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Thursday, May 26, 2011

The mutt-millionaire: Canine lover with collection of 30 rare dogs worth £8MILLION

By Jody Thompson

Million pound pooch: Multi-millionaire Kenny Lai with one of his Tibetan Mastiff dogs at his home in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Multi-millionaire Kenny Lai owns an incredible 30 Tibetan Mastiffs, the most expensive breed of dog.

He bought nine thoroughbreds three years ago for £3.2million and has since bred them into a collection worth millions of pounds.

The massive animals are being homed in a purpose-built kennel at Lai's penthouse apartment in Kuala Lumpur.

Scroll down to see Tibetan mastiffs talked about on the Richard And Judy show...

They roam around their 5,000 square metre air-conditioned compound and have a team of caretakers, trainers and vets who look after Lai's prized possessions 24-hours a day.

Tibetan Mastiffs, which hail from the contested country north of the Himalayas, can live to 14 and weigh up to 20 stone - carrying an almost mythical status in Asia where they are often referred to as the god of dogs or king of dogs.

In the 13th century, explorer Marco Polo described the animals as being 'as tall as a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion'.

Dog house: Lai at home with some of the members of his fluffy £8million pack

Genghis Khan is thought to have taken 30,000 of the animals with his army when he tried to conquer Western Europe.

But numbers have dwindled and it is estimated 90 per cent of breed died during the Yushu earthquake last year.

Lai, a Malaysian entrepreneur, wanted to ensure the Tibetan Mastiff's survival and began a breeding programme.

He scoured the world in search of 100 per cent pure breed Tibetan Mastiffs and bought nine animals for a staggering £3.2million.

He explained: 'We practically scoured the world in search of the best possible 100 per cent pure breed Tibetan Mastiffs, in order to kick start these plan.

'This eventually resulted in the procurement of nine of these magnificent animals, valued at approximately £3.2 million.

'Over the last three years or so, we faced much trials and tribulations in raising, feeding, grooming, caring and in the overall maintenance of these dogs.

'It was a tough learning curve for the group but this has led to an in-depth understanding of the behaviours and challenges faced, in nurturing this species.

'We now pride ourselves as having the largest number of 100 per cent pure breed Tibetan Mastiffs anywhere in the world.

'Based on the latest market value paid, our 30 furry friends are now valued at well over £8 million.'

Locals believe Tibetan Mastiffs have the souls of monks and nuns who were not good enough to be reincarnated as humans or to go into Shambhala, the heavenly realm.

Under control: One of the dog's trainers shows how placid and cuddly the hulking hounds actually are

A lot of dog: A red Tibetan mastiff called Big Splash, or Hong Dong, sold for £945,000 in March

In recent years there has been a massive increase in demand for the pets - with a Chinese fan spending £945,000 on an 11-month old Mastiff in March.

Big Splash, or Hong Dong in Chinese, was a red Tibetan Mastiff and was described by his breeder as the perfect specimen.

Kennel Club communications director, Caroline Kisko said: 'Tibetan Mastiffs can make great family pets with their calm and patient yet protective nature and it's great to see them being viewed so favourably.'



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