Cloning a Dog

It’s Happening Fast-But is it the Right Thing to Do?


My dog’s 10 and is a great friend. What’s the latest on dog cloning (how/cost/etc.)?

Dr. Nichol:

Cloning of nonhuman animals is on the fast track. Remember Dolly the sheep back in ’97? She didn’t end up doing so well but her short life was followed by the successful cloning of a cat, a guar, a rabbit, cows, mice, goats, pigs, mules, and recently a horse. Soon primates, dogs, and endangered species are expected. Companies like Genetic Savings & Clone, Lazaron, and Perpetuate will stamp out replacement pets for about $20,000. It all sounds exciting but there is another perspective.


Any serious pet lover can relate to your feelings about your dog. My Airedale Juan stuck with me through the best and worst times of my life. Through our work in obedience training and competition he helped pave the way for my eventual fatherhood by teaching me patience. I wanted him to stay with me forever. He could not. Juan passed away at age 13. We had a strong bond; his picture hangs over the Nichol family fireplace.


Juan’s death was painful for me but it carried a hidden promise. Down the road a piece came a fine young Border Collie we named Peter Rabbit-a very special individual with his own gifts. Every day the two Nichol boys learn and relearn the value of forgiveness and a positive attitude from, of all things, a dog. A dog who, like each of us, is a unique and precious mortal.


Your dog is one of a kind. She is not alone. Every year in the US 8-12 million pets enter shelters. Sixty to seventy percent are euthanized because there aren’t enough people like you. If you adopt just one of those pets you can afford to throw some of that $20,000 cloning fee at the pet population problem. Think of how prospective pet owners could be educated: careful selection at the time of adoption, the value of spaying and neutering, and behavior counseling to prevent and correct bad behaviors – the primary reason that pets are relinquished to shelters. You can make a real difference.


Pet cloning solves nothing. New pets, on the other hand, are a lot of fun. In fact when I first read your question I thought you were asking about pet clowning. I can relate to clowny pets. It’s the only kind I’ve ever had. A new puppy is sure to be just as goofy as the one you have right now. Your older dog can even help you train the new kid. Ah, life is good.