Legendary singer and actress Barbra Streisand has three dogs, Miss Fanny, Miss Violet, and Miss Scarlett. Two of these dogs are clones. We learned that when Variety dropped a bombshell-filled interview with the superstar earlier this week. Streisand, now 75, picked up her first Oscar 50 years ago, and she has many insightful, poignant things to say about the entertainment industry, as only someone of her experience and stature can. But let’s get back to the fact that Barbra Streisand’s dogs are clones.
Years ago, Streisand adopted a puppy named Samantha, from a breeder specializing in the somewhat obscure breed of dogs known as Coton de Tuléar. To the untrained eye, the small, fluffy dogs might resemble the ordinary Maltese, but Coton de Tuléar are different, because they come from exotic Madagascar. Buying a purebred puppy from a breeder costs around $3,000, and if you would like to learn more, the Coton de Tuléar Club of America has an extremely detailed CD-ROM they would be happy to sell you.
Samantha passed away last year at the age of 14, at which time Streisand’s vet collected genetic material from her beloved pet’s mouth and stomach. And from those swabs, Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett were created.
Pet cloning isn’t exactly mainstream yet, but apparently it’s a growth industry. ViaGen Pets, which claims to be the largest pet cloning service in the U.S. right now (and is part of the same ViaGen that brought you OG animal clone Dolly the Sheep), offers to clone your dog for $50,000 or cat for $25,000. If you are thinking about potentially cloning your still-living pet, you can also have your vet take the samples now and ViaGen will keep the material frozen for whenever you’re ready to order Fluffy 2.0.
Nobody knowns for sure how many clone dogs are being born each year because, while the FDA monitors the cloning of livestock animals like goats and sheep, there’s no real oversight of pet cloning. One Korean lab that was early to the pet cloning trend told NPR in 2015 that, at that time, they had cloned 600 dogs since starting to offer public pet cloning in 2006.
Guess who thinks this is all a really bad idea? PETA. “[W]hen you consider that millions of wonderful adoptable dogs are languishing in animal shelters every year or dying in terrifying ways when abandoned, you realize that cloning adds to the homeless-animal population crisis,” Ingrid Newkirk, the animal right’s organization’s president, told the New York Post.
A reasonable argument, but try telling that to Hollywood icon Barbra Streisand, shown here holding a literal basket full of tiny, fluffy puppies. (She jokingly calls this a “basket of adorables” because, I don’t know if you know this, but she’s not a big fan of Trump.)
Two clones, but three puppies. Because one puppy, Miss Fanny, came into existence the old fashioned way—she was Samantha’s distant cousin. The breeder brought her by Streisand’s Malibu estate during the time that the clone puppy embryos were gestating away in their surrogate, and she fell in love, and decided to add her to the pack.
Are the clone dogs exactly like their genetic predecessor, Samantha? Perhaps not quite, at least at this young age. Streisand told Variety that they seem to be developing different personalities. “I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and seriousness,” she said.
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