“But Tibetan mastiffs are so 2013.”
April 17, 2015 12:51 PM   Subscribe

Once-Prized Tibetan Mastiffs Are Discarded as Fad Ends in China [New York Times]
“Then there is the Tibetan mastiff, a lumbering shepherding dog native to the Himalayan highlands that was once the must-have accouterment for status-conscious Chinese. Four years ago, a reddish-brown purebred named Big Splash sold for $1.6 million, according to news reports, though cynics said the price was probably exaggerated for marketing purposes. No reasonable buyer, self-anointed experts said at the time, would pay more than $250,000 for a premium specimen.”
posted by Fizz (34 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
the owner of one promising moneymaker sued a Beijing animal clinic for $140,000 after his dog died on the operating table during face-lift surgery

wat is this i don't even
posted by GuyZero at 12:59 PM on April 17, 2015 [27 favorites]


What an utterly ghastly situation.
posted by Rora at 1:02 PM on April 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


See also: emus.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:09 PM on April 17, 2015


grumpybear69, that link takes me to a story that feels less like journalism and more like a rejected Kramer heavy episode of Seinfeld.
"After a fast start, the idea of selling the big birds as a lowfat meat source didn't get off the ground. Many Texas ranchers lost their investments. Now, you can't even give the creatures away."
posted by Fizz at 1:12 PM on April 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Our dog, a puggle, is a fad breed/mix who turned up at the shelter after running away from what we suspect was a backyard breeding operation (technically they were counterfeiting as you technically can't breed a puggle from a puggle.) While the crazy valuation of these dogs may be a peculiar part of the booming Chinese economy, fad breeds being abandoned after their popularity passes is a problem everywhere that dog breeds are a thing. There's a lot of sad aspects to dog breeding, and the treatment of fad breeds is, just, ugh, I don't have the words for it.
posted by griphus at 1:13 PM on April 17, 2015 [16 favorites]


My sister bought into emus and just....let her emus loose out in Texas when the market tanked. I assume they either got shot, died of exposure or starvation, or were caught by someone else. It was fucking cruel, but she is kind of an animal collector and tends to buy into fads. Right now she's raising quail for no reason I can grasp. She gets them up to full grown and then just keeps them in cages or sells them to people to eat or "hunt." I assume she'd let them loose too if she got tired of them.

Great for the coyotes and vultures, but not for them. Thankfully she never got into breeding, she tends to just like raising things that she has no use for.
posted by emjaybee at 1:16 PM on April 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


(technically they were counterfeiting as you technically can't breed a puggle from a puggle.)

This might be the most entertaining idea I've read today, griphus. Next: Could counterfeit chugs be showing up in your puppy market? Debra has this story on Eyewitness News at 10.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:16 PM on April 17, 2015 [11 favorites]


While the crazy valuation of these dogs may be a peculiar part of the booming Chinese economy, fad breeds being abandoned after their popularity passes is a problem everywhere that dog breeds are a thing. There's a lot of sad aspects to dog breeding, and the treatment of fad breeds is, just, ugh, I don't have the words for it.

Yup. From the NYT - September 14, 1997:
Animal shelters around the country have reported sharp increases in the number of unwanted Dalmatian dogs this year, many of them given to children as gifts last Christmas after the release of Disney's remake of the movie ''101 Dalmatians.'' Although nationwide figures are not available, some shelters say they have seen the number of abandoned dogs more than double and that they fear the problem will only grow worse with the new ''101 Dalmatians'' television program on ABC.

A spokeswoman for the American Humane Association, Joyce Briggs, said that the group planned to survey members at its annual meeting next month to find out the extent of the abandoned-Dalmatian problem.
It's stupid, it sucks, and I hate it.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:23 PM on April 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


People who assholes about animals make me grrrrr.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:23 PM on April 17, 2015 [11 favorites]


Previously on Fad Animal Booms and Busts: Alpacas.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 1:24 PM on April 17, 2015


When someone is capable of treating a living being as a fashion accessory...I think that says all you need to know about that person.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:24 PM on April 17, 2015 [37 favorites]


Yup. From the NYT - September 14, 1997:

Here's one about puggles called (brace heart for impact) "Huggable, but Only for a While"
posted by griphus at 1:32 PM on April 17, 2015


Vice had a feature about the world of million dollar Tibetan Mastiffs only 4 months ago. You could see the inevitable conclusion of that story even then.
posted by danny the boy at 1:35 PM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


So many pets/animals out there being harmed or destroyed because humans are terrible at being human.

*sighs*
posted by Fizz at 1:40 PM on April 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


> My sister bought into emus and just....let her emus loose out in Texas when the market tanked ... she tends to just like raising things that she has no use for.

cruel story bro
posted by contraption at 1:44 PM on April 17, 2015 [19 favorites]


I could see someone purchasing a 5-lb purse-sized dachshund as a 'fad' accessory, but I'm having trouble picturing anyone holding onto a 150-lb dog for more than a week if they weren't very committed, especially when feeding costs $50 per day and daily exercise requirements are factored in.
posted by fragmede at 2:03 PM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


We had a huge rash of chihuahuas in our shelters a couple of years ago, after the whole Paris Hilton thing, I guess. They were shifting them around the country because some areas still wanted them and some were glutted.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:08 PM on April 17, 2015


I can't, and won't, even look at this. It just makes me too angry and sad. Instead I'll just link to this amazong list of reasons, from the American Tibetan Mastiff Association, a breed support organization, Why The Tibetan Mastiff May Not Be The Right Breed For You:

In short, if you want an obedient dog, a dog that you can walk off leash, a dog that will come when called, the TM is not the dog for you. If you lead an active social life, with many people coming in and out of your house, the TM is not the dog for you. If you have several small children, and many children come to visit, the TM may not be the dog for you. If you prize your wood furniture (or your plaster walls), and you will be upset if they were chewed on (or eaten in their entirety), the TM is not for you.

Bottom line? If you want a life of any kind beyond your dog, this is not the dog for you. But then, given how amazing these dogs are, it's not necessarily an easy choice.
posted by The Bellman at 2:10 PM on April 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


If puggles were people.

They're cute, but seriously people, do some research on digs before you buy one.

technically can't breed a puggle from a puggle.

The thing about purebreds is that they breed true - the offspring are basically like the parents. The trouble with cross-breeds is that they don't breed true - you'll sort of randomly get dogs that are much more like their grandparents. Someday there could be an actual puggle breed if people were dedicated enough to breed one. But that would be a terrible idea as they have the noted deficiencies.

Didn't we also recently have that FPP on unpopular dog breeds dying out? The irony.
posted by GuyZero at 2:11 PM on April 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


grumpybear69: See also: emus.

That's gonna be a tricky one to explain to the grandkids.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:13 PM on April 17, 2015


especially when feeding costs $50 per day

I think that is really the point of having this dog as a fad - to have a dog of this size indicates that you are wealthy enough to feed it. The display of wealth being very important in the Chinese culture.
posted by vignettist at 3:41 PM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


In accordance with what the article mentioned, my BIL was breeding "champion" German Shepherds for a while about 10 years ago. He was selling mostly to Chinese folks here in So Cal, and then he figured out a way to ship them to China for a while. At the time he was asking $2K - $2.5K per dog, but often had them until they were several months old, up to a year old sometimes. In a kennel situation, not trained or socialized at all.

They were living pretty much hand-to-mouth at their house so he wasn't feeding the dogs well. We went to visit one time with our two Yellow Labs in tow, and he complained loud and long about how "fat" our dogs were (trust me, they weren't). Meanwhile I could see the ribs on his dogs. He tried to tell us that that was a healthy weight in order to prevent hip dysplasia. This guy was trying to run his sales pitch on us. (Yeah, we don't get along with BIL too well). But dog breeding was his only income for at least a few years.
posted by vignettist at 3:54 PM on April 17, 2015


Dalmatians are terrible pets for people who don't love big, high-energy dogs that are high-energy did I mention they are high-energy.

If you're not into doing multiple mile runs on a daily basis a Dalmatian is probably not the dog for you. I wish that Disney was responsible enough to explain that kind of thing before the movie aired but I suppose that would be too hard. Of course asking people to do some basic breed research and think about their lives before they get a dog is completely out of the question.

People are garbage.
posted by winna at 4:36 PM on April 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


They just need to develop fad breeds with a three-year lifespan.
posted by snofoam at 6:00 PM on April 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


emjaybee: My sister bought into emus and just....let her emus loose out in Texas when the market tanked.

When I'm supreme high ruler of the Earth, this sort of thing will get you at least five years on some kind of chain-gang that kills invasive species.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:09 PM on April 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


About 25 years ago, I was staying with a family in the Seattle area that had a breeding pair of Tibetan Mastiffs. I was told that he had acquired the female from a monk who told him that in Tibet members of the Chinese army liked to take their dogs and eat them just for the power play. The male, he had gotten from a couple who called him in a panic. They had made steak for dinner and their mastiff had jumped up on the table growling at them when they tried to approach and they didn't know what to do. He walked in, stared the dog down, alpha rolled him and took him home.
When I met these dogs, they were extremely well trained and very nice. The male liked to play and rough house. He also knew exactly how hard he was latching onto my arm with his jaws - enough to play, not enough to hurt. The family had 3 kids and got along with them very well.
I attribute most of this to how well the parents trained the dogs and trained the kids.
posted by plinth at 6:19 PM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


We had a huge rash of chihuahuas in our shelters a couple of years ago, after the whole Paris Hilton thing, I guess. They were shifting them around the country because some areas still wanted them and some were glutted.

You know, every time I go downtown and pass someone walking their wheezing pug, or their shivering chihuahua, I just want to garrotte them with the five-meter-long retractable wire leashes that are almost always attached to the poor animals.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:57 PM on April 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


If you choose to take on responsibility for a 150-pound carnivore, and then choose to cavalierly abandon responsibility for that 150-pound carnivore, you deserve to be eaten by that 150-pound carnivore.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:37 PM on April 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Goddamned shit-for-brains, "status conscious" assholes with no sense of decency. Fuckers.

This makes me incandescent with rage. All of my furbeasts have been rescues, including my beautiful redhead, Zoe, an American Pitbull Terrier. We drove an hour to rescue her, just hours before she was to be taken to a high kill shelter, in a county where the Dog Warden gave Pibbles a max of 3 days. Her previous owner wanted a mean dog. She isn't. When he left his wife and kids, her left her, too, because she offended his manliness or some shit. He had paid a small fortune for her, and sulked because she wasn't a naturally vicious dog. The wife and kids had to move, the new landlord said "No Pitbull!" We hauled ass to bring her home; she was just 6 months old, far too young to lose her life.

All 90 pounds of her spoilt rotten ass is in my lap right now, snoring down the house. She sticks to us like velcro, refuses to allow anyone in the house to go unkissed, and can't bear to be where her pack is not. We are lucky to have rescued this sweet baby, who wasn't living up to myths about her kind.

Please don't go to breeders. Please fish your pups out of dog jail, take a few training classes, and remember that your dog is a living creature, not a status symbol.
posted by MissySedai at 8:01 PM on April 17, 2015 [29 favorites]


[Re: Puggles]
They're cute, but seriously people, do some research on dogs before you buy one

Seconded. We got our Nugget at 8 weeks old, and 7 years later he's brought me more laughter and happiness than any other creature on the planet. Yes, he's completely insane, but I knew that going in, and all the affection and snuggling make up for the times he steals a pair of my underwear out of the hamper and eats only the crotch part.

Finding the right breed (or cross-breed) for your lifestyle and personality really is important. The friendship of a dog is nothing to take for granted, even though you totally can and they'll still love you for their entire, way-too-short lives.
posted by jake at 8:25 PM on April 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


You know that rule about discovering a person's character by watching how they interact with those they're ostensibly in "power" over (e.g. the wait staff, etc) - goes double for animals in my book. I maybe overly sentimental about my army, but I cannot fathom the casual cruelness of fad pet ownership.
posted by drewbage1847 at 10:28 PM on April 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Jesus fuck. Is there any part of Tibet that the Chinese won't seize, exploit and destroy?




Don't answer that, I actually already know the answer.

(Free Tibet. And the Panchen Lama.)
posted by taff at 10:33 PM on April 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


People are terrible and I hate them.
posted by kyrademon at 7:02 AM on April 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


7 years later

oh my god grumpy puggle face
posted by griphus at 5:55 PM on April 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


« Older Isaiah 11:6   |   How did you find out about my vibrations!? Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments