Do All Dogs Have Webbed Feet?
The idea of dogs having webbed feet rather like ducks, may sound a little strange. However, all dogs to a lesser, or greater degree, have this foot feature. In this article, Holidays4Dogs discusses the subject of webbed feet in dogs and asks do all dogs have webbed feet?
Canine foot structure.
When you are clipping your dog’s claws, or just simply petting him, you may have noticed he has a thin membrane between each of his toes. It is common in many types of dog, but can be seen more prominently in certain breeds. This is partly due to the fact the trait has specifically been selected by breeders. Below you will find a list of some of the best super-swimmers in the dog world!
Labradors have quite distinctive toe webbing which is of huge benefit to a dog that works in water. Having webbed feet helps them to swim more efficiently in water. Along with a powerful tail, which acts like a rudder, these dogs have great power and propulsion when they are swimming.
Otterhounds similarly have very distinctive webbed feet; a trait from a past hunting history that, thankfully, no longer takes place. These dogs are made for swimming. Their shaggy double coat repels water like a dream and their flipper style feet make them exceptional swimmers.
Newfoundland’s also have massive paws and very distinctive webbing between their toes. This, along with their huge lung capacity and body strength helped them, historically, to excel in hauling fishing nets.
Despite their enormous size, these dogs are fantastic water babies. There are many clubs and societies around the UK which operate water and draught work training which keeps the dog’s working and swimming abilities alive.
Portuguese water dog.
These dogs are expert dog paddlers and were originally bred to help fishermen off the coast of Portugal. Their curly, water resistant coats along with webbed feet, make them exceptional swimmers. The Portuguese water dog is an intelligent and active breed, who excel at dog sports both in and out of water.
Other useful functions of webbed feet in dogs.
Webbed feet help dogs to swim more effectively, but that’s not all; having webbing between the toes also helps dogs to navigate tough terrain, like soft, muddy ground. They are also great digging tools, which is why Dachshunds will often have pronounced webbing between their delicate toes.
Dogs with less distinct webbing.
In snowy conditions, having excessive skin around the toes can cause snow to collect in hard lumps around the feet, making movement difficult.
Other breeds which have less distinct webbing are toy dogs, bred primarily as companion or lap dogs. Chihuahuas and Japanese Chins for example gain no benefit from having webbed feet.
Pugs and Bulldogs, for instance, are generally not considered to be water babies. Some brachycephalic (flat-faced breeds) may even struggle to swim due to breathing difficulties.
Almost every dog has some sort of webbing between their toes and it is not an un-common feature. Knowing whether your dog has well defined webbed feet, or not, will help you to understand where his physical strengths lie.
N.B. Always take care with your dog when swimming in open water, rivers or flooded areas.