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Rare Dolan ram has a going price in China of £ 1.4 million

Monday, October 3rd 2011 - 07:57 UTC
Full article
A Dolan can reach maturity, and weigh some 200lbs, after just six months. A Dolan can reach maturity, and weigh some 200lbs, after just six months.

Only 1,000 Dolan sheep exist in the world, according to breeders, and their extraordinary features have made them the latest collectors' item for ultra-rich Chinese, writes the Daily Telegraph.

“Big bosses come here in their luxury cars and load the sheep into the back seat,” said Liu Fenghua, a 48-year-old sheep breeder in the city of Aksu, in the far western region of Xinjiang.

“Usually the bosses are Uighur Muslims who have made their money in the sheep industry and want a prize sheep for a pet,” he added.

The Dolan breed has a distinctive curved nose and twin tails, as well as long floppy ears. Originally bred from sheep in Kashgar to grow quickly and to yield more meat, the breed has since become ornamental.

“The price depends on the pedigree,” said Mr Liu. “The darker the fleece, the better; the bigger the ears the better: the more curved the faces, the better, like an eagle's beak. The best ones have a dark body and white tail”.

He added that a Dolan can reach maturity, and weigh some 200lbs, after just six months.

The most valuable sheep is a six-year-old owned by Majid Abdul Reyim, a breeder in Kashgar. Mr Reyim said he had received offers of 14 million Yuan (£1.4 million) for it, but had not yet succumbed to a sale.

“That sheep is the grandfather of all the best pedigree Dolans in the region,” said Mr Liu. “I have one of its grandsons and that one is worth some six million Yuan. I have 19 in total and I feed them with dates and walnuts as well as grass.”

Dolan breeders said that several families often clubbed together to buy a single sheep as an investment and then charge for its breeding rights. The top sheep can command fees of up to 300,000 Yuan per dose of semen.

“I sold all my other regular sheep last year, around 320 of them, and could not raise enough money for just one Dolan with that,” said Mr Liu. “I started breeding Dolans in 2009, buying a couple for 25,000 Yuan. The next year, I had an offer of 250,000 Yuan for them, and the price keeps rising.”

The UK's most expensive sheep was an eight-month-old Texel tup, or non castrated male, called Deveronvale Perfection. It was sold at auction in 2009 for £231,000 at a livestock auction in Scotland.

China's sudden wealth has produced bubbles in all sorts of commodities, from tea to fine wine to jade. Last year, a Tibetan Mastiff puppy called Big Splash became the world's most expensive dog when it was sold for close to £1 million in the city of Qingdao.

Categories: Economy, International.
Tags: Dolan, ram, sheep.

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