The oldest Kerry
18.5 years (unverified)
Miss Eclipse Impulse of the Jean, "Phoebe"
Breeder: Jean Underhill
Owner: Mark Lynch
Phoebe, Miss Eclipse Impulse of the Jean's age is tough to verify, because her registration (technically my Mom and Dad's dog) has been long gone
What we do know:
Phoebe came to our family on March 7, 1970. The day of a total solar eclipse visible on the east coast, hence the registered name my dad gave her. She was not a puppy when we got her from Jean Underhill. Her call name was originally "Missy". I came up with the call name "Phoebe", a moon of Saturn to fit the eclipse theme. Jean was going to run Phoebe on and keep her for breeding but something made her part with her. At the time we lived very close to Jean and I had an interest as a young teenager of showing her may have been why. We are 99.9% sure that she was over 6 months when we got her. That would put her birthdate in September of 1969. There is more recent disagreement in the family about when we put Phoebe down. Mention of John's email started a discussion and some in the family now think it was October 1987, and others think March of 1988. My recollection is that it was March of 1988 because I remember several folks remarking that we put her down nearly to the day we got her from Jean. At any rate certainly she certainly lived to be over 18, we are now less certain by how much.
Regardless both our dogs were active, and both lived at Jean's for a considerable length of time before they arrived in our households. [...]I think that several of Jean's foundation dogs lived more than 18 years. Do an "* of the Jean" search at the USKBTC pedigree search. One dog in particular goes back to 1950 and several others 1956. I have vivid recollections of very old male dogs that lived upstairs with Jean and Ed in the mid 1970's that I think were older. Some of Magee's litter mates outlived him, again see the USKBTC web pedigree search.
Keys to Longevity:
Jean had runs for her dogs the size that had to be close to 1/2 of an acre each, so all her dogs, puppies included received lots of exercise. Jean didn't believe in fancy foods (detested IAMS), but would often go the butcher and get organ meat and mix if with Purina dog chow. We kept our dogs on quality dry food. Phoebe was quite active to the very end and had very few skin issues. Magee suffered from cysts, fatty tumors and two cancerous toes that had to be removed late in life, his Kidney's finally failed. Both dogs were wonderful to live with. Because my mom didn't work outside the home and my wife is a nurse working 3 - 11, neither dog was ever away from some member of the family for too long.
I think the answer to the longevity issue is good genetics and diet. Neither of our dogs was ever over weight. Both were also within the standard size for the breed, not bigger not smaller, just right. No special water. Routine checkups. Good grooming and a good healthy start in life. Lead walked mainly but Phoebe loved to fly around the house.
[...] We never considered Phoebe "extreme" nor the oldest Kerry. We were blessed that she was a wonderful member of our family for so long and that is all that matters. At this point I don't think we will ever solve the age question concretely and we never claimed that she was the oldest, but she was the best. If you want to call her 18 we are on solid ground and that is fine with me; although 18.5 may be correct. [...] To us it is not that important, so do what you need to do and keep up the good work.