It all started with China’s economic boom. The Dolan sheep, recognized for its distinctive curved face, twin tails, and long floppy ears, which was originally bred for its meat from sheep in Kashgar has since become one of the most sought-after collectible for the country’s wealthiest. Certain desired features of each sheep set the price. For instance, darker fleece, bigger ears, more pronounced curving of the face make a sheep costlier than others.
The most expensive Dolan sheep is owned by Majid Abdul Reyim, a breeder in Kashgar, who claims to have received an offer of $2.2M. He turned it down in favor of bragging rights and of maintaining a lucrative breeding service.
Other breeders often have to partner up to buy a specimen and split the breeding charge. Why, a dose of semen from the best-looking Dolan sheep can cost up to $47,000. Mr. Liu, a sheep breeder from Aksu sold 320 of his non-Dolan sheep and started breeding Dolans in 2009 from a pair that cost $4,000. The following year, the pair cost $40,000 and with only 1,000 of them in existence the price is still going higher.