Red Tibetan Mastiff 'is world's most expensive dog'

Tibetan mastiff

A Red Tibetan Mastiff has reportedly become the world's most expensive dog, after a coal baron from China bought the canine for one million pounds.

The Chinese multi-millionaire, whose name has not been disclosed, bought the 11-month-old dog, Big Splash, for nearly 10 million Chinese yuan, or 945,000 pounds, British newspaper the 'Daily Mail' reported.

According to breeder Lu Liang, Big Splash is a perfect specimen and the extravagant price for the dog is "completely justified".

He said "We have spent a lot of money raising this dog, and we have the salaries of plenty of staff to pay" – adding that the new owner could charge 10,000 pounds a time for Big Splash to breed with a female.

Adult Tibetan mastiffs have been known to weigh as much as 286 pounds -- the same as a sizeable rugby player.

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 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.

The title of most expensive dog in the world was previously held by a Tibetan mastiff called Red Lion, who was valued at 915,000 pounds last year.

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