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Why Do Some Dogs Have Webbed Feet?

Why Do Some Dogs Have Webbed Feet?

. 3 min read

When you think of webbed feet you probably think of ducks, not dogs. But surprise, some dog breeds also have webbed feet!

Labrador-Retriever-Uses-Webbed-Feet-to-swim

You might be shocked to learn that all dogs are born with webbed feet but not all pups keep them for their entire lives. Many breeds grow out of this feature as they get bigger. The dogs that do have webbed feet for their entire lives are strong swimmers. The webbing can help them get more powerful in the water, but it’s also good for helping dogs walk in muddy areas (like near water) or even for digging (just hopefully not in your backyard or garden).

Dog-uses-its-feet-to-dig-in-the-mud

Dog breeds that have webbed feet

Some popular dogs that have webbed feet include:

Dachshunds - While you may not associate these pups with being strong swimmers many of them enjoy it. However, that’s not the primary use for their webbed appendages. They use their webbed feet for digging. Dachshunds are known for hunting badgers. They use their webbed feet to scoop dirt away and dig themselves into the badger’s tunnels. This can be a bit of a tight squeeze so they have to be ready to get to their prey quickly!

German Pointers (wire-hair and short-hair) - Bred for hunting, webbed feet are a part of the German Pointer’s breed standard for both the wire-hair and short hair varieties. The webbing helps with swimming which they may do on a hunt. Even pointers who don’t hunt may enjoy swimming and have the instinct for it.

German-Shorthaired-Pointer-in-Pointing-Position

Labrador Retrievers - One of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, the Labrador Retriever uses their webbed feet for hunting. These pups may help their owners hunt ducks, geese, or other waterfowl. For the pups who don’t hunt, they may still enjoy swimming even if it’s just in the family kiddie pool.

Newfoundlands - These very large pups can use their webbed feet to swim or to help fishermen pull in their nets. If you have children, these dogs can make excellent lifeguards. Thanks to their protective coats, these dogs may be at home in colder water too!

Poodles - Like many of the pups on the list, the Poodle also uses their webbed feet for both swimming and walking in muddy areas. Another popular pet, the poodle has also had a long history as a working pup.

Dogs without webbed feet

We’ve highlighted a number of pups that have webbed feet - and for good reason. There are also a number of breeds that don’t generally have webbed feet. Some of these dogs like Dobermans, Whippets, and Greyhounds are bred more for speed and endurance than pursuits like hunting, fishing, or digging. This means they need a different shaped foot that can help them gain and maintain some serious speed.

If your dog is a companion animal it probably doesn’t matter much if your pup has webbed feet. So even though your dog doesn’t have a job supporting hunters, pulling in fishing nets, or digging for badgers they may benefit greatly from their webbed feet (if they have them). The webbing can allow them to feel supported when walking through the mud or help them join the family for a swim. Does your dog have webbed feet? What do they use them for?

The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.