A Tibetan mastiff puppy, which historically belongs to "the oldest and most ferocious dog" breed in the world, was sold on Tuesday at a luxury dog fair in China for $2 million. The one-year-old Tibetan mastiff puppy’s twin cost the new owner another million, making the two dogs – at a total price of $3 million -- the most expensive dogs ever sold in the world, reported the Daily News on March 19, 2014.
The seller of the two one-year-old twin dogs is Zhang Gengyun, a Chinese dog breeder, who told the Qianjiang Evening News that the buyer was an affluent 56-year-old property developer from Qingdao. The sale took place at the luxury dog fair in the Zhejiang province on China’s east coast, and the buyer reportedly paid a total of 18 million yuan ($3 million) for the Tibetan mastiff twins with his credit card.
The Tibetan mastiff puppy which sold for the highest price is a golden-haired Tibetan mastiff which is 31.5 inches tall (80 centimeters) and weighs 200 pounds (90 kilograms). His twin brother is red haired.
Seller Gengyun denied any claims that the sale of the twin dogs was just a means to hype the price of the much desired dogs and that he was really reluctant to sell them.
Tibetan mastiffs have become a status symbol for the rich in China – but with the wrong owner – the dogs might turn from a sheep into a lion.
Historically, the large, slobbery dogs with massive amounts of hair were known to excel in herding sheep, protecting life stock, and guarding people’s homes. Because of their intelligence, alertness and instinctual behavior, Tibetan mastiffs owners must understand canine psychology and be willing and able to assume the primary leadership position. Without consistency and discipline, the dogs can turn into dangerous, unpredictable “lions.”
“At present, the Tibetan Mastiff is the oldest and most ferocious dog in the world,” reports the Journal of Genetics and Genomics in its article “Origin and phylogenetic analysis of Tibetan Mastiff based on the mitochondrial DNA sequence.”
“Tibetan Mastiffs have exceptionally strong jaws and teeth, and this, combined with remarkably high intelligence (that lends to boredom) and their legendary fondness for wood, can result in amazingly destructive acts to your house,” reports the American Kennel Club which lists the Tibetan Mastiff as AKC's 155th breed.
Historically, Marco Polo described the dogs in Tibet as large as donkeys, and Jesuit missionaries in the 17th Century, wrote about “the ferocious, huge dogs” that were traditionally left behind to guard the tents and the children. The dogs were expected to defend the flocks of goats, sheep and yak, the women and the children and the tents of their masters against predators such as wolves and snow leopards, as well as human intruders.
Today, pure bred Tibetan Mastiffs are hard to find in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and other Himalayan regions, but they are still being bred by nomads in some regions and at times sold at the Barkhor market that surrounds the Jokhang Temple, the holiest temple for Tibetan Buddhists.
Quite interestingly, the American Kennel Club reports that “Tibetans believe that Tibetan Mastiffs have the souls of monks and nuns who were not good enough to be reincarnated into people or into Shambhala (the heavenly realm).” Given the history between China and Tibet, many Tibetans might be hoping that the two “cute” Tibetan Mastiffs still have some of their ancestral blood in them – and be truly worth the $3 million.