Dispelling A Common Dog Myth : Labs Have Webbed Feet

So do Labs really have webbed feet or is this just another one of those doggy urban myth things? The answer is well yeah, Labs kind of have webbed feet, not exactly like a ducks webbed foot, but webbed nevertheless. But here’s the thing, All Dogs have webbed feet, not just Labs. For some unknown reason many, many years ago in an age before time, somebody said “Labs are good in water because they have webbed feet.” And to this day, many of us still subscribe to this notion. Fortunately this is one of those myths that you yourself can easily disprove right in the comfort of your own home, by simply just looking at your dogs feet, just be careful you don’t get bit.

If you like you can continue to read what reminded me to write about this.

We had a nice young couple from the Mohawk Valley area of New York, visit recently. After they had a chance to meet some of our dogs, Brewster the Saint Bernard from a Utica NY rescue(who didn’t get too much drool on them).  Natalia’s,  Pit Bull Shake-a-bee from Florida ( who couldn’t have cared less that their were visitors, as he was too busy hunting frogs). Spock, and all black 110 pound mixed breed dog that got his name because he has a little white crest on his chest reminiscent of the insignia from the old Star Trek T.V. show. And, Lyndsey formerly Timber from a Long Island rescue organization.

After they met those guys and checked out our new doggy house, the conversation turned to their dog. An 11 year old Chocolate Lab, that they adopted when she was four years old. They mentioned that she’s turned into a great dog but they found it a little odd that she didn’t like swimming or going into the water, after all she’s a Lab with webbed feet….

This Lab webbed foot stuff is just one of those things that who knows how it got started, probably the same guy that said, “You can’t teach an old dog, new tricks”.

Anyway, next time you hear somebody say that Labs have webbed feet, now you can tell them, “All dogs have webbed feet”.

The Spirit Dog

© copyright 2009 a.s.papszycki


29 Responses

  1. No they do not. Not all dogs have webbed feet.

  2. Pardon the response to a 7 year old blog, but a lot of the reply and response discussion seems predicated on degree of webbing, which is misleading, and not even remotely accurate. We have a German Shepherd mix who most definitely does not have the slightest amount of webbing in his paws. Have also had 3 Dobermans with 0 webbing.

    You cannot extrapolate from a limited sample size to an entire species, even if there was only one, rare breed without webbed any webbing, which is obviously not the case either.

  3. […] Dispelling A Common Dog Myth : Labs Have Webbed Feet | The Spirit Dog lol, that is what google said! or it was one of the things […]

  4. People who think that all dogs have webbed feet because there is a little skin between the toes must also think that all humans have webbed hands.

  5. Nah, I have had terriers and they don’t have the webbing. My Leonberger neither. Only my lab. 🙂

  6. Labs were not thought of as being good swimmers based on their paws. Labs were originally bred in Newfoundland to help the fishermen retrieve fish, netting, and ropes from the dock.

  7. hey….my cat has webbed feet….

  8. Funny you should mention the st. Benard,
    In the 1850’s In an attempt to preserve the breed, the remaining St. Bernards were crossed with Newfoundlands, which are water dogs and have correct breed spec webbing, so today’s St. Bernards will have some degree of noticeable webbing depending on how strong there gene lines go back. 🙂

  9. Thank you for your comment. The funny thing is, the larger the dogs foot is, the bigger the webbing. We have a couple of St. Bernards here at Spirit Animal Sanctuary and it looks like they’re wearing swim fins.

  10. Hi guys, I study dogs, and know for a fact the reason why people say certain breeds have webbed feet is only because those certain breeds have proper webbed feet as per breed spec, while a lot of dogs will have some webbing to a degree it is in fact there gene line from there parent breeds that pass this gene along. The term Webbed Feet is correct as anything less than breed spec is not classed as webbed feet at all.

  11. Hi Anna,

    I guess some of it would depend on the individual dogs genetics as apposed to the breed, since Duece the Rottweiler we have has that flipper thing going on.

    Enjoy your holidays.

  12. Hello,

    Just wanted to add 2 cents..” Webbed feet” also probably depends on how much webbing there needs to be to classify them as such.. if a simple bit of skin is needed then yes all dogs probably have webbed feet. But I have met a couple dogs, mostly Rotts who I would consider to have non webbed feet. Just looks like lots of Toe.. (if that makes sense) Definately something I am going to look into.

    One thing is for sure, my Vizsla has webbed feet and knows how to use them.

  13. Hey Adrienne,

    That’s so cool that Zoey played with him.

    I’m sure that there are people out there that have a Bulldog, and think it’s a Pit bull. Most people that visit us mistake our ‘little’ Missy and ‘Sweet’ Cake as Pit bulls.

  14. Boy is this funny timing. I was at the dog park yesterday. The one I go to is five acres of state park in between the river bluffs and the river. It’s awesome. Anyways, we met a dog that was a bully breed. Now, I’m not up on all the fine points of these dogs, Pits versus American bulldogs and so on, so I asked what breed he was. The answer? “He’s a Pitbull cross.” “A cross! Why a cross?” says I. “Well, because he has webbed feet, so he must be a Lab cross.”

    Ba dump bump ching!

    This dog was a classic bully looking dog. Beautiful square head. Awesome epression with those cool brow furrows. Nice symmetrical build with well rounded shoulders and hindquarters. Nice bulgy muscles. Absolutely, classically gorgeous fellow. And he “had to” be a cross!

    Off the subject, he was a most excellently social fellow. He got Zoey, who normally rides on my feet when the big boys come around, into playing with him. Wonderful dog.

  15. No, just a big fan.

  16. Did you used to write for the other Bob ?

    Nice talking to you Bob, I have to go dispense the night time meds.


  17. Me: What’s that Mrs. Webb? You say your iguana Willard suddenly has these egg shaped rocks in his tank? Well…those sound like they ARE eggs, Mrs. Webb.

    Me: I understand your surprise, yes. Well, have you thought of changing his name to Henrietta?

  18. But I’m guessing not as funny for you.

  19. “Iguana guy that has nothing to do with Iguana’s.”

    I’ve actually had some iguana information requests. It’s hard to tell people that I really don;t handle iguanas.

    It winds up sounding like a Bob Newhart routine!


  20. Ahhh, a humorous reference to Rana catesbeiana, by the Iguana guy that has nothing to do with Iguana’s.

  21. Talk about your webbed feet!

  22. Hey Nat,

    He had a great day today, caught three toads and a frog.

  23. And Shakes, a pit bull, definitely has webbed feet, and is great in the water!! 🙂

  24. And I hope he found some more frogs today!!! Hahahha thanks again always for everything you do Al, you are my hero.

  25. Almost forgot, the real name for that little piece of skin between a dogs toes is, interdigital skin.

  26. Hey Al, just wanted to let you know, it’s Shakey’s 6th birthday today. Please give him a huuuuuuge hug and kiss from his mommy… I hope he had a good day :):)

  27. Good evening Bob,

    You assume correctly, oh wise one. The larger the dogs feet are, the larger ‘webbing’ they will have. When those folks were here at the sanctuary, I showed them Brewster’s feet one of our St. Bernards and it looked like he was wearing swim fins. All dogs have that skin flap between their toes. When I wrote that piece I checked out some dog forums on the subject and still to this day many people truly do believe that only the retrieving breeds or water dogs have webbed feet.

    This in itself is not such a big issue, the webbed foot thing. But this type of misinformation can have dire consequences for dogs especially when that inaccurate information leads people to say such things as ” If a dog jumps on you, he’s trying to dominate you”, or “A dog shouldn’t sleep on your bed, as that’s a position of power”, or ” A dog shouldn’t walk in front of you, because that’s the alphas spot”.
    Or the many other things that can only be described as ‘doggy folk lore’ when it comes to animal behavior and how they think.

    entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem

  28. I have heard Newfoundlands have webbed feet. Now, I’ve never been that close to a Newfy to see, but I assume they are more pronounced than the average dog.


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