Water working dogs, such as Newfoundlands and Labrador retrievers, have webbed feet. Newfoundlands are the largest of all the water working dogs and they have the longest toes. Labrador retrievers have the second longest webbed toes, and paws so large they rival breeds twice their size.
Water Working Dogs
Water working dogs are dogs that have been specifically bred to swim in water, or walk on ice and snow. These dogs have webbed feet, but not all of them have long toes, such as Newfoundlands and Labrador retrievers have. Webbed feet and long toes help propel water working dogs because when the toes spread there is a larger surface area with which dogs use to push forward, and paddle with more power. This is why Newfoundlands and Labrador retrievers are such amazingly fast swimmers.
Newfoundlands Make Excellent Water Rescue Dogs
Not only are Newfoundlands impressive swimmers, they’re also heroic and loyal companions. Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have been saved from drowning by a Newfoundland, as have numerous swimmers and shipwrecked sailors. A Newfoundland’s impressive webbed feet have a lot to do with why he’s such a great swimmer. His gigantic webbed paws work together to thrust him forward at impressive speeds, and his large size ensures he can carry the weight of a human drowning. The size of a Newfoundland’s toes and feet are directly proportionate to the size of the dog. On average, Newfoundlands are between 100 and 150 pounds. Some Newfoundlands can be even larger, weighing over 200 pounds, and measuring over 6 feet long including their toes.
Labrador Retrievers Have Big Paws
Labrador retrievers are large dogs, but they’re not the giants Newfoundlands are. On average, Labradors weigh between 50 and 90 pounds. Some Labradors have been known to weigh over 100 pounds, but this is considered obese, and not a healthy weight for Labradors retrievers. Despite their relatively average size, Labradors have been known to have some of the largest paws, including long webbed toes. As a puppy, big paws can help you determine his adult size. The larger the puppy’s paw, the larger the adult dog will be, and the better swimmer he’ll be.
Caring for Large Paws and Webbed Feet
Although paws are built tough, they’re not indestructible. It’s essential to care for your dog’s paws, especially when your dog has large paws and webbed feet, as there is more surface area to damage. Be wary of spending extended periods of time walking on ice or snow, as well as be weary of extra hot surfaces in the summertime. If you notice your dog is limping, or frequently licking his feet, investigate his paw’s padding and check the webbing between his toes. Contact a veterinarian if you notice any lacerations, signs of allergies, or other signs of damage.