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Bonaforte's Identical Twins.

Bonaforte's  Identical (Monozygotic) Twins 

Bonaforte's  Identical (Monozygotic) Twins 

It has now been confirmed that these Bonaforte girls are monozygotic, identical twins and born 3 years prior to the South African puppies - a verified breed first!

The article about identical twin Irish Wolfhounds puppies in the press in August 2016 spiked interest, when the BBC reported on a case of identical twin Wolfhound puppies being born in South Africa, following a vet assisted Caesarean delivery, and later tests proved that the twin puppies were indeed genetically identical and this appears to be the first recorded/proven case of monozygotic twin puppies. The article, written by Melissa Hogenboom, goes on to explain that although non-identical twins are not uncommon in some species, genetically identical (monozygotic) twins are thought to be a far rarer occurrence by the scientific community: It seems unlikely that identical twin puppies are particularly common. "It has taken so long for us to find a monozygotic pair, so they are probably rare," says Carolynne Joone of James Cook University in Townsville, Australia.

Lab Test Results confirming the Identical Twins 

Lab Test Results confirming the Identical Twins 

Lab tests on the ‘Bonaforte Twins’, who were born naturally at home at Broadholme House Farm in 2013, have now confirmed that those 2 puppies are also monozygotic, identical twins.

Every puppy born at Bonaforte is special, but when the E litter joined the world on 1st September 2013 there was a heightened level of excitement as 2 of the puppies were attached to the same placenta and we immediately knew they were twins (but not necessarily identical). The twin puppies (Bonaforte’s Ella and Bonaforte’s Eloisa) were significantly smaller than their litter mates, but they were always inseparable and always appeared to be identical.

In fact, they were so devoted to each other that it became obvious they could never really be parted form one another:

“whelping them was an amazing moment, one I shall never forget. From the moment they were born they displayed the "Twin Bond”. They always played together, away from the rest of the litter and always slept together. It was magical to watch them. We decided from the start they must live their lives together.” (Carla du Rose)

They eventually grew to be similar in size to their siblings and by a strange twist of fate they found their forever home together with the most special of owners - even though their owners had no idea they would actually end up with not 1, but 2 Wolfhound puppies! Maureen Nicholls and Ann Welford have been lovingly caring for the 2 girls, whom they named Ellie and Poppy, for over 3 years and the Bonaforte Twins remain as devoted to each other as they are to their owners. Even now it is almost impossible to tell them apart, even for their owners:

Bonaforte's Identical Irish Wolfhound twins 

Bonaforte's Identical Irish Wolfhound twins 

“They really still do everything together; they wee together, poo together, even sniff together. If by some unusual chance they are in different rooms and one is getting a crafty cuddle the other one appears, as if they know that the other one is getting attention. We can tell them apart if you really look but the main way is Poppy always has a red collar and Ellie has what ever is next nicest (don’t think she minds). We took them to the groomers once and when I got back she was so upset as she had taken off the collars and did not know who was who and was worried I wasn't going to be able to tell which one was which!” Maureen Nicholls, owner

The main reasons that identical twin puppies are so uncommon is partly because they are rarely genetically tested to evidence the possibility and also because they often do not survive: “It is thought that identical twins are rare because, when two foetuses share one placenta, they do not get enough nutrients from the mother and are therefore less likely to survive” ( The twin puppies form South Africa were delivered at a veterinary surgery and therefore it was the suspicions of the vet that led to further investigations and testing and when litters are born at home it is possible twins will go unnoticed by the breeder. Carla however was fortunate to spot that the two puppies shared the same placenta, and keenly watched as the Twin Bond between them grew.



3 days of Heart Testing Irish Wolfhounds

Three successful days of heart testing here at the Bonaforte Kennel, saw results we can all live with and no awful surprises.

There is always a general air of excitiment around prior to heart testing and our visit to the Kennel from Dr Brownlie. The days are always busy with our owners coming and going, bringing not only their hounds with them, but filling the kitchen with laughter. Many thanks to Hugh and Rachel on kitchen duty for the endless supplies of tea and coffee and keeping us all going with a feast, and to Linda for helping Serena with the hounds.

Dr Serena Brownlie worked tirelessly to examine every dog, including non-kennel visitors, who are always welcome.

We also celebrated Serena’s 30 years of heart testing in our breed, for which we are all very grateful. We are most certainly beginning to see the fruits of her labour and believe she is giving us all hope for our breed.

It is important that not just breeders, but all owners of Irish Wolfhounds have their hounds tested, not just once, but every year. By doing this you will be giving something back to our very precious breed and helping the experts keep track of any familial changes as they occur.

Please support heart testing, that little extra effort is so worth it. Heart testing sessions are also available through the IWHG.

For this years bi-annual test results please follow the link.



Canine Alliance 10 Point Action Plan for ABS

The meeting of the Canine Alliance came up with a 10 Point Action Plan for the Kennel Club to consider, based around a scheme that does what it is supposed to do and ASSURES the puppy purchasers that every step possible has been taken to ensure the stock is healthy:

More emphasis to be placed on the health of the breeding stock – suggestions for the inspectors to ask more rigorous questions regarding breeding plans etc

That the MyKC web pages add a function to allow breeders to identify which dogs they actually own, which are spayed or going to be bred from and so on

The addition of a puppy buyer based accolade – to be based on realistic feedback provided by the purchasers regarding their experience

KC to ensure a list of requirements on the day is clear and available for ABS members prior to inspection

Public education needs to improve – the KC need to ensure that the public have a far better understanding of the health issues and testing that is undertaken by responsible breeders

The KC must ensure that relevant breed tests are made mandatory – some breeds currently have no recommended or mandatory tests in place and this could be discussed with, for example, the breed clubs and other interested parties

Consider allowing ABS members to withhold registrations if they are implementing a spay/neuter endorsement/requirement as part of their sales contract. Registrations to be withheld until presented with the appropriate certification that this has been carried out

The KC require all breeding bitches and stud dogs – to have been micro-chipped/tattooed – to undergo a basic/rudimentary health test with a vet prior to being bred from. This will ensure that those breeds with no recommended health tests do, at the very least, meet with a demonstrable level of health prior to breeding

Placing a clause in the registration information given to new puppy owners- advising them to contact the KC if they experience a problem – this would complement the current process of inspections.

That the KC takes steps to properly recognise foreign health test results and to include these on the website/registration certificates

The Canine Alliance will be writing to the Kennel Club with these proposals and will be asking to meet up to discuss these in more depth and, in the meantime, we will be looking at a series of regional meetings.

To read more click here: Canine Alliance 10 Point Action Plan for ABS