Based on the summary of “Health and Temperaments of Cloned Working Dogs,” a study published in the journal J Vet Sci:

Only about half of all trained dogs can be called working dogs through conventional herding management, as proper temperament and health are required in addition to their innate ability to detect scent. To overcome this low efficiency of breeding skilled working dogs and to reduce the huge costs of keeping unskilled dogs, somatic cell nuclear transfer has been applied in the propagation of working dogs.

As the article continues, the authors point out some specifics – dogs trained to work with armed and military forces, for example, as well as guide dogs. Using exclusively data from dog cloning experiments in South Korea, they demonstrate that over 90% of trained working dog clones retained the necessary qualities – health, temperament, etc. – to make them good candidates for the same job. In other words, it’s twice as easy (and nearly a surefire success) to train a cloned guide dog or a bomb-sniffing dog as it is to train a purebred dog for the same job.

It should be remembered that this study is based on a small sample of cloned dogs in South Korea. The authors also acknowledge that x-factors and other complications in the cloning process could also affect their results. “There have been concerns about the health of cloned animals since the beginning of mammalian cloning,” they concede, adding:

Normal, healthy cardiovascular function is important for working dogs, but there have been reports of abnormal cardiovascular function in other cloned animals, such as pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure in calves and sheep. cloned, and left and right heart abnormalities. in cloned piglets. However, to date there have been no reports of cardiovascular scans of working dogs, although echocardiographic parameters of seven cloned beagles are within normal reference ranges, indicating normal heart anatomy and function. .

and

The slightly higher birth weights of cloned working dogs […] compared to those of naturally produced dogs could be due to the lower average litter size in pregnancies resulting from the transfer of cloned embryos compared to pregnancies produced by artificial insemination; regardless, the cloned dogs showed normal growth patterns.

There are always complications and ethical concerns when it comes to both dog breeding and cloning in general. Throw a little eugenics into the mix, and yes, there’s a lot going on here.

Health and temperament of cloned working dogs [Min Jung Kim, Hyun Ju Oh, Sun Young Hwang, Tai Young Hur, Byeong Chun Lee / J Vet Sci]

Image: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0)