The million pound mutt: Red Tibetan Mastiff becomes world's most expensive dog
Choosing a pedigree dog can always be an expensive addition to your home but it’s unlikely any members of the Kennel Club would set you back six figures.
But an 11-month-old Red Tibetan Mastiff puppy, unmissable due to his bright fur, has been bought for almost a million pounds by a Chinese coal tycoon.
‘Hong Dong’, meaning Big Splash in Chinese, has become the most expensive dog on the planet after he was purchased from a breeder for 10 million yuan, or £945,000.
The puppy isn’t even a year old yet but already weighs in at more than 180lbs and is almost three feet high.
The prized pup’s size comes from a reasonably normal diet of chicken and beef, his breeder explained, though having been raised in Qingdao in eastern China, he’s also chowed down on some local delicacies such as sea cucumber and abalone.
‘He is a perfect specimen,' said Lu Liang, who runs the Tibetan Mastiff Garden in Laoshan, near Qingdao.
‘He has excellent genes and will be a good breeding dog. When I started in this business, ten years ago, I never thought we would see such a price,’ he told the Telegraph.
While the exact details of the sale have not been released, Mr Lu said the buyer was a wealthy coal baron from northern China.
The new owner could also make his money back while Big Splash is still young, due to the breed’s prestige in China.
It is thought Big Splash could be hired out to other breeders as a stud for 100,000 yuan per time, with China’s growing upper class increasingly keen on the breed due to its exclusivity.
Big Splash has taken the title of world’s most expensive dog from a fellow Tibetan Mastiff, with the oddly-named Yangtze River Number Two selling for four million yuan in 2009.
Another of the dogs, named Red Lion, was valued at 10 million yuan last year after it won a mastiff exhibition in Chengdu.
Reputedly owned by Genghis Khan and Lord Buddha, Red Tibetan Mastiffs are atypically found outside Tibet and are viewed as a pure ‘Chinese’ breed.
The breed is also considered one of the oldest pure breeds in the world and there are thought to be less than 20 remaining in Tibet.
The mastiffs have become a sought-after status symbol for China’s newest millionaires, with rare stamps, antique vases and vintage wines also fetching huge sale prices in recent years.