Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the ideal veterinarians worldwide.

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Dog breeds with webbed feet can certainly be quite a conversation piece. Have you ever before personally taken a look at at her dog’s feet? more than likely not as close together you have their face—after all that’s nice memorable—but a dog’s paws room pretty amazing works of arts too.

Not only do dog feet come in many different shapes, colors and sizes (sometimes come an lover effect, particularly when you’ve gained a pup with huge paws to go through a tiny body), but they also give your pooch various other information around their surroundings.

Your dog's feet allow your companion come walk on all sorts the terrain and also surfaces without going splat on your furry bottoms. It gives them with sensory information around what they’re wade on and gives them traction. Imagine we might use our feet in the same means without having to resort to so numerous pairs that shoes for every situation?

And climate you have some dog breeds that have actually an extra included feature: webbed toes. What's up through this? Aren't web-footed creatures mostly those the live close to water? Interestingly, some dog breeds were supposed to have actually webbed feet due to their past histories.


The function of Webbed Feet

Webbing is defined as the visibility of connecting tissue between the toes of the foot. That is discovered in various animals such together ducks or geese which room meant to live both top top land and water. Such webbed feet are supplied as oars to navigate through water.

It have the right to be thus said the webbed feet sell an optimal compromise in between aquatic and terrestrial locomotion.

Now girlfriend obviously aren’t walk to view your dog waddling approximately like a duck or various other waterfowl if they are on land, and that’s due to the fact that they aren’t crafted in the very same way.

Dogs primarily are terrestrial, cursorial animals and also so their bodies operate to get them throughout land as conveniently as possible. Amphibious animals, prefer ducks or geese, are rather meant to live top top both land and also in water and also therefore room blessed v thicker, more comprehensive webbed feet which enables them come navigate on wet terrain choose mud and also to propel themselves with the water.

Now that’s not to say the ducks and geese (and other pets such as frogs) get about as dexterously together your dog can. After ~ all, they don’t have actually the gripping toughness or ability that her pup does once he’s relocating through the grass or climbing increase a hill.

But thanks to selective reproduction (because let's it is in honest, humans are constantly seeking to get the ideal traits in their canine companions!), you might see some dogs with a modified variation of webbed toes.

It's worth stating though that all dogs have some level the membrane connecting your toes- just like humans have actually some between their fingers and toes. This connective tissue enables them come have better traction, permitting them to move through snow at a clip without getting bogged down. However, for part dogs the webbing extends further up the toes.

Selective breeding

Like the numerous other properties humans have actually found preferable in their dogs, some folks have actually actually bred a an ext pronounced webbing right into their pups, back this properties wasn't really intentionally selected for-it just sort that "came along for the ride," so to say.

Let’s take a look at few of the much more common breeds with webbed feet and also what function this extra enhancement might add, but prior to getting come that, did you know that every embryos (human or canine) start off through webbed feet from the get-go? Here's a brief an overview of development 101.

Programmed cabinet Death

Apparently, we room all created with webbing in between our toes, but sometimes the webbing gets turned turn off at a cellular level together unnecessary—a process known together apoptosis, likewise simply referred to as programmed cell death.

"In the earlier stages, the is, therefore, simplest for the skin to type uniformly, but once formed, the overfill skin needs to be eliminated somehow,'' describes scientist leg on Quora.

This process occurs in every sorts of vertebrate varieties known for having finger- or toe-like digits. Much less apoptosis results in more webbing between the digits. It's quite fascinating to see exactly how this process can be sort of “altered” in specific animals and also dog breeds!

The commonalities you’ll keep in mind regardless of whether the dog on this list are large or small, fluffy or wire-haired is that they room all mostly helping their people with particular water tasks.

We may confidently infer the no man ever selected his water-dogs by the degree of come which the skin was developed between your toes; yet what he does is to preserve and breed indigenous those individuals which hunt better or best retrieve hurt game, and thus the unconsciously selects dogs with feet slightly far better webbed.

— Charles Darwin

Dog Breeds v Webbed Feet

Here s a list of dog breeds v webbed feet. When again, one clarification: Webbing in this case refers to the more extensive connective tissue checked out in numerous dog breeds selectively bred to occupational in water. The webbing, therefore, extends more toward the end of the toes.

While all dogs have a touch that webbing between their toes, these breeds have been specifically bred to job-related in water and therefore nature has enabled this trait to enhance.

Ideally, feet for swimming need to be huge and v excess skin between the toes. These features permit a greater area for pushing against the water, while also helping dog walk through the tidewater mudflats, allude out Edward M Gilbert Jr., and Thelma R Brown in the book: K-9 structure & Terminology.


1. Portuguese Water dog

These furry pups equipped v a curly coat and also webbed toe are just one of numerous breeds who have actually been bred to work in the water.

This breed's job entailed assisting anglers gather fish right into the fishermen's nets. Not just would they assist gather the fish right into the nets (think a herding mentality), they could additionally retrieve broken nets and equipment.

On peak of this, they likewise acted together couriers from ship to ship, or delivery to shore. In in between working, Portuguese Water dog rode in fishing trawlers take it took them indigenous the Atlantic waters that Portugal come the waters off the shore of Iceland wherein they helped with fishing for cod.

To assist them in functioning in cold, icy waters, they were traditionally groomed in a lion cut. This timeless cut assisted decrease the early shock of jumping in cold water while offering warmth to the dog's vital areas.

The hindquarters to be left shaved for the function of allowing much more fluent activity of the earlier legs and also the powerful, rudder-like tail. In 1991, your feet were described as having webbing do of soft skin, well extended with hair and also reaching the toe tips.

In Portuguese, this breed is known as cão de água which literally means "dog of water."


2. Poodle

Here’s one that might surprise you. Many folks hear about a poodle and also immediately think of your sometimes-over-the-top haircuts and shaved torsos, yet these dog were originally bred because that duck hunting.

Even your name claims it all: words poodle comes from the German word Pudeln, which method “to splash." Although claimed to be the nationwide dog the France, the American Kennel society clarifies that the Poodle in reality originated in Germany.

Their curly, moisture-resistant acts like a structure jumper in wet conditions. Just like the Portuguese water dog, over there is a id that the poodle's fancy coat clips have from timeless working clips, i m sorry were originally meant to carry out warmth to your joints once these dogs were immersed in cold water. The rest of the body was shaved to develop less drag in the water.

As with other dogs bred to job-related in the water, poodles are equipped with webbed feet that allow them to be agile swimmers while additionally making them capable of go on mud.


3. Otterhound

As the name most likely suggests, these fluffy pooches (who space quite huge in the 80 to 115-pound range) were bred to help hunters track and hunt otters, yet looking at the face, i don’t know just how you deserve to imagine they’d want to walk chasing anything other than a ball.

If you have actually never heard or viewed these dog before, don't feeling bad. Otterhounds room not really popular dogs, indeed, this brother dog breed is top top the vulnerable Native each other List with only roughly 600 specimens worldwide.

These dogs room blessed through an oily, rough double coat and substantial webbed feet. Charles Darwin claims: "English otterhounds are stated to have webbed feet: a friend examined because that me the feet of two, in comparison through the feet of some harriers and bloodhounds; he discovered the skin variable in extent in all, but much more developed in the otterhounds than in others."

It is likewise said that these dogs have a an effective nose capable of tracking scent in the mud and water because that an extended duration of time.

4. Newfoundland

These huge snuggle bugs originate in Canada and also were bred to help fishers in the icy winter waters the Newfoundland, Canada. Here, they were often used to traction fishnets and also haul carts and also other equipment.

On height of this, Newfoundlands exhibit a herbal propensity come rescue people from the water and, therefore, they can also be fairly easily trained as lifeguards, rescuing swimmers in trouble.

Their webbed toes assist in this task allowing maximum propulsion, while their tails act as rudders and also their huge furry coats are a bonus.

Interestingly, this breed offers a different swimming stroke contrasted to the plain dog. Fairly than law the simple doggy paddle, the Newfoundland move his legs in a down-and-out movement which yields an ext powerful strokes.

Did girlfriend Know?

Napoleon Bonaparte was conserved by a Newfoundland when in the darkness that the night top top February 26, 1815, the escaped the island the Elba and the turbulent seas knocked that overboard. A fisherman's Newfie concerned the rescue on the night, jumping in the water and also saving the escapee, defines Marty Crump in the book: "A Year through Nature: an Almanac."

5. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Similar to your Newfie friends, this dogs not only aid their owner hunt duck (as their surname implies) but aid attract the duck to acquire them in variety for your humans.

Their layout is fairly unique: to tempt waterfowl in ~ gunshot range, these dogs will interact in "tolling," a behavior borrowed through foxes. Basically, they'll start romping and also playing close to the water, i m sorry piques the curiosity the ducks and also geese, who swim end to investigate.

Once near enough, the hunter shoots, and also the toller is then offered to retrieve any downed birds. Quite a clever technique, isn't it?

The breed traditional calls because that feet that space strongly webbed, slightly oval tool in size, and also tight, through well-arched toes and also thick pads. Castle are likewise expected to have a water-repellent twin coat which provides it perfect for work in cold, icy waters. A love for water comes normally for this breed that is frequently mistaken for a small gold retriever.

It has currently been remarked the dogs different in the level to which their feet room webbed. In dog of the Newfoundland breed, which room eminently aquatic in your habits, the skin follow to Isidore Geofrroy, extends come the third phalanges, whilst in ordinary dogs it extends only to the second.

— Charles Darwin, The variation of Animals and also Plants Under Domestication, Volume 1

6. Chesapeake only Retriever

These pups hang out on the East coast of the united state (Chesapeake Bay) and also were supplied to go chasing down ducks in the frigid waters when staying heat thanks to their coats.

It goes without saying that these dogs were expected to be quite resilient, often working under the many adverse weather conditions, sometimes even having to break ice throughout their retrieves.

The American Kennel club expects this each other to have actually "well webbed-hare feet of good size through toes well-rounded and also close." The hindquarters have to be especially an effective to it is provided the driving strength for swimming. The harsh external coat is oily when the undercoat is wooly for this reason to prevent the cold water from getting to the Chesapeake's skin and to assist in quick drying.

The American Kennel Club additional emphasizes the a Chessie's coat need to resist the water in a comparable fashion together a duck's feather do. ~ above shaking the coat after arising from the water, it have to not organize water at all, being just moist. A love because that water must be current so much it's mentioned under the expected temperament for this breed.

7. Labrador Retriever

Perhaps the most evident on the list, Labrador retrievers were bred come retrieve every sorts of points (fish, fishing nets, waterfowl, etc.), and it goes without speak that many Labradors love water.

These dogs were described as the "king of retrievers." they are defined as being an effective and tireless swimmers capable of tolerating the coldest waters for extended periods that time.

They were recognized for working quietly together hunters, watching for birds to fall to the ground and also delivering them with a soft mouth, without ruining the meat supposed to be carried to the table.

These dogs are canine mermaids gift equipped with webbed feet, one otter-like tail (which serves together a powerful rudder) and a slightly oily, water repellent coat (which provides protection indigenous water, cold and also all varieties of soil cover).

8. German Wirehaired Pointer

These sporty guys, like many on this list, to be bred to held hunt down various varieties of waterfowl. With his webbed feet and sleek construction, this each other makes among dogdom’s finest swimmers.

The American Kennel society expects these dog to have actually round feet that are webbed and also high arched with toes close, pads thick and also hard, and nails strong and fairly heavy. Your coat have to be weather resistant and also water-repellent therefore to safeguard the dogs when working in heavy cover or in cold water.

9. American Water Spaniel

These sweet pooches were bred to take care of the icy waters and the marshy banks of the good Lakes an ar in the US. Together the surname implies, these dog originated in the unified States. They were emerged in the state the Wisconsin throughout the 19th century.

The American Water Spaniel is defined as gift an all-around hunting dog, bred to retrieve waterfowl native skiff or canoes. Lovers of this breed case that castle swim favor seals, and also this is courtesy of your bodies constructed for the task.

The toes are explained as being very closely grouped, webbed and also well-padded. The coat is equipped with an undercoat layer therefore to administer sufficient density and protection versus weather and water.

10. Irish Water Spaniel

This breed became popular since of its capability to do retrieves in the cold waters the the phibìc Sea. A native of Ireland, this dog was selectively bred to retrieve waterfowl v dashing eagerness. They are even qualified of diving underwater!

These dogs are required to have actually sturdy hindquarters for this reason to administer drive and also power if swimming. Their deep barrel chest instead gives stability. Their tails room naked and also work choose rudders when they're swimming. Your feet are large and webbed to enable spreading which makes them specifically suited for water fowling in marshy terrain.

Other Breeds through Webbed Feet

Webbed feet weren't only useful for dogs that were bred for working in the water. Several various other dog breeds have actually webbed feet for various other purposes.

Dachshunds are known to have actually webbed feet too. These dogs were selectively bred to hunt badgers and other tunneling animals, and also their webbed feet aided them dig v the dirt once they're ~ above the hunt.Redbone coonhounds have actually some webbing i m sorry is advantageous when they are wading with muddy swamps.Even Siberian huskies have slightly webbed feet to assist them walk through snow and also ice by increasing their surface area and preventing them native sinking in—sort of choose snowshoes.Akitas have actually some webbing as well so they can walk on snow by distributing your weight more effectively.


Encyclopedia the K9 Terminology, by Edward M. Gilbert, Jr, ‎Patricia H. Gilbert · 2013The sports of Animals and Plants Under Domestication by Charles Darwin · 1876Delphi finish Works the Charles Darwin (Illustrated)by Charles, Dog Breeds through Webbed FeetK-9 framework & ax by Edward M Gilbert Jr., and also Thelma R Brown"Apoptosis," by john W. Kimball, in Kimball's biology Pages (CC through 3.0).Khan Academy, Developmental biology, Apoptosis

This content is accurate and true come the finest of the author’s knowledge and is not supposed to substitute for formal and also individualized advice indigenous a qualified professional.

© 2020 Adrienne Farricelli


Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 02, 2021:

Thank you, this 'canine mermaids" are quite fascinating!

Devika Primić indigenous Dubrovnik, Croatia ~ above December 29, 2020:

alexadry The many interesting and also informative hub I have actually come across around breeds the dogs and webbed feet. You have actually improved mine knowledge around the each other of dogs and of webbed feet. The objectives are remarkable in detail and also most fascinating.

FlourishAnyway native USA ~ above December 28, 2020:

What a fascinating article. I wasn't aware of webbing and dogs' paws. I took pleasure in reading about each form of dog. Thanks for this information!

Sp Greaney native Ireland ~ above December 28, 2020:

I have actually never heard of some dog breeds having paws through webbing before. However is does define why part dog breeds are far better in the water this particular day than others.

The list of dogs discussed that work-related in the water was so interesting. I never heard the mentioned before in your background about why they would love the water.

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Pamela Oglesby from sunny Florida ~ above December 27, 2020:

This is a very interesting article. I knew part dogs had actually webbed feet, but I didn't know practically all the information you provided. Ns didn't understand we all had webbed feet initially, and that is really interesting. An excellent article!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas top top December 27, 2020:

Your article around webbed feet in dogs is really interesting. Ns was not acquainted with several of the each other you mentioned. Thanks for including photos of every of them.