by Dan Gibson
There are days when I say to myself: Why didn't I study dog breeding, move to China and raise Tibetan Mastiffs? Today is one of those days.
From the Telegraph:
Tibetan Mastiffs are huge and fierce guard dogs that have stood watch over nomad camps and monasteries on the Tibetan plateau for centuries.
They are thought to be one of the world's oldest breeds, and legend has it that both Genghis Khan and Lord Buddha kept them.
More recently, however, they have become highly-prized status symbols for China's new rich. The dogs are thought to be a pure "Chinese" breed and they are rarely found outside Tibet, giving them an exclusivity that other breeds cannot match.
Accordingly, prices have risen from around 5,000 yuan a puppy five years ago to the hundreds of thousands and even millions.
Big Splash, or "Hong Dong" in Chinese, is 11-months-old but already stands nearly three-feet-high at the shoulder and weighs more than 180lbs, according to his breeder, Lu Liang.
"He is a perfect specimen," said Mr Lu, who runs the Tibetan Mastiff Garden in Laoshan, near the eastern Chinese city of 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."
Mr Lu said the details of the sale were confidential, but revealed that the buyer, who payed 10 million yuan (£945,000), was a multi-millionaire coal baron from the north of China.
"I could see he loved the puppy, or I would not have sold him," he added. "The buyer told me he thought he was a good investment. As a male dog, he can be hired out to other breeders for as much as 100,000 yuan a shot. He could recoup his money in just a couple of years."
Mr Lu said Big Splash had been fed a diet of chicken and beef, spiced up with exotic Chinese delicacies such as sea cucumber and abalone.
Maybe you think your pet is cuter than Big Splash. If so, there's still time to enter our Pet Idol contest. The winning pet gets its photo in the Tucson Weekly, instantly becoming the envy of all animals in the Tucson metro area.