In 2001, Florida resident Gisela Shore was smitten by a Chihuahua puppy taken in by the rescue where she volunteers. She had no idea that 21 years later, she’d still be sharing her life with that little dog. On March 16, 2022, Guinness World Records verified Tobykeith, as Shore had named him, to be the World’s Oldest Living Dog at 21 years 66 days.
The pooch was initially named Peanut Butter and was only a few months old when an elderly couple surrendered him to the organization.
“The woman told me that she was in very bad health and she just couldn’t take care of the puppy. Her husband had just been diagnosed with cancer,” Shore told NBC’s “Today.” “She was too overwhelmed. She had the puppy in a box and he was itty-bitty, maybe 2 pounds max. After hearing her story, I said, ‘OK, I’ll take him.’ So I took him — and it was love at first sight.”
In a 2020 Facebook post, Shore shared photos of Tobykeith, who also shares his home with Luna, a 7-year-old American bulldog, and Lala, a 3-year-old Chinese crested, with a birthday wish for more time together.
“Happy Sweet Birthday to my favorite fur baby, Tobykeith,” Shore wrote in the post. “Mama loves you, I pray for many more years of your loyal love and bedroom eyes.”
In an interview with the Palm Beach Post, Shore explained how the dog got his unique name.
“(Toby Keith) happened to be in concert, and I had tickets,” Shore said in the interview, which you can watch below, “and my daughter and I thought, ‘How funny if we name this tiny little dog after this 6-foot-4 country artist!’ And the name stuck. He’s been Tobykeith for forever.”
Shore states that Tobykeith is still pretty active, although a bit slower these days. His hearing and vision aren’t what they used to be, but she says he can still see about 80%. He does have a heart condition, but Shore says it hasn’t given him too much trouble.
The proud dog mom told Guinness World Records that a healthy diet consisting of vegetables, rice and chicken, no sugary treats and regular exercise has helped him exceed the typical life expectancy of a Chihuahua, which ranges from 12 to 18 years. However, she believes the real keys to this good boy’s long life are genetics and a loving home.
While Tobykeith is believed to be the oldest dog alive today, he’s still got a way to go if he wants to be the oldest to ever live! The oldest dog ever recorded by Guinness was an Australian cattle dog named Bluey who died in 1939 at age 29 years and 5 months.