Do All Dogs Have Webbed Feet? Purpose and Benefits

Do all dogs have webbed feet? Most of them do, but why—what is the function of this particular body part?

Some people believe that all dogs with webbed feet make good swimmers, while others think that this characteristic only applies to certain breeds.

Let’s explore the benefits of webbed feet in dogs and which breeds are most commonly known for having them.

Do All Dogs Have Webbed Feet

Statistics show that there are over 900 million dogs worldwide, and out of all those dogs, most have webbed feet. While some dogs do have more webbed feet than others, it’s not necessarily a sign of anything abnormal.

Some of the dog breeds we’re going to talk about today were bred intentionally with the webbed foot to keep the mutation alive, as it has proven helpful for hunting waterfowl and herding animals.

There are dogs that are simply born with more webbing between their toes than others. This is not something that the dog can help with and is not indicative of any health problems. However, the real question here is: what is the purpose of this bodily feature? This brings us to our next point.

Why Do Dogs Have Webbed Feet

Webbing is a thin membrane serving as connective tissue on the toes of an animal’s foot. The best known examples of this are ducks and geese whose webbed feet make it easier for them to swim.

When it comes to dogs, this feature is more prominent with certain breed. This is mostly due to selective breeding, where people were trying to pass it on to further dog generations as it was considered a huge pro for breeders and buyers alike.

Sometimes a puppy will lose its foot webbing before birth, or the membrane will go away over time. In other cases, though, a puppy may be born with the membranes still intact.

What Dogs Have Webbed Feet

Now that we know more about the purpose of webbed feet, let’s discover the pups that have them featured most prominently:

1. Newfoundland

Newfoundland dog


Thanks to their webbed feet, Newfoundland dogs are top-notch swimmers. These exceptional animals often serve as rescue dogs and make great pets.

They enjoy the outdoors and boast a waterproof coat. They’re intelligent, loyal, and easygoing by nature, making them a popular choice for families with children.

2. Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog


Portuguese water dogs are a type of working dogs originally bred in Portugal to help fishing. They’re known for being very loyal and energetic.

Portuguese water dogs typically have webbed feet for swimming and hypoallergenic coats that don’t shed much, which makes them a popular choice for people with allergies. They’re also known as “cão de água” (water dog) in Portugal.

3. Otterhound



These dogs were originally bred to aid hunters track and kill otters, and they still maintain a strong hunting instinct today. Otterhounds are large dogs with broad shoulders and a muscular build.

They have doublelayered, rough coats that are oily and waterproof, making them well-suited for swimming. Despite their hunting pedigree, otterhounds are gentle and good-natured dogs that make excellent family pets. However, they are quite rare; the otterhound is currently on the Vulnerable Native Breed List, with fewer than 600 left worldwide.

4. German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer


The German shorthaired pointer is a popular breed of dog that is known for its webbed feet and water repellent coat. This coat protects the dog from the cold and wet conditions it may encounter while on a field walk.

They are devoted family dogs requiring regular walks and excercise to stay healthy—a good way to keep them safe by your side is by using a harness. German shorthaired pointers are also known for their sharp instincts, which make them efficient hunting dogs. The webbed, rounded supportive toes make it easier for them to paddle in the water.

5. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever


This breed is known for its thick, water-resistant coat, which protects the dog from cold weather and water. The coat also requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling. Other than that, they’re pretty low-maintenance.

Labrador retrievers are also known for their intelligence and trainability; they are eager to please their owners and respond well to positive reinforcement.

They make excellent swimming companions thanks to their love for the water. This is aided by their webbed feet that make it easier for labs to move through the water and provide added traction on slippery surfaces.

6. Dachshund



This small dog breed was originally bred for hunting rodents, badgers, and other small animals; their webbed feet facilitate them to dig readily. Dachshunds can be difficult to train due to their stubborn nature, but they are very affectionate dogs.

They require frequent walks to maintain their weight, and they enjoy a good game of fetch. Because of their hunting heritage, they may also try to chase smaller animals. However, dachshunds can make loyal and loving companions with proper training and socialization.

7. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever


Some breeds, like the Chesapeake Bay retriever, have large webbed feet that help them swim in icy waters. These dogs also have a sleek and muscular build, making them excellent hunters.

In fact, they are so powerful that they can break through ice to get to their prey. Chesapeake Bay retrievers are very popular in dog competitions. Whether you’re looking for a hunting partner or a loyal companion, this breed is worth considering.

8. Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel


The Irish water spaniel is a breed of dog known for its passion for swimming (hence the name) and webbed feet. This is an old breed of dog thought to have originated in the 7th century. They are a medium-sized breed with a double-layered coat of long, curly hair that requires regular grooming.

They are generally good-natured and get along well with children, making them great family pets. If you are looking for a dog that loves to swim and has unique physical characteristics, the Irish water spaniel may be the breed for you.

9. Weimaraner



Weimaraners are sleek and regal dogs with many characteristics that make them unique. One such characteristic is their webbed feet which make them swim quickly and efficiently. This feature was exploited by hunters back in the 18th century, who used Weimaraners for hunting.

Today, they’re considered very intelligent and friendly dogs, making them popular pets. They are often referred to as “gentle giants” due to their large size. However, Weimaraners need plenty of attention and exercise or they may develop separation anxiety.

10. German Wirehaired Pointer

German Wirehaired Pointer


These dogs’ webbed feet and sleek construction make them excellent swimmers, and their water-resistant coat protects it from the cold waters. In addition, German wirehaired pointers also have a prominent beard on their face, protecting them from debris while hunting.

This breed is highly active and requires plenty of exercise, making it an ideal choice for those who love spending time outdoors. Whether you’re looking for a hunting companion or a loyal friend, this dog breed will surely meet your needs.

11. American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniel


The American water spaniel is a type of dog specifically bred for work in water. In addition to their webbed feet, these dogs have a number of other characteristics that make them well-suited for movement in the water.

They have a dense, waterproof coat that keeps them warm in cold water, and a natural affinity for swimming. Additionally, they are intelligent and easy to train—two important qualities for any working dog. They have a strong work ethic and require plenty of exercise, whether it’s swimming, running, or playing.

12. Poodles



Do poodles have webbed feet? Yes, besides their well-known appearance, poodles are known for having webbed feet.

Their low allergen coat provides insulation against cold water and reduces drag. They also have a natural affinity for water and are very intelligent, making them easy to train.

However, their coat requires daily maintenance to prevent matte hair and tangles, and they have a lot of energy so they will need plenty of exercise.

13. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Duck Toller


The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is a web-footed hunting dog. They are experts at tolling and excel at hunting ducks. Their webbed paws make them swim faster, and their coat keeps them warm in cold water. These dogs are affectionate by nature, which makes them good at working with other dogs and people. They must be trained to be obedient and use their natural hunting instincts.

No matter what the breed, all dogs enjoy a good swim and it’s a great way to exercise for them. If you’re thinking of getting a dog that loves the water, be sure to do your research to find the perfect fit for you and your family.

Related article: Basic Dog Care 101: The Essentials 

Dog Webbed Feet vs. NonWebbed Feet

There are several benefits that dogs with webbed feet have. For one thing, they are better at swimming. This is because the webbing increases their surface area, which gives them more propulsion through the water.

Additionally, the webbing can help dogs walk on different terrains, such as slippery surfaces or soft sand. It also distributes their weight more evenly, preventing them from sinking in or slipping. Finally, dog breeds with webbed feet tend to dig and walk in the snow better. This is because the extra skin provides traction and prevent their feet from getting cold.

When it comes to paw care, there are a lot of high-quality paw balm options that are going to keep your pup’s paws hydrated and protected after a long day of hunting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What dogs don’t have webbed feet?

All dogs have webbed feet to some extent. Dogs that thrive in the water, such as Labrador retrievers and dachshunds, typically have more extensively webbed feet than other breeds.

How can I tell if my dog has webbed feet?

The easiest way to tell is to look at your dog’s paws and see if their toes appear connected by a membrane. If so, your dog likely has webbed feet.

Key Takeaways

So, do all dogs have webbed feet?

Pretty much. The vast majority of canines will have at least partially webbed paws. This anatomical adaptation makes them incredibly efficient swimmers and aids in their ability to hunt in water.

That being said, if you have a labrador retriever or other breed of dog that loves the water, you may notice that their webbing is more pronounced than other dogs.


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