In February this year, the record for Britain’s priciest sheepdog was broken by one-year-old Welsh border collie Kim. The average price for a working dog is around £2,000 ($2.8k), but Kim sold for more than 13 times that amount when a farmer from Staffordshire bought her for £27,000 ($37,350). Kim’s trainer Dewi Jenkins attributed her over-the-odds value to her intelligence, ability to learn quickly and red colour, which is currently in vogue in sheepdog circles.
CC or 'Copy Cat' was the first successfully cloned cat back in 2002. A domestic short hair, she was born to a tabby surrogate but was genetically identical to female donor Rainbow. She was cloned at a Texas university, with the $50,000 (£35k) project funded by a business looking to clone pets. CC went on to have three kittens naturally in 2006 and lived with one of the university professors and his wife in Texas. CC reportedly died in March 2020, having reached an impressive age of 17.
A cow named after Spice Girl Posh Spice recently became the world’s most expensive Limousin heifer when she sold for £262,000 ($363k) at auction in Carlisle in North West England. The best-in-class heifer known as Wilodge Poshspice was part of the Wilodge herd and her mother was champion cow Millbrook Gingerspice, which is where the top-selling cow's name came from. Wilodge Poshspice sold for more than double the previous record, which was set in 2014.
Racing pigeons are wildly popular in China, and the magnificent-looking Bolt (pictured), named after Jamaican Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, sold for a huge €310,000 ($400k/£268k) to Chinese businessman Gao Fuxin in 2013. His Belgian breeder Leo Heremans had developed a virus from spending so much time with his birds and was forced to sell his whole flock of 530 pigeons for €4.3 million ($5.6m/£3.7m). Pigeons live around four years, and Bolt was bought for breeding purposes.
When Eastside Lewisdale Gold Missy, or Missy for short, sold for $1.2 million (£847k) at auction in Ontario in 2009, she immediately became the world's most expensive cow. Producing 50% more milk than an average cow – a whopping 50kg of milk a day – Missy, from Poken, Alberta, was deemed invaluable for elite bovine genetics. When she sold at auction her farm's marketing manager, Chris Parry, described Missy as "extremely tall, long and stylish. She walks on great feet and legs and has a great mammary system. She's ideal for milk production". It seems like the buyer agreed when they forked out over a million for the prized cow.
New Kim stole Armando’s title when she became the world’s priciest pigeon in November last year, selling to an anonymous Chinese bidder for an eye-watering €1.6 million ($1.9m/£1.4m). Part of the shock in New Kim’s price is that the starting bid was just €200 ($242/£175), as female birds are typically less valuable than males because they produce less offspring. New Kim only raced in 2018, and went on to retire early after being crowned “best young bird”.
A Tibetan Mastiff was only a year old when he became the world’s most expensive dog, selling for nearly $2 million (£1.2m) in 2014. Fascinated by the "lion’s blood" of the animal, a Chinese property developer coughed up 12 million yuan for the 200lb (90kg) puppy. The sum topped the former highest price ever paid for a dog of the same breed, which was an 11-month puppy named Big Splash, who sold for $1.5 million (£920k) in 2011. Tibetan mastiffs have become a symbol of wealth in China.
The world’s most valuable animal is Fusaichi Pegasus, a racehorse that won the Kentucky Derby in 2000. The stallion was sold to John Magnier’s Coolmore Stud that same year for $60 million (£38m). Adjusted for inflation, that's as much as $91.1 million (£66.1m) in today's money. At one time, his stud fee was $150,000 (£95k).