China’s wealthy citizens are often in search of the newest and latest luxury items on the market. And while for many that means throwing down hundreds of thousands of dollars on fast cars and designer clothing, “luxury pets” have also quickly become a status symbol.
In what could be the most expensive dog sale ever, a Tibetan mastiff puppy was sold in China for 12 million yuan on Wednesday, or nearly $2 million. According to local news source Qianjian Evening News, a one-year-old golden-haired mastiff puppy was sold to a property developer at a “luxury pet” event and fair in eastern China. While the name of the new mastiff owner is unknown, the newspaper revealed that he is a 56-year-old developer based in the coastal city of Qingdao, and he has plans to get into the breeding business himself.
The dog’s breeder, Zhang Gengyuan, said that this particular breed is popular because “they have lion blood [sic] and are top-of-the range mastiff studs.” Zhang reportedly also sold a different dog for 6 million yuan.
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.
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The particular puppy that was bought was reportedly 80 centimeters tall and weighed in at 90 kilograms, roughly 31” tall and almost 200 lbs. “Pure Tibetan mastiffs are very rare, just like our nationally treasured pandas, so the prices are so high,” Zhang said, adding that he was sad to see the animals leave his care.