The Norris family, who have become a global social media sensation with millions of followers over multiple platforms, has paid up to $176,000 for a highly trained protection dog called Demi from the UK to guard its six children. It comes as the price of pure-bred dogs rises, with massive Tibetan mastiffs — originally used to guard Buddhist monasteries — topping the list of most-expensive breeds in Australia and fetching up to $10,000.But trained guard dogs can sell for much more, with some from the UK-based Protection Dog Worldwide, such as Demi, commanding up to £100,000 ($176,000 AUD). The Norris family, which goes by the social media handle #norrisnuts, confirmed its purchase of Demi last week saying “she’s just the best, we are so excited … we can’t wait”.Protection Dog Worldwide owner, Leedor Borlant, said in a video posted to social media Demi was going to a “massive, well-known family in Australia”, that had “security concerns”.He said Demi had been “formidable” since she was a puppy and he was confident she would “look after the family the way she should” when she arrived at their property.“The dog is a serious weapon for someone and will protect someone at all costs if need be,” Mr Borlant said. “(They provide) protection for families, usually families that need the security … or have had bad experiences in their life.” It took 18 months to train Demi in the UK, and it has been suggested that staff will remain in Australia for a period to train the dog to protect against intruders in her new home.While the exact sale price was not given, Demi was touted as being sold for up to £100,000 in the video.With one million Instagram followers and nearly six million YouTube subscribers on its main channel, the Norris family is reported to have an estimated net worth of $28m.The family is believed to earn about $10,000 per day ($3.7m a year) from the ads that appear on their videos.Young Sabre Norris is a professional surfer and skateboarder who went viral on YouTube as the first Australian female and third female in history to land a 540 on a half pipe. She was also the second youngest surfer to ever compete in a World Surf League event when she competed as a wildcard at the Sydney International Pro.Her star quickly rose after an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.Parents Brooke and Justin Norris are also from professional sporting backgrounds, with Justin a former Olympic swimmer. The Norris children Sabre, 18, Sockie/Cerrus, 15, Biggy/Coda, 13, Naz Bea, 11, Disco, 3, and Charm, 2, all have their own Instagram accounts, with baby Charm’s account already amassing 371,000 followers.Collectively, the family has nearly five million followers on Instagram. In a video posted to YouTube in December, Sabre Norris said she had been “feeling so unsafe lately” and just wanted “peace of mind”.“It sucks that we just don’t feel that safe, but I think Demi will be able to help us,” she said.Meanwhile, Australia’s most expensive dog breed, giant Tibetan mastiffs, can sell for up to $10,000 as household pets and sometimes more for breeding. The ancient breed broke the world record for the most expensive dog, with one puppy selling for an astonishing $2.09m to a property developer in China in 2014. Mastiff breeder, Warrick Boyle, who owns the majestic Akeela Kaluah, said some people were willing to pay big bucks for dogs they perceived as status symbols, “like a Rolex”. “They’re a guarding-style breed, so they’re not for everyone,” he added.“Their mentality is like the Oddball dog (maremma) crossed with a husky; instead of wanting to guard other animals they want to guard you.”They are also very large, and Mr Boyle has seen one male mastiff weigh in at a whopping 90kg. “Yeah, he was scary,” he said. “But you would definitely feel safe if you had one.”Another dog sale record was smashed in Edenhope, Victoria, last year with a kelpie fetching a staggering $35,200 at the Casterton working dog auction.President of the Casterton Kelpies Association Karen Stephens said the farmer who bought Hoover — smashing the previous record by $12,000 — was replacing his number one dog. “If you can’t get staff, for whatever reason, then it does exacerbate demand (and) we’ve seen a trend through Covid of higher prices,” she said. “With agriculture workers in short supply the reliance on a good working dog has certainly increased over the last 10 years.”According to Pet Insurance Australia’s 2022 ranking of the country’s most expensive dog breeds while Tibetan mastiffs are the most likely to break the bank, some popular household favourites also come with eye-wateringly high price tags. The French Bulldog takes second place on the big dollar dog list, followed by the Lowchen, Samoyed, English Bulldog, Chow Chow, Pharaoh Hound, Saluki, rottweiler and Yorkshire terrier.
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