Which Dog Breeds Have Rear Dewclaws?

Are you considering owning a dog that has rear dewclaws? Knowing the breeds that have them and their purpose can help you decide if it is the right choice for you.

Rear dewclaws are a naturally occurring extra toenail at the back of the leg, and are most commonly seen on herding dog breeds such as Great Pyrenees and Briards. The Spanish Mastiff, Estrela Mountain Dog, and Appenzeller Sennenhund also have rear dewclaws. While they may seem like a cosmetic feature, they actually serve a purpose: they provide extra stability, and can even help the dog move more efficiently. Removing rear dewclaws has both pros and cons, so it is important to consider all aspects before making a decision.

Origins of the Rear Dewclaws

Rear dewclaws are an interesting, unique trait among certain dog breeds. They are an extra toe on the back of the hind legs, and were believed to have originated from the crossing of dogs and wolves. It is thought that this extra toe was necessary for the wolf-dog to be able to cope with the forest terrain.

These days, rear dewclaws are a common sight on many herding dog breeds, such as the Great Pyrenees, the Briard, the Spanish Mastiff, the Estrela Mountain Dog, and the Appenzeller Sennenhund. While these dogs may have evolved to not need the extra toe, the dewclaw remains in place and is still a defining feature of these breeds. If you’re looking to get one of these breeds, you can expect they will have a pair of rear dewclaws.

What Breeds Have Rear Dewclaws?

Certain herding dog breeds, such as Great Pyrenees, Briards, Spanish Mastiffs, Estrela Mountain Dogs, and Appenzeller Sennenhunds, naturally have rear dewclaws. These extra digits on the back of the dog’s hind leg are often mistaken for a sixth toe, but actually serve their own purpose. Rear dewclaws provide extra stability, helping the dog to stay upright on steep terrain.

This is particularly helpful in breeds that are used for herding, as they need to be able to traverse difficult ground.

Rear dewclaws also help to improve the movement of the dog, allowing them to move more quickly and nimbly. Removing a dog’s rear dewclaws can be a controversial topic. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully, as the procedure can be painful and has the potential to create lifelong problems if not done correctly. It’s important to understand the potential implications of removing the rear dewclaws before making a decision.

Great Pyrenees

If you’re looking for a large and sturdy breed of dog, the Great Pyrenees is perfect for you. This breed is known for its calmness, loyalty, intelligence and strength. They are great with children, other pets and strangers and they are also very protective of their family, making them great guard dogs.

They are also one of the few breeds of dogs to have naturally occurring rear dewclaws, which give them extra stability and improved movement while they are running and jumping. They are a very popular breed of dog and make great family pets.

When adopting a Great Pyrenees, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers of removing the rear dewclaws.

The procedure is often unnecessary and potentially risky, as the dewclaws provide extra stability and improved movement. If you decide to remove the dewclaws, make sure it is done by a qualified professional who understands the consequences of this surgery. Also make sure that the dog is not in any pain or discomfort after the procedure is completed. The Great Pyrenees is a great breed of dog that is sure to bring a lot of joy to your family.


Briards are herding dogs that have naturally occurring rear dewclaws. If you’re considering a Briard, you’ll want to be aware that these canines usually have rear dewclaws which can be removed surgically if you choose to do so.

Removing the dewclaws can help the dog move more freely and can help prevent potential injuries. While some owners may be tempted to remove the dewclaws for aesthetic reasons, it’s important to bear in mind that this isn’t always the best decision for the dog. The dewclaw serves an important purpose, providing extra stability and aiding in movement, especially in dogs that herd. If you choose to go ahead with the surgery, make sure you discuss it with your vet to ensure it’s the best decision for your Briard.

Spanish Mastiff

The Spanish Mastiff is a breed of the giant breed category that is known for its large size and protective nature. These dogs have rear dewclaws, which might make them look a bit different, but they’re actually quite useful. They provide extra stability as well as improved movement when the dog is running or jumping.

Removing the dewclaws isn’t necessary, but if it is done, be aware that it could result in some pain and can affect the overall movement of the dog. It’s important to remember that having rear dewclaws isn’t just for show – it’s there for a purpose.

The rear dewclaws of a Spanish Mastiff are nothing to be concerned about. In fact, they can be beneficial to your pet’s health and mobility.

Just make sure to keep an eye on them and pay attention to any potential issues, such as pain or swelling. If you do want to remove them, be aware that it could cause some discomfort to your pet, so do your research beforehand.

Estrela Mountain Dog

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a breed native to the Estrela mountains of Portugal. They have an athletic body, with a strong and broad chest, strong legs and heavy coat. One of the characteristics of this breed is the presence of rear dewclaws.

These dewclaws can vary in size and shape, but can be used to give the dog extra stability when running, helping them to maneuver around obstacles more easily.

Although having rear dewclaws can be beneficial for the Estrela Mountain Dog, some pet owners may choose to remove them. This is usually done for aesthetic reasons, but there are a number of potential risks associated with it.

Removal of the dewclaws can cause pain and discomfort to the dog, and can also make them more prone to injuries, such as strains or tears. It is advisable to consult a vet before making any decisions regarding the removal of the dewclaws. Rear dewclaws can be beneficial for the Estrela Mountain Dog, helping them to have better stability and improved movement.

If necessary it is possible to remove the dewclaws, but it is important to ensure that this is done in a safe and responsible manner. Doing so can help to reduce the risks associated with the procedure, and ensure that the dog remains safe and healthy.

Appenzeller Sennenhund

The Appenzeller Sennenhund is a herding breed of dog that comes with rear dewclaws as a natural feature. This means that they have an extra claw on the inside of their hind legs, closer to their body.

This extra claw can provide extra stability and improved movement while running, allowing them to make quick turns and move swiftly. Although this additional claw can be very beneficial, some owners choose to remove it for aesthetic reasons. While this may make the dog look more cosmetically appealing, it can also have some drawbacks.

Removing the dewclaw can cause the dog to lose some balance, meaning that they may be more prone to slipping or falling when running. It can also cause the dog to move more slowly and awkwardly.

If you’re considering getting a Appenzeller Sennenhund, it’s important to think carefully about whether or not you want to remove the rear dewclaw. While it may seem like a small adjustment, it can have a big impact on your furry friend’s overall health and mobility.

Do Rear Dewclaws Have a Purpose?

Rear dewclaws serve a useful purpose on certain breeds of dogs, as they offer extra stability and improved movement. Great Pyrenees, Briard, Spanish Mastiff, Estrela Mountain Dog and Appenzeller Sennenhund all have naturally occurring rear dewclaws, and for good reason!

Extra stability is beneficial for certain types of dogs, especially those who are used for herding and protection. The claws also provide improved movement, allowing them to run and maneuver around quickly and efficiently.

Although removal of rear dewclaws is a common practice in some countries and even encouraged by some breeders, it is important to consider the pros and cons of the procedure. Although there is no scientific evidence to suggest that dewclaw removal can have negative effects on the dog’s health, it is possible that the procedure may cause discomfort.

The extra stability and improved movement the rear dewclaws provide may be beneficial to your pup’s well-being. All in all, rear dewclaws can have a positive impact on certain breeds, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making any decisions about removal. It is best to consult with a veterinarian if you’re unsure about what’s best for your pup.

Extra Stability

Rear dewclaws can be a great advantage for certain dog breeds. Their extra claws give them a lot of extra stability when they’re running or jumping.

If you have a dog that is an active runner or jumper, the extra stability offered by a rear dewclaw could be especially beneficial. Because they provide more stability, these dogs are less likely to suffer from joint and muscle injuries, as well as other injuries caused by their energetic movement.

Rear dewclaws can also improve the dog’s overall movement. They act like a stabilizer, helping the dog to control its balance and to move more effectively. This can help the dog to move more gracefully and fluidly, as well as helping them to avoid getting tired out quickly.

The rear dewclaw’s stability and movement also helps the dog to stay agile, which can be important when they’re chasing after prey or when they’re running in agility competitions. All in all, rear dewclaws can be a great asset to dogs that have them!

Improved Movement

Having rear dewclaws give certain dog breeds improved movement and stability. This is because the dewclaws are double-jointed, making them flexible. The flexibility of the dewclaws allows them to act like a hand, giving the dog extra stability and grip when running, jumping, and climbing.

It also helps when running in uneven terrain or slippery surfaces, as the extra grip provided by the dewclaws helps your pup stay on their feet. Removing rear dewclaws may have some benefits, such as eliminating potential problems such as ingrown nails, infections, and even torn dewclaws.

Removing them also takes away the extra stability and grip that they provide, which can be important for active dogs. If your pup has rear dewclaws, it’s important to keep them trimmed and groomed to prevent any issues.

All in all, if your pup has rear dewclaws, they provide important benefits in terms of stability and grip. It’s important to keep them groomed and trimmed to prevent any potential problems, and overall they can provide a lot of help in keeping your pup active and healthy.

Removal of Rear Dewclaws

Removing rear dewclaws can be a difficult decision for any dog owner, as there are both pros and cons to consider. While it is true that removing a rear dewclaw can improve the dog’s overall balance and movement, it can also cause pain and discomfort, as well as predispose the animal to infection.

Before making a decision, it is a good idea to weigh the pros and cons carefully and consider whether or not the procedure is truly necessary. In general, removal of rear dewclaws should be done only if the dewclaw is causing the animal pain or is in danger of becoming injured due to its positioning. If the dewclaw is healthy, it is better to leave it alone, as it can provide extra stability and help the animal move efficiently.

Even if the dewclaw is problematic, it is usually a better idea to consult with a veterinarian and look into other options such as trimming, wrapping, or splinting the dewclaw. Removal should be done as a last resort, after all other options have been exhausted.

Pros and Cons

Deciding whether or not to clip the rear dewclaws of certain herding dog breeds is a personal decision that requires careful consideration. While this procedure is usually done for cosmetic reasons, there are both pros and cons that should be taken into account.

On the plus side, clipping the dewclaw can make it easier for the dog to maneuver in certain situations, and it can also provide better stability when the dog is running or walking. On the minus side, removing the dewclaw can cause pain to the dog, and it can also increase the chances of the dog developing an infection at the site of the clip. It is best to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.

Overall Impact

Removing rear dewclaws can have a significant impact on a dog’s physical health. Without proper care and maintenance, the procedure can lead to infection and pain.

The absence of rear dewclaws can also lead to a decrease in balance, stability, and mobility, which can be difficult for more active breeds. As a result, it is best to think twice before removing rear dewclaws from a dog. If the rear dewclaws are causing your dog discomfort, they can be removed.

Having the procedure done by a reputable and qualified veterinarian is critical to ensure the safety and health of your pet. Be sure to keep up with regular check-ups and follow any necessary post-operation care instructions.

All in all, it is important to research and discuss the option of rear dewclaw removal with your vet. Don’t take the decision lightly; rear dewclaws are an important part of a dog’s anatomy and can provide benefits to their physical health.

Megan Turner

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