Webbed feet in dogs is the thin layer of skin connecting each of their toes. The thin layer of skin between toes is called a membrane. All their toes are connected by tissues, giving their feet an appearance of the duck foot.
Webbed feet ease swimming in dogs by helping them paddle through the water. Not just water, webbed feet also makes paddling through mud easy. In animals like ducks, swans, and amphibians, webbed feet are common.
But certain breeds of dogs also have webbed feet as a prominent characteristic. People often get confused about whether Pitbulls have webbed feet or not. Let us try to answer this question below in this write-up.
Do Pitbulls have webbed feet?
Pitbulls do not have webbed feet. Many pit bull owners conclude their dogs have this feature, but this is a wrong observation. Though their toes are connected, they are not webbed feet.
A thin lining of tissues exists between their toes. This lining helps them swim, float in water, and paddle in mud.
Labs, Portuguese Water Dogs, and Poodles are common breeds that possess webbing, making swimming extremely easy for these dogs. The pit bull breed rarely includes webbed vertebrae.
Pitbulls have inherited features from water dogs. Since they own the genes of water dogs, they can have webbed feet, but this is rare. Pitbull owners often misunderstand the connective tissue with webbed feet.
All dogs have these connective tissues between their toes. If you see lines between the toes of the pitbull, do not confuse it with webbing.
Pitbulls were mostly considered hunter dogs.
The feature of webbed feet was of no use for them.
Hunting and sport fighting are activities for which Pitbulls were used in ancient times and do not require paddling feet. So, Pitbulls were historically not bred with water dogs and did not inherit this trait naturally.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the world standard of dog registries does not recognize Pitbulls as distinct breeds. Dogs having short legs, big heads, and largemouths are all clustered in the category of Pitbulls.
Due to this, many Pitbulls have a mixture of various characteristics. Mixed breeding might have led to the evolution of webbed feet in your pitbull.
The puppy that you adopt can have genes of different breeds. Many pitbull-appearing dogs are crossbreeds. For example, a bull-like pit puppy can result from the mating of a Labrador and a Staffordshire Terrier.
If your pitbull is crossed with breeds like Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Otterhound, and Irish Water Spaniel, there are good chances of inheriting webbed feet as a trait.
Another reason for webbed feet in pitbull can be a genetic abnormality. This characteristic has resulted from the unique genetic background of the pitbull.
Sometimes due to a genetic disorder, a dog’s feet get fused, giving it a webbed feet-like appearance. Breeders agree this trait can be due to genetic mutation.
However, other reasons include formative or developmental issues, bone malformations, and degenerative bone issues like dysplasia or luxating patellas. Get your pitbull checked by a vet so that you can avoid future complications.
Are webbed feet bad?
Webbing can lead to health hazards. Webbed feet ease swimming for dogs that can easily float in water and paddle through the mud. But this feature of webbing comes with some health dangers too.
Since dogs use all four legs to walk, webbed feet can lead to limping. Some other conditions that your dog can suffer from due to webbed toes are as follows.
Shortened Tibia Fibula
The lower part of the dog legs consists of two bones, namely the tibia and fibula. They occupy the back portion of the legs. These bones have a high role to play in the premature closure of the growth plate.
The genes that stimulate webbed feet are also responsible for the fusion of tibia and fibula bones.
Shortening of these two bones can cause limping and bone fractures. However, these conditions can be treated well with surgical operations but can be dangerous for your dog.
The Cleft palate gets accompanied by webbed feet in many cases. Cleft palate syndrome is not alone as such dogs also have other genetic abnormalities.
Webbed feet result when dogs are an embryo inside the belly of their mother.
Usually, the mouth roofs of dogs are stuck together, and there is no blank space. But in dogs with webbed feet, instead of the mouth roof being stuck together, their feet get joined.
The problem with cleft palate is that it gives more access to bacteria and viruses inside a dog’s body.
It opens a wider path for the entry of pathogens through the mouth. It is an unnatural opening between nasal passage and mouth, making your puppy more prone to pneumonia and many other respiratory deficiencies.
Another condition that occurs due to webbed feet is scoliosis. Here, the spine of a dog bends to either side instead of being straight. It leads to one side of the spine getting stronger than the other.
This condition also leads to limping and improper walking. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential; otherwise, your pitbull can become completely paralyzed.
The condition can get diagnosed easily by checking how your dog carries weight.
You can yourself verify it by touching the back of the dog. You can observe this condition in any breed at any stage. But since scoliosis is related to bone malformations, dogs with webbed feet have higher chances of being affected.
Whether webbed feet are good or bad is a complex question to answer. To put it in simple words, it varies from fog to dog. While some take immense benefit from webbing, some might develop health conditions.
Is there any solution to problems that get created because of webbing? Yes, surgery is an option when your dog is not able to walk because of his syndactyly.
If his webbed feet do not trigger any spinal injury, it is outstanding, as there is no need to consider surgery.
But if unfortunately, any such situation occurs, operational treatment is the only possibility. Removal of webbed feet is a tedious process and has a long recovery time post-surgery.
If your dog has developed any bone problems, it will be wise to focus on that particular bone treatment rather than the webbed feet removal. The best is to seek the advice of your vet as she will guide you perfectly. Look into all present and future complications before you take a final call.
What kind of paws do Pitbulls have?
Pitbulls have strong paws, with connective tissue, between the toes. Pitbulls were bred by crossing Bull and Terrier dogs. They were historically used for fighting and bloody sports. Speed and agility were the desired features in these hunting dogs. Strong paws ensured speed and also made their bodies capable of tolerating heavyweights.
A pitbull has more weight following its height.
The paw structure makes them capable of holding this bodyweight. They are known as athletic and speedy dogs. Not only can they run fast, but they jump very high.
The paws of a pitbull are mostly affected due to harmful chemicals and sharp objects. They can get exposed to fungal infections with ease. Fungi multiply and spread rapidly throughout the legs.
Ringworms found in the soil where pitbull plays can be the culprit of this infection. Another condition related to the paws is pod dermatitis. In common language, it means swelling of toes.
Paws exposure to chemicals and mud can also lead to bacterial infection, cracking and drying of the skin, parasite attack, ingrown toenails, burns, frostbite, cuts, and injuries.
Dogs cannot wear shoes or sleepers like humans to protect their feet. They will walk barefoot on every terrain they witness. This fact makes their feet more prone to dangers.
An immediate symptom of infections in paws is swelling.
You might also notice discomfort in your pitbull while he walks. Take him to the vet as soon as possible. To protect the sensitive paws of your pitbull, clean them after every walk or any outdoor activity.
Use water and a cloth to clean feet as well in between the paws gently. You can also use a paw cleanser and foot creams for dogs. Regularly check their feet for any swelling, injuries, or cuts.
Pitbull is not amongst the dog breeds that have webbed feet as a characteristic feature. Just like all dogs, they have connective tissue linking all toes of their feet together.
One must not confuse this connective lining with webbing. It is also equally true that Pitbulls have a unique genetic history due to which inheritance of webbing as a trait is a fair possibility.
Webbed feet may or may not be dangerous for your pitbull. If you see any problems in their paws or walking style, you must approach your vet.
Hi There, AJ Oren here. I am the founder of this amazing pet blog & a passionate writer who loves helping pet owners to learn more about their pets through my articles. I am also the content manager of this blog. I have experience in pet training and behavior, sheltering, and currently working for a veterinary clinic.