Siberian Huskies have been crossing snow and ice for thousands of years, and they make it look so easy. Do huskies have webbed paws? This article has the answer.
Yes, huskies have slightly webbed paws and you will see a small triangle-shaped patch of skin joining each toe. This helps them walk through snow and ice by increasing their surface area.
Why Huskies Have Webbed Feet: History Tells!
It helps to know just a small amount of Husky history to fully understand their physical make-up and why they are the way they are!
Siberian Huskies are considered one of the oldest breeds of dog in the world, and for thousands of years lived in Eastern Siberia, where the weather goes down to extremely cold, arctic-like conditions.
Huskies were bred originally by a group of nomadic hunter-gatherers called the Chukchi Tribe or Chukchi People.
The Chukchi’s relied heavily on Siberian Huskies and one of their main roles was transportation. Huskies were sled dogs and were constantly helping the nomadic tribe move around for hundreds of miles at a time, in nothing but snow and ice.
After thousands of years walking on primarily snow and ice, it’s no wonder there have been certain evolutionary adaptations in their physical make-up, in order to survive.
Facts About Your Husky’s Webbed Feet
Let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of the Siberian Husky’s paw. Earlier we said that Huskies do have webbed feet, but it’s important to know it can change, some Huskies will have more prominently webbed toes and in some Huskies, this physical feature won’t be as visible.
Typically, the webbing seen in Huskies is very small, this is because they only need it for help with walking on snow.
Webbed toes are primarily seen in semi-aquatic species to help with swimming. Huskies do not have a history of swimming and most of the time, they hate the water!
The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized breed and they are typically on the lean end of the weight spectrum. It’s not too common you see a fat Husky. So most Huskies have a slim body and their legs and paws are also usually lean.
Key features of the Husky paw:
- Husky paw is of medium size, but this ultimately depends on the size of your Husky. A bigger husky will have bigger paws and vice versa.
- Husky paws are typically slim but strong and sturdy
- They will be covered with fur on the sides of the toes to keep their feet warm
- Pads will be tough and strong to support their active lifestyles
- Slight webbing in between toes may be seen
ALL Siberian Huskies will have webbing in the feet, how much of it you can see will be down to your Husky’s genes and bloodline.
Does My Husky Benefit From Having Webbed Feet?
The main reason that Huskies have slight webbing between their toes is to help them walk on snow. So if you have a Husky and live in a snowy place, then yes, their webbed feet will be actively helping them to walk and run in the snow.
Huskies might not care too much about Michael Phelps’s gold medals, as they generally aren’t swimmers. Although you can teach huskies to swim, this activity doesn’t come naturally to Huskies and their webbed feet are too small to really give them much help.
Siberian Huskies are a very active breed and they should be receiving a lot of daily exercise. Their slightly webbed feet most likely give some extra level of support and protection from the rough ground underneath. So of course, having this “mutation” which is what it’s classed as, isn’t anything negative.
Related Article: Discover how you can teach your Husky to swim safely
Other Breeds That Have Webbed Paws
As it happens, there are many other breeds that also have webbed paws, and some of them are significantly more webbed than the paws on Huskies
It just so happens, these are all breeds with a big water backgrounds which is why their paws have bigger webbing. Remember that this mutation/adaptation was first seen in semi-aquatic species to help with propulsion in swimming.
Other dog breeds that have webbed paws include:
- American Water Spaniel
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- German Wirehaired Pointer
- Portuguese Water Dog
These dogs are primarily working dogs and usually assisted hunters catch and retrieve game, in the water and outside the water. Their webbed feet helped them across all terrain, not just with swimming.
Do All Dogs Have Webbed Feet?
Even though we’ve only spoken about several breeds in the article, the main breed being the Siberian Husky, it’s true that ALL dogs actually have webbed feet.
Of course, they don’t have webbed feet quite like a duck! Some are webbed only slightly, and some much greater.
It depends on the history of the breed and what they were used for. Most of the time, breeds that have webbed feet were hard-working dogs that engaged in a lot of physical activity, from hunting, swimming, sled-pulling, and even herding.
Typically, the breeds that were hard-working and experienced a range of terrain and especially swimming, will have bigger webbing in their paws.
Huskies only really worked on snow and ice, therefore the webbing with their paws didn’t really need to develop or adapt to anything further. If Huskies experienced all terrains and also engaged in swimming, we can expect their paws to webbed a lot more than what we currently see today.
So there you have it, now you know that all Huskies have webbed paws and why they have webbed paws.
It’s a natural physical trait in all dogs and there should be no reason to be worried about it. Always ensure the hygiene of your dogs paws and wash their feet after dirty walks
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