Tibetan Mastiff losing appeal as status symbol
Like luxury cars and houses in China, a Tibetan mastiff was once deemed a status symbol for China’s nouveau riche.
The market for the shaggy, lion-like dogs sky rocketed over the past two decades. According to the Tibetan Mastiff Association, there were 95 puppy farms in the autonomous region selling nearly 10,000 dogs annually before 2012. In 2012, a pup was reportedly sold for 20 million yuan ($3.23 million) in Qingdao, Shandong province.
But now only 66 farms survive with 3,000 of the exotic breed sold in 2014. The cooling of the market can be attributed to regulations against large dogs in cities, said Wang Zhankui, chief of a mastiff research center in Henan province. Cases of pet mastiffs, known for a loyal but fierce disposition, injuring or killing family members and passersby are occasionally reported, leading to a ban on raising the breed in cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin.
China’s ongoing anti-corruption drive has also taken its toll, Wang said. The dogs were once a fashionable gift from businessmen to officials but now both avoid buying or receiving them. (Photo 2)