Life in the old dog yet: Deaf and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, this hound is 147 in doggy years

Margaret Forsythe with her 21 year old Jack Russell dog Tarn
Margaret Forsythe with her 21 year old Jack Russell dog Tarn
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IS this Wearside’s oldest dog?

Tarn the Jack Russell terrier is still going strong at the ripe old age of 21 – despite being deaf and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

The canine, “died” twice when she was born in 1993, according to owner Margaret Forsythe, of Cleadon.

The 88-year-old said: “She is a very good watchdog. She’s just lovely.

“Her back legs are getting a bit wobbly, but the vet said she is marvellous for her age.”

The dog was originally owned by Margaret’s son David, but she took her on about four years ago and changed her name from Lucky to Tarn.

Margaret added: “Lucky was a good name when she was born, but after a while it seemed a bit odd.

David, 56, now lives in Thailand. He said: “Tarn has been a good companion for my mother.

“I think she must be one of the oldest dogs in the North East now.”

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the record for the oldest dog was set by an Australian cattle dog Bluey, who died aged 29 in 1939.

In dog years, they turn 21 after two human years and then age four dog years for every year after that – meaning Tarn is about 97.

Holly Riley, a vet at Kings Road Vets Practice in Southwick, Sunderland, said it is unusual for a Jack Russell to reach such an old age.

She said: “It is quite rare. The oldest Jack Russells I’ve seen have been about 16 or 17.

“It’s pretty good going if she’s still enjoying herself.

“The best thing for owners to do to get their pets to reach an older age is to get regular health checks to look for any underlying diseases, managing diets and general care.”

•Have you got a dog older than 21? Email your details and pictures to or call her on 501 7196.