Is this the oldest dog in the UK?

sp90760  Vita Griffin with 24 yr.Kellie
sp90760 Vita Griffin with 24 yr.Kellie

SHE may not look it, but at 24 years old, this cute canine has earned her super centenarian status and is vying for the position of the UK’s oldest hound.

Rescue dog Carley has racked up an impressive 168 doggie years, under the watchful eye of owner, Vita Griffin at their home in North Wingfield.

Vita rescued the collie cross alsatian from the Chesterfield RSPCA in 1987, after her previous dog died.

“She was so playful,” said Vita of her first encounter with Carley, who was 17 months at the time. Vita said she felt an instant bond with the dog, so paid a donation and took her home.

And almost a quarter of a century later, Vita is the envy of many dog owners, many who can only dream of more than two decades with their venerable pooch.

But while she still has her playful moments, Carley is less excitable than she once was.

“She was always a kids’ dog,” said Vita, 87. “Children would always come to the gate and say is Carley playing? She still plays ball a bit now but her back legs have started to go and she is very deaf.”

But Carley isn’t the only pet of Vita’s who has enjoyed an extended innings. Her cat, Billy lived until an admirable 21 years of age, and her first dog, Sputnik reached its mid twenties.

It seems that Vita is something of a pet guru, having once had more than 20 dogs and 100 pigeons in her care. She also keeps a chicken, Dorothy, and has previously owned cockerels, geese and goats.

She said: “I don’t know what my secret is, but I look after them so well. I give them special quality meat and proper food and they always get walked.”

The current world record holder for the oldest dog lies with Pusuke, a male cross-breed living in Sakura-shi, Japan who was born on April 1, 1985. But Carley, who is just a year younger than Pusuke, could well be the country’s oldest living pooch.

A spokesperson for Guinness World Records, said: “Unfortunately, we don’t keep individual country’s records on file, but if somebody thinks their pet might be especially old, it is free to apply to the Guinness World Records and we would send them a letter outlining the necessary documentation they would need to provide.”

But the healthy hound has only made one visit to the vets, in 1997, so there is no record of her full age, but neighbours and friends can all testify.

l Although it isn’t official, we have struggled to find a dog older than Carley in the UK. Do you know a dog who is older than 24? email comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk