BANGKOK — Khun Thong Daeng, the iconic dog of King Rama IX, and her children may have been long dead – but their lineage lives on due to the scientific feat of artificial dog insemination.
The Faculty of Veterinary Science at Kasetsart University revealed Tuesday that eight grand-dogs of Khun Thong Daeng were birthed earlier this year via artificial insemination with frozen semen from two of her dead sons. All of the eight puppies are healthy, and have been bestowed royal names from His Majesty the King.
Khun Thong Daeng had nine puppies, all of them now deceased, with her mate Khun Thong Tae. Khun Thong Daeng’s children, third puppy Khun Thong Ek and sixth puppy Khun Thong Yip, had their semen frozen and stored at Kasetsart University on Aug. 30, 2005, prior to their deaths.
The hospital’s recent decision to revive Thong Daeng’s lineage by means of artificial insemination was approved by King Rama X, officials said at a news conference.
Thong Ek’s semen was inseminated with Khun Eslee, another royal Basenji dog on April 20. She gave a natural birth to a litter of five puppies on June 17 at the Animal Hospital at Kasetsart University:
- Khun Thong Moke Mun, female, black
- Khun Thong Sri Trang, female, brown
- Khun Thong Pikul, female, brown
- Khun Thong Inthanil, male, black
- Khun Thong Kankrao, male, brown
Meanwhile, Thong Yip artificially inseminated royal Basenji dog Khun Ann on July 8 successfully. She gave birth at the same location on Sept. 6 to three male, brown-furred puppies:
- Khun Thong Chaiphruk
- Khun Thong Ruangpheung
- Khun Thong Chamchuri
More information about the eight dogs is being prepared for a public release at a later time, officials said.
Thong Daeng, 17-year-old Basenji dog, died on Dec. 26, 2015, due to old age at Klai Kangwong Summer Palace. She was a constant companion to King Rama IX in public events and even appeared in greeting cards issued by him in past years.
As the most eminent pet of His Majesty the King, Thong Daeng is held in high regard in Thai society. Media agencies in Thailand call her by the honorific “khun,” which is usually reserved as a sign of respect for people. An animated film based on Thong Daeng’s life was also released in 2015.
According to her official royal biography, Thong Daeng was born to a stray dog in Bangkok in November 1998. She was reportedly later adopted by Rama IX Medical Center, and given as a gift to His Majesty the King when he visited the facility that same year.
In Dec. 2015, Facebook user Thanakorn Siripaiboon was charged with royal insult for allegedly spreading “sarcastic” comments about Thong Daeng.