A Tibetan Mastiff – an ancient breed of dog that looks more lion than canine – just went for nearly $2 million at a Chinese “luxury pet fair” in the eastern province of Zhejiang, Agence France-Presse reports.

CHINA-DOG-OFFBEATMore expensive than the 2011 sale of a red mastiff named Big Splash, which cost $1.6 million, the March 14 transaction might just make this dog the most expensive of all time, AFP says.

The buyer, an unnamed 56-year-old property developer from Qingdao, dropped a whopping 12 million yuan on the dog on March 19, 2014, and the dog’s breeder was overjoyed. For reporters on March 19, he laid it on thick. His dogs “have lion’s blood and are top-of-the-range mastiff studs. Pure Tibetan mastiffs are very rare, just like our nationally treasured pandas, so the prices are so high.”

In 2010, the Associated Press called the breed the “dog of the moment.” Its ownership has come to symbolize wealth and status as much as a new car or an ostentatious mansion.

“I used to invest in German shepherds, but Tibetan mastiffs are what’s hot right now,” business owner Sui Huizheng, who owns 20 of the dogs, told the AP.

But they are relatively common in China, and have a short life expectancy. “It’s quite puzzling why they are fetching such a high price in China,” says Martha Feltenstein, president of the American Tibetan Mastiff Association.

This red-haired, two-million-dollar dog is a hulk of an animal, 31 inches tall and weighing nearly 200 pounds, AFP reports.

By Terrance McCoy, Washington Post

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