Yorkshire terrier Jack’s owner believes him to be an incredible 23 years of age – but he is still sometimes mistaken for a puppy!
Jack is owned by Ray and Mary Bunn, of Appleby Grove, having first been taken in by the couple 15 years ago.
For Ray, 69, there was an ‘instant bond’ after Jack had faced an uncertain future.
He said: “My daughter Julie’s next door neighbour Kath spotted a couple who were going to tie him to a tree and leave him there. She took him, but their dog didn’t like him.
“My daughter told me about it and asked me to go round, and the first time I saw him, he came running over to me and jumped into my arms. I didn’t even hold my arms out. The bond was instant.
“He very quickly became a big part of the family, and now we’ve had him for nearly 16 years.”
According to the record books, Jack could be one of the oldest dogs ever to have lived. The Guinness Book of Records lists an Australian cattle-dog named Bluey as the oldest-ever dog, at 29 years and five months.
Jack would be eighth on the all-time list if his age was proven by the Guinness Book of Records.
When the Bunns became Jack’s owners, they immediately set about establishing how old he was.
Ray added: “When we took him in, we took him straight to the vets and after she did a few tests, she said he was at least eight years old, and possibly as old as 10.
“That means he is at least 23 now, and people don’t realise how old he is.
“Someone the other day thought he was a puppy, but he has arthritis and can only walk so far.
“He’s on tablets, but he’s all right, and eats and drinks fine. He’s having some problems with his back and his legs as he is getting older, but he’s fine.”
Ray continued: “Jack has always been a very friendly dog, but he hadn’t been looked after properly before he came to us.
“He had a brother, and we heard that he had been fed to a rottweiler, so he was facing a horrible future before my daughter’s friend took him.
“He has always felt at home here, but he doesn’t like change. When the grandchildren come in, he goes upstairs.
“We sometimes go away in a caravan and he doesn’t like that, either, but he’s generally a very happy dog and we all love him.”
Almost a record breaker
Jack would be eighth on the Guinness Book of Records’ all-time list for oldest dogs – if he had a birth certificate to prove his age.
Lack of a birth certificate means his age is unlikely to be recognised by the record books, which require a document showing how old each dog is.
The oldest recorded dog is Australian cattle-dog Bluey, who lived to the age of 29 years and five months.
He was put to sleep in November 1939 after working among cattle and sheep for nearly 20 years.
Second on the list is 28-year-old Butch, who died in 2003, while the oldest recorded dog from the UK was Taffy, a Welsh Collie who lived for 27 years and 317 days.
In 2014, Jack Russell Meg, from Somerset, was recognised as the UK’s oldest dog after reaching the age of 25.