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Do Pitbulls Have Webbed Feet? The Interesting Answer & FAQ

Gregory Iacono

By Gregory Iacono

young pitbull swimming with vest

Pitbulls are wonderful, affectionate dogs when raised by a loving owner. They also tend to swim well, and most Pitbulls love the water. That begs the question; do Pitbulls have webbed feet? Purebred Pitbulls do not have webbed feet, but if they are mixed with or have genes from a water dog or another breed with webbed feet then they may inherit the webbing. Occasionally you might find what you think is a Pitbull with webbed feet, but it’s usually a dog mixed with another breed, typically a water dog.

We’ll discuss what it means if your Pitbull has webbed feet, the advantages of breeds with webbed feet, and which breeds have webbed feet.

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What Are Webbed Feet?

If your dog has genuine webbed feet, it will have a thin layer of skin between each of its toes. This skin layer is referred to as a membrane. Webbed feet are easy to spot because, in a way, they look like duck feet. Many Pitbull owners believe that their Pit has webbed feet because all dogs have a tiny amount of connective tissue between their toes. However, technically speaking, this small amount of connective tissue is not considered webbing.

HEP_Webbed feet in dogs
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What if My Pitbull Has Webbed Feet?

A Pitbull will only have webbed feet if they have the genes from a water dog or some other breed that has webbed feet. Even if you know that two Pitbulls sired your pup, if they have webbed feet, there was a dog with webbed feet introduced somewhere in their lineage.

You should also note that if your Pitbull has what you think are genuine webbed feet, it’s possible they have health issues instead. Pitbulls are known to be prone to a condition known as pododermatitis (aka Interdigital dermatitis). This is when the skin between a Pitbull’s toes becomes inflamed and can appear like they have webbed toes when they don’t.  A Pitbull with this issue will usually be in a lot of pain and requires a trip to the vet.

What Does It Mean if a Dog Has Webbed Feet?

A dog with webbed feet is either a dog bred to swim, like an Otterhound, or a dog with genes passed down from a dog with webbed feet. Webbed feet were formed over generations in dogs that needed the webbing for swimming or needed it for something else, including traction on rough or slippery terrain.

Webbing also helps dogs that work and live in the snow, helping them push through it when the snow gets deep. In other words, if your dog has webbed feet, they were probably bred to do something where they would be an advantage in some way.

Are Webbed Feet Rare in Dogs?

Webbed feet aren’t rare, and over a dozen dog breeds have naturally webbed feet. Also, most dogs have a small amount of what looks like webbing between their toes, but unless it’s full-on webbed, it’s just a tiny amount of extra skin called a membrane.

What are the Pros & Cons of a Dog having Webbed Feet?

Pros
  • Dogs with webbed feet are usually excellent swimmers
  • Webbed feet make it easier to walk on muddy surfaces
  • Digging is easier with webbed feet
  • Getting around in the snow is easier with webbed feet
Cons
  • Webbed feet can lead to limping
  • Dogs with webbed feet are prone to scoliosis, cleft palates, and shortened leg bones.
happy pitbull in the pool
Photo Credit: Diego Thomazini, Shutterstock

Which Dog Breeds Have Webbed Feet?

There are only a few breeds of dogs that have genuine webbed feet. All other dogs with webbing between their toes most likely got their webbed feet from one of the breeds on the following list.

Can Dogs Naturally Swim?

Many in the United States and elsewhere are under the impression that all dogs are natural-born swimmers. This impression, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. Many breeds don’t swim well at all or don’t have the compulsion to swim. Some breeds, like the Bulldog, have a problem swimming due to their body shape. Bulldogs have large chests, which cause a weight distribution problem, making swimming difficult. However, with a life jacket, your average Bulldog who likes the water can get in and swim around happily.

The same can be said for Dachshunds that struggle to swim in the water like all long-bodied but short-legged breeds. Give a Dachshund that likes to swim a life jacket, however, and it will spend half its day in the water with a big smile on its furry face. Not all dogs swim naturally, but those that can’t swim can still enjoy the water under the right circumstances and conditions.

pitbull playing with ball while swimming
Photo Credit: Pavel1964, Shutterstock

Which Breeds Don’t Have Webbed Feet?

We’ve seen today that only a handful of dogs with genuine webbed feet. Logic would then dictate that the rest of the dog breeds don’t have webbed feet, which is mostly true. However, it’s interesting to note that some breeds don’t have webbed feet because they were bred to do things that would be more difficult if they did.

For example, the Greyhound and Whippet are two breeds that were bred to race and need to run as quickly as possible. For them, having webbed feet would be a definite drawback. Other species are similar and don’t have the need for webbing, which usually disappears before they become adults.

Are All Dogs Born with Webbed Feet?

One of the most fascinating facts we learned while researching this article is that all dogs are born with webbed feet. However, only a few breeds have webbed feet as adults because most puppies lose the webbing between their toes before they become adults. Only the dogs specifically bred for swimming and other activities that demand webbed feet will keep their webbed feet into adulthood.

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Final Thoughts

Were you one of the people who thought Pitbulls have webbed feet as adults? If yes, you now know that the only way a Pitbull will have webbed feet is if, somewhere down the line, there was a breed with webbed feet in their lineage. However, it should be noted that Pitbulls are born with webbed feet and then lose the webbing, like many other breeds, before they become adults.

The good news is that webbed feet generally don’t affect a Pitbull. Webbing between their toes can help your Pit become an excellent swimmer and move through snow, mud, and other terrains much easier. Webbed feet or not, a Pitbull raised in a loving, caring home will grow up to be a great dog and a wonderful pet.


Featured Image Credit: GoDog Photo, Shutterstock

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