Have you ever wondered why some dogs like water more than others? Why some dogs are better swimmers? Well, besides personality, webbed feet assist dogs in being strong swimmers. Today let’s discuss what dogs have webbed feet.
What are Webbed Feet in Dogs?
Webbed feet exist in lots of water-loving creatures – from frogs to ducks. Webbed feet allow them to move through the water efficiently.
Webbing is a membrane that connects from one toe to another. These membranes form a sort of flipper or paddle that moves through the water seamlessly.
Why Do Some Dogs Have Webbed Feet?
Actually, ALL dogs have webbed feet. Some are just more prominent than others. Those with the largest webs seem to have better agility in the water.
Some dogs renowned for their webbed feet continue to be bred for this trait. Thus, we get some dogs that are better swimmers than others.
Dogs with Webbed Feet
Interested in what specific dogs are known for having webbed feet? Here’s the shortlist:
Bred as hunters in medieval England, the Otterhound existed when otter hunting was a popular sport. These lovely family pets have large, webbed feet still great for swimming. Their coat is water-resistant and wiry, thus moderating their body temperature in the water. This is not a common dog in the US, but it seems some popularity in the UK and throughout Europe. According to the AKC, “These clown-like dogs with a great sense of humor make for wonderful family companions, but they are also one of the most endangered dog breeds today, with fewer than 350 in the United States and Canada and less than 1,000 worldwide.”
Pretty much the most popular dog in the US, the Labrador Retriever is known for its prowess in the water. Labs just love water. They are an athletic and playful breed. Their thick coat easily removes water with a good shake.
You probably don’t think “water dog” when you think of the Dachshund. However, they do have prominent webbed feet. These dogs were originally bred to hunt badgers! Their webbed feet work as well in the water as they do digging and chasing their prey on land.
Irish Water Spaniel
With the word “water” right in their name, it’s no surprise that these dogs are swimmers. As one of the oldest spaniel breeds, these dogs are superb swimmers, hunters, and retrievers. Even if you’re not a hunter, these dogs make outstanding family pets known for their big personalities.
German Wirehaired Pointer
Another dog bred for hunting, the German Wirehaired Pointer has a strong sense of smell, thick wiry coat, and webbed feet. As game retrievers, they are strong on land and in water, no matter what the terrain. Hunters love them for retrieving waterfowl due to their speediness in the water.
Portuguese Water Dog
A dog bred precisely for its water skills; the Portuguese Water Dog is a working breed. They are smaller dogs, not meant to carry heavy loads or retrieve. In fact, they were bred to herd fish into nets. As fiercely loyal dogs, they are at home on boats and in homes!
Possibly one of the most popular water dog breeds, Newfoundlands have long toes, thick waterproof coats, and are so strong they can save fishermen that fell overboard. Instead of swimming with a “doggy paddle” like other dogs, their paws do down and out to the side.
Since the 18th century, Weimaraners have been used for hunting large game such as deer and boar. A royal dog breed, they were used to retrieve game through various terrains. Their webbed feet and arched toes help them succeed at this. Their bodies are muscular and slender.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Also known as “Chessies,” these dogs come from the Chesapeake Bay area in Maryland and Virginia. These pups are unstoppable retrievers. They are tireless and powerful swimmers. Their double coat is waterproof while being insulating. Strong muscles keep them going for hours. Originally bred as hunters, these pups can withstand the cold temperatures of the Bay to retrieve waterfowl.
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
This talented breed is known for retrieving ducks. They can withstand the cold temperatures in Nova Scotia to grab their prey. Their significant webbing makes them better swimmers than other dogs. “Toller” refers to their skills as pushing waterfowl closer to the shooting range.