Do all dogs have webbed feet? Which dogs have webbed feet?
To explain what dogs have webbed feet, we will use an example, to help you understand webbed feet in dogs better:
In other words, dogs with webbed feet are usually big water lovers and great swimmers.
In this article, we will explore and present you the best dog breeds with webbed feet, and discuss more on webbed feet in dogs in general, such as why some dog breeds have them, and how dogs swim.
11 Dog Breeds With Webbed Feet – Listed
Let’s see some of the most popular webbed-footed dog breeds of today.
Some of them are already known as great swimmers, while others might surprise you.
Labs are among the most popular dog breeds in the States.
Did you know that Labrador Retrievers are the fastest dogs in water sports?
If you find this hard to believe, just throw a ball or a fishing net nearby and watch for their reaction.
In fact, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular of the duck-footed breeds, that was originally bred in Newfoundland to help fishermen in chasing fish and gathering nets.
For this, Labs had to be strong and agile swimmers.
Overall, Labs are gentle, and fun-loving dogs who love spending time with their family members.
They need a lot of exercise, especially when young. They are easy and great to train, highly loyal, and intelligent.
Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dog was bred to be the ultimate dog for fishermen. Their main job was to assist the sailors by retrieving fishing nets and tools.
They were also responsible for swimming messages between ships, and herding fish into nets.
This is a Poodle-type breed of Europe, which is why they have a Poodle-like curly coat, a love of water, and webbed feet.
These water dogs are today mainly loving companions, who are independent, intelligent, and great competitors in dog sports such as agility and obedience.
Newfoundlands are known for their thick and waterproof coat, next to webbed paws which allow them to stay in the water for extremely long periods.
This breed is a great partner for fishermen in Canada. They are strongly built, with impressive physical stamina – this is why they can easily pull nets and fetch fish.
Today, they are mostly busy working in search and rescue or just spending their time as family pets.
They enjoy the outdoors and will make a great companion for long hikes and any trip where they can jump into the water – this is a common trait in dogs with webbed feet.
They are gentle giants, and at first, they might look intimidating to some. They are great with children.
It’s not a bad idea to involve your children with the grooming – regular brushing should be done at least once a week and can be a great bonding activity.
Did you know that Poodles are among the most intelligent dog breeds alive?
They are highly intelligent, and cute dogs who enjoy outdoor time. It’s common to see them in city areas, but they do love more rural areas.
They have oilier fur, which isn’t common for webbed feet dogs.
Their coat needs daily grooming to prevent fur from getting matted and tangled. If you want a breed that doesn’t shed, then Poddle is for you.
To keep their activity need in order, you should think about agility or obedience training.
Poodles love to swim, which is why it’s important to include swimming in your dog’s exercise routine.
They have a lot of energy that should be maintained.
Did you know that Poodles were initially bred to retrieve waterfowl, which makes them excellent retrievers and great water workers?
Poodles come in several sizes, meaning that you should be able to easily find the perfect match for your family.
Dachshunds are known as little sausage dogs but did you know that this small-size dog was bred for hunting? Their famous and long bodies enable them to explore easily tight places.
This was handy when it was up to them to find mammals such as rats and badgers.
Interestingly, their feet are webbed but not for swimming but for digging, so that they can dig deeper. They may have short legs, but that doesn’t stop them from being efficient in their duties.
They aren’t opposed to swimming, but they prefer the soil. Since this breed has a lower body it’s extremely important to keep their weight optimal.
They do not need extra weight to pressure their bones.
Just like with any other breed, never use any harsh training methods and force positive reinforcement training.
Weimaraner is one of the most elegant dog breeds alive.
If you ever had the pleasure to ever met this breed, you must have noticed how elegant they look.
Dog fanciers claim that they got this elegant trait from their canine ancestors.
For years, Weimaraners were used as hunting dogs by royalty in the 18th century. They are loyal, highly intelligent, and great family pets.
When hanging with people they are fun-loving dogs with low maintenance needs. Still, you will have to trim nails and keep their ears clean.
Learn how to clean a dog’s ears and what should you care about when it comes to healthy gums.
If you are looking for a running canine partner, a Weimaraner is the dog for you.
They love running because it helps them stretch their long limbs. They have arched, large, and webbed feet that can get them through any terrain with speed.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are among the best swimmers in the canine world.
Thanks to their webbed feet, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can easily swim intensely for up to 30 minutes.
This breed is a very people-oriented and great addition to a family of any size.
They have a short and oily coat that is dense with a wave, making them water-repelling.
Although Chesapeake is named ‘Retriever’ this breed doesn’t come from the same lineage as a Labrador.
Chesapeake is not related to Goldens or Labradors.
What is the difference between a Labrador retriever and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever? Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a much deeper chest than the Labrador.
German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointer like all German pointers, comes with webbed feet.
These dogs were bred from day one to be hunting assistants, mostly in duck hunting.
As such, they had to be massive water lovers and enter the waters easily and retrieve when needed.
Like other hunting dogs, German Shorthaired Pointers are independent and tend to have a mind of their own.
They need experienced dog owners and preferably someone with an active outdoor lifestyle.
German Shorthaired Pointers love water, but they have short and silky hair, which means that they can easily get cold, especially during the winter and colder days in general.
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is another water-loving dog breed.
Mostly known as ‘Toller’ this breed is an energetic retriever who loves being surrounded by people all the time.
These retrievers are small-to-medium-size but that doesn’t make them a great fit for everyone.
They need an active dog owner, someone who will take them hiking, jogging, and swimming on regular basis.
Keeping them happy will require significant physical and mental stimulation, or they will become bored, unhappy, and eventually destructive.
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are getting popular with each passing year, but they are still one of the rarest dogs alive.
Getting a reputable and responsible dog owner of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever will require time and usually a waiting list – you can expect to wait up to six months to get a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.
Otterhounds are big-size dogs with webbed feet who enjoy swimming sessions.
They are best known for their rough and water-resistant coat that helps them preserve body temperature and stay dry.
Otterhound is an old breed, dating back to medieval England when these shaggy-coated dogs were primarily used for otter hunting (that is how they got their name).
To keep this breed, owners must provide not only regular training but mandatory swimming time as well.
Swimming is their favorite activity that helps them develop a broad chest and powerful shoulders.
Otterhounds are sweet and affectionate dogs, who enjoy that pack experience, either with people or with other dogs.
They are best suited for active individuals, or active families, who won’t leave their dogs alone for too long.
Know that getting Otterhound isn’t easy, as there are only thousands of them in the entire world.
German Wirehaired Pointer
German Wirehaired Pointer, like all Pointers, is a great swimmer thanks to webbed feet.
Bred to be a hunting companion, GWP was often a water-based dog whose main responsibility was to retrieve ducks from water.
As an ultimate gun dog, the German Wirehaired Pointer has amazing skills both on the ground and underwater.
Thanks to webbed feet, this breed is not only a great swimmer that can move easily in water but is also very stable.
Personality-wise is a very loyal breed, intelligent, great at training, and also very affectionate.
As a breed with some of the finest nose skills out there, this silk-coated breed is often used for drug detection and as a therapy dog.
Now that you know what dogs have webbed feet let’s learn more about their development.
Why Do Some Dogs Have Webbed Feet?
Some dogs have webbed feet, while others have more regular paws.
To understand better why this is the case, we need to think about genetics. Just like in humans, the canine is the creation of their genetic materials.
Just like in humans, their body parts have specific roles: dogs’ body parts also have a specific purpose. Canine feet were built with purpose.
Their thick pads protect them from injury while their strong nails allow for traction on any kind of surface. Moreover, some breeds have an addition – webbing between their toes.
Did you know that all dogs start with webbed feet? In utero, webbed fingers and toes are common to all mammals. Human fetuses have webbed digits up until about the 7th week of gestation.
At that period, the cells that make up the webbing on the hands and feet die off. A similar process occurs in canines but to a slightly less degree.
Opposite to humans, all canine species carry some degree of webbing on their paws. Wolves have an incredibly high degree of webbing.
Compared with wolves, some dogs kept webbing, while others haven’t. To understand the difference, you need first to see how webbed feet can be useful.
What about other well-known breeds, such as Border Collie, do they have webbed feet?
Let’s make a quick run through popular breeds, and see if they have this useful body set.
- Do Border Collies have webbed feet? Border Collies only have webbing halfway up the length of their toes, which doesn’t put them in the category of dogs with webbed feet.
- Do St Bernards have webbed feet? Saint Bernards have webbed feet, which actually helps them move better through snow and also swim in cold and icy water.
- Do Cane Corso have webbed feet? Cane Corsos do not have webbed feet. They are not water lovers, and they are not known for having great swimming or digging skills.
- Do Jack Russells have webbed feet? Jack Russell Terriers do not have webbed feet, but they tend to enjoy a short swimming time.
- Do Chihuahuas have webbed feet? Chihuahuas have webbed feet.
Now that you know more about which dogs have webbed feet and which are not very good swimmers, let’s see what are benefits of webbed feet are in dogs.
Webbed Feet In Dogs Are Useful
Primarily, webbing in the paws makes powerful swimmers.
The reason for this is simple – a flap of skin connecting each toe allows more surface contact with the water.
Webbed-foot dogs have more power when they push against the water as they paddle. When diving webbed feet help extend diving and flatten the surface area of the human foot to aid in swimming.
The webbed dog paw achieves this same goal.
When fishermen and hunters first started breeding dogs to help them with work, they immediately selected dogs that were stronger and faster swimmers.
At the time, they had no idea that they were breeding dogs with a high degree of webbing on their paws.
How Do Dogs Swim?
When dogs swim, they spread their toes to increase surface contact with the water.
Dogs with webbed feet do something similar, with one difference – they swim faster.
Dogs with webbed feet swim faster because less water escapes through their toes as they paddle. Webbed feet are helpful in water, and beyond.
Webbed feet also help dogs dig better than others.
Webbed feet work as a shovel, allowing more dirt to be moved with each swipe. This is the main reason why vermin hunting breeds have webbed feet.
Webbing between the toes also helps dogs walk easier in deep snow, which just may be the main reason why wolves retain this unusual trait.
How Do You Tell If A Dog Has Webbed Feet?
If you take a closer look at your dog’s paws and other dogs’ paws you will see that they all have some kind of webbing between their toes.
If you don’t see any sort of membrane, run your fingers in between the dog’s toes, and you will feel a thin membrane between these toes.
That membrane is known as webbing or webbed feet.
Reasons for webbed feet will vary, but the most common reason for webbed feet development is that these kinds of toes helped them work better, to be more efficiently.
The Bottom Line
Let’s be honest – you will check your dog’s paws now to see if they are webbed or not, right? Or you did do it already? Or did you know from day one if your dog is a good swimmer or not?
If your dog is a water-lover and loves spending hours chasing something water-based, make sure that to regular training and exercise, you provide regular swimming time as well.