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HomeFactsDo German Shepherds Have Dew Claws

Do German Shepherds Have Dew Claws

The Breed Standard Requires It

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For German Shepherd dogs, this is true at least for dew claws on the hind paws. It is lightly recommended but not required for dew claws on the front paws.

You can take a look at the current American Kennel Club GSD breed standard to see this for yourself.

But the breed standards for some purebred dogs require allowing the dew claws to remain. It varies a great deal from one breed to the next.

What Do You Do When A Dogs Spur Breaks

If you see your German Shepherd biting or chewing on a dewclaw, it may have been torn, especially if it hasnt been trimmed. However, if your dogs spur breaks, he will be in excruciating pain and will need veterinary treatment. Spur injuries can vary.

The nail can be partially or completely torn or split and there is a risk that the spur will become infected.

Although injuries to the spur can occur, they are quite rare. However, I think I must be one of the unlucky ones as my German Shepherd has damaged his claws twice.

The first time was when I was a puppy. As he jumped to the kitchen door, his nail broke. I know she was in considerable pain, as she would not let me or the vet get close to her. She had to be sedated while the vet cut off her hook as much as possible.

Later in life, he broke his tick while playing with a soccer ball. He screamed in pain every time the ball hit his leg. The two spurs were later surgically removed to prevent any further injury. Maybe he should have taken them off when he was a puppy? Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Depending on the damage done and your opinion on the removal, the vet may either trim the nail or remove the damaged spur completely. In the case of my adult dog, the vet recommended removal due to the fracture.

Extremely active dogs can wear down their nails, including dewclaws, so nail trimming is not necessary, but for most dogs, especially less active dogs, regular trimming is needed.

Average German Shepherd Puppy Prices

We really sold the breed to you, so you must be really eager to know how much a German Shepherd puppy can cost. In general, a German Shepherd puppy will cost you anywhere between $1,000 to $3,000. Why the range, you ask? Its all about the breeder, lineage, and health. There are also German Shepherd pups that have gone through aptitude testing and have been bred from a long line of service dogs, for example, that would cost closer to 3000.

A registered AKC breeder should have higher-priced puppies because they come with some guarantee to health and genetics. A German Shepherd puppy that comes without any certification or papers can even be less than $1,000. The question is whether or not you want to risk purchasing a puppy like this and potentially have to deal with a lot of health issues.

German Shepherds are among the higher-priced dogs. Of course, some other purebred breeds, designer dogs and show dogs can command a higher cost, but German Shepherds are really up there in price. Lets take a closer look at why this breed is so expensive.

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Do German Shepherds Have Hind Claws

Some dogs may also have dewclaws on their hind legs and this includes the German Shepherd, although this is rare. My German Shepherd has no butts. If you think of hind dewclaws as the big toes of the canine world, however, these tend to be attached only by a flap of skin and tissue in contrast to being attached to the bone in front dewclaws.

To make matters more interesting, some breeds even have double dewclaws.

Most hind dewclaws are merely genetic abnormalities and serve no useful purpose, however in some dog breeds they are there to serve a purpose. These breeds include:

  • Pyrenean Mountain Dog
  • Cao Fila de Sao Miguel
  • East Siberian Laika

You may have noticed that these are all BIG or GIANT dog breeds . They are also all WORKING DOGS , for example sheep or cattle herders and are used to care for livestock. They use the rear spur for stability and grip on rough terrain, mountainous regions, or in snowy and icy conditions.

Hind dewclaws or double dewclaws are relatively rare compared to the general dog population.

It is common for vets to remove double or rear dewclaws to prevent injury, especially if they are loose or hanging from the leg. Again, this is open to debate as the number of rear or double spur injuries is quite low.

Should I remove the dewclaws from my German Shepherd?

How To Maintain Dewclaws

Do German Shepherds Have Dew Claws? (Should You Remove It ...

When it comes to maintenance, dewclaws are no different than your dogs other nails. Dogs who are extremely active may wear down their nails, including their dewclaws, to the point where nail trims are not necessary. But for most pets who are relatively sedentary, regular trims are needed to keep their nails at a healthy length. Keep an especially close eye on the dewclaw. Since they are not in contact with the ground as frequently as the other nails, they may require more frequent trims.

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What Is The Purpose Of The Dewclaw

The dewclaw on the front legs of a dog corresponds to the thumb on humans, while dewclaws on the hind legs are similar to the big toe. Dogs forepaws bend when they run and their dewclaws often contact the ground. As such, dewclaws provide traction and stability at high speeds or on slippery surfaces. Depending on the breed, dewclaws can also be used to hold objects, climb up trees, and grip ice to pull the dog out of the water if they fall through frozen ponds or lakes.

Do German Shepherds Have Dewclaws

All dog breeds, including German Shepherds, have dewclaws. Looking at a German Shepherd head-on, you will notice that there are two protrusions with toenails a couple of inches above the hock on the front legs of the dog. These toes are called dewclaws and they are attached by two tendons to the dogs leg bone. They are just like the other toes on the dog, meaning they have a blood supply, muscle, and nerves.

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What Is Dewclaw Removal

In many breeds but certainly not all the dewclaw has traditionally been removed in the first few days of a dogs life. In some breeds, the removal is thought to improve appearance for the show ring. In others, its done to prevent possible injuries, such as being damaged while a hunting dog works through brambles.

Are All German Shepherd Dew Claws The Same Two Kinds Of Dew Claws

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The dew claw may have been named for its position on a dogs ankle just high enough so the morning dew on the grass will get it wet while the dog walks.

But today, the word dew claw is more closely associated with unnecessary. And this isnt at all true in nearly all cases.

To understand this statement, it is helpful to know that not all dew claws are formed equally.

As PetMD explains, one kind of dew claws has bone and skin and is attached to the rest of the bones in your dogs foot.

The second kind may be missing the bone and simply be a flap of skin. Or it may be more loosely attached to the rest of your dogs leg.

However, the dew claws should not be removed simply to remove them.

They should only be removed if you have seen a medical reason, such as frequently catching on things and becoming infected or tearing.

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How Can You Tell If A German Shepherd Is Full Blooded

Without papers, the only surefire way to know if your pet is indeed a purebred German shepherd is via DNA testing. As Vetstreet explains it, the entire process is fairly simple. Order a DNA kit from a reputable company and use the swab provided to obtain a sample of your dogs cheek cells.23 Sept 2018

How Do You Keep Feet Pasterns And Hocks Straight

A GSDs feet should be short, compact, and round, with arched toes and thick pads. German Shepherds carry about 60% of their weight on their forequarters, and thus, their front feet and bones will be larger than the rear.

A German Shepherds rear feet include the phalanges, bones of the toes, and metatarsus, equivalent to your foot proper. The front feet also have phalanges and the metacarpal bones, or hand bones. Three bones comprise each toe, with the nail growing from the last segment.

Each metacarpus has five bones. Rare dogs have five metatarsal bones, but German Shepherds usually have four.

The carpus is equivalent to the human wrist and the tarsus to the ankle. A GSD has seven small bones in her carpus.

Seven bones also comprise the tarsus, commonly referred to as the hock. The term pastern, according to The Canine Chronicle, can refer to both the carpus and tarsus in canine anatomy.

German Shepherd feet are not often involved in disease, but they are vulnerable to traumatic injury. reports metatarsal hairline fractures are common.

Collaborating sources put the incidence of metatarsal fracture near 12% of all canine broken bones. Metacarpal and metatarsal fractures can be quite severe because of detrimental effects on ligaments.

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What Are Dog Dewclaws

Dog dewclaws are simply toenails located on the inner top of its front legs. All dog breeds have dewclaws on their front legs and they are a normal part of a dogs anatomy.

They are firmly attached to the dogs leg bone via two main tendons and have nerves, blood supply, and muscles, just like your dogs other toes!

To put it another way, try to think of a dogs front dewclaws as the thumbs of humans, although in most breeds they are not as mobile or functional as our thumbs.

They do not make contact with the ground when the dog is standing and the name comes from the spurs so-called tendency to deflect dew from the tops of blades of grass.

How Much Does It Cost To Remove A Dew Claw

Veterinary Practice: Dew Claw Problems In Dogs

They will be better able to exercise. They wont scratch your floors, and they will run much less of a risk of scratching someone or hurting them if they jump on them. For most people, having a dog with trimmed nails is clearly the best option. Some dogs are also more prone to nail and paw issues than others.

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How Well Do German Shepherds Swim

While German Shepherds can definitely be good swimmers because of their natural athleticism and bravery, they’re not natural-born swimmers, the way retrievers or other water dogs are. … Their long snouts will also help them to breathe better as they’re swimming by helping them keep their head above water.

What Dog Breeds Have 2 Dew Claws

This is why theyre often referred to as a dogs thumbs. This fifth digit is the dog dewclaw. You may notice when walking or playing with your dog that the front paws dewclaws dont actually touch the earth when he walks, so what purpose does the dewclaw serve?

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Dewclaws In The Hind Legs

The hind legs may also have dewclaws, but they are present only rarely and not in all German shepherd breeds. Their functionality is also not up to the level as that of the front leg dewclaws.

In fact, unlike the front leg dewclaws, the dewclaws in the hind leg are merely attached by a skin flap and tissues. Its like God wanted to make them useful, but changed His mind at the last minute!

There might also be double dewclaws or even triple dewclaws in the hind leg, which are to be necessarily removed.

How do predict the dewclaws on your dogs hind leg? All you can manage is, vague guesswork based on Genetics.

Is It Illegal To Remove Dewclaws

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In some countries, it is illegal to remove dewclaws for cosmetic reasons. For example, in Australia and New Zealand, dewclaw removal must be for a legitimate medical reason.

They view that a surgical alteration to the natural state of a dog is only acceptable if it is necessary for the dogs health and wellbeing. In practice, vets will remove a German Shepherds dewclaws if they hang loosely off the paw and are therefore an injury risk.

According to the UK Kennel Club, the removal of a dogs dewclaws is not currently illegal in the UK, however, this is what they say:

The Kennel Clubs position is that it does not support the cosmetic removal of dewclaws. It does recognize however that in certain individual circumstances the removal of dewclaws is in the best interests of a dogs welfare.

UK Kennel Club

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How To Take Care Of Rear Dewclaws

Basic maintenance of rear dewclaws will prevent them from ever becoming a problem. They require similar maintenance to the rest of your dog’s claws. Claw clipping or filing should be part of your grooming regime for your dog, no matter the breed. Claws easily become too long, even when a dog regularly walks on concrete and this can lead to the claws snagging or being injured.

Rear dewclaws rarely touch the ground, so for many dogs, this claw is never naturally worn down. To prevent the claw curling around and growing into the toe or leg, it should be trimmed regularly. A weekly pedicure will help keep all your dog’s claws neat and short. This also enables you to look for any injuries or problems with the foot.

Aside from trimming rear dewclaws, there is no special care that needs to be taken with them, unless a dog has caught or torn them in the past. Keeping the dewclaw short will usually avoid these problems.

Dogs with rear dewclaws are not detrimentally affected by them, they do not impede movement, unless allowed to become overgrown and many dogs go through their whole lives having no issues with them.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the authorâs knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Controversy Around The Removal Of Dewclaw

This brings us to the center of the dewclaws controversy. This is one where the metaphorical swords are easily drawn by believers of both sides of the spectrum and the debate is often emotionally charged.

If you dont have a stake in the game, we caution you to stay away from it when the debate heats up!

You see like we pointed out, earlier breeders believed that the dewclaws were useless. They also believed that removing them will add to the dogs aesthetic appeal while performing shows.

The trend caught up with the general public and removing the dewclaws became the in-thing, without any rhyme or reason on their part

In present times, the knowledge that dewclaws may indeed be useful for the dog has brought the practice back into the spotlight. The argument for and against the removal of dewclaws goes like this:

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Your German Shepherds Feet: The Reality

Many German Shepherd owners simply arent interested so much in breed standards unless theyre showing their dogs for competition.

For the average owner, we just want our GSDs paws to stay healthy and strong so that our companions are able to move about in comfort and enjoy our walks together.

Lets take a look at some pictures of German Shepherd Dogs paws and feet.

Should I Remove My German Shorthaired Pointers Dewclaws

Do German Shepherds Have Dew Claws? Should You Remove ...

In general, it is best not to remove your German shorthaired pointers dewclaws, unless they have become injured or infected, and necessitate removal later in life. However, there is a lot of debate and contention amongst dog owners and breeders on this topic.

Some breeders remove the dewclaws when dogs are only days old to adhere to a particular breed standard, as they believe the claws make the dogs look less appealing. If you obtained your dog through a certified breeder, and the dog lacks dewclaws, it is likely they have been removed at a young age.

Other owners or breeders may remove the dewclaws to avoid having to trim them or to prevent potential injuries later in life. Some breeders worry people will forget to trim the nails on their dogs dewclaws, resulting in nails that become painfully overgrown and even puncture the dogs legs in some cases.

However, recent evidence suggests they arent particularly prone to injury and are less likely to become injured than the dogs other digits. With careful maintenance and regular trims, the dewclaws usually wont present any issues and are actually beneficial to the dogs wellbeing and mobility.

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Argument For The Removal

The basic premise of the argument, apart from aesthetic, is that dewclaws often suffer an injury while the dog is running or even walking in rough terrain and hence gets easily fractured.

Often, it can tear up even by getting entangled with the home furniture. Removal in this case becomes even more painful.

It is also true that since the dewclaw does not touch the surface often, it has a tendency to outgrow. Many times, the dog owners are not careful and do no trim it properly, the bear claws can outgrow and then break, which also leads to severe infection.

Also, it is believed that dewclaws left untended can invite cancerous growth.


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