A Dog Has Identical Twins – The First Ever Reported!
31 August, 2016

Kurt de Cramer, a veterinarian in South Africa’s Rant en Dal Animal Hospital in Mogale City, to his amazement, delivered identical twin dogs.  Cramer is a renowned veterinarian who averages 900 Caesarean sections each year.   Cramer was performing a routine C-section on a female Irish wolfhound who was straining while give birth.  He knew right then that the dogs were identical twins.

De Cramer noticed that something was different in the mother

When he started the procedure, de Cramer noticed that the wolfhound had an unusual bulging by her uterus.  At first, he thought it was excess fluid surrounding the fetus. And, that’s when he found not one, but two fetus!  They are both attached with umbilica cords to the same placenta.  While dogs are known to have multiple puppies in their litter, these findings were more than extraordinary.

The twins looked very similar, but pups from the same litter often do

De Cramer could not stop and marvel at this peculiar discovery, because there were still five live puppies to deliver. These appeared as they normally do, each with their own placenta arranged in single file in their mother’s uterus.  The pups had small differences in the white markings on their paws, chests and the tips of their tails.  This was the first time de Cramer had delivered two living pups from one placenta in 26 years of practice.

He immediately called upon other reproductive specialists to confirm his suspicions. 

The results confirmed what de Cramer had suspected: the dog had given birth to two identically genetic puppies. De Cramer had therefore delivered the first known instance of identical twin dogs. The team outline their findings in the journal Reproduction in Domestic Animals.

The subtle differences in the marking on their fur, at first, made them skeptical at first

The subtle differences in the markings on their fur initially caused some doubt to their status as identical.  But, the same could be said of human identical twins in that even though they have these same DNA, the genes express themselves differently.  Human twins can have different teeth, fingerprints and/or freckles, just like these pups!

The puppies are healthy and doing well, the first twin dogs to survive and thrive. They were slightly smaller at birth, but by the time they were six weeks old they had reached a similar size to the other pups in their litter.

The study was first reported in the journal Reproduction in Domestic Animals.

Photo credit – Kurt De Cramer

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