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What Breeds Of Dogs Have Webbed Feet? Canines With Paddle Paws


What Breeds Of Dogs Have Webbed Feet? Canines With Paddle Paws


this was updated on January 6th, 2024 by Lisa Illman


Despite being a cat owner, I love dogs too, and especially appreciate their diverse traits. I recently conducted extensive research and was intrigued to discover that certain dog breeds possess webbed feet, a feature commonly associated with aquatic animals like ducks. Who knew?!?! This post is all about what breeds of dogs have webbed feet!

🐕‍🦺 Webbed feet on dogs, this anatomical specificity, offers advantages beyond efficient swimming.

🦮 Advantages of webbed feet on dogs 🐶 include enhanced capabilities for activities such as digging and traversing soft or muddy terrains.

In this article, I elaborate on the utility of webbed feet in dogs, accompanied by a compilation of 13 distinct breeds exemplifying this intriguing attribute.

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As I researched this topic, I learned that canines start life with webbed feet, but most lose most of their webbing early in life.

However, several breeds retain their webbed paws, including popular breeds like Labs, poodles, and dachshunds. If you’re curious about which other species have webbed feet and the advantages they provide, keep reading.

Key Takeaways: What Breeds of Dogs have Webbed Feet?

  • Some dog breeds have webbed feet, which provide benefits beyond swimming.
  • Webbed paws can help with digging and walking on soft or muddy surfaces.
  • Thirteen dog breeds, including Labs and poodles, have webbed feet.

Webbed Feet on Dogs 101: Why Do Canines Have Webbed Feet?

A dog’s paw webbing is the skin of connective tissue and skin between the dog’s toes. While most animals lose most of the webbing before they are even born, every dog breed will retain some of it. However, you won’t notice it in most breeds. In highly isolated incidences, dogs and other animals can be born with all the webbing intact. Dog breeders have used this “congenital disability” to their advantage and bred dogs to make puppies with webbed paws. This trait is handy for dogs bred for water activities, such as swimming and retrieving.

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Webbed feet, a fascinating anatomical adaptation seen in various animals, including some dog breeds, serve as a remarkable example of evolutionary innovation. While often associated with aquatic creatures like ducks and frogs, webbed feet in dogs have distinct advantages that contribute to their agility, versatility, and prowess in water-related activities. In this article, we’ll explore the intricacies of the anatomy of webbed feet and the benefits they offer to our canine companions.

Understanding Webbed Feet

Webbed feet, scientifically referred to as palmate feet, are characterized by the presence of skin, called webbing, that extends between the toes. This web-like structure serves a unique purpose, enabling the feet to act as efficient paddles in aquatic environments. The extent and thickness of webbing can vary significantly among different dog breeds, with some having more pronounced and expansive webbing than others.

The Benefits of Webbed Feet in Dogs

Webbed feet, a unique feature found in some dog breeds, serve a remarkable purpose that goes beyond their charming appearance.

While we often associate webbed feet with aquatic animals like ducks and otters, certain dog breeds have evolved with this feature as well. 🦆

This adaptation provides a range of benefits, allowing these dogs to excel in various activities both in and out of the water. Let’s dive into the world of webbed feet in dogs and explore the advantages they offer.

The Anatomy of Webbed Feet


Webbed feet, scientifically known as palmate feet, are characterized by the presence of skin between the toes, creating a natural web-like structure. This anatomical feature varies in extent and thickness among dog breeds. Breeds like the Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, and Portuguese Water Dog showcase well-developed webbing that extends between their toes, enhancing their ability to navigate water bodies efficiently.

RELATED: Different Spaniel Breeds

🐠Aquatic Excellence

Webbed feet offer a clear advantage to dogs that engage in water-related activities.

These breeds are often natural swimmers due to their increased surface area and the webbing that acts like paddles.

Webbed feet on dogs allows them to generate greater propulsion with each stroke, making swimming more energy-efficient. For example, the Labrador Retriever, with its webbed feet, can effortlessly glide through water, making it an ideal companion for waterfowl hunting and water rescue missions.

Versatility in Terrain

While webbed feet are a boon in aquatic environments, their benefits extend to various terrains. Dogs with webbed feet often display enhanced agility and stability on uneven surfaces. The webbing acts as a natural snowshoe, providing better weight distribution and preventing sinking in softer terrains like mud or snow. This versatility makes them adept at activities like hiking, search and rescue operations, and even participating in dog sports like agility competitions.

Cooling Mechanism

Another noteworthy advantage of webbed feet lies in their role as natural cooling mechanisms. Dogs regulate their body temperature primarily through panting and limited sweat glands. Webbed feet enable better heat dissipation as the skin between the toes has a larger surface area. This helps dogs to maintain their core body temperature more effectively, especially in warmer climates or during strenuous physical activities.

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador retrievers have webbed feet that help them swim efficiently and control their movements in the water. They are intelligent and pleasant and make for outstanding service or police dogs. Labradors require a lot of exercise to balance their high-energy temperament and love for food. Swimming is an excellent exercise for them, combining their two favorite things, swimming and retrieving. Labradors have a double-layered, water-repellent coat, a robust and rudder-like tail to steer them through the water, and large webbed paws. This winning combination makes them remarkable, confident swimmers.



Newfoundlands have waterproof coats and webbed paws that allow them to stay in the water for long periods.


Newfoundlands boast webbed feet as part of their specialized adaptation for aquatic activities. These webbed paws complement their waterproof coats, enabling them to excel in prolonged water exposure.

Originally bred for collaborative work with Canadian fishermen, their robust build and remarkable endurance made them ideal for tasks such as net pulling and fish retrieval.

The webbing aids in efficient swimming and navigating through water, highlighting the breed’s historical role as dependable water assistants in fishing endeavors.

These dogs are gentle, especially with children, and make great family members. Newfoundlands love the outdoors and are ideal companions for long hikes and lake trips. They require a lot of exercise, and grooming should be done at least once a week.

Poodles 🐩

Poodles have soft, low-allergen coats that require daily brushing and cleaning to prevent the fur from getting matted.

They are intelligent and make great dogs for agility or obedience training. Poodles love to swim, and swimming should be regularly incorporated into their exercise routine.

They are excellent retrievers and were initially bred to retrieve waterfowl.

Poodles have webbed paws that allow them to be quick and precise while working in the water. Poodles come in several sizes, making finding one perfect match for your family easy.

For information and content on Poodles, check out our other blog posts.

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Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese water dogs were used for herding due to their more petite frame. Using their webbed paws to swoosh fish into a net saved fishermen a lot of time and energy. These dogs make great companion dogs who’ve retained a lot of the working dog traits. They’re eager to please. Also, showing tremendous loyalty, energy, and enthusiasm. Portuguese water dogs have “hypoallergenic” coats. This makes them a perfect pick for those who suffer from allergies. They are very good at swimming due to their webbed feet.

American Water Spaniel

American water spaniels have oily outer coats to repel water and thickly padded, webbed feet. They are totally at ease in water and require a lot of attention. Ways to stimulate this dog physically are swimming, training, playing, and vigorous walking or running. Without an active lifestyle, they can become very vocal, barky, and destructive. This breed is especially owner-orientated, so they are quick to learn and train.

German Wire-Haired Pointer

German Wire-Haired Pointers possess a remarkable weather-resistant coat, a highly developed sense of smell, and webbed feet. These dogs are known for their abundant energy, quick responsiveness, and high intelligence. Engaging them in activities like canicross, rally, agility, tracking, or hunting is highly recommended to ensure they receive the necessary physical and mental exercise. Moreover, participating in these activities can also become a fulfilling and enjoyable hobby for owners.

German Short-Haired Pointer

German Short-Haired Pointers feature small, scoop-shaped paws that facilitate effortless water paddling. These dogs are notably affectionate companions that form rapid connections with their families. Nevertheless, owing to their abundant energy, they thrive best with energetic individuals who enjoy extended walks and regular escapades with their canine companions. With a versatile hunting background, German Short-Haired Pointers were purposefully bred for diverse gun dog tasks. Their webbed feet enable expert paddling prowess in various water activities.


Dachshunds possess webbed feet designed akin to shovels, aiding them in manipulating soil with greater ease. Originally bred for hunting, their elongated, slender bodies facilitate access to confined areas for tracking mammals like badgers and rats. Despite a tolerance for swimming, dachshunds aren’t inclined towards long-distance swimming. Nonetheless, ensuring adequate exercise is crucial to keep their muscles well-maintained.

Concluding Wags: What Breeds of Dogs have Webbed Feet?

In conclusion, it’s pretty remarkable how webbed feet aren’t just a duck’s trademark anymore – some dog breeds are in on the action too! The world of canine adaptations never fails to surprise. Those webbed paws, initially associated with aquatic ease, offer our furry companions more than just a graceful glide through water. From enhancing their swimming prowess to excelling at digging and maneuvering through tricky terrains, these specialized feet bring a versatile set of advantages to the table (or should I say, to the paws?). So, whether your pup loves to paddle or just prefers a good ol’ muddy adventure, those webbed wonders are up for the task. In this article, we’ve unraveled the secrets behind these paw-perfect adaptations and even put together a cheat sheet of 13 dog breeds that proudly rock their webbed assets. Time to celebrate the splish-splash of science and nature in every pawprint!

🐾 Lisa Illman is the Founder of Kritter Kommunity, LLC! 🏡 She’s got a dapper tuxedo cat who’s been her sidekick since he was a tiny furball. 🐱 Before Finnegan came along, Lisa cared for two FIV-positive cats for over ten years! 🌟 Their love inspired her to create a cat enclosure and a portable catio, giving kitties the purrfect spot to bask in the sun and feel the breeze. ☀️🌿

As a kid, Lisa shared her home with a Poodle and a chirpy parakeet! 🐩🐦

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