging over the years would be the most reliable indicator of a dog’s true age, Allum says, although she notes that even that data can be falsified.

Guinness World Records’ head of publishing and brand communications, Amber-Georgina Maskell, said the company decided to review its age verification process after receiving “some correspondence from veterinarians” following news of Bobi’s death. Maskell says the company is reviewing the evidence it already has in its possession, seeking new evidence and contacting experts and people connected to Bobi’s record-breaking claim. Because Bobi was also the oldest recorded dog ever (the previous record holder, Bluey, died in 1939), that record title has also been paused. Guinness also holds records for oldest cats, llamasAnd micebut Maskell said those categories are not currently paused.

“Guinness is in a very difficult situation in this regard,” said Allum, who is “very suspicious” of Bobi’s alleged 31 years and 163 days. If we want to crown the world’s oldest dog, we may have to get comfortable with some less-than-perfect verification methods.

But the owner of a former holder of the title of world’s oldest dog says it’s a “slippery slope” for Guinness World Records to award titles to dogs with questionable paperwork. “I grew up reading that book, and it’s quite a bit heartbreaking,” if Guinness’s data isn’t to be trusted, says Alex Wolf, whose dog Gino was crowned the world’s oldest in December 2022 before being quickly usurped by Spike a few weeks later.

Wolf adopted Gino when he was a few years old, but he says he was able to provide Guinness with adoption records, pound paperwork showing Gino’s date of birth, and photos showing his age progression. “It was amazing,” Wolf says of his dog’s verification. “It felt very fitting for this dog who came from this shelter in Colorado and was now living in a beautiful home in Los Angeles.” Gino died in September 2023, five days after his 23rd birthday.

One thing that is common among owners of the oldest dogs in the world is how they obtained their information. They see on TV or online that another dog has been crowned the oldest dog in the world and wonder if their senior dog might be in the running. So they applied to Guinness World Records, and the record pings from dog to dog and back again in an uninterrupted series of record-breaking cases: Pebbles to TobyKeith, TobyKeith to Gino, Gino to Spike, and Spike to Bobi.

Now that long line of record-breaking dogs has been broken and we are entering a canine interregnum. Spike, the heir to the throne, continues as usual. He still gets out, naps and eats like he used to, even if his food has to be pureed. “He’s doing really well,” Kimball said. But she still can’t shake the feeling that her gray pup isn’t getting the recognition he deserves. “It doesn’t seem fair that they are going back on their previous winners and coming up with new rules,” she says.

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