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Do German Shepherds Have Webbed Feet? This is a question many people ask and the answer, unfortunately, is not as straightforward as it seems. There are many variations on the topic and there is no one right answer.

Short Answer: Some German Shepherds have webbed feet and some don’t,.About 85% of all breed dogs have some with webbed feet. A German shepherd’s paws are not webbed like a duck’s or other water birds.

Do German Shepherds Have Webbed Feet?

This is a question many people ask and the answer, unfortunately, is not as straightforward as it seems. There are many variations on the topic and there is no one right answer.

Just like their noses, german shepherds’ feet have varied over time depending on what country they are in (e.g., some countries bred them with webbed feet while others did not) – and they have also changed depending on how popular their role was in society (i.e., were they being used more for tasks which require webbed feet or weren’t).

As one of the most popular breeds of dog in history, shepherds have also had many different jobs over the years.

So what is German shepherd’s foot like? Let’s talk about this topic further: firstly you need to understand what kind of foot a german shepherd has….

Is it a webbed foot or not?

This will help us understand their structure better and how it has been changed throughout history.
There are three main questions asked: do German shepherds have webbed feet? Are their feet like that because they swim? Do german shepherds have partially webbed feet?

Well, I think the most reasonable answer would be “Yes” to all of them, but, we will need some explanations in order to understand what and why. German shepherd’s foot is like any other dog’s one. The difference is that they have been bred in order to use their feet to swim more easily.

Considering that there are many German breeds (e.g., Barcley shepherd, Strassburg shepherd, Belge shepherd) all of them have webbed feet. The main difference is that Bavarian one has its legs straight and paws small, while Belgian breed has its legs crooked and paws long.

As I said above, there are two types of German shepherds , which traits influence their body structure as well as behavior:

Standard one – large and strong with long legs and a long snout . They were used as military dogs and special police dogs for tracking criminals   in the 19th century   .

Medium and light ones – they are used for herding sheep (e.g., in the Alps). Their body is strong but smaller, shorter legs and nose, plus their paws’ color is lighter.

Both types have webbed feet, but some other breeds of German shepherds do not have them.

German shepherd puppies can use their paws as a rudder when swimming (if they are bred for it). In this case they don’t walk or run on the bottom of water without any problems. Otherwise, regular german shepherd’s legs can only move a dog forward while swimming.

The second thing that influences german shepherd’s foot is the country in which it was bred.
Yes, if we think about what kind of situation they were used in, they might have webbed feet. Otherwise, if they were not used for swimming or hunting and only for herding sheep (such as Austrian shepherds) then their paws are different.
Bavarian ones have their legs straight and paws small while Belgian ones have their legs crooked and paws long. If you take a good look at those dogs’ feet you will observe that the pads of their feet are also different:

Bavarian ones – small and round while Belgian ones – bigger, square and longer like this one.
I think that’s just enough to answer this question so let’s focus on a more interesting one: do german shepherds have webbed feet?

About 85% of all breed dogs have webbed feet. Such severe variations in characteristics are very common among dogs, especially breeds whose primary purpose is to hunt.

In other words, the number of those who have it and don’t has an influence on the type of foot they have, but only in a genetic way.

As I’ve mentioned above, it is not important for the dog owner whether their canine has webbed or non-webbed feet because they both will be just as good dog for the owners.

Level of webbing present in dogs:

Slight webbing, extreme webbing, no webbing, wide webbing

Swimmers can be categorized into three types: Strong swimmers, natural and efficient swimmers, confident and agile swimmers.

What Are The Benefits Of Webbed Feet For Your German Shepherd?

The webbed feet allow the dog to run on water without risking falling in it.
It also helps it avoid slipping when running and jumping, so be sure that your dog has webbed feet if you want it to have an excellent health condition.

The webbed feet are very important since they allow the german shepherd to have a better grip on the ground or objects that can be found on water.

In addition, the schnauzer breeders are able to show for sale much more varieties of dogs with webbed feet than others because they know how to take care of them.

This is also important because some people who want to get a german shepherd prefer certain breeds because of their different characteristics and needs.

Webbed Feet Help Them Swim

Webbed feet could give your dog a powerful swimming kick!

That’s why they are helpful when it comes to swimming in fast-moving water.

You have probably seen a german shepherd swimming in a river or a lake before!

Webbed feet help them to control their body and swim through the water.

They don’t have any difficulties when jumping into deep water because their paws make them as light as possible compared to other canines.

If you decide to train your dog to swim, then the webbing will be very useful for this purpose too.

It is true that webbed paws help german shepherd dogs swim better, however it is not very useful.

Webbed feet are just like fins: they make the dog capable of moving more easily in the water.
However, they make it more difficult for the canine to move on land because they are always trying to sink into its soft surface.

The same applies to flat-footed dogs which also have problems when walking across a field or road.
By using my imagination I can say that most of the dogs I saw with webbed feet seemed to be struggling with their legs on land and it seemed as if they were trying to swim all the time.

Drawbacks to Webbed Feet for Dogs

Drawbacks to Webbed Feet for Dogs

It is an inherited trait that webbed feet are undesirable for the dog. According to experts, it doesn’t determine the quality of dog, but we all know that this is one of the biggest disadvantages for a dog with webbed feet.

There are so many websites that give information and advice about cute puppies and adult dogs. If your dog has webbed feet, it won’t look attractive to anyone because it is considered to be a genetic flaw.

The other problem with webbed feet can be related to swimming and walking on land. It can be very difficult for them to walk on soil because the webbing softens in the water.

The webbed feet are most important advantages for hunters and swimmers, but for the dogs who are used to move on land it is considered to be a flaw.

Are They Webbed in The Water Only?

Not all german shepherds have webbed feet. Some of them have more or less of them, so it is important to know which ones among all those breeds in the list above you want your furry friend to have.

Some of them have webbed feet in the water and on land, some of them don’t at all, and some can use their paws as swimming fins. In fact, not only german shepherds can swim with webbed paws: other dogs do it too (e.g. hounds, spaniels).

Usually, there is a difference between dogs with webbed feet in the water and those who have it only on the land. The ones that can swim with webbed paws are usually able to walk on land much faster than those who can only run on it without any problems.

Are webbed feet dangerous for my German Shepherd?

German Shepherds have a smaller proportion of webbing in their feet so it will not produce as many difficulties. Dogs with webbed feet can still get into trouble in water. Moreover, there are no simple answers to this, webbed feet are known to at least make ties with or cause other difficulties.

The webbing between the toes can cause limping in dogs as well as other affections. Apparently, the chromosomal mutation that determines webbed feet in dogs is also responsible for the emergence of a cleft palate, the shortening of the tibia and fibula, and even scoliosis.

Dog Breeds with Webbed Paws

Dog Breeds with Webbed Paws

In most cases, many dog breeds are born with webbed paws. However, there are some exceptions such as:

Chesapeake Bay Retriever (USA)

African Boerboel (South Africa)

The other breeds that belong to the list of dogs with webbed paws are: Staffordshire Bull Terrier (UK), Anatolian Shepherd Dog (Turkey), Broholmer (Denmark), Bullmastiff, Chesapeake Bay Retriever (USA), Cane Corso Italiano, Caucasian Mountain Dog, Great Dane, Black Russian Terrier and Caucasian Shepherd Dog.

German wire-haired pointer, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Short-haired Pointer and Wire-haired Pointing Griffon.

American water spaniels

American water spaniels are good swimmers, and will fetch anything thrown into the water. They are used as retrievers for hunters, fishermen, etc. They can swim in waters that would be too deep for a Labrador.

A Portuguese Water Dog is a breed of dog that originated in Portugal. The dogs are often good swimmers, with natural webbed paws. They also have a coat that repels water and drys quickly.

Portuguese Water Dog

Waterproof/Resistant Coats

Dogs with Waterproof coats that are both water- and wind-resistant, fur coats, and double water-resistant coat.

Your dog’s coat is a part of his natural body armor to keep him warm and dry. But your coats, jackets, and other pet apparel must also meet all of your dog’s weather needs.

Waterproof - Resistant Coats

Double water-resistant coat, for example, has the ability to “bounce back” after being drenched in water or soaked with rain.

“Waterproof” coats are made from materials that will not soak up any kind of liquid (including dirt!), unlike many other garment types – including wool!

Make sure you have the right items for your furry friend’s wardrobe so he can stay safe and sound no matter what Mother Nature doles out.

Do GSD pups with webbed feet live longer?

The dogs with webbed feet are usually stronger and they tend to live longer than those who don’t have them. If you want your canine to live a long life then you should think about getting one that has webbed paws because it will be definitely more useful for you.

However, it is not a special characteristic that can predict how long your dog will live, but this is not the case for flat-footed breeds as well. If you want to know more about which of these breeds can have a longer life – read my article on the topic.

Do webbed feet cause more health problems?

No, owners of these breeds tend to notice many health problems for their pets that are not related to the webbed paws. In fact, I’ve noticed that the dogs with webbed feet tend to suffer from more diseases than those that do not have them. However, it is important to note that these are only general observations and there are no scientific proofs yet about this topic.


A condition in which the foot is not positioned on its sole but rather, as a result of the animal’s weight distribution and stance, is placed on only the toes of one or more feet. Flat foot can occur in both dogs and cats.

The term “Limping” is often used to describe the condition of a dog that has a Triangular Foot.


  • A Panda is 35% white the remainder of color is black and tan, and has no white German Shepherds in its ancestry. (

Do german shepherds have webbed feet