Nature can be mysterious and practical at the same time. The way that some animals have evolved to suit a particular functionality can leave you amazed.
Take a good look at your dog’s paws and tell me what you see beside the nails and paw pads.
If you look closely, you will be able to notice that your dog’s paws are webbed. This is that thin membrane that connects each toe.
You might be inclined to think that your dog has some duck or water bird DNA in its lineage but that’s not the case.
Does that mean all dogs have webbed feet? Yes, all dogs have webbed feet. The belief that only certain dog breeds have webbed feet is pretty much a myth. All dogs are born with webbed feet with some dog breeds having much. more pronounced webbing than other dogs.
In this article, we will be taking a closer look at why webbed feet exist on our dogs and the dog breeds that have the most noticeable webbed feet.
Why Does My Dog Have Webbed Feet?
Unlike humans, dogs do not have access to tools like we do to help with certain tasks at hand. This is why each living thing in the animal kingdom already comes equipped with in-built functionality.
Your dog paw is pretty much a ‘Swiss pocket’ knife in its own right. The paw pads are there to help protect your dog’s feet from rough terrain and provide grip. Its nails are used to gripping into the ground when running and digging.
The thin membrane or webbing between each toe provides more stability when the dog is running or walking. Webbed feet are also tremendously helpful when your dog needs to take a swim.
Just ask a duck.
Why Are My Dog’s Webbing So Small?
Size does matter when it comes to your dog’s webbed feet as it says a lot about the heritage of the breed. Dogs with webbed feet that are pronounced and very noticeable tend to come from hard-working dog breeds.
These dogs are used by their owners mainly for hunting and retrieving game. The webbed feet give the dog more stability when navigating difficult terrain when sniffing out the target.
And when the need arises for the dog to retrieve waterfowl from the lake or river, the webbing gives the dog better maneuverability and propulsion in the water.
Even though all dogs have webbed feet, you wouldn’t exactly take a Bulldog or Chihuahua when you go hunting.
Over time, these dogs have evolved to have much smaller webbing as they no longer have a strong need for it.
Which Breed Of Dogs Has Pronounced Webbed Feet?
Here are some dog breeds that have webbed feet that can give water birds a run for their money.
Portuguese Water Dog
I don’t about you but the name of this breed is already a big giveaway about the element where it is very comfortable.
Don’t let the rather fluffy and clumsy external demeanor of this dog fool you. Portuguese water dogs are known as a fisherman’s friend as they do a mighty fine job of retrieving lost tackles, herding fish into the nets and even rescuing people at sea.
Their curly coat, stout powerful legs and prominently webbed feet make them a force to reckon with in the water.
Another great thing about the Portuguese water dog is that it makes a great family pet with its affectionate and gentle personality.
There’s nothing more exciting to this dog than spending a day out with its family at the beach or lakeside.
Personally for me, it is hard to find a dog breed that is more iconic than the Golden Retriever. It is the dog breed that everybody loves, even if you are not into dogs.
The soulful gaze and friendly gaze of this dog breed will make your troubles go away.
Besides being one of the most popular dog breeds in the USA, the Golden Retriever has been bred for its hunting abilities.
This powerful gundog can spend the whole out hunting and retrieving waterfowl thanks to their webbed dog paws.
The Golden Retriever is also an amazing family dog and gets along very well with children and other pets.
Catahoula Leopard Dog
I’m guessing not many of us have heard of the Catahoula Leopard Dog. But the word ‘leopard’ does make one do a double take.
Without a doubt, this dog breed has a striking appearance and loves spending the day working hard for its owner.
This tough dog is native to the state of Louisiana which makes it ideal for working in swamps and forested areas. Oh yeah, those big webbed feet come in mighty handy too.
The Catahoula is a great dog but they need to be properly trained and socialized. They are very protective of their family but might not get along with other pets.
Whenever I see a Newfoundland breed, I tell myself that it looks like a dog in a bear suit.
This large and powerful dog moves like a fish in water with its huge webbed feet and a thick oily coat. They were originally bred to be rescue dogs and a working companion for fishermen.
The Newfoundland is a workhouse and can easily move a heavy load with ease.
Despite their large size, they are extremely gentle and loving towards their family, especially children which gives them the moniker ‘nanny dogs’.
The Cocker Spaniel is a dog that oozes regalness and royalty. This dog is the smallest among sporting dogs but it carries its weight well when compared with the larger breeds.
The Cocker has a long coat that can be either straight and wavy. Its webbed feet make the dog great at hunting. Armed with laser focus, the Cocker Spaniel takes its job very seriously and can spend days out hunting and walking with its owner.
One thing to note about the Cocker is that they are sensitive dogs that tend to bark and argue back when getting reprimanded.
Cockers are known to be habitual resource guarders and will have no qualms in showing you their displeasure when you try to take away something they regard as valuable.
Many people tend to confuse Labrador Retrievers with Golden Retrievers. It is easy to mix up the two dog breeds at first glance but they are very different in their own right.
The Golden has a narrower snot and head while the Labrador is much wider. But they both have very ‘boopable noses’. Boop Boop!
Labs tend to also be less clingy as compared to their retriever cousin, the Golden.
One thing that the Lab does best is to play. This energetic dog breed has limitless energy and loves being active in the outdoors.
Their webbed feet also make them excellent retrieve gundogs on all terrains.
Black Mouth Cur
The Black Mouth Cur is a dog breed that is mainly found in the United States and rarely in other parts of the world.
A Cur is usually to describe a dog that isn’t very friendly but in America, curs are used on dogs that excel in hunting.
And hunting is what a Black Mountain Cur does best.
The Black Mouth Cur is a close cousin of the Mountain Cur with its distinguishable physical trait being its black muzzle regardless of its color.
They love to hunt and their webbed feet make it easy for them to move swiftly on rugged terrain.
There are some dog breeders that have successfully created a Black Mouth Cur Beagle mix that is affectionate, sweet, funny and gentle.
The best of both worlds.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The Chesapeake bay retriever or also affectionately known as the ‘Chessie’ is one heck of a duck dog. This dog breed gets its moniker from being excellent retrievers of waterfowl from the water.
They have a curl and short fur coat which is oily to the touch which helps to keep them waterproof when they are happily swimming about in the water with their big webbed feet.
The Chessie is a loyal and loving family dog but isn’t too fond of strangers.
Not many would regard the Dachshund as a hunting dog due to its very stubby legs and comically elongated body.
But when it comes to the Dachshund or affectionally known as the sausage dog, its function over form.
These dogs were bred to flush out prey that lived and dwelled in burrows like badgers and rabbits. Their long and slim bodies made it easy for them to get deep into tight spaces.
The sausage dog doesn’t use its webbed feet to swim well but to move large amounts or earth and soil when trying to dig deeper into the burrow.
It might be a good idea to check on your dog’s paw it if loves to dig.
There is a risk of your dog’s paw hitting a rock or snagging a root while digging which can cause its nail to bend sideways.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Has Webbed Feet?
You should be able to see the webbing between the toes of your dog if you were to gently pull its toes apart.
If your pooch isn’t a hunting dog or from a working breed, it might be difficult to visually identify it.
But it is definitely there if you were to run your fingers between the toes and feel for a thin membrane.