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Is It True That Australian Shepherds Have Webbed Feet? Vet-Approved Facts

Written by: Genevieve Dugal

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by Dogster Team

Two Australian Shepherd running

Is It True That Australian Shepherds Have Webbed Feet? Vet-Approved Facts


Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg  Photo


Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs are amazing creatures with a range of unique and wonderful attributes. From their floppy ears to their bushy tails and everything in between, there is something special about every breed. For example, some dogs have webbed feet! However, this is not the case for a purebred Australian Shepherd, they do not have webbed feet. In fact, if your Aussie has webbed paws, they’re probably a mix with a breed that has this characteristic.

Read on to learn more about webbed feet and why some dogs sport this particular trait!

What Are Webbed Feet in Dogs?

Dogs with webbed feet have a thin membrane of connective tissue and skin between their toes. Most dogs lose some or all of their webbing before birth, while other breeds retain more of it.

Having webbed paws gives these dogs a distinct advantage when swimming. This feature is also useful for digging and keeping their balance on soft or muddy surfaces.

australian shepherd dog swimming in a river
Image By: Nancy_Zonneveld, Shutterstock

What Are the Benefits of Webbed Paws?

Even though it is hard to pinpoint exactly why dogs have webbed paws, it is clear that it is a special and beneficial trait. Dogs with webbed feet are generally excellent swimmers, as the membrane between their toes enables them to paddle faster and have better control of their movements — much like ducks!

Webbed paws can also help dogs dig. Dachshunds, for example, can easily dig up the flower beds in your yard to excavate rodents, using their tiny shovel-like feet! Webbed feet are also useful for dogs working in muddy areas or on slippery ground, as their webbed toes help them grip slippery surfaces.

So, Australian Shepherds Don’t Have Webbed Feet?

Australian Shepherds have a natural instinct for water and the outdoors, which may explain why some people believe that these pups have webbed feet. But despite their love of water, Aussies don’t exhibit this special trait. However, while webbed feet can help dogs move gracefully and easily through water, that doesn’t mean purebred Australian Shepherds can’t swim well. Their technique may be a bit messy, but they can still accompany you for a quick dip in the lake or swimming pool!

australian shepherd dog lying on the floor
Image Credit: torstensimon, Pixabay

What Breeds of Dogs Have Webbed Feet?

Aussies do not have webbed feet, but this feature is found in other breeds. Most dogs with noticeable webbing between their toes typically enjoy water or digging in the ground, such as Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, Newfoundlands, Portuguese Water Dog, Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels, and other, similar breeds.

The 3 Tips for Keeping Your Australian Shepherd’s Paws Healthy

Here are a few tips to keep your Aussie’s paws healthy and prevent injury (no matter how much webbing they have between their toes!):

1. Inspect your dog’s paws after each outing

If your furry friend spends excessive time licking their paw pads, it could be a sign that they have an injury or that something is stuck under their paws, so it’s best to take a look at your dog’s paws.

a woman holding paw of brown dog
Image Credit: Ivan Babydov, Pexels

2. Rub vitamin E into your dog’s paws if you notice excessive dryness

Be sure to work in the ointment well so your dog doesn’t lick it off.

3. Trim your dog’s nails regularly

The exact frequency varies between each dog and how they burn their energy each day, but trimming your dog’s nails once a month is usually enough.

a man trimming the dog's nails with guillotine clippers

Final Thoughts

Although purebred Australian Shepherds don’t have webbed feet, they can still be comfortable in the water. They probably won’t be as graceful swimmers as Labradors, but they still make wonderful companions for active owners. If you’re looking for a high-energy pup that requires plenty of exercise, loves the outdoors, and thrives on daily mental stimulation, you’ll probably be quite happy with an Aussie, regardless of the shape of their paws!

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: EvitaS, Pixabay

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