This whole economic boom is just making China weirder with each passing day. Just last week I read they inaugurated their first gold-dispensing machine and now the country’s big bosses are paying millions of dollars for sheep.
Dolan sheep, to be exact, a rare breed which according to breeders has very special features that make it the latest collector’s item for China’s rich businessmen. They have a distinctive curved nose, long floppy ears and twin tails, but the thing that really makes them special is there are just around 1,000 of them left in the world. Dolan were originally bred from sheep in Kashgar, north-west China, to grow more quickly and yield more meat, the priced breed has since become purely ornamental. It reaches maturity and weighs over 200 lbs at just six months, but no one is thinking about sacrificing them for meat anymore.
Photo via China.org
According to Dolan sheep breeders, rich Chinese come in their luxury limousines, pay ridiculous amounts of money for pedigree specimens, put them in the backseat and drive away. Most of them are Uighur Muslims who have made fortunes in the sheep business and are now interested in having a Dolan for a pet. The price is set according to the features of each sheep. “The darker the fleece, the better. The bigger the ears the better. The more curved the face, the better, like an eagle’s beak. The best ones have a dark body and white tail.” says Mr. Liu, a sheep breeder from Aksu. The breed is so expensive that breeders often have to partner up to buy a single specimen and then split the breeding charge. A dose of semen from the best Dolan sheep can cost up to 300,000 yuan ($47,000).
Photo via China.org
The most expensive Dolan sheep is a six-year-old male owned Majid Abdul Reyim, a breeder in Kashgar. He claims he has received an offer of 14 million yuan ($2.2 million) but that he turned it down. Considering his prized ship is grandfather to all the best pedigree sheep in the area and people are paying him outrageous breeding charges, he was probably right not to sell. According to Mr. Liu, the price of Dolan sheep has skyrocketed in recent years, He bought two of them in 2009, for 25,000 yuan, and next year they were already worth 250,000…