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Do German Shepherds Have Webbed Feet? Breed Facts & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

german shepherd

Nearly all dogs have a bit of skin between their toes in order to connect the paw together, giving the illusion of webbed feet. However, this bit of skin is only rarely referred to as webbing and not in the context of German Shepherds.

So, German Shepherds do not technically have webbed feet, even though their toes are connected with extra skin. It’s possible for a German Shepherd to have webbed feet, but this is not normal and should be examined by a vet.

To learn more about German Shepherds’ paws and their propensity for having webbed feet specifically, keep reading!

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Do Purebred German Shepherds Have Webbed Feet?

According to the American Kennel Club standard for German Shepherds,1 the breed is not known for having webbed feet. Although there is a bit of webbed skin that connects the paw together, the toes do not classify as being webbed.

european german shepherd in the forest
Photo Credit: profcalamitous, Pixabay

Breed Standards

Although purebred German Shepherd breed standards do not apply to mixed breeds, the American Kennel Club does not reference webbed feet in this breed at all. Instead, German Shepherds should have compact and short feet that include toes with a good arch. These dogs should also have thick and firm paw pads and short and dark nails.

There is no mention of webbing in the standards, which means purebred German Shepherds should not have webbed feet. That is not to say that it is impossible for one of these dogs to have webbed feet; it just means that the breed standard does not include webbing.

Why Do Some German Shepherds Look Like They Have Webbed Feet?

If you look at your German Shepherd, you still may feel that your dog has a bit of webbing because of that extra flap of skin between each toe. Nearly every dog has a bit of skin in this way, though, and it does not create a true webbing on the German Shepherd.

Instead, the skin simply connects the paw together so it can act as one. The skin also enhances the dog’s swimming ability a bit, though it doesn’t enhance it as much as a true webbed foot would.

german shepherd dog lying on grass
Photo Credit: Natalia—S, Pixabay

Look at Your Own Hands

If you are still confused as to why this extra flap of skin does not count as webbing, look down at your own hands. In between each finger, you will notice excess skin that connects your fingers together. Although this excess skin exists, it can hardly be classified as being webbed.

The German Shepherd’s paws are the same way. The skin simply connects the paws, but they don’t act as true webbing.

Can German Shepherds Have Webbed Feet?

Even though German Shepherd breed standards do not include webbed feet in the description, it is possible for German Shepherds to have webbed feet. Irresponsible breeding or certain health conditions can cause German Shepherds and other non-webbed breeds to have webbed feet.

Unfortunately, some German Shepherds with webbed feet have to get the webs removed surgically with the help of a veterinarian. Webbed feet can result in a number of long-term conditions for this breed, which is why they need to be removed. Before you start panicking, not all German Shepherds with webbed feet have to undergo surgical procedures.

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What Should I Do If My German Shepherd Has Webbed Feet?

If you think that your German Shepherd has webbed feet, you should take them to the vet to get checked out. Your vet will determine whether the webbing is affecting the dog’s quality of life or ability to play, walk, or swim.

There is a chance that your German Shepherd may need to undergo surgery if they have webbed feet. This is not a guarantee, but it is a possibility if the webbing is affecting the dog’s quality of life and health. Your vet should be able to determine if separating the webs is required for your dog.

If your vet determines that your dog is perfectly fine with their webbed feet, you don’t need to do anything about it. Unfortunately, your German Shepherd won’t qualify as a show dog, but they will still make a loving and fun companion in your house.

You might want to check up on the webbed feet every now and then and clean them. Yeast, bacteria, and mud can get caught in the web. Simply clean them out to keep your dog healthy and happy.

german shepherd puppy lying on the floor
Photo Credit: Brett Hondow, Pixabay

Are There Any Benefits to Webbed Feet in German Shepherds?

Even though webbed feet are not normal in German Shepherds, there are some benefits to having webbed feet. Most notably, webbed feet help dogs swim. Breeds known for their swimming abilities often have webbed feet because these help push them forward in the water.

Webbed feet can also help breeds walk faster across muddy land. The excess webbing enables the paws to have a larger surface area, which prevents the dog from sinking as easily as non-webbed varieties. Breeds that were bred to work on soft, muddy terrain are sometimes found with webbed feet for this reason.

What Breeds Have Webbed Feet?

Even though German Shepherds don’t have webbed feet, there are quite a few dogs that do. Some of them are just as popular as German Shepherds too! Here are the most common dogs that have webbed feet:

Most of these breeds with webbed feet are retrievers or other types of water dogs. They likely have their webbed feet because these enable them to perform their retrieving or hunting tasks in the water more easily.

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Final Thoughts

Purebred German Shepherds do not have webbed feet according to the breed standard. However, it is possible for non-purebreds to have webbed feet. If you suspect that your German Shepherd has webbed feet, take them to the vet to make sure the webbing isn’t affecting their quality of life. Although you won’t be able to submit your German Shepherd in any shows, their webbed feet likely won’t impact their quality of life too much, and they will still make a great companion.

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Featured Image Credit: adamkontor, Pixabay

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