Question of the Week
Having just lost my 16-year-old foundation bitch, who was the light of my life, I have been WISHING I could clone her. I understand that this is an emotional response to the grief of losing her. Logically, I would NOT choose to clone her. It would be too eerie to have a dog that looked just like her but was not her. A once-in-a-lifetime dog should remain just that — once in a lifetime.
Marty Greer, DVM, JD
Yes, I have considered it, and have clients ask for this service. It is still a bit out of reach. Also of value would be freezing ovarian tissues.
Gig Harbor, Washington
I know someone who did. Loves the dog.
FCI, AKC, CKC and UKC won’t register it.
Easley, South Carolina
Cloning my show dog? Really, would have to think about it.
After thinking about it, ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Cloning my show dog as a pet, why not, except for the $50,000-plus cost. But a pet is a pet, not a show dog. A pet can be a mongrel and still be a fabulous pet. My first pet dogs were mongrels, and I dearly loved them all.
Cloning a show dog, on the other hand, may be worth the cost, but it would greatly cheapen (ironic) the sport and the pleasure and learning involved in the breeding process. Would the sport want a continuous stream of the same dogs year after year? Hopefully not.
AKC should not register a cloned dog. Let nature take its course in our breeding programs. Yes, we all breed hoping to have another great champion like our previous or present one in the next litter. And sometimes, we are successful, but it is never a clone of anything we have had in the past. Sometimes, it is even better. And that is good. Let nature and smart breeding take their course. We are breeders of show dogs, not cloners of dogs.
Ethical? I think not.
Sporting? Are you kidding.
Ego driven to win? Definitely!
The decision to clone my show dog was a no-brainer.
When you have a once-in-a-lifetime dog, it can be a natural decision to want to have a piece of that dog again. Since my dog was neutered, his line was effectively ended, and cloning provides a way for me to experience a piece of him again. My dog came to me when I needed him most, at the beginning of my adult life. I hope to share my journey into my twilight years with his clone by my side.
While I know that a clone will not be an exact replica, it is the next best thing after not being able to have one of his puppies.
I also truly believe that my dog's clone may be a very important candidate for canine health research as well, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to advance science that may help us produce healthy dogs in the future.
Donna Hills PHA
I absolutely would consider cloning my own dogs. I would clone for a myriad of reasons, but primarily to have a replica of a once beloved pet at my side.
Sue M. Copeland
As much as I love the idea of having a clone of my historic winning Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Gus (who was as great a pet as he was a show dog), I wouldn’t do it. Based on my experience in observing cloning in horses, you can replicate DNA, but you can’t replicate greatness. A string of DNA can’t capture an animal’s life experiences, talent, will to win or personality, all of which made the “original” what he or she was. In other words, you may be able to clone a heart, but you can’t clone “heart.”
Peru, New York
I collected cells for genetic preservation on one of my dogs last year. Besides being a national specialty BISS and talented performance dog, she has a fabulous, sweet, steady temperament and is a joy to live with. I hope to clone her when I am ready for my last Terv. Even if the times haven't caught up to allow clones to show by then (after all, they're just identical twins), I'll still have a stunning, absolutely perfect companion to train and enjoy.
Who wouldn’t want to clone Lola Jean? She’s like Westminster — there’s only one!
Hillsborough, North Carolina
For competition in the breed ring, no. The whole point of breeding is to better the breed, and to me, that's up to nature, not a test tube. However, if I simply wanted another pet with whom I was particularly attached, I must say I would be tempted!
I was asked this question when I was facing losing my first Bouvier to osteosarcoma, and my answer then is my answer now:
Cloning a dog will not result in the SAME dog. There are many factors that go into development and actions. My dog from 1998 was formed and shaped alongside me in my 20s with situations that (I would hope) would never happen again. Would certain behaviors be predictable? Absolutely. But it would not be "the same" dog. And I would not want to rob my memories trying to re-create the same thing over and over, but rather relish in the memories that helped make me the person, dog owner and breeder I am today.
Chesapeake Beach, Maryland
I would love to have cloned a few of my dogs. The price is just prohibitive.
Midland Park, New Jersey
It's great to see this technology come to public light. My first dog was collected and initial blastocysts grown about eight years ago. At the time, I was facing the tragic loss of Ch. Rambo's Montana Willow. The thought of losing her was just devastating and incomprehensible. At the time, I was not really sure if I did want to go all the way through with actual cloning, but it was in some way a huge relief to know that at some point in the future, if I chose to, I could look into those beautiful, brilliant and spectacular eyes to the most incredible soul I'd ever met. Will I go all the way through with that? I'm not sure. It did get me through her loss easier, and for that it is a huge relief. Subsequently, I have done the same with five of my other heart dogs. Perhaps it's not the exact same dog because of the nurture portion, but it certainly is the exact same dog via nature. And certainly it is an identical twin, if you will. No judgment here. I would do it again in a heartbeat through Viagen, knowing that some day, my last dog will be my favorite again.
Yes, we thought about it. After doing some research, seems no guarantee of some critical factors. I’m sure it will become routine in a few decades.
Cloning a show dog represents the opposite point of breeding these animals in the first place, as the exercise is to improve and, at the very least, maintain the integrity of the breed in as natural and healthful a manner as possible. Relying on an artificial method to achieve results that traditionally and historically have been realized by top stockmen and women flies in the face of what it means to be a breeder. Irrespective of the future downside of what cloning might actually do to the various parts of an animal's body, cloning takes much of the creative fulfillment that one derives from producing a top specimen.
St. Augustine, Florida
Absolutely! The thought of not having THIS dog by my side is depressing. Or as close as possible to THIS dog.
Betty J. Abbott
As to the perfection and beauty of my final champion from my final litter, I would have wanted to clone her, but knowing the genetic issues she had and would have no doubt produced, I personally would not clone her. As an example of what a champion Smooth Collie could/should look like, this female was so outstanding. However, having been an extremely honest breeder and AKC-approved judge for 25 years, I had determined that I was not going to put genetic faults in Collies only to have those be inherited and cause problems. I kept the whole litter; several could have completed their championships, but I chose one to "go" with. And my advanced age (70+) demanded my no longer breeding, staying up "around the clock" for two weeks at a time watching for babies, or watching over them. I was happy with that decision.
I lost that beautiful female in 2018 at 11½ years old, to — undiagnosed at the time — a brown recluse spider bite. Her name was Ch. Abbeyhill Remember Me. And she is aptly named: She will never be forgotten.
St. Stephens Church, Virginia
No, why would you? Breed to improve. Every dog can be improved.
Yes, I would, but I can see the bad and the good in doing this.
I would have my best friend back, but his actions and personality would be different, as you probably would not raise him the exact same way. People change as they get older and respond differently.
There IS a Whippet bitch from long ago I would clone. She was born before cloning was a thing.
She stands behind all the Whippets in my home today. "Willow" was my heart dog.
La Harpe, Illinois
I simply cannot understand why anyone would even consider cloning. For me the thrill of breeding is "beating the odds." No litter is a given, no matter how well researched the pedigree of both sire and dam might be. Every pedigree has its unknowns. Sometimes these unknowns can "grab" each other, and the get of a carefully planned litter can be very disappointing. When the bitch whelps, a litter of puppies is the reward of careful planning/research. Knowing the outcome of cloning would be less than a gratification for me.