Huang is currently working with staff from the Mastiff Association of Tibet to help preserve the breed, which has a history of thousands of years.
"It's also a way of restoring Tibetan culture," Huang added.
According to Wang Yonggang, president of the association, Himalayan mastiffs are one of the three treasures to the Tibetan people. The others are the yak, a major food source for people on the plateau, and the vulture, the predatory bird believed to bring the spirit and soul of Tibetans to heaven after death through sky burial.
"The Himalayan mastiffs are very loyal and brave guardians of the Tibetan people," he said. "It has been of great significance in the culture of the Tibetan people."
Wang said to better preserve the purebred Himalayan mastiffs and regulate the market, it was necessary for the country to come up with a specialized institution, like the American Kennel Club in the United States, drafting a unified breeding and industrial standard.
"Most of the mastiff associations and farms around the country that mushroomed in the past few years are simply for the sake of making profit, with varying standards for dog evaluation," said Wang. "We are lagging so far behind Western countries in preserving purebred dogs, and proper regulation of the market would be of great help."
Wang also said the mastiff industry could become a new economic growth opportunity to local people if well developed. According to You, who also owns a mastiff farm in Beijing, the buyers of mastiffs are still the country's affluent middle and upper classes, who purchase the dogs as status symbols.
"Only those wealthy businessmen can afford a dog this expensive," said You. "To have a huge dog like this is absolutely a sign of identity and special taste."
Businessman Guo Jingshu owns a mastiff.
He said raising a mastiff at home is different from keeping a Chihuahua, just like those who drive a Mercedes are definitely of a different status from those in a Mini Cooper.
Liu Xulei, 32, a visitor to the exhibition from East China's Shandong province, as well as a mastiff lover who owns three mastiffs, said he was the poorest of all the mastiff fans he knows.
"Most of the mastiff owners I know are wealthy businessmen, either for a symbol of social status or as a means of investment," he said.
From: China Daily
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