This month, a Tibetan mastiff may well have broken the world record for being the world’s most expensive dog when a Chinese lady known only by the surname of Wang bought the dog for a figure reported to be 4 million yuan (£350,000).
The prize dog is called Yangtze River Number Two, is 18 months old and stands 31 inches (80 cm) tall. Apparently, a parade of 30 cars were sent to the airport in Shaanxi to collect Yangtze and a crowd gathered to meet him.
Earlier this year, a figure of $155,000 (£90k) was paid for Lancelot Encore, a clone from their pet Labrador retriever Lancelot but if proved to be correct, this Tibetan mastiff will now take the world title.
It used to be that owning a dog was condemned in China as a ‘bourgeois folly’ but nowadays many own dogs as a sign of wealth and luxury and in Shanghai alone there are 150,000 registered dogs.
Naturally, with such a high price tag, there are several rumours circulating about the purchase.
One story says that the Chinese lady, Mrs Wang, was travelling with her own Tibetan mastiff to Yushu to mate it with another dog in the area but whilst there, she spotted a dog called White Root and straight away declared she had to have him.
Another story says the lady had been searching for her ideal Tibetan mastiff for years and was determined that this dog was it.
She is reported to have said of the price tag:
“Gold has a price, but this Tibetan mastiff doesn’t”
Before returning home, Mrs Wang is said to have informed her wealthy friends at home how much she had paid for the canine and when they would arrive together. To support her, the wealthy friends sent their limousines to the airports and arranged for welcoming banners to be displayed by fellow dog lovers at the airport. At the sight of all the luxurious cars, the crowd mistakenly believed that a human celebrity was about to arrive.
Some have even suggested that Mrs Wang is set to buy her beloved Tibetan mastiff a 52 carat diamond dog collar called the Amour Amour that comes with a price tag of £1.08 million.
Such great spending is not unusual amongst the richest of China however, dog ownership is growing in such popularity there that authorities in Shanghair are reportedly thinking of banning dogs altogether from a number of public places and in Guangzhou where the 2010 Asian Games are to be hosted a one dog policy is already in place.