The latest "it dog" is no tiny pursefiller, it's the Tibetan mastiff. The Times Online reports
that the dogs are so popular among China's elite that a perfect specimen can sell for over $500,000. The large dogs were domesticated in the mountains of Tibet 6,000 years ago and are considered to be the oldest, biggest and fiercest domestic dog. They are prized as loyal guard dogs and are seen as a status symbol. The dogs with pure bloodlines fetch high prices because of their rarity.
The dogs are becoming popular here in the States too. There are variety of breeders as well as an American Tibetan Mastiff Association
which has a great gallery of photos of these handsome dogs and a list of Tibetan Mastiff rescues in need of homes.