A Chinese millionaire has paid four million yuan ($599,300) for a Tibetan mastiff, and arranged for a convoy of 30 black Mercedes to meet her (and the dog) at Xi'an airport.

The Tibetan Mastiff is a rare breed of domestic dog originating in Tibet


"Gold has a price, but this Tibetan Mastiff doesn't." she is reported to have said, adding that she and a friend had been searching for an example of the original breed for some time.

Dog lovers also turned out with a welcome banner.

The millionaire, whose surname is Wang, is not the only one to think the breed is something special.

They were first mentioned in 1121, when one was given to a Chinese Emperor, and were also referred to by Marco Polo.

They are large, long-lived, intelligent, thick-furred dogs and ferocious in defence, being prepared to take on leopards and even tigers.

There are some examples of the breed in England as a result of George IV owning a pair, though the breed has become different in temperament there.

Whilst animals are not like other collectibles, not least in that, sadly, no amount of care will preserve them indefinitely, there are similarities in that they are worth whatever people will pay for them, and rarity increases the price.

Only 0.06% of Chinese people have over 10m yuan ($1.74m), but that still represents 825,000 people.

Hence with over a million millionaires by US standards, anything regarded as collectible in China can easily maintain a high price tag. 


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