German shepherds are popularly known for their intelligence, loyalty, and many noble characters, but webbed feet? Not that popular.
German shepherds have webbed feet but they are rare. All dogs have skin amid their toes that links their paws together but it differs in length. The American Kennel Club does not recognize webbed feet German shepherds as a standard breed.
This article explains more about webbed feet German shepherds and the advantages and disadvantages of webbed feet.
Do all German shepherds have webbed feet?
Some German shepherds have their feet webbed halfway through their toes while others have just a tiny skin linking the toes together.
The halfway webbed GSDs are rare to find, this is because the AKC does not recognize them as a standard breed hence they are rarely bred. Though German shepherds have webbed feet, the interconnecting tissues are not as much as for aquatic dogs.
Why are some GSDs feet webbed?
Some breeders do not follow the set standards of a German shepherd. This is most common in a case where a webbed GSD has good health and temperaments and the breeder wants to pass them to the offspring. Unless there is something that the breeder wants to pass to another generation, it’s hard for them to be bred making them rare.
Is a Webbed Feet GSD a pure breed?
Just because webbed feet German shepherd is rare does not mean they are not purely bred.
If you bought your pooch from a recognized breeder he is a pure breed. Determining if a GSD is a pure breed or not by checking his paws whether they have webbed feet or not won’t give you a good result, a DNA test can do better.
Advantages of webbed feet to a GSD
Help in walking
A webbed-foot GSD will walk faster compared to those without a webbed feet. This is because their paws have a larger surface area which makes them walk faster even in muddy areas without sinking. If a webbed GSD is walking on a slippery area they will be able to hold firmly on the ground making it hard for them to fall.
A webbed feet German shepherd makes good swimmers. This is because their paws will have a greater surface area which will allow them to swim with ease.
Assist in digging
Webbed feet german shepherd have an added advantage when it comes to digging. Their feet act like shovel blades ;they will dig faster compared to other non-webbed feet dogs. This is mostly helpful to them when hunting and retrieving animals that dig on the ground like hares and badgers.
Is there a need for alarm if my German shepherd is not webbed?
On very rare occasions, a GSD can lack any sort of skin linking his paws, but there is no need for alarm. If he has managed the fat he has without it, he can press on for the rest of his life.
Disadvantages of webbed feet?
A webbed feet GSD will have higher chances of getting yeast and bacterial infections in their paws. Also, if they spend most of their time in water and their paws are not thoroughly dried off, that moisture will provide a good environment for bacteria to breed. If you have webbed feet GSD, regularly clean their paws and dry them off.
Pododermatitis is a medical term used to refer to paws infection. You can notice its signs in your dog if he keeps on licking his paws or there is a change in his walking style. To prevent this disease, always carry a towel or a washcloth anytime for drying off your GSD paws after swimming, walk in the snow or mud.
Prone to Syndactyly
This is a disease that only affects webbed feet dogs where one or more of their toes are very close to each other or have no space between them. This leads to a dog losing stability. This disease is treated through surgery which must be done at an early age to avoid complications.
Other Dog Breeds That Have Webbed Feet
There are various dog breeds with webbed feet. The extent to which dogs are webbed will vary from one dog to another.
Dogs that are bred to work mostly in water or near water bodies are highly webbed than those bred to work on the land.
Dogs that require webbed feet to meet their breed standards are;
- Labrador Retrievers
- Portuguese Water Dogs
- Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers
- American Water Spaniels
- Redbone Coonhoods
- German Wire-haired Pointers
- Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
Most GSDs do not have webbed feet and those that have them, do not resemble those of aquatic animals. If your GSD is webbed or not, this will not deter your GSD’s day-to-day life. It will not affect his work, loyalty, and devotion to you.