In 1789 the first recorded use of the phrase “a dog is a man’s best friend” came from King Frederick of Prussia, likely referencing his beloved Italian greyhound. Ever since, the phrase has become incredibly common because it has always held true. People’s infatuation with dogs has only grown with each generation. In fact, according to a National Pet Owners 2020 survey, 63.4 million households in the United States have a pet dog! Also, a Gallup poll found that 44% of Americans have their own pet dog. Although we wish they could liver forever, large breeds of dogs typically live to be between 6 to 8 years old and smaller breeds 12 to 20 years old. Many dogs live beyond these life expectancies, however. In this article we will meet the oldest dog alive today!
Meet Funny: the oldest dog alive today
The oldest dog alive today is Funny Fujimura, a miniature dachshund. Funny was born in Sakai, Japan on May 27th, 1999. Funny is currently 21 years old! The Guinness World Record title was given to Funny when their age was verified in November of 2020. Owner Yoshiko Fujimura describes Funny as a very sweet and nice dog.
An important note, however, is that Funny is the oldest dog alive today that was able to provide paperwork proving age. Some owners have claimed their dogs to be older but do not have the necessary paperwork to prove their dog’s birthday.
What breed of dog is Funny?
Funny Fujimura is a miniature dachshund! The American Kennel Club describes miniature dachshunds as typically being very curious and friendly. They average less than 11 pounds in weight and 5-6 inches in height from the ground to the top of their shoulder. The life expectancy for a mini dachshund is 11- 16 years. Funny is exceptional for her breed at 21 years old!
Miniature dachshunds are a hound-type dog breed. Standard dachshunds were originally bred to hunt badgers and other ground-digging animals, whereas the miniature breed was developed to sniff out and locate smaller animals such as rabbits. The dachshund was bred in Germany by mixing different French, German, and English hounds and terriers. They are a well-loved breed around the world and were ranked 12th favorite dog breed in the United States in 2018. Queen Victoria, and royal courts throughout Europe, were particularly fond of the breed as well. Other famous owners of dachshunds include President John F. Kennedy, President Grover Cleveland, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and E.B. White.
What allows a dog to live long enough to become the oldest living dog?
They key to ensuring any breed of dog’s longevity is a healthy diet. A healthy diet and exercise, in conversation with a pet’s veterinarian, are the most important steps to maintain the total health of a dog. This includes regular exercise such as walks, runs, playing fetch, or swimming when safe. A healthy diet includes quality dog food that is compatible with that particular dog and that a veterinarian approves of. A quality diet also excludes human food which can have several negative effects. Certain foods such as grapes and chocolate can be extremely toxic to dogs. Other foods such as onions and garlic can also cause ailments including pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is most prevalent in smaller breeds.
Dachshunds in particular face a number of potential health concerns because of their long back. They are susceptible to spinal problems which can be exacerbated by obesity or intense exercise. As much as 25% of dachshunds develop intervertebral disk disease which is the injury and degeneration of the disks between the vertebrae. Severe back injuries can lead to paralysis in some cases.
Different measures can be taken to avoid these back problems and improve a dachshund’s overall quality of life. A healthy diet and consistent, low-impact exercise can help prevent obesity which greatly strains the back. There are also vitamin supplements that support joint and bone health and can be beneficial especially for dachshunds.
How old is the oldest dog ever?
Although Funny Fujimura is the oldest dog alive today, Funny has not yet beaten the record for oldest dog ever. That title belongs to Bluey, a female Australian cattle dog. Bluey lived between June 7th, 1910 and November 14th, 1939 making her 29 years and 5 months old when she passed away! Bluey lived in Australia with her owners Les and Esma Hall and worked on a farm herding cattle. Australian cattle dogs have a typical life expectancy of 12- 16 years, making Bluey an incredible exception!
Another exceptionally long-lived dog was named Maggie. Maggie was an Australian kelpie and was claimed to have been 30 years old! Unfortunately, the owners had lost the original paperwork to prove her birth date. Kelpies are incredibly active and hardworking dogs. Maggie lived on a dairy farm with owner Brian McLaren who described her as active in her old age: “She was 30 years old, she was still going along nicely, she was walking from the dairy to the office and growling at the cats and all that sort of thing”.
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