How Many Toes Does A Dog Have

How Many Toes Does A Dog Have

Have you ever speculated how many toes does a dog has? Possibilities are that you have never paid attention to your dog’s anatomy.

Does their front paw have 5 toes or 4 toes, as you may have supposed? The answer to this question will vary depending on the different pooch breeds. Continue reading to learn more about hounds and their toes’ arrangement.

Dogs generally have 4 toes on each paw, which means they collectively have 16 toes. However, some mutt breeds have 18 toes, and some canines have 22 toes.

Based on the genetics, disfigurement, breed, or amputation, some dogs may have more than 4 toes on each of their paws. The extra toes are called dewclaws.

How Many Toes Does A Dog Have
How Many Toes Does A Dog Have

What Are Dog Dewclaws?

Many hounds have a claw or nail on the internal side of their front legs. This nail or claw is referred to as dewclaw.

They are basically thumbs and big toes that don’t come in contact with the earth even when your furry baby walks.

Some breeds also have dewclaws on their back legs. If your little one has double dewclaws, don’t be surprised.

It was useful for the former dog generations, but with advancement, it develops in incongruous areas and leads to various issues connected with surgery, muscles, running, pain, etc.

They are loosely attached to a canine’s paws and are often called appendages.

Many people think that these short-length fingers are a hindrance to a pooch’s superlative speed and quality.

Therefore, they get their dogs’ dewclaws removed by a vet or breeder.

Purpose Of Dewclaws

Dewclaws that are associated by bone to the dog’s front leg support his carpal joint stabilize it, and provide additional traction, especially when he runs faster or on slippery grounds.

They also help them climb trees, grasp things to better chomp on them, and scratch hard-to-reach spots. The functionality of dewclaws that are connected through the support of skin is not very clear.

How Many Toes Does A Dog Have?

Many dogs have 4 toes on their back paws and 5 toes on their front paws, but there is an exemption.

Some hounds have only 4 toes on each paw, so you should not be worried about that because it is not a hereditary defect. The chances are that your mutt had it removed as a pup.

The 5th toe, which is also named dewclaw, is sometimes eradicated at birth. Eliminating them could also prevent them from getting trapped on objects.

In some canine breeds, the 5th toe is associated with the wrist of the mutt’s paw; therefore, it is not useful for a dog.

It does not improve their grip, often get caught in things, or simply become injured when a canine runs fast and plays.

It can be hurtful for your baby, and many breeders will eradicate it right after a dog’s birth to prevent future harm.

They are similar to the human thumb, but they don’t have the same purpose as the thumb, so your dog won’t feel like something is absent.

And when it is eliminated right after the birth, it is less hurtful for the hounds, and they can heal quickly. 

How Many Toes Does A Dog Have

Why Dewclaws Are Eradicated?

In the past, breeders used to remove the dewclaws of the dogs that were going to participate in the competitions or show rings.

The reason is that they were considered to be a monstrosity and pooch parents wanted to improve their canines’ look.

In other cases, they are removed because they create movement issues for hounds. Some people think that this feature has little or no function, so they choose to get it removed for their newborn puppies.

In most dog breeds, they are loosely joined to a dog’s paws, so they are at a hazard of breaking easily.

This might become a cause of an infection that can activate uneasiness and pain in your furry baby. Sometimes, they may become ingrown, or there might be an added development on them.

In such a situation, the vet will partially or wholly remove the dewclaw to prevent infection.

If it causes an issue or interrupts the daily life of a healthy and active hound, then it should be removed by surgery.

Most of the time, there is no need to remove them because they are simply additional toes.

You can trim the nail on the dewclaw to a safe length so that it does not rip and does not hurt your dog.  

What Is The Best Time To Get The Dewclaws Removed?

Many dog owners get them removed in their infant puppies. So, the best time to get them eradicated is 3 to 5 days of age.

If you select to get them eliminated for your puppy, you should get this procedure done when he is less than 6 months old.

You can elect surgery for older dogs, but it does become a complicated process then. As we mentioned earlier, it is not critical to remove them.

Regular maintenance is needed if your mutt is more than 6 months old. If your doggie is being neutered or sterilized, the vet may recommend the dewclaw confiscation.

Do Dewclaws Require Special Care And Maintenance?

The dewclaw maintenance is very much similar to the maintenance of other nails of the dog.

If your dog does not walk or run enough, you will have to regularly trim them to keep them at a standard length to prevent injuries.

If his nails get too long, they can easily get stuck in objects and tear, which can lead to pain and hurt to the whole paw, which can take a long time to heal.

To prevent him from feeling pain and hurt, you should guarantee that his nails are trimmed regularly.

After surgery, train him not to keep scratching or biting the freshly treated wound. If he scratches or licks, bacteria could infect that wound.

If you see other features on his paws, take him to the vet and solve the issue as soon as possible.

You would not want your handsome doggie’s hind or front leg to look scary due to abnormal development.

Which Dog Breeds Have More Toes?

Normally, dogs have 4 or 5 toes on their front or rear feet, but some dog breeds have more toes as well. The following dog breeds have single or double extra toes or extra dewclaws on their rear feet:

  • The Great Pyrenees
  • Briards
  • East Siberian Laika
  • Anatolian Shepherd Dog
  • Norwegian Lundehund
  • Portuguese Sheepdog
  • Icelandic Sheepdog
  • Beauceron
  • Can Fila de Sao Miguel
  • Saint Bernard
  • Estrela Mountain Dog
  • Catalonian Sheepdog

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Does It Mean If My Canine Has Additional Toes?

If he has extra toes on either the front or hind paws, this infrequent occurrence is called polydactyly.

2. Do Dogs Like Their Paws To Be Touched?

They normally resist having their paws touched, and most of the time, it is an intuitive response. If you want to touch your dog’s paws and don’t want him to resist, train him to accept the touch at an early age. 

3. Is Dewclaw Elimination Painful?

No, dewclaw amputation by surgery is not at all painful. The best thing is that it lasts for only ten minutes. However, if your pooch is weak, delicate, or has more than one dewclaw, he may experience some pain.

A strong and healthy dog won’t feel much pain on his rear and front feet as compared to a weak and tiny dog. The pain depends on the dewclaw’s internal development, size, and shape.

4. Which Kind Of Dog Has The Most Toes?

The Norwegian Lundehund has the most toes. Other dog breeds with polydactyl have additional toes on their rear feet, but this breed of dog has 5 or 6 extra toes on each of their paws. 

5. Why Do Canines Have An Unusual Toe?

The weird toe on the rear of their leg is called a carpal pad which is utilized for grip when they are relaxing or coming down from a sloped surface.

6. Are 18 Claws Good Or Bad For A Dog?

Some dogs have 18 nails or claws that they use for traction, digging, climbing, and holding substances. As a dog owner, you should take care of his feet because claw problems are not the only thing that can hurt their feet. 

7. Do All Classes Of Dogs Have Dewclaws?

Yes, the majority of dog breeds have dewclaws on their front feet and rarely on the rear feet. Rear ones have little muscle or bone structure in some canines. At least one dewclaw will be associated with the leg in a poor manner. In such a scenario, it is removed by surgery.   


So, how many toes does a dog have on its back legs? They have four toes on the rear leg and five toes on the front leg.

The additional nail on the internal and higher part of his foot is known as dewclaw that helps with traction when they run at high speed and to keep their grip.

Some mutt types have more toes with more dewclaws on their front and back feet. It is compulsory to trim dewclaws frequently than normal toes that touch the surface.  


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