TOKYO: A country used to celebrating the lives of the world's oldest people was this week marking the passing of another notable centenarian, when the planet's oldest dog died in Japan.
Pusuke, a male cross breed, breathed his last on Monday afternoon, at the ripe old age of 26 years and nine months, making him the equivalent of more than 120 in human years, reports said.
The animal suddenly refused to eat and appeared to be having difficulty breathing after many years of good health, owner Yumiko Shinohara said, according to Kyodo News.
The canine died in the early afternoon, watched by his owner.
"He had been with me for 26 years, and he was like my child," Shinohara, 42, told the Yomiuri Shimbun.
"I just want to thank him for living for so long."
Pusuke was recognised a year ago by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest living dog.
Japanese people have one of the longest life expectancies on the planet, something attributed in part to a healthy traditional diet and active lifestyle.
In September the government announced that 37 out of every 100,000 people in the country are now more than 100 years old, a total of more than 47,700, with 87 percent of them women.