Dogs come with all sorts of quirks that they have developed to help them survive. Canines have evolved across the globe, and while they share some characteristics, it is extraordinary how different they can be from each other in some cases. If you are considering getting a dog, it’s a good idea to do as much research as possible so you understand your dog’s physical characteristics and you have a good idea of what to expect prior to adoption day.
Do Samoyeds have webbed feet? No, these dogs do not have webbed feet. They did not evolve to spend much of their lives in or around water, as they are native to snowy climates and would rarely have had a cause to swim, if ever.
There are some kinds of dogs that have webbed feet, but Samoyeds are not among them. These dogs do have quite specialized feet, however. They have broad, flat paws that are designed to stay on the surface of the snow as much as possible. Today, we are going to cover why some dogs have webbed feet, and how you can tell if your dog has webbed feet, as well as which dogs have webbed feet. This will help you understand all about dog paws and how they work.
Do Samoyeds Have Webbed Feet?
So, do Samoyeds have webbed feet? No, they don’t, although the size of their paws might make you think that they would. They have big, flat paws that spread out when placed on the floor. These evolved to help the dogs move well in the snow; their spread prevents them from sinking too deeply when they walk.
This makes it easier for the dogs to run and allows them to move quickly in all but the deepest snowy terrain.
The second interesting thing about a Samoyed’s paws is that they have hair between the toes. Many dogs do not have this; they simply have skin there. However, the hair serves an important purpose, and it again is linked to the dog’s ability to run in the snow.
The hair prevents snow from building up between the dog’s toes. Without it, clumps of snow would get caught there, which could be painful for the dogs and would also strip heat away from their paws.
The Smoyeds’ pads also have hair on them, and this again helps to protect the skin, keep the animal warm, and prevent snow from getting stuck to the dog. It is a mark of how cold an environment Samoyeds naturally live in, but it is certainly not webbing and does not help a Samoyed dog out in other environments.
Why Do Dogs Have Webbed Feet?
To be clear, most dogs do have slightly webbed feet, but to count, a dog must have noticeably webbed toes, rather than just a small amount of skin joining the toes together. Most dogs have evolved webbing because they spend a lot of time in or near water.
Having webbing in between the toes helps a dog when it is swimming, working rather like a human might use flippers to propel themselves through the water. The webbing provides extra water resistance, so every time the dog pushes its foot through the water, it is driven further forward than it would be without the webbing.
Webbing can also give dogs an advantage when digging because the skin flaps will provide extra scoops for pushing dirt back out of the way. This makes each scoop more effective and clears the hole faster, and some dogs that are good diggers have developed webbing between their toes.
The webbing may also help to prevent the dog from slipping when it is on a slippery river bank or walking on wet stones. For dogs that spend a lot of time in marshes and wet conditions, webs are a major asset that helps to keep them stable when they walk.
Because they give the dog’s feet more surface area when it walks, it is less likely to sink down in wet conditions. This might seem like it would give a Samoyed an advantage in snow, but it would also come with a problem; the webbing is bare skin that forms a very thin flap, and this would quickly get cold when walking in the snow.
This would cause the dog to lose a lot of heat, and therefore it would not be a benefit in a cold climate.
How Can You Tell If Your Dog Has Webbed Paws?
All dogs have some webbing between their paws, so it might be tricky to tell if your dog has enough to count as having webbed feet. However, it is easy enough to inspect and feel, although your dog will have to be okay with you handling its feet.
All you need to do is gently pick up one of your dog’s legs. Take its paw in your hand, and separate the toes, and then run your finger between two toes. If you can feel a flap of skin with your fingers, your dog has webbed feet. The more pronounced this skin flap is, the more webbed your dog’s feet are.
There is no specific measure that says whether dogs do or don’t have webbed feet. It is just about the degree to which the skin flap exists and how pronounced is average. Each breed will have different amounts of webbing, but each individual will also have slightly varied amounts of webbing.
Dogs with webbed feet were bred by selecting individuals with more pronounced amounts of webbing to breed together. Over time, this increased the skin flap between the toes, giving the dog webbed paws. This tended to be done for dogs that spent a lot of their time in the water, rather than for other dogs.
Be aware that you are not looking for each toe to be completely attached to the others with webbing, the way a duck’s foot is. Dogs generally only have partial webbing, and it will not be nearly as pronounced as it is in waterfowl. Your dog is not going to look like it is wearing flippers, even if it is among the breeds with webbed paws.
What Dogs Have Webbed Feet?
There are quite a few kinds of dogs that are known for having webbed feet, and you won’t be surprised to find that they are mostly the kinds that also spend a lot of time in the water and love swimming.
One of the most famous breeds that have webbed feet is the Labrador Retriever. These are fantastic swimmers and often dive into lakes to retrieve sticks and other items. They are one of the most popular dogs out there, so webbed paws are not as rare as you might think among canines!
Other breeds include Newfoundland, which used to work on Canadian fishing vessels and spent a lot of time rescuing people from the water. Despite being in a cold environment, they clearly managed the issue of the webs being vulnerable to the chill.
It won’t surprise you to learn that the Otterhound is another dog with webbed feet. These dogs had to be able to keep up with their prey – otters – and webbed feet gave them an edge in cutting through the water as fast as possible.
One that might surprise you is the Dachshund. This dog is not a great swimmer, but it does have webbed feet – why? These dogs were bred to be good at hunting badgers, so they spent a lot of time digging. The webs help them to scoop the dirt out of the way, making it faster for them to dig.
Poodles are also a webbed-foot breed. These were bred to hunt waterfowl, and therefore they developed the webs to help them move more quickly in the water. They aren’t just fashion dogs.
American Water Spaniels are also among the dogs with webbed feet, and given the name, that is hardly surprising. These dogs spent a lot of their working history in the water, and they love to swim. They have oily coats to make it easy for them to dry off when they leave the water.
There are many other webbed-foot breeds, so the evolutionary feature is surprisingly common!
Do Samoyeds Have Webbed Feet? Samoyeds may not have webbed feet, but plenty of other dogs do. On the whole, they adapted this feature as a means of moving faster in the water, which a Samoyed does not need to do. However, the Samoyed does have flat, broad feet that are perfect for its environment.