Do German Shepherds have webbed feet?

Do German Shepherds have webbed feet

You may have read, heard, or observed aquatic animals having webbed feet. But do you ever look at your German Shepherd’s feet? Are they webbed or un-webbed? Or are you wondering how they are supposed to be?

Answering the question, whether German Shepherds have webbed feet is not as straightforward as it same. Over 80% of dog breeds in the world have somewhat webbed feet. This graph also includes the canine royalty, German Shepherds.

However, webbed feet here do not literally mean the same term. They can have webbed paws, but the web here is far unique than that of aquatic animals.

In this article, we will talk about what kind of paws does a German Shepherd dog has. Are webbed feet dangerous to your dog and what are their benefits? What to do if your GSD does not have webbed feet? What are the characteristics of a German Shepherd’s feet? In this ultimate guide, we cover everything you need to know about their paws.

Article Published on 28th October 2021 » Updated on 13th January 2022

aditi chef editorWritten By Sergey Uhanov Certified Veterinarian.
Sergey Uhanov is a certified veterinarian for dogs over 10 years, breeding 3 dogs. He loves dogs and has his own pet clinic in Israel. He likes to help other people with their dogs by sharing his experience and knowledge.

What kind of paws does a German Shepherd have?

By breed standard, German Shepherd’s feet are not truly webbed. Though with artificial breeding and the result of evolution over time, their feet also evolved.

Today when you look at your Shepherd’s feet, you can see they have a patch of skin between their toes that connect their paws together.

This design is somewhat web-like, which often refers that German Shepherds are having webbed feet.

However, if you will compare your Shepherd’s feet to a duck, there will surely be many visible differences.

German Shepherd Feet Characteristics

German Shepherds have arched, rounded, short and well-closed paws. Although their paw pads are hard, they are not rough.

German Shepherd’s feet come in three different shapes, including webbed, hare-shaped, and cat-shaped.

  • Webbed feet have a patch of skin that connects toes and paws together, making feet look a little wider. This style of foot helps in swimming while keeping the dog strong on land surfaces that are slippery or boggy.
  • Hare-shaped feet are compact and have two elongated central toes. These toes let the body move forward quickly, which also helps the dog run easily, even from a very relaxed position.
  • Cat-shaped feet are more round, compact and small. It helps in building balance, endurance, and strength in dogs. You can find such feet in German Shepherds who have comparatively stronger muscular built.

Do Purebred German Shepherds Have Webbed Feet?

Are there some German Shepherds with webbed feet? Yes, You cannot classify a German Shepherd as Pure or mixed bread by looking upon their feet as almost all of the German Shepherds have webbed feet.

However, you can classify the same by looking at their other physical characteristics, especially their coat.

Are Webbed feet dangerous for my German Shepherd?

Do webbed paws in German Shepherd create any unique medical concerns?

Webbed feet can at times cause limping in dogs. Though, because German Shepherd’s feet are only slightly webbed, there are no potential dangers it may create. However, few medical concerns may cause birth in German Shepherd, especially because of their webbed toes.

Instead, they can suffer from a medical condition called “syndactyly.” This condition initially will not lead to any harm; however, it may end up to issues like Arthritis in the long term. German Shepherds with webbed feet are also likely to get infections easier and more frequently than other breeds.

When excess moisture arrests between webs, it at times leads to bacterial and fungal infections. Webbed feet also breed ticks and mites. Thus, anyone who owns a German Shepherd dog must keep their feet dry, clean, and free of any particles.

Benefits of Webbed Feet for Your German Shepherd

While Webbed feet dangers in German Shepherd are nil, the list of benefits goes way long.

Being a land animal, one may think that there is no such advantage of webbed feet in Shepherds; however, this thought is highly wrong.

Webbed feet in German Shepherds do have some great benefits. Here are a few of them:

  • Webbed feet help German Shepherds swim

The very common and prominent benefit of webbed feet in German Shepherds can be seen in the water. Webbed feet make it easier for the dogs to swim.

The extra skin and webbing between paw and toes increase the feet’ surface, which makes swimming easier for dogs.

Also, with increased surface area, dogs make stronger swimming strokes, making them pass the pool easily and quickly.

For simplifying it, you can relate the phenomena with the webbed shoes you may have used while swimming.

Such feet make the dog a natural swimmer, and despite how much your Shepherd loves or hates water, once there, he will eventually swim.

  • Webbed feet help German Shepherds walk strongly.

German Shepherds are land-based dogs; thus, they need a stronger grip on the land more than water.

In addition, with the larger surface area of webbed feet, they can walk or run across faster.

Especially over muddy and slippery areas, webbed feet take more time to sink or slip, and in the meanwhile, your Shepherd already has reached far away.

  • Webbed feet make the German Shepherd an efficient digger

If you have ever been around dogs, you know who much they love the art of digging.

Commonly dogs use their claws and toes to dig. But breeds like German Shepherd who has webbed feet use their paws like shovel blades.

Webbed feet provide Shepherd with an additional surface which comparatively speeds up their digging process.

  • Webbed feet help German Shepherd walk efficiently over snow

Webbed feet in German Shepherds work similarly to snowshoes.

With more surface area on their feet, they are less likely to sink and walk easily, even over fresh powdery snow.

What if my GSD does not have webbed paws?

Fairly stating, it is very unlikely for a German Shepherd to not have webbed feet. Until and unless a particular dog (s) is specially breaded, they are very much having webbed feet.

Though if your dog is one in many and has feet that are not webbed, there’s nothing to worry about.

In certain circumstances, they might not do as commendable as others from their breed, but they will still survive a healthy and happy life.

Wrapping Up

And, until reaching the end, we have learned- Yes, GSDs have webbed feet. Their feet aren’t going to look extremely webbed. However, there will still be some kind of webbing. But, even if there’s isn’t any, you don’t have to panic about the condition.

Always remember that your dog’s feet must be strong and stable, and with that, he can overcome any hurdles on land. Extra webbings do provide them more surface and gripping; however, their absence will never harm.


Sergey Uhanov, a certified veterinarian, has authored all of the content here. With over 20 years of experience in dog care and breeding three dogs of his own, he has a deep passion for these furry friends. Sergey owns a pet clinic in Israel where he provides care and treatment to dogs. He enjoys sharing his expertise and knowledge to assist others in caring for their dogs.

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