Great Danes, also known as the gentle giants of dogs, make fantastic pets. This breed is loyal to a fault, always ready to protect hearth and home and make superb family dogs. So, if you want a best friend for life and are thinking of bringing home a beautiful Great Dane, then you’re certainly on the right track!
But some dogs can have traits that make these breeds just as confusing as they are desirable. One such trait is the rumored webbed paws of the Great Dane.
So, do Great Danes have webbed feet? Great Danes can have webbed paws bred into them for stability, but not all of them exhibit this trait. In fact, most dogs have webbing between their toes, but some have more than others. Great Danes with webbed paws are very common.
So, without further delay, let’s get into the reasons why the Great Danes have webbed paws and how such a physical trait helps these large canines function.
Why Do Great Danes Have Webbed Feet?
You can’t say that a Great Dane is a water dog, as these canines were originally bred to hunt on land. Great Danes descended from Mastiff-like dogs and were bred by the German nobility to protect their country estates, guard their noble carriages, and assist during hunts.
In the 18th century, the ‘Deutsche Dogge,’ a name given to the Great Danes by their original breeders, which means German Mastiff, was famous with the prestigious upper class for sport, to hunt down wild boars. Few other dogs could carry out this feat with such resounding success.
Germany and most of its bordering countries such as Denmark are well-known regions of Europe that experience much rain and snowfall. Webbed paws worked wonderfully for the Great Dane to walk through wet mud and snow with a much better grip.
When you walk through snow, it’s easier for everything to sink into the snow. But, with webbed feet, navigation through snow becomes simpler as the webbing prevents sinking, as the webbing creates a wider and flatter surface to stand on. They’re like natural snowshoes.
Hunting on land doesn’t necessarily mean dry land. Muddy and slippery surfaces are common where wild boars are found, and their medium-sized webbed feet helped Great Danes tread through these areas without slipping, sinking, or falling.
The webbing in the Great Dane’s feet also provides stability. You have to admit Great Danes hold their heads high with a graceful posture.
The webbing is helpful in achieving this noble and proud bearing. It also helps their large bodies stay balanced. So, does that mean that all dogs have similar paws?
Do All Dogs Have Webbed Paws?
Dog breeds come with different types of feet. It may appear insignificant to you what kind of feet your dog has, but some types of feet are considered to be a flaw in your puppy’s pedigree. Let’s take a look at the various kinds of paws canines have.
Three broad categories cover the different kinds of dog paws. There are “cat’s feet,” “hare’s feet,” and “webbed feet.”
1. Cat’s Feet
Cat’s feet simply means that your dog’s paws resemble those of a cat. Cats have retractable claws, and if your puppy’s feet are nicely rounded and neat, showing little to no claw, then your pup has cat’s feet.
Dogs with cat’s feet have high-arched toes that are held tightly together. Canines with such feet do very well in endurance training programs. The short, third digital bone in this type of foot does not require much strength to lift off the ground. So, it becomes easier for dogs with cat’s feet to jump, run, and trot around all day without breaking a sweat.
Cat’s feet in dogs enhance their grip, provide stability, and evade injuries on rough terrains. Furthermore, such dogs are more stable on their feet and can bear their weight with relative comfort. Dog breeds such as the Doberman, Bull Terriers, and Akitas are pretty famous for their cat’s feet.
2. Hare’s Feet
The hare-footed dog has two middle toes that are longer than the outer toes. The long toes have less of an arch, making them appear even longer. But hare or rabbit’s feet in dogs bear a resemblance to cat’s feet in that they seem to have the same shape. Dogs with hare’s feet need to exert more energy.
Dogs with hare’s feet are reputed to have the element of speed on their side. These breeds of dogs, such as the Greyhounds, Whippets, and Borzois, were exclusively bred to run with high bursts of speed over short distances.
3. Webbed Feet
According to the American Kennel Club, dogs with webbed feet have toes that are connected by a skin membrane. Canines with such paw types work well in water to retrieve downed birds, catch fishing nets, and track down otters in streams. Recently, they’ve even been used for search-and-rescue teams.
Webbed Dog Feet Vs. Non-Webbed
Now that you know about the different types of dog paws, let’s talk about the differences between webbed feet or non-webbed feet.
Webbed feet prove to be helpful when dogs are digging. Dogs rely solely on their paws for searching and digging. The skin membrane between the toes functions like a shovel.
So, if you’re looking to adopt a dog for hunting or digging out prey, it is an excellent option to choose dogs with webbed paws. However, if you like to have a pristine-looking backyard with no holes, it would make sense to go with a non-webbed pooch.
Aptitude For Swimming
Dogs with webbed paws require little strength to propel themselves forward when they have webbed paws. Webbed feet in dogs prove to be most beneficial when in water.
All water dogs such as American Water Spaniels or Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have webbed feet. You can’t call a Great Dane a water dog. However, Great Danes possess all of the requirements of proficient swimmers – their webbed feet, long neck, and lean muscular build.
Freedom To Roam All Terrains
As mentioned earlier, Great Danes have a relatively less strenuous time walking in the snow, mud, or even rocky plains due to their webbed feet. Their feet also make them less prone to injuries. The webbing in their toes provides most canines with webbed feet with sure footing and a better grip.
Susceptible To Stuck Snow
While it is true that webbed feet allow the Great Dane to walk easily on snow, the webbing can also get snow, dirt, or other debris stuck in it.
Dog owners have to take extra caution when they walk their Great Danes through the snow. They should also clean their pooch’s webbed paws after every walk, as the stuck snow or debris can cause pain and infections in your dog’s feet.
Webbing Is Common In Most Dogs
Webbing in your dog’s feet isn’t irregular at all. Most dog breeds tend to have this trait. The webbing in your dog’s feet is not a fault. Flat feet where the dog’s paw is relatively flat and thin, splayed feet where the paw is flat and the toes are spreading, or paper feet where the paws have delicate skin are considered by the AKC to be a defect in your dog.
However, webbing in dogs doesn’t make canines natural swimmers. Yes, all water dogs do have webbed feet, but not all dogs with webbed paws can swim well.
Canines are a general favorite with a majority of the world’s population. As dogs come in so many different shapes and sizes, it is little wonder that dogs also have different types of feet. Most breeds have feet that suit their physical build and the purpose they were bred for.
Much like humans, dogs do have their defects too, and should be loved and cared for all the same. As a pet parent, you can do much to help your best bud overcome any physical constrictions they might encounter. Webbed feet in dogs aren’t a rarity, so you have nothing to worry about there.
Even if you do run into a dog with splayed or flat feet, embrace them with all of your love, and you’ll soon find out that there isn’t anything your dog can’t do with a bit of support!
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