🦴 Updated on January 4th, 2023
If there’s ever been a dog breed that’s suffered from the injustice of misinformation, it has to be the pitbull. Pitbull is an umbrella term for a class of terriers and bulldogs. This iconic underdog makes a regular appearance on the evening news.
If you notice unusual connective tissue between your pitbull’s toes, you might mistake it for webbed paws. That tissue is a pronounced element in specific dog breeds or a genetic mutation.
However, if you’re pitbull has webbed feet, here’s what you should know. Webbed feet are not a genetic trait in pitbulls.
The Reason Your Pitbull Has Webbed Feet But Shouldn’t
For the novice, a pitbull is a type of aggressive dog they’ve seen on television. In truth, there is no such breed. Pitbull is an umbrella term attributed to dog breeds along pedigree and a history of hunting with distinct physical features.
- Wide spaced eyes
- Short cropped ears
- Dense short-haired coat
- Wide mouth and short nose or a distinct terrier muzzle
- Can have short widespread legs
- Or be tall and leggy
The moniker pitbull captures these breeds and attributes mistaken characteristics to their behavior and physical appearance.
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
To confuse the pitbull even further, the AKC (American Kennel Club) doesn’t recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier as a breed. In contrast, the UKC (United Kennel Club) includes the pitbull in its list. What does this have to do with pit bull paws and webbing?
Dog organizations like to set standards that define a dog breed’s characteristics, appearance, and behavior. Dogs also fall into these categorizations:
- Sporting (Labrador Retriever)
- Hound (Bloodhound)
- Working (Boxer)
- Terrier (Bull Terrier)
- Toy (Chihuahua)
- Non-Sporting (Bulldog)
- Herding (Border Collie)
Sporting Dogs are most often associated with breeds that have webbed feet. Webbed feet aren’t just for swimming. Webbed paws help dogs walk on soft or muddy terrain and help with digging.
In pitbulls, dogs with a long history of hunting and fighting (hence the term ‘pit’), webbed paws or extra long connective tissue was gradually bred from their genetics as it didn’t contribute to their purpose.
Purebred pitbull-type breeds, therefore, don’t have webbed feet. When examining a puppy, you might notice more pronounced webbing than an adult. But it’s not webbing in the classic definition. It’s a tissue that prevents the toes from splaying.
An Explanation of Why Your Pitbull Has Webbed Feet
Your pitbull has webbed paws because it’s a genetic mutation, or your pitbull has a family member with webbed toes.
Since pitbulls, unless part of the specific purebred category, are often of mixed heritage, webbed toes shouldn’t come as a surprise. Here is a list of explanations for why your pitbull has webbed feet and potentially other characteristics that aren’t associated with the breed.
Dog Heritage & Mixed Breeds
Americans love dogs and rescue approximately 2 million from the ASPCA every year. Few of those dogs come with a breeding background. Uncontrolled breeding leads to the creation of many mixed-bag dogs.
Mixed breeding also leaves adoptive pet parents wondering about the parentage of their pets. Some traits in dogs are dead giveaways:
- Distinct coat and fur pattern
- Size and shape
If you mate a Pitbull Terrier with a Labrador, you might get a pitbull-looking dog with webbed feet. To produce the best breed, certified purebred breeders try to advance specific qualities. In mixed breeds, breeding allows nature to run its course.
Mixed breeds are just that. The genetic trait of one partner may dominate the features of the other. It’s impossible to say with any accuracy what a puppy will look come out looking like.
If your pitbull has webbed paws, it will likely have a water dog in its DNA. Consider having a genetic test detail the mix proportions. Speak to a veterinary about the results. The results will help you meet your mixed-breed dogs’ personality and physical health demands.
These dog breeds mixed with dogs from the pitbull category might display pitbull paws with webbing.
- Labrador Retriever
- German Short-haired Pointer
- Portuguese Waterdog
- Any combination of a water dog breed
The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog roaming our neighborhoods. An accidental meeting in a public park results in puppies. Therefore, we have pitbulls with webbed toes.
Mutations and Abnormality in Pitbull Paws
A Pitbull may also present connective tissue between its toes that mimics webbing. A genetic disorder might cause your pitbull to have fused toes.
This mutation can go two ways. You have a pitbull with webbed or fused toes, or the mutation caused other signs and problems like:
- Delayed development like scoliosis
- Cleft palate
- Disfigured and malformed limbs and bones
- Degenerative bone health that leads to hip dysplasia
- Luxating patellas (lameness)
- Splayed feet in pit bulls (not the same as webbed toes)
A thorough examination by a veterinarian is vital to your pitbulls’ well-being. One of the worst things you can do is to make assumptions that aren’t helpful to your dog’s health.
Webbed Feet in a Pitbull, There’s Nothing to Be Ashamed Of
Unless you were hoping to raise and breed the next Westminster Kennel Club Champion, a pitbull with healthy, well-cared-for webbed feet isn’t a problem.
Discuss the care of your pitbulls’ webbed feet with your vet. The most important thing is to provide your pitbull with an environment that allows it to expel energy and have a purpose. Remember, pitbulls have a long hunting history. That means they have a penchant for being active and contributing to their pack.
If you live near a body of water, introduce your pup or even an adult dog to water without forcing the issue. Water activities are a great source of entertainment and help burn energy. Add a throw toy into the mix, and your pitbull will activate those webs and swim to its heart’s content.
The webbing is also helpful for walking on soft surfaces like sand or mud and gives them traction. Webbing also helps on rocky terrain and helps protect their toes. But don’t be surprised if your pitty digs up your garden with its shovel-like paws.
Remember that pitbulls benefit from a dedicated activity that utilizes their power and brain. These are super intelligent dogs.
Caring For Pit Bull Webbed Paws
A dog’s paws see lots of action. Caring for their feet, regardless of webbing, is essential. Dogs with webbed feet provide an ideal habitat for involuntary pests.
Webbing allows fleas, parasites, fungus infections, and horrific seasonal ticks a great advantage.
Check your pit bull’s paws daily, especially in peak pest season.
Devise a daily or weekly paw check-up plan, especially if your dog is super active. Prevention for pitbull webbed feet problems is the best cure.
- Treat minor cuts with antiseptic soap and antibiotic ointment (remove excess)
- Moisturize cracks with Vitamin E oil (remove excess)
- Look for painful foxtail weeds embedded in the skin
- Trim nails on schedule
- Clean feet after exposure to ice salts
- Condition a pitbull puppy’s paws to handling early
Watch for signs of constant licking and chewing on your pitbull’s feet. The good news about pitties is that they typically don’t sprout thick hair around their toes. That way, you can do a quick examination after every outdoor excursion.
Pitbulls come with enough baggage. Here are a few essential tips about this loyal dog breed and why they don’t have webbed feet.
How do I know if my dogs’ feet are webbed?
Dogs have connective tissue between their toes. In some dogs, this membrane has a distinct extended skin that is more pronounced. Even dogs from the same litter can have differences in their webbing.
What dog breeds have webbed feet?
There are approximately 13 breeds (and any of their mixed breed offspring) with webbed feet. Here are the most common, and none are related to pitbulls with a pedigree.
– Labrador Retrievers
– Portuguese Water Dog
– American Water Spaniel
– German Wire-Haired Pointer
– German Short-Haired Pointer
Pit bulls do not have webbed feet unless they are a mixed breed.
How to identify if your dog is a pitbull?
If you can’t check your pitbull pedigree through your breeder, ask your vet to run a DNA test (or get a home kit). Expect to pay between $100 and $200 for an evaluation. Many others use the old visual assessment since dogs from the pitbull family have pronounced physical signs.
Closing Thoughts on Do Pitbulls Have Webbed Feet
Whenever you bring any dog into your home, it’s important to prioritize their well-being. A pitbull with webbed toes might need extra grooming, depending on where you live. Despite what you might have heard, pitties with webbed toes still make a wonderful addition to your life.
Pitbulls have a reputation, but that doesn’t mean it has to be bad. Working with your veterinarian and experts on dog behavior is an excellent tool for raising a great pitbull, webbed toes and all.