A golden-haired Tibetan mastiff puppy has reportedly been sold for almost $2 million in China, potentially making it the world’s most expensive dog.
A 56-year-old property developer paid whooping 12 million yuan, or approximately $1.9 million, for the one-year-old golden-haired mastiff at a “luxury pet” fair Tuesday in the eastern province of Zhejiang.
The man has promised to raise the puppy himself. The sold puppy is 80cm tall, and weighs 90kg, dog’s breeder Zhang Gengyun said, adding that he was sad to sell the dogs.
“They have lion’s blood and are top-of-the-range mastiff studs,” Zhang Gengyun was quoted as telling the paper, adding that another red-haired canine had sold for 6 million yuan.
The dog’s breeder explained: “Pure Tibetan mastiffs are very rare, just like our nationally treasured pandas, so the prices are so high.”
Tibetan mastiffs have become a recent symbol of wealth among Chinese; accommodating the large watchdog does require a lot of space. The dog’s imposing presence and lion-like mane, if not exactly blood, has taken on a regal status among dog lovers in China, causing prices to surge.
In 2011, an 11-month old pup named “Big Splash” was sold for $1.5 million, in the most expensive dog sale then recorded.
However, according to an industry insider surnamed Xu, the high prices may be the result of insider agreements among breeders to boost their dogs’ worth.
“A lot of the sky-high priced deals are just breeders hyping each other up, and no money actually changes hands,” Xu said.
The giant, furry animals descend from dogs used for hunting by nomadic tribes in central Asia and Tibet, and are believed to have “lion’s blood.” Fiercely loyal and protective canines, that weigh upwards of 100 pounds are said to be capable to confronting predators the size of wolves and leopards.
A breed not recommended for novice dog owners, they are intelligent yet stubborn to a fault and require strict obedience training and an understanding of canine psychology.
Their name is in fact a misnomer. The animals are not true mastiffs, but were dubbed so by early Western visitors to China simply because it means ‘big dog’ – a better name would be Himalayan mountain dog. Despite its plentiful coat, Tibetan mastiffs don’t suffer from the usual ‘big-dog’ smell that affects many other large breeds.
Interesting that last year a Chinese zoo was censured by authorities or trying to pass off a Tibetan mastiff as a lion.