Dogs with Webbed Feet: What You Should Know

Webbed paws are a feature you may have never realized that some breeds of dogs are born with. These “webbed feet” are specific to breeds that have been known throughout history to have a certain affinity for swimming or hunting waterfowl.

These breeds are all unique and have certain qualities that are worth learning more about if you and your family are considering adopting one of the types of dogs with webbed feet. 

What is the Webbing in their Paws?

By now you’re probably imagining a dog with feet that look like they belong on a duck. This isn’t exactly the case. The physiological makeup is similar, but dogs with webbed feet still have paws like any other dog. They just have a sort of membrane that connects the spaces between their toes, making swimming even easier for these breeds. 

You may also be surprised to learn that the webbing between their toes is good for navigating tough terrains in addition to swimming. The tough terrains that are being referred to here are along the lines of snowy climates or areas with a lot of mud. The increased surface area created under the dogs’ paws by the webbing allows them to trek through these obstacles with more ease. 

Why Do Some Breeds of Dogs Have Webbed Feet? 

The fact that some breeds of dogs are born with webbed feet is a genetic mutation. All dogs have a slight bit of webbing on their feet, but because of genetics, some have far more than others. 

This mutation was bred purposefully in these breeds to keep the mutation alive, as it has been found to be helpful in these breeds. Large and small dog breeds with webbed feet were found to be incredibly helpful with hunting waterfowl and herding animals

Breeds of Waterdogs with Webbed Feet

There are several amazing breeds that are born with the special mutation of having webbed paws. From small water spaniels to larger breeds like Portuguese water dogs and poodles. All of which are famous for their special paws.

Newfoundland

This gentle giant also falls into the category of dogs with webbed paws. The Newfoundland was a fishing dog but would also use their webbed paws to rescue people from the water. The breed is known for their incredible strength and ability to drag a fully grown man from the water to land. Nowadays however, the Newfoundland breed is more well known as a family dog. 

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Known for its hard work on the East Coast of the United States so many decades ago, its legacy has been hard to forget. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is much like its cousins with webbed paws, able to swim very well, and is very resilient in freezing water. The thing that makes the Chesapeake Bay Retriever special is the fact that it was known to break through ice if that’s what was needed to get to its target.

American Water Spaniel 

As their name suggests, this breed was originally bred in America. The goal of breeding this web-footed dog was to withstand the icy waters of the Great Lakes in the North-Eastern regions of the United States.  

Portuguese Water Dog

This curly-haired breed is best known for assisting fishermen to gather fish into their nets. These natural herders would also assist in gathering broken equipment such as nets, from the water if it gets away from the fishermen’s grasp or breaks and drifts off. 

Not only would they help to catch fish on land, but they would also go out to sea with the fishermen to catch Cod. These brave dogs would face the icy cold waters just to help their humans bring home a large haul of fish for their families or to sell. 

Poodle

The Poodle might be one breed with webbed paws that surprises you. The name “Poodle” is actually derived from the French word that means “splash”. Which makes perfect sense once you find out that this fluffy dog has webbed paws. 

Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish water spaniel is another breed that was utilized for their webbed paws to swim through cold water to make retrievals of fish and other objects. The Irish water spaniel is also known well for its ability to dive underwater and retrieve things. 

Conclusion

Dogs with webbed feet are incredibly remarkable and unique, to say the least. This genetic mutation has really come in handy for these dogs and their human companions over time. Thankfully, there have been dog breeders in the world who saw this unique trait and did what they needed to keep these webbed paws within the certain breeds who were being born with these kinds of paws. 

Are labs the only dog with webbed feet?

Labs are not the only breed of dog with webbed feet. Aside from Labs, Poodles and Portuguese Waterdogs also have webbed feet. These breeds were born to swim and catch prey in the water.

How many toes does a dog have?

An average dog has five toes on each of their front paws, and four toes on their back paws. On occasion, you may come across a dog with six or more toes. This is called “polydactyly” and is not uncommon in both dogs and cats.

What dog breeds have webbed feet?

Some of the more common dog breeds that have webbed feet include the Labrador retriever, as well as Poodles and Portuguese water dogs. There are a select number of dog breeds that fall into the “water dog” category and tend to have a webbed paw that seems to have been made to help them trek through the water more easily than many other breeds. These breeds of dogs with webbed paws aren’t used for hunting fish and waterfowl in freezing temperatures as much as they used to be. This is good because now these breeds of dog are typically found living in a happy home with their human families.

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Written by Leo Roux

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