HOUSTON — It’s a Houston miracle times nine. A litter of puppies were fathered by a dog born 29 years ago.

The puppies were conceived using frozen semen from a champion Great Dane named Topper who died in 1990.

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Marilyn Herdejurgen was Topper’s owner and he was the first dog she ever competed in shows with.

“They are special, our first one,” Herdejurgen said. “We didn’t know how big he was going to get, so I taught him to sit my lap. And they grow to be about 170 pounds, and he still wanted to sip in my lap driving down the road!”

Years before he died, Herdejurgen had some of his semen frozen. It stayed frozen for 34 years until her new Great Dane, Rubix, was ready to have her own litter.

Dr. Dikeman with Brittmore Animal Hospital is the veterinarian who did the procedure which resulted in a litter of nine puppies.

This technology isn’t new, and it’s a relatively common procedure. However, the 34-year gap is what makes this litter so special.

“I’m not sure, but that’s what they’re saying that these are the oldest puppies that have been produced from the frozen semen,” Herdejurgen said.

Dr. Dikeman doesn’t know if this is the oldest case of frozen semen to produce puppies, but it’s one of the oldest he’s seen.

For Herdejurgen, this whole experience has been a blend of science and nostalgia.

“It’s strange...that it’s been so long ago, and here these puppies are from him (Topper). It’s pretty exciting. This is, like I said, I think a little miracle," Herdejurgen said.


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