Do Goldendoodles Have Dewclaws? [Answer + Best Practices]

Do Goldendoodles Have Dewclaws

While getting comfortable and trying to get to know your Goldendoodle puppy a little bit better, you might roughhouse and grab at your dog’s feet. And with many breeds, people tend to notice what looks like an extra toe stationed weirdly on their dog’s upper foot. This strange toe is called a dewclaw.

And even though it’s a natural occurrence, not all adult dogs have them, a circumstance that causes many owners to ponder: do Goldendoodles have dewclaws? 

Yes. Goldendoodles are naturally born with two non-weight-bearing toes (dewclaws) located on the inner leg of both front paws. Many breeders and pet parents choose to have them removed from their Goldendoodle puppy, which results in countless people believing dewclaws are a breed-specific characteristic.

Are you interested in learning more? Continue reading to learn what a dewclaw is used for, why dogs have them, and whether or not you should choose to remove your Goldendoodle’s dewclaws.

What Are Dewclaws?

First, it is best to understand what a dewclaw is before deciding to remove them from your dog’s feet. Dewclaws are considered “extra toes” and will always be found positioned on the inside of a dog’s front legs. While it is true that some working-class breeds have extra digits on their hind legs, this isn’t the case when it comes to Goldendoodles. 

Many speculate that they have dewclaws on their back legs because the extra limbs are theorized to be a climbing feature in mountain breeds—a job in which Goldendoodles weren’t created to do, thus the lack of extra toes. 

A dewclaw can essentially be described as a canine’s thumb; though it holds no resemblance to the human appendage, every mammal contains a fifth digit. 

Currently, dewclaws aren’t shown to have specific importance as the appendage doesn’t aid instability or balance. But many tend to believe that front dewclaws give canines extra assistance in the process of grooming or to help in gripping items between their forepaws.

A crucial distinction to tell if a particular toe of your Goldendoodles’ foot is the dewclaw; is whether the appendage is firm or not and how it is attached to the foot. Dewclaws are shown to be very mobile, and because of their attachment to the skin rather than bone, if lightly tugged, they will feel squishier than an actual toe.

What is The Purpose of Dewclaws?

It’s not uncommon for many to wonder if the dewclaw has a defining purpose due to its strange disposition and lack of movement. But, as surprising as it may seem, the dewclaws found in a dog’s front limbs have multiple, less essential functions. 

When dogs begin running, their feet curve towards the ground to absorb the shock and prevent it from contacting their bones. As this happens, the canine’s dewclaws also contact the earth to provide extra traction as they pick up speeds on rough terrain and slippery surfaces.  

Like our thumbs, dogs also prefer that extra bit of grip, so, whether it be a large toy or their favorite snack, a dog will use their dewclaws for a better hold to ensure whatever they have in their grasp won’t escape from them.

Additionally, dogs like to use their dewclaws when standing straight up on their hindlimbs to give them that extra stability when taking the chance to climb trees after squirrels or to jump up on flat, vertical surfaces.

Why Are Dewclaws Removed from Some Dogs?

In most cases, the reasoning behind removing a puppy’s dewclaws is for either preventing injury, the breeder’s preference, or the canine-specific standards for owning a show dog. This makes the argument of dewclaw removal a very controversial one, as many feel it presents an unnecessary risk of injury for more working-class Goldendoodles.

But despite their usefulness, there is the rationality behind choosing to remove your Goldendoodles dewclaws as they can get broken, tear, or overgrow if not taken care of or monitored correctly.

Below we review some medical issues that can occur if dewclaws are not removed during adolescence.

Some Problems Dewclaws Create 

Overgrowth: Regardless of the dog’s level of exercise, their nails will continuously grow. Without natural filling or grooming visits, they will slowly begin bending in on themselves. Over time, they can grow painfully into the skin, causing deep discomfort and lameness on the limb.

Tears: Tears are prevalent when it comes to dewclaws in comparison to a Goldendoodle’s other digits. Though most urban living dogs won’t run enough to cause their dewclaws to wear away, having an unstable grip, tumbling, or even getting stuck on fabrics are all ways your dog can tear their nail. 

Infections: A dewclaw can become infected if that tear, break, or overgrowth is not adequately treated. This means that bacteria have entered the open wound, resulting in the animal’s skin becoming inflamed and sore. 

How to Care for Dewclaws 

Many would think that just because their Goldendoodle’s regular toes might not need any significant care, their dewclaws wouldn’t either.

However, there is an importance to trimming and maintaining a dog’s dewclaws, as they can become vulnerable when getting caught on fabrics or twigs; even the nail can begin curling into itself painfully.

The best way to care for your pet’s bonus features is to supervise them like you would your own nails; this means trimming them when they start getting long, filling the nail when it gets too sharp, and take a look every once in a while, to see the condition they’re in.

If they become torn, break, or accidentally pulled out, it is best to seek out your local veterinarian, as an infected or torn nail can be rather painful. 

It is best to note that a substantial amount of certified Goldendoodle breeders like to address the topic of dewclaws on the information sections of their websites. 

This is a great way to understand the breeder’s perspective when looking for a new puppy and allows you to take a moment to decide or request which option you believe would benefit your Goldendoodle puppy.

Final Thoughts

All Goldendoodles have dewclaws. It is a regular feature found on every canine breed, meaning it’s essential for pet owners to become aware of the risks and learn the advantages and disadvantages of keeping your Goldendoodle’s dewclaws. 

Every medical decision needs to center around what’s suitable for your dog alone. The best decision an owner can make is to become educated and reach out to their animal care specialists for any questions and concerns.

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