We all know that some birds, such as ducks, have webbed feet. But not many of us know that dogs can also have webbed feet. In fact, the majority of the dog breeds found in the United States have webbed paws. Dog breeds with webbed feet are usually excellent swimmers; they are also good at walking on soft snowy, and muddy surfaces.
Why Do Some Dogs Have Webbed Feet?
You might be astounded to know that every canine is born with webbed toes. But not all of them maintain this trait for their entire lives: many breeds get rid of webbed feet as they grow bigger.
The dogs that do retain this feature for their entire lives are strong swimmers. The webbing can help them do activities in water with far more prowess. It also helps them walk in muddy regions, like marshes, beaches, etc., and helps them in digging.
Dog Breeds With Webbed Feet
1. Labrador Retriever
Labrador retriever – the most popular dog breed in the US – happens to be web-footed. These dogs are quite fond of sports and always ready for a swim. The AKC has ranked them among the best swimming dogs because of their penchant for retrieving different items from water.
The breed comes from Newfoundland, where it has been used mostly by fishermen for hunting. Even today, the Coast Guard is known to have employed these dogs for water rescue operations. Not only do their webbed feet help them swim, but their warm coat and tail, which acts like a rudder, also help them excel in their jobs.
Initially employed as working dogs for Canadian fishing vessels, Newfoundland pooches are fantastic when it comes to water sports and rescue operations. Thanks to their well-built body, they carry heavy bones and a dignified appearance that stands out.
They are adorable and gentle dogs. They are great with children, because of which they have earned the title ‘nanny dogs.’ They make great family dogs and get along with the children and other pets effectively – as long as they are properly socialized.
Poodles are excellently quick and precise when it comes to working in water. They are great retrievers and were bred initially for waterfowl birds.
Besides their love for the water, Poodles are also known for being highly energetic, fun-loving, and ridiculously amusing. They are outstanding for both physical and mental exercises and prefer to socialize all the time. They quickly get bored if left unattended.
Did You Know?The word poodle is derived from the German word Pudeln which means ‘to splash.’
4. Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dogs originated, as the name says, on the coast of Portugal and were bred to hunt in water. Besides having webbed feet that help them paddle through the water effectively, their waterproof coat and robust bodies make them spend time in the water easily.
In addition to fishing jobs, Portuguese Water Dogs are well suited for being great companions – thanks to their hypoallergenic coats and loyal and pleasing behavioral traits.
A bonus: they are great guard dogs too!
5. American Water Spaniel
American Water Spaniels have powerful, thickly padded feet that help them wade through water. Moreover, their strong frame and oily, water-repellent coat keep them at ease whenever they dive.
American Water Spaniels are bred to work hard and thus require a series of different physical activities throughout the day. These fidos have a downside too. Given that they are packed with energy, they develop behavioral issues when they are not given regular exercise or healthy options to burn their energy. But still, overall, they are pretty happy and playful.
Did You Know?The American Water Spaniel is the state dog of Wisconsin. Originating near the Fox River, these dogs were the first choice of the local hunters because of their ability to work on both the land and the water.
6. German Wirehaired Pointer
Due to selective breeding, German Wirehaired Pointers have webbed paws and an insulating but very easy-to-maintain coat. Their sleek bodies, sporty nature, and obvious webbed paws distinguish them among some of the most excellent swimmer dogs.
German Wirehaired Pointer is one of the most popular German dog breeds. They are easily recognizable due to their specific beard scattered all around their lovely snout. Likewise, they are famous for their high energy and therefore require a range of physical activities to expend all their energy.
7. German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointers have small, dainty paws that appear to be ‘spoon-like.’ Such a structure makes it easier for them to move through the water. Likewise, their webbed feet also make them move easily in almost all kinds of terrain. Overall, they are quite well-built and powerful.
Like German wirehaired pointers, these pooches are also very energetic. Mostly, they tend to form close bonds only with those people who are involved in different kinds of exercises and adventurous activities with them. Given that they are highly agile and active dogs, it is no wonder that they excel in many dog sports.
Our beloved, one and only sausage dog breed also has webbed paws. Dachshund bodies are awesome – head to toe! Their slender structure makes them go into tight spaces to hunt various prey easily, and the webbed feet let them dig the ground effortlessly.
Unlike most webbed feet canines, they are not much interested in swimming; perhaps their long bodies and short legs make swimming a difficult activity for them. They might learn to swim efficiently, but remember that they will take more time than other dog breeds with webbed feet. Dachshunds are quite clever and courageous to the point of being rash. But they make good family dogs.
Paddling in water is not a complicated task for the elegant Weimaraner breed, thanks to their webbed feet, which are thought to have been developed intentionally through crossbreeding. Originally, these pooches were used for hunting about two centuries ago. Known as swift ‘Grey/Silver Ghosts,’ they were used for hunting down big game like deer and bear.
Weimaraners are quite muscular, with the main attractions being a unique gray coat, changing eye colors, and a long nose. The fur over them is smooth, and they might feature white markings over the chest. Combining these traits with a highly obedient and friendly personality, these dogs make great companion dogs.
Originating in the United Kingdom, the Otterhounds are classified as first-class swimmers not solely because of their webbed feet but also because of their well-built bodies, broad and wide shoulders, and rough and water-resistant coats.
These pooches are large and heavy and often appear somewhat shaggy. They have sweet, lovely faces with dark button-like eyes. They are very joyful and love all canine fun activities. They are very active physically with their outgoing demeanor and desire to swim.
11. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Having webbed paws, oily coat, and powerful limbs to paddle, Chesapeake Bay retrievers move swiftly and easily across a waterbody. Their dense coat is not only great for moving in water, but it also helps them battle fast winds.
They are well known for their camouflage coats and characteristic yellow to amber eye colors. They have also gained popularity because of their friendly attitude toward children.
Name OriginChesapeake Bay Retrievers get their name from their history. They were long used for duck hunting in the chilly waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
12. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are well adapted to water, and they certainly love it! Having webbed feet and quick motions, these dogs are among the fastest swimming dog breeds in the world. These dogs play on the shore with hunters to attract ducks to the shore. As ducks approach the shore, the hunter shoots them. Then Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers retrieves ducks from water.
The breed is the smallest of all retrievers and is easily recognizable for its colors ranging from different shades of red to orange. They are quite alert and famously known to have the heart of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, meaning they are also quite affectionate.
13. Irish Water Spaniel
Often called the clown of the Spaniel family, Irish Water Spaniels have round, spreading feet covered with hair and web. They have a double-layered, water-resistant, curly-haired coat, making them excellent at swimming. They are highly intelligent and inquisitive in nature. When properly socialized, they grow up to become excellent watchdogs. When it comes to protecting their owners, they do not shy away from putting their lives on the line.
They are friendly dogs, but sometimes they can become aggressive—a behavior that should never be tolerated. These dogs love playing with water; when given even half a chance, they jump into the water without thinking twice.