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

You are watching: What breeds of dogs have webbed feet


Dog breeds with webbed feet can definitely be quite a conversation piece. Have actually you ever personally taken a look at at her dog’s feet? probably not as close as you have actually their face—after every that’s pretty memorable—but a dog’s paws room pretty remarkable works of art too.

Not only do dog feet come in numerous different shapes, colors and sizes (sometimes to an lover effect, particularly when you’ve acquired a pup with huge paws come go v a tiny body), yet they also give your pooch other information about their surroundings.

Your dog's feet enable your companion come walk on all sorts the terrain and also surfaces without going splat on your furry bottoms. It offers them with sensory information about what they’re walking on and also gives lock traction. Imagine we might use ours feet in the same method without having to will to so numerous pairs of shoes for every situation?

And then you have some dog each other that have an extra included feature: webbed toes. What's up with this? Aren't web-footed creatures mainly those the live close to water? Interestingly, part dog breeds were supposed to have webbed feet because of their previous histories.


The objective of Webbed Feet

Webbing is identified as the existence of connecting tissue in between the toes the the foot. That is discovered in various animals such together ducks or geese which are meant come live both ~ above land and water. Together webbed feet are offered as oars come navigate with water.

It deserve to be therefore said that webbed feet market an optimal compromise in between aquatic and terrestrial locomotion.

Now friend obviously aren’t walking to check out your dog waddling around like a duck or other waterfowl while they room on land, and also that’s since they aren’t do in the very same way.

Dogs generally are terrestrial, cursorial animals and so their bodies run to acquire them across land as conveniently as possible. Amphibious animals, favor ducks or geese, are instead meant come live ~ above both land and in water and also therefore are blessed through thicker, wider webbed feet which enables them come navigate ~ above wet terrain prefer mud and to propel themselves v the water.

Now that’s not to say that ducks and geese (and other animals such together frogs) get around as dexterously together your dog can. ~ all, lock don’t have actually the gripping stamin or capacity that your pup does once he’s relocating through the grass or climbing increase a hill.

But thanks to selective breeding (because let's it is in honest, human beings are constantly seeking to obtain the best traits in their canine companions!), you might see some dogs v a modified variation of webbed toes.

It's worth pointing out though that all dogs have some level that membrane connecting your toes- as with humans have actually some in between their fingers and also toes. This connective tissue permits them to have much better traction, allowing them to relocate through eye at a clip without acquiring bogged down. However, for part dogs that webbing extends more up the toes.

Selective breeding

Like the many other traits humans have found preferable in your dogs, part folks have actually bred a an ext pronounced webbing right into their pups, back this trait wasn't really deliberately selected for-it simply sort that "came along for the ride," so come say.

Let’s take it a watch at some of the more common breeds with webbed feet and also what function this extra enhancement can add, but before getting come that, did you know that every embryos (human or canine) begin off v webbed feet native the get-go? Here's a brief an introduction of evolution 101.

Programmed cell Death

Apparently, we are all developed with webbing in between our toes, yet sometimes the webbing gets turned turn off at a to move level as unnecessary—a procedure known as apoptosis, likewise simply described as programmed cell death.

"In the previously stages, it is, therefore, simplest for the skin to form uniformly, but once formed, the overabundance skin needs to be removed somehow,'' defines scientist bridge on Quora.

This process occurs in all sorts that vertebrate types known for having actually finger- or toe-like digits. Less apoptosis results in an ext webbing between the digits. It's nice fascinating come see just how this procedure can be type of “altered” in specific animals and also dog breeds!

The commonalities you’ll keep in mind regardless of whether the dogs on this list are big or small, fluffy or wire-haired is the they space all greatly helping their humans with certain water tasks.

We may confidently infer the no man ever selected his water-dogs through the degree of to which the skin was developed between their toes; however what that does is to preserve and also breed native those individuals which hunt far better or ideal retrieve injured game, and thus that unconsciously selects dogs v feet slightly far better webbed.

— Charles Darwin

Dog Breeds v Webbed Feet

Here s a list of dog breeds through webbed feet. When again, one clarification: Webbing in this instance refers to the much more extensive connective tissue checked out in several dog breeds selectively bred to job-related in water. The webbing, therefore, extends more toward the end of the toes.

While every dogs have a touch that webbing between their toes, these breeds have been especially bred to occupational in water and therefore nature has enabled this trait come enhance.

Ideally, feet because that swimming have to be large and through excess skin in between the toes. This features permit a better area for pushing versus the water, while likewise helping dogs walk through the assistant mudflats, suggest out Edward M Gilbert Jr., and Thelma R Brown in the book: K-9 structure & Terminology.


1. Portuguese Water dog

These furry pups equipped with a curly coat and webbed toe are just one of plenty of breeds who have been bred to occupational in the water.

This breed's task entailed assisting fishermen gather fish right into the fishermen's nets. Not only would they assist gather the fish into the nets (think a herding mentality), they could also retrieve damaged nets and equipment.

On peak of this, they also acted as couriers from ship to ship, or delivery to shore. In between working, Portuguese Water dogs rode in fishing trawlers take took them from the Atlantic waters that Portugal come the waters turn off the shore of Iceland wherein they assisted in fishing because that cod.

To assist them in working in cold, icy waters, they to be traditionally groomed in a lion cut. This timeless cut aided decrease the early shock that jumping in cold water while offering warmth to the dog's an important areas.

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

In Portuguese, this each other is recognized as cão de água which literally method "dog of water."


2. Poodle

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

Even your name claims it all: words poodle originates from the German native Pudeln, which way “to splash." Although claimed to it is in the nationwide dog of France, the American Kennel society clarifies that the Poodle in reality originated in Germany.

Their curly, moisture-resistant acts prefer a wool jumper in damp conditions. Similar to the Portuguese water dog, there is a id that the poodle's sophisticated coat clips have from timeless working clips, i m sorry were originally meant to carry out warmth to your joints as soon as these dogs were immersed in cold water. The rest of the body was shaved to develop less traction in the water.

As with other dogs bred to work-related in the water, poodles space equipped through webbed feet that permit them to be agile swimmers while additionally making them capable of walking on mud.


3. Otterhound

As the name more than likely suggests, this fluffy pooches (who room quite big in the 80 to 115-pound range) were bred to aid hunters track and also hunt otters, yet looking at that face, ns don’t know just how you deserve to imagine they’d desire to go chasing anything various other than a ball.

If you have never heard or checked out these dogs before, don't feel bad. Otterhounds space not really popular dogs, indeed, this british dog each other is ~ above the breakable Native breed List with only around 600 specimens worldwide.

These dogs space blessed v an oily, rough double coat and comprehensive webbed feet. Charles Darwin claims: "English otterhounds are said to have webbed feet: a girlfriend examined for me the feet the two, in comparison v the feet of part harriers and bloodhounds; he found the skin variable in extent in all, but much more developed in the otterhounds 보다 in others."

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

4. Newfoundland

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

On peak of this, Newfoundlands exhibition a herbal propensity to rescue human being from the water and, therefore, they can additionally be reasonably easily trained together lifeguards, rescuing swimmers in trouble.

Their webbed toes assist in this task permitting maximum propulsion, while your tails act together rudders and their huge furry coats are a bonus.

Interestingly, this breed supplies a different swimming stroke compared to the simple dog. Fairly than doing the simple doggy paddle, the Newfoundland move his legs in a down-and-out motion which yields an ext powerful strokes.

Did friend Know?

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

5. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Similar to their Newfie friends, these dogs not only assist their owner hunt duck (as their name implies) but assist attract the duck to obtain them in range for your humans.

Their layout is fairly unique: to attract waterfowl in ~ gunshot range, these dog will interact in "tolling," a actions borrowed by foxes. Basically, they'll begin romping and also playing close to the water, i m sorry piques the curiosity the ducks and geese, who swim over to investigate.

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

The breed traditional calls because that feet that room strongly webbed, contempt oval tool in size, and tight, v well-arched toes and also thick pads. Lock are also expected to have actually a water-repellent twin coat which provides it suitable for work-related in cold, icy waters. A love because that water comes naturally for this breed that is frequently mistaken because that a small gold retriever.

It has already been remarked that dogs different in the level to which their feet space webbed. In dogs of the Newfoundland breed, which space eminently aquatic in their habits, the skin according to Isidore Geofrroy, extends come the third phalanges, whilst in ordinary dogs it extends just to the second.

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

6. Chesapeake bay Retriever

These pups hang the end on the East coastline of the us (Chesapeake Bay) and also were used to go chasing under ducks in the frigid waters if staying warmth thanks to their coats.

It goes without saying the these dog were intended to be quite resilient, frequently working under the most adverse weather conditions, sometimes also having to break ice throughout their retrieves.

The American Kennel club expects this each other to have "well webbed-hare feet of an excellent size through toes well-rounded and close." The hindquarters should be especially powerful to it is provided the driving power for swimming. The harsh external coat is oily if the undercoat is wooly therefore to stop the cold water from reaching the Chesapeake's skin and also to help in rapid drying.

The American Kennel Club additional emphasizes the a Chessie's coat need to resist the water in a comparable fashion as a duck's feathers do. Upon shaking the coat after emerging from the water, it should not hold water at all, being simply moist. A love because that water need to be existing so lot it's stated under the intended temperament because that this breed.

7. Labrador Retriever

Perhaps the most noticeable on the list, Labrador retrievers to be bred to retrieve every sorts of points (fish, fishing nets, waterfowl, etc.), and also it walk without speak that most Labradors love water.

These dogs were described as the "king the retrievers." they are described as being powerful and tireless swimmers qualified of tolerating the coldest waters for extended periods the time.

They were known for working quietly alongside hunters, watching because that birds to loss to the ground and delivering them with a soft mouth, without destroying the meat supposed to be brought to the table.

These dogs are canine mermaids gift equipped through webbed feet, one otter-like tail (which serves as a powerful rudder) and also a slightly oily, water repellent cloak (which offers protection from water, cold and all species of soil cover).

8. German Wirehaired Pointer

These sporty guys, like numerous on this list, to be bred to organized hunt down various varieties of waterfowl. Through his webbed feet and also sleek construction, this breed makes among dogdom’s ideal swimmers.

The American Kennel club expects these dogs to have round feet that are webbed and high arched v toes close, pads thick and hard, and nails strong and rather heavy. Their 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 handle the icy waters and also the marshy banks of the great Lakes an ar in the US. Together the surname implies, these dogs originated in the unified States. Lock were developed in the state of Wisconsin throughout the 19th century.

The American Water Spaniel is described as gift an all-around searching dog, bred come retrieve waterfowl native skiff or canoes. Lover of this breed claim that they swim like seals, and this is courtesy of your bodies constructed for the task.

The toes are defined as being carefully grouped, webbed and also well-padded. The coat is equipped v an undercoat layer so to administer sufficient density and also protection against weather and also water.

10. Ireland Water Spaniel

This breed became popular since of its capacity to execute retrieves in the cold waters that the phibìc Sea. A aboriginal of Ireland, this dog was selectively bred to retrieve waterfowl with dashing eagerness. They room even qualified of diving underwater!

These dogs are forced to have actually sturdy hindquarters so to carry out drive and also power while swimming. Your deep barrel chest instead offers stability. Their tails space naked and also work choose rudders while they're swimming. Their feet are big and webbed to permit spreading which renders them particularly suited for water fowling in marshy terrain.

Other Breeds through Webbed Feet

Webbed feet weren't only advantageous for dogs who 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 come hunt badgers and other tunneling animals, and also their webbed feet helped them dig through the dirt when they're ~ above the hunt.Redbone coonhounds have some webbing i beg your pardon is beneficial when they room wading with muddy swamps.Even Siberian huskies have actually slightly webbed feet to help them walk with snow and ice by boosting their surface area and preventing them from sinking in—sort of choose snowshoes.Akitas have some webbing as well so they have the right to walk on snow by distributing their weight much more effectively.


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

This contents is accurate and also true to the finest of the author’s knowledge and is not supposed to substitute because that formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Adrienne Farricelli


Adrienne Farricelli (author) ~ above January 02, 2021:

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

Devika Primić indigenous Dubrovnik, Croatia top top December 29, 2020:

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

FlourishAnyway indigenous USA on December 28, 2020:

What a fascinating article. Ns wasn't mindful of webbing and also dogs' paws. I enjoyed reading about each form of dog. Thanks for this information!

Sp Greaney native Ireland top top December 28, 2020:

I have actually never heard of some dog breeds having paws v webbing before. However is does explain why part dog breeds are much better in the water today than others.

The perform of dogs discussed that work in the water was so interesting. I never heard the mentioned before in your background around 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. Ns knew some dogs had actually webbed feet, however I didn't know almost all the details you provided. Ns didn't recognize we all had webbed feet initially, and that is an extremely interesting. An excellent article!

Peggy Woods indigenous Houston, Texas on December 27, 2020:

Your article about webbed feet in dogs is very interesting. Ns was not acquainted with number of of the breeds you mentioned. Many thanks for including photos of each of them.