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Do Dobermans Have Webbed Feet? What You Should Know!

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

doberman pinscher puppy

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

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

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If you live near water or just love spending time in, on, or near it, you might want to find a dog that also enjoys water. This not only means they need to swim well, but they should also just be comfortable around bodies of water. If you’re in the market for a new dog and the Doberman is on your list, you might be wondering if they have webbed feet.

Several breeds that historically worked with water in some way have webbed feet, but the Doberman does not. That said, they still enjoy playing in the water!

Here, we discuss Dobermans and water and look at dog breeds that do have webbed feet. We also go over how to keep your dog safe around the water.

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Are Dobermans Good Swimmers?

No, Dobermans are not good swimmers. They will try their best and can manage a certain amount of swimming, but their bodies will eventually give out.

Dobermans are lean with narrow bodies, but they are also muscular, with little fat. Their bodies are long and deep-chested, with a thin behind. This combination makes the dog more likely to flounder and sink than excel at swimming.

Regardless, Dobermans love getting wet and will cavort around in the water and make a huge mess if they get the chance!

The 5 Steps to Teaching Your Doberman to Swim

Doberman in the river
Image By: ChocoPie, Shutterstock

If your Doberman does tend to sink when they attempt swimming, always keep a sharp eye on them when they’re in the water. The moment that you see your dog start to sink, get them out immediately!

The following steps will work quite well for a Doberman that is nervous around the water. But if your Dobie loves launching themselves into any water that they see, you might be able to go through this process faster.

1. Put Them in a Life Jacket

Before you start, invest in a life jacket for your dog. This will keep your Doberman safe and provide them with extra confidence when in the water. Dog life jackets also have a handle on the back, so you can grab your Doberman at the first sign of trouble.

After a while, as your dog gains confidence, you can try tying a rope to the handle and allow them to move farther out; you can still pull them to safety if necessary.

Before using the life jacket, have your dog wear it around the house from time to time. Some owners put the life jacket on before mealtimes, so they develop a positive association with it. Be sure to take the life jacket off the moment that your Doberman looks uncomfortable.

2. Find the Right Spot

Next, you need to find the right body of water to get started in. You’ll want to find calm and shallow water, as this will keep your dog safe and give them confidence. Also, aim for a location that doesn’t have many people and other distractions.

3. Take a Walk Next to the Water

This step is a good way to go if your Doberman is nervous around the water. Just walk them along the edge of the water on a leash, and gauge how your Dobie is acting. Let them go at it on their own, and don’t force them into the water. If they seem ready for more, it’s time for the next step!

close up red doberman
Image CByedit: rayemond, Pixabay

4. Get Wet!

Once your dog seems eager to get into the water, you get in there with them. If they still seem nervous, you getting into the water will show them that there’s nothing to be afraid of and that it can be fun.

Once you’re in, your Dobie will more than likely want to join you. This will give them the confidence that they need to take the plunge!

5. Get Your Dog Excited About the Water

If your Dobie still seems unsure, start playing around in the water. Try throwing your dog’s favorite ball into the water. If this does the trick, try throwing the ball a little farther out every time.

At some point, your dog will need to swim to reach the ball or toy, so give them plenty of praise and a treat when they bring it back. Don’t forget to put your dog in the life jacket for all these steps.

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Keeping Your Doberman Safe

Unless you only plan to take your dog to shallow bodies of water, they should always have their life jacket on, especially if you take them on a boat!

No matter how well they seem to take to the water, due to their body makeup, Dobies should always be supervised. Waves and strong undertows and riptides are at beaches, for example, and the water can get deep. That life jacket and its handle, as well as your vigilance, are what will keep your Doberman safe.

Dogs That Have Webbed Feet

Webbed feet on any mammal or bird give them an edge when it comes to swimming (or paddling). Some dog breeds have webbed feet because they were bred to work around water. Here are a few of the dog breeds that have webbed feet:

  • Labrador Retriever: Labs have been the most popular dog in North America and some other parts of the world for many years. They hail from the Labrador region in Canada and were bred to retrieve waterfowl and work with fishers.
  • Newfoundland: Another breed from Canada, the Newfoundland came from the province of the same name and was bred for search-and-rescue situations on fishing ships.
  • Portuguese Water Dog: If their name includes “water,” you know that the dog is comfortable in it. These dogs come from Portugal and were bred to work with fishers, as well as to do search and rescue and other swimming tasks.
  • Poodle: Poodles originally come from Germany. Their name is derived from the German word “pudelin,” which translates to “splashing in the water.” They were bred as duck hunters.
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever: A dog comes from the Maritimes in Canada. They entice ducks to come closer while playing along the shoreline.
  • Irish Water Spaniel: This water-loving dog comes from Ireland, and they were bred to retrieve waterfowl from the water.
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever: The only American dog on this list, the Chessie was bred to retrieve waterfowl, typically ducks.
  • Otterhound: These English dogs were bred for the unfortunate hunting of otters. This practice has been outlawed, however, and today, they are primarily family dogs that love swimming.

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Swimming makes for excellent exercise for all dogs, but not all dogs are good at it, including the Doberman. They can be taught to swim, but since it doesn’t come naturally to them, they should always be supervised when in the water and wear a dog life jacket.

Many dog breeds were bred to swim. The combination of their fur, body shape, and webbed paws make them comfortable in the water and exceptional swimmers.

But if owning a Dobie is more important than the swimming factor to you, they can make a wonderful companion and fit quite nicely in many families.

Featured Image Credit: Jens Lanckman, Pixabay

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