A Red Tibetan Mastiff puppy has become the world"s most expensive dog after being sold for almost £1 million
Tibetan Mastiffs are huge and fierce guard dogs that have stood watch over nomad camps and monasteries on the Tibetan plateau for centuries.
They are thought to be one of the world"s oldest breeds, and legend has it that both Genghis Khan and Lord Buddha kept them.
More recently, however, they have become highly-prized status symbols for China"s new rich. The dogs are thought to be a pure "Chinese" breed and they are rarely found outside Tibet, giving them an exclusivity that other breeds cannot match.
Accordingly, prices have risen from around 5,000 yuan a puppy five years ago to the hundreds of thousands and even millions.
Big Splash, or "Hong Dong" in Chinese, is 11-months-old but already stands nearly three-feet-high at the shoulder and weighs more than 180lbs, according to his breeder, Lu Liang.
Before the sale, the world"s most expensive dog was another Tibetan Mastiff, named Yangtze River Number Two, who was sold in 2009 for four million yuan.
Upon its arrival in the central city of Xi"an, Yangtze River Number Two was chauffeured to its new home by a motorcade of 30 black limousines, prompting widespread scorn at the tastelessness of some of China"s nouveau riche.
£1 million for the world's most expensive dog ( $1.6m)£1 million for the world's most expensive dog ( $1.6m)