Tibetan Mastiff Puppy – £1.2m

Approximate value



A Tibetan mastiff puppy has been sold in China for almost nearly £1.2million, smashing the previously confirmed record for the world’s most expensive dog sale.

A Chinese property developer has recently purchased a Tibetan mastiff puppy for almost £1.2 million, setting a new record for the world’s most expensive dog sale. The transaction took place at a luxury pet fair in the eastern province of Zhejiang, with the buyer paying 12 million yuan for the one-year-old golden-haired canine, as reported by local media.

The breeder, Zhang Gengyun, described the dog as having “lion’s blood” and being a top-of-the-range mastiff stud. Another red-haired mastiff from the same breeder reportedly sold for 6 million yuan. These enormous and occasionally fierce Tibetan mastiffs, with their round manes resembling lions, have become a status symbol among China’s affluent.

Tibetan Mastiff Puppy £1.2m

The record-breaking mastiff stood at 31 inches (80 cm) tall, weighed 90 kg, and, according to Mr. Zhang, possessed lion-like features. He expressed sadness at parting with the dogs, though their names were not disclosed in the report.

Zhang highlighted the rarity of pure Tibetan mastiffs, comparing them to China’s nationally treasured pandas, which contributes to their high prices. Red mastiffs, in particular, are considered lucky, and Tibetan mastiffs are believed to be holy animals, bringing health and security blessings to their owners.

In 2011, a red mastiff named Big Splash was reported to have sold for 10 million yuan (£971,000; $1.5 million) to a coal baron, marking the most expensive dog sale at that time. While red has traditionally been considered a lucky colour, the demand for leonine gold seems to have surpassed it among wealthy collectors of this rare breed.

The buyer at the Zhejiang expo was identified as a 56-year-old property developer from Qingdao, aspiring to become a dog breeder himself. The report quoted the owner of a mastiff breeding website stating that a year ago, one of these dogs sold for 27 million yuan at a Beijing fair.

However, an industry insider named Xu suggested that some of the exorbitant prices might result from agreements among breeders to artificially inflate the value of their dogs. Xu stated that many of these high-priced deals involve breeders hyping each other up, with no actual money changing hands.

Tibetan mastiffs, descendants of dogs used for hunting by nomadic tribes in central Asia and Tibet, are known for their fierce loyalty and protectiveness. Not recommended for novice dog owners, they are intelligent yet stubborn and require strict obedience training and an understanding of canine psychology. These animals are reputedly capable of confronting predators as large as wolves and leopards.

A fact file on Tibetan mastiffs reveals their origin with nomadic cultures in Tibet, China, Nepal, Ladakh, and Central Asia. Originally bred as guard dogs to protect various establishments, they are not true mastiffs but were named so by early Western visitors to China due to their size. Despite their plentiful coat, Tibetan mastiffs do not suffer from the typical ‘big-dog’ smell that affects many other large breeds. Due to high demand, breeders sometimes use unscrupulous means to increase the dogs’ value, such as photoshopping pictures to exaggerate desirable features. Some buyers have reported that the dogs lose colour and much of their hair after the first bath, indicating deceptive practices in the industry.

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