Edgar and Nina Otto, the couple who made headlines three years ago when they paid more than a hundred-thousand dollars to successfully clone their deceased Labrador Retriever, have a new reason to celebrate this month. On July 4th, their beloved cloned dog, Lancelot Encore (affectionately known as Lancey), became a first-time dad to eight healthy puppies.
Cloned from the Otto family’s late Labrador retriever — Lancelot, who passed away from cancer in early 2008 — Lancelot Encore was born in late 2008 to a surrogate dam, an Irish setter in South Korea. At the time, the Ottos’ decision to clone their beloved Lancelot was met with criticism from the public, primarily due to the price tag of the cloning — a whopping $155,000.
"We’ve gotten some negative feedback from people on the price, but we feel it’s worth it," Edgar said in a Today Show interview with Al Roker when news first broke of the family’s decision.
The decision to mate Lancey came from Nina’s desire to see if the Lab’s puppies would be any different than puppies born from a non-cloned father. So three years later, Lancey’s sperm was artificially inseminated into a purebred AKC registered Labrador Retriever. Now 3-weeks-old, the five female and three male puppies appear to be as normal as any other litter.
Named for the sentiment of the holiday on which they were born, Star, Victory, Glory, Patriot, America, Independence, Allegiance, and Liberty are at the age where they are beginning to play and, as Edgar puts it, "annoy each other."
The puppies are being kept in isolation with their mother until they reach the age of eight weeks to ensure their healthy development, and the Ottos are breathlessly counting down the days until they can bring one member of the historic litter home. According to Edgar, the other seven siblings will be adopted out at $2,000 each.
Congratulations to the Otto family and Lancey!