The man who bought the puppy at the Zhejiang event, who remains anonymous, is said to be a 56-year-old property developer who hopes to use the dog to start his own mastiff breeding program. Such endeavors have become extremely lucrative; another red Tibetan mastiff reportedly sold for approximately $1.6 million in 2011, and a single breeding session with a top stud can cost as much as $40,000.
"They have lion's blood and are top-of-the-range mastiff studs," the dog's breeder Zhang Gengyun told the Qianjiang Evening News. "Pure Tibetan mastiffs are very rare, just like our nationally treasured pandas, so the prices are so high."
But the high prices also correspond with China's massive economic growth and the development of the country's luxury goods industry, of which Tibetan mastiffs appear to be a huge part. China now has over 800,000 millionaires -- the most in the country's modern history -- and for the first time, a number of people in the upper and middle classes now have disposable income to lavish on a dog.