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Scientists restore indigenous dog breed

Dec. 3, 2019 - 17:00 By Choi Ji-won
A cloned dog of a native breed close to extinction, the Sapsaree, gave birth to puppies last year, and one of them became pregnant recently.

Seven puppies born from the cloned short-haired badugi Sapsaree (Chungnam National University Professor Kim Min-kyu)

According to professor Kim Min-kyu of Chungnam National University -- whose team conducted the genetic experiment -- on Tuesday, the cloned Sapsaree gave birth to seven puppies through artificial insemination last December. Two of the seven pups were short-haired.

The cloned dog had its genes reproduced from a male short-haired badugi (meaning “spotted” in Korean) Sapsaree in 2017. The original dog was the first naturally born short-haired badugi since the Japanese colonial era, during which the whole breed was killed in large numbers for their fur by the Japanese military.

Professor Kim Min-kyu stands with a short-haired badugi Sapsaree puppy in the center, with the cloned Sapsaree father on the left and long-haired puppy on the right. (Chungnam National University Professor Kim Min-kyu)

Short-haired Sapsarees are rare among the characteristically long-haired canine breed. Short hairs are born naturally at 1 percent possibility, and those with spotted fur are even rarer. Only around 600 Sapsarees exist in South Korea, with around 50 short-haired of the kind among them.

“The seven baby dogs of the cloned Sapsaree are now near 1 year in age, and they are all healthy and able to reproduce,” Kim said. “This marks the successful restoration of a canine breed (the short-haired badugi Sapsaree) that could have disappeared from their homeland.”

By Choi Ji-won (