The Punchline

The Million-Dollar Mastiff

Katharine Crnko Mar 16, 2011

A Red Tibetan Mastiff has become the world’s most expensive dog, after a Chinese coal baron purchased the pup for over $1.5 million, the Daily Mail reports.

The 11-month-old, 180-pound puppy, Big Splash — or “Hong Dong” in Chinese — was purchased by an unnamed Chinese multi-millionaire. According to breeder Lu Liang, Big Splash is a perfect specimen, and the extravagant price is “completely justified.” According to Lu Liang, the new owner could could charge over $15,000 to breed Big Splash.

The bright red, furry breed has become something of a status symbol among China’s über-wealthy. Over the past few years, the price of a Tibetan Mastiff puppy has skyrocketed from only a few hundred dollars into the millions.

The breed has a well-documented history as a “pure Chinese” breed, and less than 20 are reported to remain in Tibet. Adult Tibetan Mastiffs have been known to weight as much as 286 pounds, about the same weight of a “sizeable rugby player,” says Indian Express.

Tibetans believe the canines are holy animals, blessing their owners’ health and security. Breed attributes include independence, intelligence, and are often protective of their owners and their property. According to Tibetan beliefs, the dogs have the souls of monks and nuns who were not good enough to be reincarnated as humans or into heavenly realm.

Other notable owners of Tibetan Mastiffs include Queen Victoria, King George IV, and Genghis Khan, who supposedly took 30,000 Tibetan Mastiffs with his army in his quest to conquer Western Europe.

You can read more from the Marketplace Expensive Puppy Desk here.

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