A red Tibetan mastiff has become the priciest dog in the world after being sold for 10 million Chinese yuan, or £945,000.
Big Splash, or Hong Dong in Chinese, was bought by a coal baron from the north of China.
AN EXPENSIVE DOG'S LIFE
They live for up to 14 years and have fewer genetic health problems than many breeds.
The heaviest Tibetan Mastiff weighed in at more than 20 stone.
They are fed an organic diet of tripe, boiled fish heads, powdered egg shells, code liver oil and raw bones to help them clean their teeth.
Marco Polo supposedly encountered Tibetan Mastiffs in the 13th century, describing them as ‘tall as a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion’.
There are only around 300 Tibetan Mastiffs in the UK.
They can only have one litter a year.
In the UK Tibetan Mastiffs cost between £850 and £1,000 for a puppy. An English Bulldog sells for around £2,000.
It is thought the Tibetan Mastiff genetically diverged from the wolf 58,000 years ago.
His owner will need a big house too, as adult Tibetan Mastiffs have been known to weigh as much as 286lb, or more than 20 stone – the same as a sizeable rugby player. However the typical weight for a fully grown Tibetan Mastiff is around 13 stone.
But according to breeder Lu Liang, Big Splash is a 'perfect specimen' and the extravagant price for the 11-month-old is completely justified.
The high price paid for the dog is a sign that the red Tibetan mastiff has become a status symbol in China, replacing jewellery and cars as a way for the super-rich to show off their wealth.
Not only is red considered a lucky colour, but Tibetan mastiffs are thought to be holy animals, blessing their owners' health and security.
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.
Owners of the breed have included Queen Victoria, King George IV and Genghis Khan – who supposedly took 30,000 of the dogs with his army in his bid to conquer Western Europe.