Labrador Retriever is the most playful, energetic, and fun-loving dog breed you will ever come across. Labs are also famous for their swimming skills.
The question is, do Labradors have webbed feet?
The answer is yes; Labradors do have webbed feet. Their toes are interconnected with the membrane.
Besides their affectionate temperaments and high energy levels, Labradors are also known for their love for water and swimming abilities. Is it their paws type that makes them swim more efficiently than other breeds?
Yes, their webbed paws is the reason why Labs are great at swimming. Modern Labrador Retrievers’ ability to swim has to do with their ancestry. Earlier, Labs were used as fishing dogs. They spent most of their time swimming and retrieving anything caught by fishermen. As a result, their body was adapted to swimming for long periods.
Labrador Retriever Webbed Feet
Webbed feet are when toes are interconnected with the membrane. You must have noticed webbed feet in birds, ducks, and penguins.
But it’s pretty surprising that some dogs also have webbed feet. One such dog breed is Labrador Retriever.
To some extent, all dogs have some webbing between their toes. But Labs have comparatively more webbing than most breeds.
However, in some Labs, webbed feet may not be easily noticeable than other Labs. You can check it by gently separating each toe one by one.
Why Do Labradors Have Webbed Feet?
Wondering why Labs have more webbing than other dog breeds?
To understand that, I have to take you to the history of Labrador.
Modern Labrador’s ancestors were used as fishermen’s dogs. Along with their fishermen, they spent most of their time around water.
They would swim and retrieve anything caught by fishermen. This way, Labrador’s body, including webbed feet, developed the breed into a good swimmer.
Why are Labs good swimmers?
As discussed earlier, webbed feet make Labradors excellent swimmers. But that isn’t the only reason.
Labs are known for their love for the water. When introduced to water from young age, a Labrador Retriever can become a great swimmer.
No doubt Labs have high energy levels, making them swim for long periods. But here are some other characteristics that actually make them good swimmers:
- Webbed feet: As discussed in the previous section, Labs have more webbing; their toes are connected with the membrane. With webbed feet, they swim faster and more efficiently (compared to dogs without webbed feet).
- Waterproof coat: Labradors have double coats that shed heavily two times a year. They have a dense outer coat and soft undercoat. This makes their coat water-repellent.
- Otter tail: Besides their webbed toes, Labradors also use their otter tail for swimming faster and more efficiently. Their “otter tail” works as a rudder when they swim.
Not all Labs love swimming
Because Labradors have webbed feet and waterproof coats, don’t mean all Labs like swimming.
Though Labs are generally fond of water, but you have to understand that each dog is different.
Some dogs don’t like swimming or playing in the water (it might be linked to the individual Lab’s experience with water).
How the dog is raised can affect whether it will become a great swimmer or have water fear.
If your Labrador hasn’t got much exposure to swimming, it will grow up with water fear.
That’s why it is recommended to introduce to water when the dog is young.
Doing so will discourage its fear of water. When it’s young, you can start with some water in a small bathtub.
Note that you don’t have to leave your canine alone in a pool.
Whether you have a young or old Lab, never leave it unsupervised in water. Your canine’s safety is your responsibility.
Dog Breeds With Webbed Feet
Not all dog breeds have webbed feet like Labrador Retriever. If you want a swimming companion dog, check this list of dog breeds with webbed feet:
- Labrador Retriever
- Portuguese Water Dog
- American Water Spaniel
- German Wirehaired Pointer
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Can dogs without webbed feet swim?
Dogs without webbing can swim, but not as efficiently as webbed feet dogs like Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, Poodle, etc.
How do you tell if a dog has webbed feet?
While all dogs have some webbing between their toes, breeds like Labrador, Poodle, and several others have more webbing. If your want to check webbed feet, gently separate your toes one by one.
Do Labradoodles have webbed feet?
Yes, Labradoodles have webbed feet like their parents: Labrador and Poodle. This trait gives them the ability to swim efficiently and walk on snow or muddy surfaces.
Do dogs with webbed feet need special grooming and care of their paws?
No, webbed feet don’t require special care. It would be similar to the grooming needs of any other dog. Regularly clip their nails. When cleaning, spread each toe gently to avoid hurting.
Webbed feet aren’t commonly seen in dogs. It’s just found in several breeds, including Labrador Retrievers. Labrador Retrievers were originally bred to be working dogs and friendly companions. They were used as fishermen’s helpers. When a fisherman catches something, the Labrador would swim and retrieve it. Resultantly, Labrador’s body adapted to continuous swimming. You can notice that from their webbed paws, water-repellent coat, and otter tail.
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