January 12, 2019
Famous Mutt Cloned For $50,000 Because Owner Feared Financial Loss

A man reportedly shelled out a whopping $50,000 in China to clone a famous mixed-breed dog, per the Daily Star. The man reportedly ordered a duplicate of his actor dog, "Juice," because he feared a loss of income should the well-known mutt pass away. The man, He Jun, a Beijing-based animal trainer and the dog's owner, had the mutt cloned at a cutting-edge bio-tech company.

The rags-to-riches story of Juice, or "Guozhi," as his name is known in Mandarin, started when he was rescued from the streets as a mongrel. The former stray went on to become a hugely popular animal celebrity, who often commands huge sums per appearance. Juice has appeared in dozens of Chinese TV and film productions, reports Reuters.

Juice is currently 9-years-old, and he is not able to sire offspring because he was neutered as a young pup. Furthermore, some say the only thing bad about a dog is that they don't live long enough. Such was the case with Juice. And, as his popularity grew, his canine life grew shorter.

When his career peaked, He Jun said he only had one wish for the little dog, and that was for him to live on. His master added that he may even live forever, too. That's when he got the idea to continue Juice's image by having him made into a genetic clone.

The cost of cloning a beloved pet is off-putting to many, but Juice's Beijing-based master justified the cost since the dog is a source of revenue.

"Juice himself is a piece of intellectual property with social influence," he explained.

Sinogene, the laboratory that conducted the cloning, said they made a duplicate of the pooch by using skin from his lower abdomen. After a few weeks, the bio-tech company was able to isolate Juice's DNA "and fertilize an egg.

In September, "Little Juice," or "Zhizhi," as his name is known in Chinese, was born. Little Juice stayed with a surrogate pooch for nearly a month, and then the pup was gifted to Jun at a small celebration. The original Juice attended the ceremony, as well.

He Jun said that he has not "committed Little Juice to show business just yet." He added that he can see a lot of potential in the pup, though. Bucking against convention that copies are inferior to originals, He Jun said that he believes that the small dog will be even better than the older Juice.