An 11-month-old Red Tibetan Mastiff has become the priciest dog in the world after being sold for 10 million Chinese yuan, or $1.5 million. The dog, named Big Splash, or Hong Dong in Chinese, was bought by a coal baron from the north of China.
The breed can grow to be 285 pounds, and according to the breeder, Big Splash is such a perfect specimen that the eyeball-popping price is justified. The breed has become a status symbol in China, replacing cars and expensive bling as a way for the uber-rich to show off their new-found wealth.
Red is considered a lucky color in Chinese culture and Tibetan Mastiffs are thought to be holy animals, bringing riches and good health to their owners, which helps explain the country’s interest in the dog and the run-up in price.
Tibetan Mastiffs are huge and fierce guard dogs that have stood watch over nomad camps and monasteries on the Tibetan plateau for centuries. Tibetans believe the dogs have the souls of monks and nuns who were not good enough to be reincarnated as humans or into Shambhala, the heavenly realm.
Before the sale, the world’s most expensive dog was another Tibetan Mastiff, named Yangtze River Number Two, who was sold in 2009 for 4 million yuan. [Gawker]