We Can Clone Pet Dogs – But is that a Good Idea?

We Can Clone Pet Dogs – But is that a Good Idea?

Barbra Streisand's cloned dogs recently made headlines, but the process has been available to the high-paying public for over a decade.


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Barbra Streisand is a famous singer and actress. In 2017, her dog Samantha died.

Streisand loved her dog. She decided to get a clone of Samantha. A clone is a copy of a living thing. But it is not the same animal.

Cells were taken from Samantha. Cells are the building blocks of life. Every animal's skin and organs are made up of cells. These cells were used to make two dog clones. One is named Miss Scarlett. The other is Miss Violet.

Any owner can get their pet cloned. It's expensive though. It can cost $100,000. Is cloning your dog even a good thing to do?

How Are Dog Clones Made?

To clone one dog, you need many dogs to help.

John Woestendiek wrote a book on dog cloning. In the magazine Scientific American, he explained how it works. First, scientists take cells from the original dog. It is called the donor. Then, they take special cells from a separate mother dog. The cells are mixed with each other.

The scientists zap the cells with electricity, Woestendiek said. This way, the cells start making copies of themselves. These cells are put into a new mother dog, called the surrogate. The cells grow into a new dog, which is born 60 days later.

How Similar Are They?

Cloned animals have the same genes as their donor. Genes make up your DNA. They tell a specific part of the body how to grow and work. But even if the genes are the same, they can work in different ways. For example, cloned dogs may have a different eye color.

Streisand's dogs have different personalities from her original pet. A dog's personality depends on how it's raised. That cannot be copied in a lab.

Are They Healthy?

The Food and Drug Administration is a government group. It has rules for cloning animals like sheep and goats. Cloned animals are usually healthy, it said.

The first dog clone was made in 2005 in South Korea. This is a country in East Asia. The dog was called Snuppy. It lived to be about 10-years-old. That's about as long as expected.

Do People Agree About Dog Cloning?

There aren't many laws that deal with cloning pets. In 2005, California tried to outlaw pet cloning. State officials were worried that if people cloned their pets they would never adopt them from shelters. But the law did not pass.

The Humane Society is against cloning. It is an animal health group. It spoke against companies that clone animals. These companies take advantage of people who miss their pets, the group said.

Millions of dogs and cats need a home, said Vicki Katrinak. She works for the Humane Society. "Pet cloning is completely unnecessary," she said.

Media Credits

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Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
Sarah Gibbens
Production Managers
Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Program Specialists
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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