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what kind of dogs have webbed feet

what kind of dogs have webbed feet

what kind of dogs have webbed feet

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what kind of dogs 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.

Any dog that has webbed paws will typically have been bred to have this trait emphasized. If you notice a dog breed that has extra webbing between their toes, that means that they were traditionally used for retrieving and hunting that often involved swimming. This webbing gave the dog the ability to swim more confidently.

what kind of dogs have webbed feet
what kind of dogs have webbed feet

Do all dogs have webbed paws?

All dogs have webbed feet (sort of)

We tend to think of webbed feet as a trait unique to certain breeds, but actually, most dogs have webbing between their toes. … Although most dogs have webbing between their toes, specific breeds have “webbed feet” that help them do specific things common to their breed.

What is Webbing?

Basically a membrane that connects a dog’s toes, webbing is typically associated with a duck’s foot, which works similarly to boat paddles or flippers. The webbing will create a wide and flat foot that covers a larger surface area and aids a bird to faster and more efficiently since it can move with more force.

Even on land, animals with webbed feet can move and navigate over tricky and rough terrain. The larger surface area allows animals to walk on top of muddy areas without sinking or falling through. An evolutionary feature, webbing enables birds and animals to flourish and adapt.

What is the Purpose of Webbing?

Why do some dogs have this webbing, while others do not? Certain breeds of dogs have this unique feature that has been passed down through evolution.

These breeds were more than likely used to hunt and retrieve game for their owners. They developed webbed feet to be able to navigate the diverse terrain and water.

Webbing helps the dog to be able to swim better and more efficiently in different bodies of water.

Just like when you put on a pair of flippers in the water, these webbed feet help a dog to glide on top of the water in order to retrieve objects or even people.

Dogs must be able to paddle longer distances or they have a greater chance of drowning.

Webbed feet are also useful to dogs who are running on muddy areas. Normal feet would sink into a boggy area.

Normal feet would also have a tendency to slip on slick spots. The webbing on their feet helps them to keep from getting stuck in soggy areas and makes them more sure footed.

what kind of dogs have webbed feet
what kind of dogs have webbed feet

Why Do Some Dogs Have Webbed Feet?

The “webbing” of a dog’s paws is a membrane of connective tissue and skin between the dog’s toes. 

You may already be aware of a number of animals that have webbed feet, but did you know that most land mammals begin life with them?

While most species tend to lose the majority of the webbing before birth, every dog breed will retain some of it (although you won’t really notice it in most breeds).

On rare occasions, dogs and other animals can be born with all of the webbing intact. Dog breeders have used this “birth defect” to their advantage and bred dogs to produce puppies with webbed paws.

What Breeds of Dogs Have Feet that are Webbed?

Anyone that loves to swim will appreciate having a dog that can swim along with them. Here are a few of the most common dog breeds that have webbed feet.

Labrador Retrievers

Chances are, you already know of, love, or own a Labrador retriever. The most popular of all breeds, they are wonderful family pets due to their friendly, affectionate nature.

Many Labradors and Lab mixes make for fantastic service or police dogs due to being so intelligent and sociable. Their grooming regime is fairly low maintenance too.

They’re famously food-orientated so are very easy to train, but you’ll find that they’ll need a lot of exercise to balance their love of food and high-energy temperament.

Like many dogs, insufficient exercise and stimulation can lead to a Labrador retriever becoming hyperactive and destructive.

Taking them on a walk to a safe body of water is an excellent form of exercise for a Labrador retriever — it combines their two favorite things, swimming and retrieving!

Not unlike their fellow mammal the otter, Labradors have a double layered, water repellent coat, a strong, rudder-like tail to steer them through the water, and large webbed paws. This winning combination makes them wonderful, confident swimmers!


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

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

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

Interestingly, this breed uses a different swimming stroke compared to the ordinary dog. Rather than doing the ordinary doggy paddle, the Newfoundland moves his legs in a down-and-out motion which yields more powerful strokes.

what kind of dogs have webbed feet
what kind of dogs have webbed feet

Portuguese Water Dog

Like the Newfoundland, the Portuguese Water Dog‘s webbed feet are built for swimming, but the breed isn’t as bulky or woolly as the Newfoundland. They helped fishermen in a different way — by herding.

They didn’t herd cattle like several other dog breeds. Instead they herded schools of fish into their fishermen’s nets. They also helped retrieve items that feell overboard, and they carried messages between ships.

You might recognize this kind of dog from the time they spent with the former President of the United States of America, as Bo and Sunny Obama left their webbed paw prints all over the White House for years.


The Poodle is a water dog that specializes in retrieving waterfowl. This breed is highly active and athletic, as well as extremely intelligent, allowing it to excel at its work. All size varieties of this breed have webbed paws, but some individuals will have more webbing than others. As well as this, the breed’s distinctive lion coat clip offers insulation for the vitals while reducing drag in the hindquarters. The tufts of fur on the legs also provide better purchase in the water. Overall, the Poodle is one of the best-adapted breeds for water work. However, it now has a reputation for being a pet rather than a working dog. As such, many Poodles live as companion dogs rather than working dogs.


The Otterhound is a rare scenthound. This breed excels at hunting its quarry in water with its oily double coat, sensitive nose, long stride, and substantially webbed feet. Around 1978, water pollution led to the decline of wild otters in England. So, in a bid to protect otters from further decline, there was a ban on otter hunting. Because of this, Otterhounds soon lost their jobs, and otter hunting packs were no more. These hunting dogs would go on to retire or join mink hunting packs. Today, only 600 of these dogs remain.


While not strong swimmers, these dogs were bred to hunt and flush badgers and rabbits out of their underground dens. Their webbed feet and thick claws work like a shovel to make them fast, efficient diggers.

What are the advantages of webbed feet?

Well, dogs have several advantages from webbed toes. Most of them are absolutely essential advantages to make their lives easier.

So here are the outstanding advantages.

  • It helps to walk/run and maintain the stability
  • It is much helpful for swimming
  • During the winter
  • For digging

It helps to walk/run and maintain the stability

Today, people tend to keep dogs for various types of purposes. Most of them are initially bred for outdoor purposes.

In most cases, they have to walk/ run over some difficult surfaces, and those surfaces can be muddy or slippery or sandy.

So dogs can easily navigate through those surfaces without falling or sinking with the help of webbed paws.

How? Well, what happens here is their paw pads become wider, and the webbing between toes acts as a net. In fact, it acts as a firm grip between the dog and the ground.

So they can maintain stability very easily.

But we want to understand something. This ability may vary depending on the dog breed.

Why? Depending on the breed, the size of the webbed feet varies.

So look at the above table and find out how many stars your dog has.

what kind of dogs have webbed feet
what kind of dogs have webbed feet

It is much helpful for swimming

Have you ever wondered how some dogs able to swim like pro swimmers? In fact, every dog has some tendency to swim.

How? Well, Since dogs have webbed feet and proper body which is helpful for swimming, they can become swimmers with enough training.

But there is one special thing I wanna point out here, this swimming ability can be varied according to the breed.

I mean, dogs that have proper webbed feet are more likely excellent swimmers. These breeds are what we called “Water breeds.”

In the meantime, Some kinds of breeds are weak swimmers.

Why? Because they don’t have enough webbing between their toes. In fact, Their body shape is mostly a barrier to swimming.

Mostly, these types of dogs are bully type dogs.

So let’s understand how the swimming process can be done with webbed feet.

If you put your dog in the water, you will see the dog start to paddle by using their feet.

Here, their feet act as Oars of a boat. I mean, their paw pads get more extensive, and they push backward somewhat area of water.

So as they continuously paddling, they navigate forward straightforwardly. So that’s how their swimming process is done with their webbed paws.

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