Do Newfoundlands Have Rear Dewclaws?

by Axl J. Amistaadt
A show Newfie wears a bib to protect his coat from dribble.

A show Newfie wears a bib to protect his coat from dribble.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images News/Getty Images

While rear dewclaws are fairly rare in dogs, the Newfoundland is one of several breeds born with them. The extra rear toenails may have given these large canines better traction and stability for working in the rough, snowy terrain and icy environments they were bred for.

Dewclaws

Dewclaws are fifth toes complete with toenails on the insides of a dog’s paws. Situated higher on the leg than the other toes, they rarely if ever come into contact with the ground. Front dewclaws are attached to the dog’s paws with bone and muscle. The bone is typically absent in rear dewclaws, resulting in loosely attached digits that can easily get caught on something and torn from the dog’s leg.

Rear Dewclaws

Most dogs have front dewclaws. In addition to the Newfie, breeds with rear dewclaws include the Saint Bernard, Great Pyrenees and briard. The American Kennel Club breed standard for Newfoundlands specifies that rear dewclaws should be removed.

Rear Dewclaw Removal

Breeders usually have this done when Newfie puppies are several days old, before the nerves become completely active. Older puppies and dogs must undergo a surgical procedure requiring general anesthesia. Veterinarians typically recommend dewclaw removal when the pet is spayed or neutered.

Dewclaw Care

Inspect and trim dewclaws regularly. Unlike other toenails, they don’t wear down from walking and can curve and embed themselves in the tender pads.

Photo Credits

  • Scott Barbour/Getty Images News/Getty Images

About the Author

Pets and pet rescue are my greatest passions -- followed closely by global wildlife and our environment -- and I have done extensive research on pet and wildlife rescue, fostering, adoption, etc. on their behalf. I was a Florida State Wildlife Rehab Agent for a number of years. I currently specialize in locating online sites where part or all of the proceeds from the items that are purchased are donated to rescued animals in North American shelters, sanctuaries and preserves. I write material designed to entice and encourage shoppers to frequent these sites, many of which offer huge selections of all sorts of merchandise.{{}}