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Raising dogs that bite: how pastoralists and breeders care for Tibetan Mastiffs

Zhou, Yufei (2023) Raising dogs that bite: how pastoralists and breeders care for Tibetan Mastiffs. China Quarterly, 254. 340 - 353. ISSN 0305-7410

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0305741023000346

Abstract

Tibetan pastoralists have long been using dogs as guards. Since the late 1980s, the same dogs, called “Tibetan Mastiffs,” have become valuable pets for Han Chinese consumers. This paper discusses how commodification transforms the value of these dogs, and the care relationship between humans and dogs. Tibetan pastoralists and dogs participate in a reciprocal yet distanced care relationship through raising and guarding, which is not confined to a pursuit of dogs’ ferocity. In contrast, a taste for ferocity prevails in the Tibetan Mastiff market, and breeders care for dogs in a more dedicated, and yet more unilateral and dangerous, way. The unintended consequence of breeders’ care is that they raise dogs that sometimes bite; this is explained based on a process of value transformation in dogs’ guarding abilities, from ethical virtue to commercial price.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/china-quar...
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2023 14:39
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 23:42
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/118266

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