World's oldest dog wasn't

Bobi, claimed to be the world's oldest dog when he died last October at "31" years old, has lost the title, awarded as it was by the pay-to-play recordskeepers at Guinness World Records. Though his age was "validated by the Portuguese government's pet database, which is managed by the National Union of Veterinarians," as the BBC put it, the problem appears to be that the dog, of a not especially long-lived breed, was obviously not 31.

"While our review is ongoing we have decided to temporarily pause both the record titles for oldest dog living and ever just until all of our findings are in place," Guinness World Records told the AP. The group said it had received correspondence from some vets questioning the dog's age and took note of public commentary from vets and other professionals.Bobi was a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, a breed that has an average life expectancy of some 10 to 14 years.

Even in the photograph above, you can see the guilt weighing heavily on him. "I don't deserve this," says Bobi's pensive expression. "Surely you have better things to do with your life than lie about the duration of mine."

The usual trick is to substitute the child for the parent, as was likely the case with Bobi's human counterpart, Jeanne Calment. Calment's 122-year lifespan became suspicious after enough people had reached and died in their 110s to show how far beyond the long tail she was. Bobi's lifespan is even more of a statistical outlier—and like Calment he looked younger than his ancient peers. If anything, I always wondered if Calment endured an unnatural death to prevent her claimed age exceeding credibility. Best not to think about it.