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Record-breaking dog sale? Tibetan mastiff sells for $2 million in China
The golden-haired Tibetan mastiff seen here on the left sold for nearly $2 million dollars at a "luxury pet" fair in Beijing Tuesday.

How much is that doggie in the window?

A pair of beautiful Tibetan mastiffs sold for nearly three million dollars this week at a “luxury pet” auction held in Beijing on Tuesday. A one-year-old golden-haired mastiff pup sold for 12 million yuan ($1.9 million), and the other sold for 6 million yean, or just under $1 million.

Writes a March 19 report from AFP, carried on MSN News: “Enormous and sometimes ferocious, with round manes lending them a passing resemblance to lions, Tibetan mastiffs have become a prized status symbol among China's wealthy, sending prices skyrocketing.”

“They have lion's blood and are top-of-the-range mastiff studs,” the dog's breeder Zhang Gengyun said. “Pure Tibetan mastiffs are very rare, just like our nationally treasured pandas, so the prices are so high.”

The recent sale of the one-year-old mastiff, who was bought by a 56-year-old property developer, surpasses the previous record sale for a dog in China – another mastiff named “Big Splash” who sold 10 million yuan in 2011.

Owners of the giant dogs, which can reach nearly three feet in height, say the mastiffs, descendants of dogs used for hunting by nomadic tribes in central Asia and Tibet, are fiercely loyal and protective. In China, the dogs are considered holy and able to bring health and blessings to their owners.

How much do these massive animals resemble lions? So much so that one Chinese zoo last year tried to pass them off as one and the same:

Visitors in uproar after China zoo tries to pass of a dog as a lion.

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