China's latest must-have luxury for the ultra-rich, to go with mansions and sports cars, is a large, slobbery dog with massive amounts of hair best known for herding sheep in .
Pet ownership is booming in China, and the an mastiff is the dog of the moment for those who want to spread their wealth beyond stocks and real estate.
"I used to invest in German shepherds, but an mastiffs are what's hot right now," said Sui Huizheng, a business owner who has about 20 of the dogs and attended the 6th annual China an Mastiff Expo this past weekend."
Hundreds of the hairy dogs were on hand, and owners and handlers marched the most expensive ones down catwalks as though they were fashion models. Some carried the names of wealthy Americans like "Warren Buffett," while others were called "God" and "Prince."
Their hoped-for prize: breeders willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a mate for their mastiff.
he craze seems to defy sales patterns and common sense elsewhere, especially for a dog that is common and is known for being fierce.
"I can understand racehorses and diamonds, but I don't understand why someone would want to pay half a million dollars for a dog," said Martha Feltenstein, president of the American an Mastiff Association.
In the US, an mastiff pups can be bought for as little as several hundred dollars, Feltenstein said.
Breeders in China say adult an mastiffs sell for tens of thousands of dollars, and can even go for more than 100,000.
After splurging on real estate in Australia, American thoroughbreds and European designer fashions, China's rich see the an mastiffs as a new status symbol.
Luxury brands are growing at phenomenal rates in China and owning a an mastiff is another channel for increasing your credibility and showing off your rich status.