Sprightly Yorkshire terrier Billy lays claim to title of the world's oldest dog... at 22

YORKSHIRE terrier Billy is as playful as a pup despite becoming a contender for the title of the world's oldest dog at the ripe age of 22.

He may be getting on a bit in dog years but that doesn't stop him from going out on two walks a day and regularly playing with his doting owner.

Guinness World Records said the title had belonged to a 21-year-old dog from Australia, but Billy, who is blind in one eye from a cataract and has only a handful of teeth left, has now laid claim to the crown.

He was adopted by Betty Holdsworth, 71, from an RSPCA branch in Halifax, in June, but she did not realise at first just how old he was. She picked Billy because she thought a puppy might be too much of a handful.

She said: "After my previous dog Bella died, I decided I would like to get another one to replace it but I decided to go for an older pet because I don't know how long I will be around for and a puppy would tire me out.

"He's so affectionate and caring and he always wants to be near me, he just loves being spoilt.

"He is almost like a puppy, he's got so much energy ."

Billy originally belonged to an anonymous owner in Bradford who got him as a puppy in 1988. He was taken in by the RSPCA in September of last year, after the original owner's daughter said her mother had written in her diary that she got him as a puppy all those years ago.

Alex Darwell, from the RSPCA in Halifax, said: "When he was brought in last year we were told that the previous owner had said he was 21 and the vet looked him over and said that was right.

"He has more energy than a lot of younger dogs which come in to see us, he's brilliant."

A spokesman for Guinness World Records said the officialrecord for the oldest living dog was 21 years 94 days, achieved by a kelpie cross from Melbourne, Australia, in March this year. He turns 22 in December.