A few years back, there was a wild story about how the fabled, almost unreal sounding Tibetan Mastiff was going for hundred of thousands of dollars in China. The story was somewhat exciting as this meant the dog was considered almost godly, a mythical creature people pined for. Yet, as supply and demand goes, the animals have fell out of style and the pups are being shipped off to slaughterhouses. It’s a bad, sad story.
The story originally hit when a mastiff by the name of Big Splash sold for millions of dollars. It was an exciting and absurd headline, one that brought as much glee as it did confusion. Those days are gone though, as the New York Times explains.
These days, those mastiff breeders left in the business are suffering from overcapacity, as it were. Buyers have largely disappeared, and prices have fallen to a small fraction of their peak. The average asking price for desirable dogs — those with lionlike manes and thick limbs — is hovering around $2,000, though many desperate breeders are willing to go far lower.
“If I had other opportunities, I’d quit this business,” said Gombo, a veteran breeder in China’s northwestern province of Qinghai, who like many Tibetans uses just one name. He said keeping one of his 160-pound carnivores properly fed cost $50 to $60 a day.
“The pressure we’re under is huge,” he said.
There are other factors at work here, too. The dogs were eventually bred with other breeds, diluting who the mastiff was. Stories of the dogs being vicious and dangerous didn’t help either. People were also surgically enhancing dogs, to make them more appealing. And, as Gombo (What a name.) said, the upkeep of the dog became too much of a burden. Now? The dogs are literally being stolen for meat.
I’m way feeling for these pups, man. This is super sad yet, thankfully, there seem to be many activist groups in China fighting that good fight and doing their best to save these dogs. They are apparently a blip on the radar of furious Chinese dog trends; yet the aftermath of this particular dog seems the most drastic. Here’s hoping these lion looking pups all make it to safety.