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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.

And Miguel Figuereido, a veterinarian in Lisbon, 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’s owner, Leonel Costa, insisted that all the “suspicions are unfounded”.

In a statement sent to AFP, he said that the certification procedure “took almost a year” and that he had complied with all the requirements demanded by Guinness.

Costa accused “a certain elite in the veterinary world” of being behind these suspicions, because they had difficulty accepting that Bobi had always fed on a “natural diet” instead of dog food.

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 woodshed 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.

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

Costa has 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, he said.

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