The concept of webbed feet is one that you likely associate with waterfowl, like swans and ducks. But, believe it or not, some dogs actually have webbing!
Dalmatians are known for their distinctive spotted coats, fierce loyalty, intelligence, and protective tendencies. But what about their paws? Are their feet webbed? Read on to learn if dalmatians have webbed feet!
Do Dalmatians Have Webbed Feet?
Dalmatians do have webbed feet, especially completely purebred Dalmatians. These dogs have rounded feet with well-arched toes, so the “webbing” is not as pronounced as it is in some other breeds.
What Are Webbed Feet Or Paws On Dogs?
Webbing on canine paws refers to extra skin and connective tissue between the toes of the paw that seem to almost “join” the toes.
Unlike with waterfowl, this membrane of webbing is only partial on canine feet, visible only when you spread their toes and see the skin connecting each appendage.
All dogs begin their lives with webbed paws, but not all of them retain it throughout their life, and some will lose most of that skin as they grow. In fact, many mammals, in general, tend to start life with webbed feet in a similar way!
Are There Any Benefits To A Dog Having Webbed Feet?
Webbed feet are a bred-in trait, meant for hunting dogs that need to traverse difficult terrain, retrieve game, and be quick and efficient.
The most obvious benefit of webbed feet is the added swimming ability. As with waterfowl, the membrane gives dogs more strength and smoothness as they paddle.
When there aren’t large gaps between the toes, water can’t slip through the cracks, instead get easily pushed by the more solid webbed structure of a dog’s paws.
Another upside to webbed feet is their supreme grip in wet, muddy, or bog-like environments. Dogs without enough webbing might slide and slip around in such conditions. Webbed feet allow dogs to maintain their foothold without getting stuck.
Finally, webbed feet provide dogs with quicker digging ability. The skin acts almost like a shovel’s blade for dogs to scoop dirt and move it around more easily with their paws.
Are There Any Drawbacks To A Dog Having Webbed Feet?
Webbed feet mean more skin in a difficult location of a dog’s body, which translates to more space for dirt and debris to get stuck and caught in. You’ll have to clean your dog’s paws well to prevent damage.
This can be especially problematic in the winter when snow might get stuck in the nooks and carnies of webbed paws.
This also gives pests like ticks and fleas an easy, hidden spot to latch onto. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, it’s important to check webbed paws regularly for any signs of these bugs.
Abscesses can develop very quickly in webbing membranes as they become infected!
Some dogs may also face medical complications as a side effect of webbed feet. Scoliosis is a primary concern for some dogs that have fibrous tissue webbing.
This is because webbed feet can make it difficult for dogs to walk properly, causing instability, arthritis, and strain on various parts of the body.
How Much Webbing (if any) Do Dalmatians Have?
Most purebred Dalmatians have slightly webbed feet, but they aren’t that noticeable. Some Dalmatians may not have any webbing at all once they reach adulthood, but that’s not a bad thing and doesn’t pose any harm to the dogs.
Ultimately, it depends on the individual Dalmatian.
Common Dog Breeds With Webbed Feet
1. Labrador Retrievers
Labradors make for amazing working dogs, often holding jobs in service or police work. They often like to swim, dig, and chase small “prey-like” objects, so it’s no surprise that their paws are built for those activities!
These little sausage dogs were bred for hunting. That’s where their webbed feet come into play.
With thick membranes, they can easily dig in the ground to find badgers for their handlers. They can also grip soil well, which lets them run at a surprisingly reliable pace when necessary.
As their name suggests, otterhounds were bred as hounds for hunting down otters. Though that hunting practice is now largely outlawed, the marks of the breed remain clear.
In their heyday, they would swim with their big, webbed paws to hunt down their prey, displaying incredible prowess in the water.
Newfoundlands are big dogs that absolutely love being outdoors. They’ve been the partners of fishermen in cool and cold climates for a long time thanks to their swimming ability.
Their large paws are webbed to allow for speedy propulsion in water, and they’re so efficient that they can even save people from dangerous ocean conditions.
Today, Newfoundlands also often work in search and rescue teams, supported by their webbed paws that allow them to rush across difficult land and dig quickly when needed.
5. Irish Water Spaniel
Any dog with “water” in its name is likely to have webbed paws so they’re able to swim more easily.
The Irish Water Spaniel is no exception, having been bred as a hunting dog capable of making short work of bodies of water in the pursuit of its handlers’ quarries.
Like almost all dogs, Dalmatians are born with webbed feet, but the webbing isn’t very obvious. That excess skin is primarily used as a tool for digging, swimming, and running and doesn’t pose very many drawbacks to most Dalmatians.
If you’re seeking a dog with very webbed feet for a specific purpose, you’ll likely have better luck with other breeds!