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A Puppy Sells for $1.5 Million - Dollars for Dogs - How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?

Updated on May 27, 2011

The Highest Price Ever Paid for a Dog

What is the most expensive breed of dog?

An 11 month old puppy that weighs 180 pounds just sold for $1.5 million. The dog is a red Tibetan mastiff, and was sold to a Chinese a multimillionaire businessman, a coal baron from Northern China. The dog’s name is Hong Dong, which means Big Splash. This canines is now the most expensive dog in the entire world. Buddha, Queen Victoria and King George IV, king Edward VIi, owned this breed of dog also.

The breeder of the dog, Lu Liang from Laoshan, China never thought a dog would be sold for such a high price, when they started in the breeding business 10 years ago. The breeder justifies the price because of the considerable money they spent on staff salaries caring and raising Big Splash. Big Splash’s diet consists of beef, chicken, abalone, and sea cucumber.

Big Splash - The Most Expensive Dog in the World

Tibetan Mastiff puppy sold for $1.5 million
Tibetan Mastiff puppy sold for $1.5 million

Tibetan Mastiffs Are an Ancient Breed

Red is considered lucky in China. The Tibetan Mastiff is considered a holy animal and is believed to bring the owner health and good luck.

In Tibet, they believe these Mastiffs hold the souls of nuns and monks who did get reincarnated as humans.  

Tibetan Mastiffs are an ancient dog breed, descended from the dogs kept by Chinese nomadic tribes.These dogs can be traced back to the time of Marco Polo.  They are intelligent and make excellent guard dogs. They are huge dogs, at 180 pounds and 11 months old, Big Splash is still growing. He is considered a perfect breed specimen.  In all liklihood, the new owner will be able to profit from his investment by charging other breeders up to $15,000 in stud fees.

Tibetan Mastiffs have become a status symbol among the very wealthy Chinese in recent years.  For many years, Tibetan Mastiffs have held the record for highest price dog.  In 2009, a mastiff was sold to a Chinese woman for over half a million dollars. The dog’s name is Yangzte No.2. In 2010, another mastiff was sold for nearly $1.47 million, named Red Lion.

Tibetan Mastiffs Come in Many Colors

Tibetan Mastiffs Were Used in Ancient Wars to Conquer the World

Tibetan mastiffs live to about the age of 14. They are fairly free of inherited health problems. They usually only have one litter a year. The heaviest Tibetan mastiff weighed 286 pounds.  The American Kennel Club categorizes Tibetan Mastiffs in the working group of dogs. They became recognized by the AKC in 2006, but Tibetan mastiffs are a rare breed in the United States.  As of 2010, the breed ranked 124 out of 167 in popularity.  Tibetan mastiffs were mountain dogs in the Himalayas and  hills of Tibet.  From these dogs, many other working breeds developed.  The earliest information about this breed goes back to about 1100 B.C. in China. Artifacts and skulls of large dogs resembling mastiffs can be dated to the time about the stone and bronze ages.  Mastiffs were believed to be used in many ancient wars involving the Persians, Greeks, Assyrians, Romans and Attilla the Hun. Genghis Khan, according to history, took 30,000 Tibetan mastiffs to help conquer Western Europe. Tibetan mastiffs nearly became extinct in the 1800’s, but were saved by British breeders. Tibetan mastiffs have always been highly valued animals by the Tibetan people.  In Tibet, they are rare animals today, but if they are found, they are used to guard livestock roaming among the mountainside.  Their job is to protect the yak and sheep, and protect their masters agains predators snow leopards and wolves.

Tibetan Mastiffs are Loyal and Intelligent

Prior to the beginning of the 1800’s the Western world was not allowed in Tibet.  Little was known about these mastiffs.

In 1847, Lord Hardinge, the Viceroy of India, gifted Queen Victoria of England with a Tibetan  mastiff named Siring.  In 1873, the Kennel Club in England began listing over 4,000 breeds of dogs and the large dog of Tibet was officially called the Tibetan Mastiff.

By the next year, in 1874, the Prince of Wales, who would later become King Edward VII of England brought 2 more Tibetan mastiffs to England.
In 1931, the Tibetan Breeds Association in England was formed and official standards for the breed were designated.  In the latter part of the 1950’s, 2 Tibetan mastiffs were sent to the President of the United States.  The dogs were taken to a farm in the midwest and no one heard anything about them.  In 1970, a few Tibetan mastiffs were imported into the United States from Nepal and India.  From these the breed began to develop in the U.S. The magnificient breed is loyal, gentle, patient, fearless, and strong pet. They are vigilant over strangers and very protective of their family and territory.

Tibetan mastiffs

Red Tibetan Mastiffs are Status Symbols in China

The Tibetan mastiff is a large and impressive dog. They are muscular, big boned, and well built powerful dogs. Their head is broad, square like, and big, with deep set, almond shaped eyes. Their eyes are brown, and are very expressive. They have a full tail, a heavy coat and thick mane with a wooly undercoat.

The most common colors are brown, black gray , with or without lighter tan or shades of gold markings. Red Tibetan mastiffs are quite rare.

Tibetan mastiffs are beautiful animals, they have a wonderful disposition no matter what color their fur. Dogs should not be looked at as status symbols. They are wonderful animals, and my hope is, no matter what price a person pays for their pet,that first and foremost they are treated with respect, love and well cared for. I don't want my dogs as status symbols. They are priceless to me.


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    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi RT, I am very glad you joined the discussion about this dog for sale. It is amazing what people put a price on. It is interesting to think about what would we spend $1.5 million dollars on.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting read with interesting comments! Thanks for posting this so the dialogue could ensue.

      My first response was that someone has too much money for their brains! The dog is just darling, but really!

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Very informative article. What a beautiful dog! To think they were used to fight war!

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Alan, Status symbols are everywhere, even among pets. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      These days people are willing to pay even for the most expensive dog.

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Fay, The concept of status is really intriguing when you think about what people will do and spend to attain it, and it is all really made up by society. So is status a real thing?

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      8 years ago

      Mind boggling... $1.5 million! The things people do for status. Excellent article.


    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Jet, Yep, it is one of those amazing but true stories.

    • The Jet profile image

      The Jet 

      8 years ago from The Bay


      What? No--what?

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Roo, Thanks for stopping by. The dog is so beautiful, I can keep looking at the photo of him.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing with us such a wonderful article about a beautiful breed.

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi KKG, I can't imagine spending that much either. I wonder if there was sales tax added to the purchase. That alone would be more than I would spend on a dog.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      toknowinfo, I can't imagine spending that much for a dog. Great hub, great information.

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Polly,

      You are very funny. But at the price this dog went for, you might be on to something!

    • Pollyannalana profile image


      8 years ago from US

      Well I have a white cat, with a little super glue and some brown yarn...j/k ...great hub!


    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      This certainly was a huge price to pay for a dog! The Red Tibetan Mastiffs are rare, and they only breed once a year, but it seems every year there is a higher and higher price paid for this dog. I wonder how high the price will be next year?

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Voted up - very informative and well written. What a beautiful dog and the backstory is incredible. But paying that much money for a dog seems decadent. I wonder if he will be able to breed more of the rare red Tibetan Mastiffs....

    • Betty Johansen profile image

      Betty Johansen 

      8 years ago

      Tibetan mastiffs sound like wonderful pets. And they are adorable! Sounds like the coal baron is, at least, contributing to the economy of his country - supporting the dog breeder and staff, as well as providers of beef, chicken, etc.

    • m4rkb3rt profile image


      8 years ago

      Read it twice! I though that i was dreaming and smash my face with mouse pad. $1.5m for a dog. geez, never imagine that kind of dog cost that much. nice hub though. Thumbs up!

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      8 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Wow. He looks like a Newfie with a dye job and fluff! A sweetie I am sure but OVERPRICED, wouldn't you say? Dear thing...he won't live any longer than any other wonderful one of God's furry creatures, at any price.

    • Fossillady profile image


      8 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      I saw this on the news, he sure is red, whatever floats your boat I say!

    • susannah42 profile image


      8 years ago from Florida

      I love dogs as much as the best, but that much for a dog is ridiculous.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I've generally liked all kinds of dogs.As far as a dog as status symbol, I wouldn't thinks so. However, I find that my present dog , a Siberian Husky mix, gets constant compliments and it does seem nice to hear.

    • anglnwu profile image


      8 years ago

      This is such an interesting hub. To buy a dog for $1.5 million is unthinkable to me but then, being Chinese myself, I understand the thinking behind it. Rated up.

    • Cogerson profile image


      8 years ago from Virginia

      Wow that is amazing....Tibetan mastiff look like a combo of dog and lion....great stuff....thanks for posting

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 

      8 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Just do a Google search for Norbury Mudhounds. You won't regret it (I hope).

    • amillar profile image


      8 years ago from Scotland, UK

      1.5 million?! I'm tempted to make a pun about 'splashing out'; there, I just did - sorry.

      Up and useful to dog lovers.

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi TL,

      It is not a matter of what that particular person would have done with the money, my words in the above comment, were, "think of what $1.5 million could do". It is a tremendous amount of money, and it shows how skewed the world is.

      Tibetan terriers are such cute dogs. I never heard of the Norbury Mudhound, but you got me curious now.

      Thanks for your contribution, it is always a pleasure to have you visit.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 

      8 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I know it seems unfair, but do you really think that that money, if not paid for the dog, would have been donated to cancer relief; to the poor; to world starvation; to help those poor little girls? Afraid not. Just be optimistic and imagine that person who could pay so much for a status symbol, might also think he gained status by helping others in other ways.

      Regardless, have a look at Tibetan Terriers; they have some of the same qualities of intelligence and love of their owners, and don't cost nearly as much...

      Or the ultimate dog: the Norbury Mudhound .

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Mentalist,

      Seems like it is a paw investment.

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Kashmir,

      I thought this story was worthy of my time to write. It is mind boggling that a dog would sell for that much, and it is not the first time. Between 2009, and this sale, 3 Tibetan mastiffs have sold for a total of nearly $3 million dollars. Where is the justification, when everyday there are more and more people in need?

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Einron,

      This world! Think of what $1.5 million could do for people in need, for charities, for cancer care, for abandoned animals, for earthquake victims.

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Ingenira,

      This dog definitely looks like he is high maintenance in cost and care. But he has a really cute face, only a mother and a dog lover could love.

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Nan,

      Are you surprised by a country that has son preferences, and will commit gendercide against baby girls? Don't get me started on China!

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      8 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      It's can always be seen as an investment.:)

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi toknowinfo, Very interesting and informative hub, it amazes me how some people can be so self centered and pay that amount of money for one dog . When many starving people could have been feed .

      Awesome and vote up !!!

    • einron profile image


      8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      Interesting hub. What a price to pay for an animal when so many people are starving for lack of food.

      In some of the pictures, they do look a little like lions.

    • Ingenira profile image


      8 years ago

      Amazing fact. Very well written. Not only it is expensive buy, expensive to feed and maintain the dog it too.

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 

      8 years ago from Illinois

      It is hard to bvelieve that the dog sold for 1.5 million dollars in China. Their people are starving in that country. They value a dog more than a human being, too bad!


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