Gaywood Staffie could be the oldest in the country

Sandra and Tom Pegg with their 18-year-old Staff Tara, who is thought to be the one of the oldest ANL-160802-082805009
Sandra and Tom Pegg with their 18-year-old Staff Tara, who is thought to be the one of the oldest ANL-160802-082805009

This may sound like a tall tail but a Staffordshire Bull Terrier from Gaywood is thought to be one of the oldest in the country.

At the grand old age of 18, which works out to be 126 in dog years, Tara is still going strong.

Her owners Tom and Sandra Pegg have owned Tara since she was eight weeks old and have put her long life down to love.

Their son Nick found mention of a 19-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier in America but believes that Tara could one of the oldest in this country.

Mrs Pegg, of Lee Way, said: “We are astounded. She just keeps going on and on. It’s such a good age.

“They say it is usual for a Staffies to get to 12 or 14 but she is quite healthy and just had to have four teeth out.

“All of our animals have had long lives. We had a cat which reached 25 years.

“She has always been such a happy dog and was brought up with the family. Tara’s a bit grumpy now and sleeps a lot.

“Tara has always eaten well and has dry dog food rather than meat. ”

Mr and Mrs Pegg had previously had Spaniels before but decided to go for a Staffie and bought Tara from a breeder in Norwich. She was named after Lady Tara from ITV soap Emmerdale.

Mrs Pegg said: “She just came straight up to us with her tail standing upright. She picked us really.

“Staffies were really popular at the time and they are good with children.

“My grandchildren loved her when they were younger. They still do now they are grown up.

“Lot of love, I think that’s the secret of Tara’s long life.”

While Tara is a very loving dog, she did have a naughty side which resulted in her failing training classes.

Mrs Pegg said: “We had to leave as Tara was interrupting all the other dogs who were good.

“She never did calm down. It’s only now that she got older that she has calmed down.

“Tara’s always been a mad dog.”

The young Tara’s stories do not stop there as she was also quite a chewer.

Mrs Pegg said: “She chewed a table leg and the wall. We tried to smooth the wall but it was never quite the same. She was quite a boisterous dog.”

Being an older lady, Tara enjoys sleeping by the radiator. Mrs Pegg said: “She still likes a cuddle and apart from being grey around the face she is looking really good for her age.”

- If you have a dog older than Tara? Contact reporter Victoria Fear on 01553 817321.