Ms Wang, a Chinese citizen who is undoubtedly a millionaire, has done just that, by spending 4 million yuan (about 350,000 British Pounds) on an 18 month old Tibetan Mastiff named Yangtze River Number Two.
The earliest record of the Tibetan Mastiff was when a hunting dog was given to a Chinese emperor in 1121BC. The next encounter was by Marco Polo who depicted these dogs as being as “tall as a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion.”
The sacred city of Lhasa used them as guard dogs.
King George IV owned a pair of Tibetan Mastiffs in the early 19th century. In 1906 the breed was shown at the Crystal Palace show.
Although the Tibetan Mastiff is still considered to be a rare breed, are they are becoming more and more popular and breeders have sprung all over the world. At the start of the breeding of this breed there was a very limited gene pool from the original stock. However, breeders have since improved on the Tibetan Mastiff’s genetic issues via selective breeding and the international exchange of new bloodlines.
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show allowed the Tibetan Mastiff to compete for the first time in 2008.
Forever on the quest for the perfect Tibetan Mastiff, Ms Wang had apparently travelled to the town of Yushu in the Qinghai Province with a Tibetan Mastiff that she already owned. Ms Wang was hoping to breed her Tibetan Mastiff to one of the legendary pure blooded Tibetan Mastiffs that are well known to originate from that region of China. Whilst in the city itself, Ms Wang saw a Tibetan Mastiff known only as White Root and decided there and then that that dog was the perfect specimen of a Tibetan Mastiff.
It is unclear whether White Root is actually Yangtze, or whether Yangtze is somehow related to White Root. In any case, Ms Wang wanted the dog and was will to shell out big bucks for him.
It seems that Ms Wang, before leaving the Qinghai Province, excitedly contacted her wealthy friends back home and not only told them how much she had just spent on the 80cm tall pup, but also what time her flight would arrive back home at the Xi’an airport, in the capital of Shaanxi province.
Ms Wang’s friends immediately sprang into action and, in their own show of opulence, descended upon the Xi’an airport in their own black Mercedes Benz limousines. They, somehow, also managed to arrange for a rather large crowd of dog owners, enthusiasts and other well wishers to be at the airport displaying handmade welcome signs and waving excitedly to Yangtze and Ms Wang.
Besides the handful of dog lovers that Ms Wang’s friends had called upon, the crowd of onlookers started to slowly increase in size as the motorcade of the 30 luxurious Mercedes Benz Limousines drove closer and closer to the airport. Many of these people in the ‘extra crowd’ admitted to thinking that there would witness the arrival of a human celebrity, not a pet one!
Posing for a photograph with Yangtze, Ms Wang was quoted as saying:
“Gold has a price, but this Tibetan mastiff doesn’t.”
Because Tibetan Mastiffs are considered to be a rare breed of dog, you will not be able to purchase one in the Western world for under $2,000. However, due to their strong guarding instincts, Tibetan Mastiffs are a lot more expensive in China.
Ms Wang has admitted that she plans on mating Yangtze with the other Tibetan Mastiff that she owns, hoping to recreate the perfect Tibetan Mastiff!
Such extravagant parading of money and goods are not uncommon amongst the millionaires and other wealthy people in China.
However, the ownership of dogs in China, which is quickly growing in popularity, has become a problem for the local governments. Pets may be banned from most public places in Shanghai, if the authorities have their way! Even the host of next year’s Asian Games, Guangzhou, has not escaped from the wrath of authorities; every family is now only allowed to have one dog.
In previous years, specifically during the reign of Mao Zedong, the Chinese people looked down upon owning a dog and thought dog ownership to be foolish and dog ownership was therefore quickly banned.
Today, however, Shanghai alone has over 150,000 registered dogs.
Earlier this year an American family living in Florida paid nearly $155,000 (or almost 90,000 British Pounds) for their dog. The Labrador, called Lancelot Encore, was a clone of the family’s original dog, Lancelot.
Photo Credit: Kjunstorm