Report Highlights. The cost of cloning a pet has declined significantly to the point where it’s affordably within reach. Humans have bred animals for their desired traits since prehistory, but cloning is the only way to create a genetic “twin” of an exceptional sled-dog, a prize-winning show animal, or a beloved family pet. While cloning has its limitations, data trends indicate cloned pets could become a significant market in the pet industry.

  • $37,500 is the average cost to have a pet cloned.
  • The most expensive pet cloning services cost over $150,000.
  • Pet cloning costs less than half of what it did 12 years ago.
  • It can take as little as 6 months to clone a pet.
Cloning Cost Breakdown
ItemLow End CostHigh End Cost
Biopsy$60$450
Cold Storage$100$1600
Cloning*$25,000$150,000
Birth and Weaning$300$7,900
Kenneling$250$1,000
Travel and Transport$30$2,000+
Puppy Healthcare$400$3,250
Total$26,140$166,200+

*This includes fusing the donor DNA with an unfertilized egg, as well as the embryonic implantation into the surrogate mother.

Pet Cloning Costs

The price of cloning a pet has decreased significantly since the process became commercially available in 2004. The procedure is still complex, with several costly steps along the path to a living clone. In addition to the delicate scientific processes, living donors and surrogates require care. The new clone will need the same vaccinations and healthcare that any other baby animal would receive.

  • $50,000 is the current average cost of cloning one dog.
  • $25,000 is the average cost of cloning a cat.
  • $195 is the median cost of a biopsy or initial cell harvest.
  • $650 is the median price for cold storage of a pet’s harvested cells or DNA banking.
  • $100,000 was the minimum cost of cloning an animal in 2008 ($122,750 in 2020 dollars).
  • Adjusting for inflation, that’s a 60% price drop for dogs, and an 80% price drop for cats.
  • For $150,000, companies will use multiple immature, denucleated egg cells to guarantee a viable embryo.
  • $96,200 is the median cost between low- and high-end prices.

Pet Cloning Statistics

Multiple biotechnology companies offer pet cloning services. Though the existence of Dolly the sheep’s clone made worldwide headlines in 1997, commercial pet cloning was not available until the early 21st century. Prices dropping in recent years implies such services may become more commonplace.

  • It takes an average of 8 months total for a pet to be cloned.
  • The embryonic implantation, gestation, and birthing process takes 6 months.
  • The cloned animal must be 2 months old before leaving their surrogate mother.
  • In 1997, a billionaire in Arizona made the earliest known attempt to artificially clone a pet.
  • He privately funded $3.7 million worth of research at Texas A&M University in order to clone his dog, Missy.
  • 245 dogs and cats took part in the project (called “Missyplicity”) experiments, all of which failed.
  • The first cloned dog, an Afghan hound named Snuppy, would not be born until 2005.
  • In 2015, Snuppy himself was cloned, which ultimately produced three surviving “reclones.”

Animal Cloning Statistics

Though cloning living organisms is a new process, it already has an extensive history, much of which remains unknown to the public. Scientists are generally tight-lipped about failed experiments for fear of losing funding, so details about the earliest attempts at artificial cloning are sparse.

  • Clones occur naturally among bacteria and other organisms that reproduce asexually.
  • 1952 may be the year the world’s first artificially cloned animal – a frog – was born; the validity of this claim is unconfirmed.
  • In 1984, a British researcher claimed to have cloned the first mammal; it remains unconfirmed whether the lamb he produced was created via nuclear transfer.
  • In 1996, scientists used DNA from an adult sheep clone, a lamb they called Dolly (her existence was not revealed to the world until the following year).
  • Since Dolly, hundreds – if not thousands – of animals have been cloned for commercial purposes as well as for research.
  • In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared meat and milk from cloned animals to be safe for human consumption.
  • Americans are 57.3% less likely to approve of pet cloning than they are of animal cloning in general.
  • 82% of people said they disapproved of cloning pets.
  • 65% said they disapproved of cloning animals in general.
Common Reasons for Cloning a Pet
Duplicate TissuesAnimals get sick just like people do. In some cases, a beloved pet may need an organ or a tissue transplant in order to survive. If the pet’s blood type or genetics are unique, it may be difficult to find a donor. A genetic copy would guarantee a match, increasing the likelihood of a successful transplant.
SentimentOwners and trainers often develop powerful bonds with their animals. When the animal is gone and that bond is lost, it can be emotionally devastating. A clone provides a genetic copy of the lost animal that may be receptive to behavioral conditioning.
Desirable TraitsBreeders already pair animals with the hope their offspring will carry their parents’ more desirable traits. Cloning eliminates the guesswork involves by providing a genetic replica.
CommerceFamous dogs, such as Lassie and Rin-Tin-Tin, often create an increased demand for their breeds. While not every German Shepherd can be a Rin-Tin-Tin, one can presume his fans would find his genetic copy at least as desirable as any other dog of his breed.

Notable Animal Clones

Most people don’t learn about scientific breakthroughs until the news reaches mass media, so the general public’s knowledge of pet cloning mainly comes from stories of famous animals or celebrities who have cloned their pets. In fact, it is unlikely that Dolly the sheep was the first successfully cloned animal. Rather, she was the most widely publicized; the world’s first clone may have been a frog produced as early as 1952.

  • CC was the world’s first cloned cat, produced in 2002 by Genetic Savings and Clone in partnership with Texas A&M University-College Station. A living example of genetic cloning’s limitations, she looked nothing like her “original.” Rainbow was an orange calico, but in the cells used to make CC, the recessive orange genes were inactive; as a result, genetic copy CC was a brindled gray.
  • Chase was a golden Labrador Retriever and one of the South Korean customs’ all-time best sniffer dogs. All 7 of Chase’s clones, born in 2007 at Seoul National University (SNU), have successfully passed the specialized training for which dogs selectively bred for the job only have a 30% success rate.
  • Tegon and Ruby Puppy were also cloned at SNU in 2009 and 2016, respectively. Both dogs glow in the dark using the addition of enhanced fluorescent proteins injected into eggs prior to fertilization. Tegon, a beagle, glows green while Ruby glows red.
  • Trakr was a German Shepherd trained as a sniffer dog with a Canadian K9 unit. He gained fame as the highly-decorated search and rescue dog who discovered the last surviving victim in the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York City after the airborne attacks of September 11, 2001. He was cloned by BioArts International in 2009.
  • Samantha was a Coton de Tulear that made international news, featuring in the New York Times and National Geographic, when owner Barbara Streisand revealed she’d had Samantha cloned in 2018.
  • Garlic had already been buried for hours when his owner, Huang Yu, remembered reading an article about cloning dogs. After digging up his beloved cat, Huang stored Garlic’s body in his refrigerator. Not only did Garlic become the first cat cloned in China, his clone is rare for having come from cells of a deceased animal. (Cells begin to break down immediately upon death. Because cloning requires fully-intact DNA, it’s best to take samples while the source organism is still alive.)

Successfully Cloned Species

Some animals have more complicated reproductive systems. Not every species has been cloned with success, and even some of those that have would not be considered candidates for commercial cloning due to the difficulty or low success rate.

  • Bantengs
  • Deer
  • Goats
  • Horse
  • Mules
  • Rabbits
  • Swamp Buffalo
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Gray Wolves
  • Mice
  • Pigs
  • Rats
  • Wildcats
  • Cows
  • Ferrets
  • Guars
  • Mouflon Sheep
  • Primates
  • Sheep

Criticism of the Pet Cloning Industry

Considering how much Americans love their pets, it would be natural to expect people to be intrigued by the idea of having a pet cloned. Only 13% of Americans surveyed, however, say they approve of commercial pet cloning. Critics have a list of complaints about commercial cloning and its industry, including the emotional and psychological costs of cloning pets.

  • Detractors argue that cloning companies misrepresent their product, that any individual being is the sum of their experiences and cannot be replicated simply via genetic cloning.
  • Further, critics accuse companies of preying on grief with false promises, asserting that the idea that a beloved animal could be returned to them may make a desperate pet owner blind to the limitations of cloning.
  • Finally, there is no guarantee that the cloned animal will have the desired physical characteristics of its genetic donor. As CC the cat demonstrated, geneticists can’t always predict exactly which genes will present in the clone. Birth defects are also a very real possibility, especially if the surrogate dog is exposed to harmful substances or is otherwise unhealthy.

Sources:

  1. Cloned Dogs Training for Search and Rescue
  2. My Friend Again – The Dog Cloning Company, Cat & Dog Cloning Cost
  3. Barbara Streisand Explains: Why I Cloned My Dog
  4. Scientists Genetically Engineer Glowing Dog
  5. As the Cost of Dog Cloning Drops, Here’s Which Breeds Lead the Pack
  6. North Carolina State University: Human Cloning
  7. Genetic Savings and Clone: No Pet Project
  8. His Cat’s Death Left Him Heartbroken. So He Cloned It.
  9. Kansas State University Biopsy Price Calculator
  10. Illinois State University
  11. Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator
  12. How Much Does it Cost to Be a Dog Breeder?
  13. National Human Genome Research Institute: Cloning Fact Sheet
  14. CNN: Cloning Fast Facts
  15. Animal Cloning: A Risk Assessment
  16. Frequently Asked Questions About Animal Cloning
  17. Genetics and Society Animal and Pet Cloning Opinion Polls
  18. Wikipedia: Dog Breeding
  19. American Anti Vivisection Society’s Report on Pet Cloning: Separating the Facts from the Fluff
  20. Birth of Clones of the World’s First Cloned Dog