The graceful and friendly Siberian huskies originated in the Siberian region thousands of years ago. That means the breed has been treading on the ice and snow for a long time. Thanks to this reason, the Siberian huskies have developed a significant physical feature.
Siberian Huskies have webbed feet because this breed originated in the arctic region, where the dogs have to walk on the snowy plains. The webbing on their feet works like snowshoes, making it easier for them to walk or run in the snow and ice.
There is a significant difference between the webbing of the swimmer dogs and that of the Siberian Huskies. The webbing of the huskies is far less than that of its swimmer counterparts. The light webbing in paws enhances its surface area. It also helps the huskies to run through snow and ice without any hassles.
As you now know, there is a significant difference between the webbing type of the huskies and the other dog breeds, and you must be dying to know the reasons.
The above section of this article offers a short answer to your question, why do huskies have webbed feet. However, in the following section, we will discuss why the huskies have minimal webbing in their feet. Keep on reading if you want to know the answer in detail.
What does webbed paw’s mean?
To understand the meaning of webbed feet, you have to think about frogs or ducks. Their toes are linked together with a thin skin membrane. This membrane helps them to swim in water for hours without any issues. While this kind of webbing is mostly seen among the water-dwelling animals and birds, dogs also have this feature.
Most of the time, the dogs with webbed feet are champion swimmers and love the feel of water. However, the huskies are an exception in that regard. The webbing in their feet is not fit for swimming. It instead works like snowshoes and helps the dog to walk on the snow effortlessly.
The life of Huskies
You must be wondering why you need to know about the origin and life of the Huskies to understand their physical features, like webbed feet. The reason is, the life and the origin story of the huskies would help you to understand their physical makeup and have an in-depth understanding of their evolutionary changes.
Siberian huskies are one of the oldest dog breeds across the world. As we have already mentioned above, these dogs have lived for thousands of years in the freezing Eastern Siberian region. Chukchi, a tribe of the said region, used to breed huskies as their sledge dogs.
For thousands of years, Huskies helped the nomadic people of Chukchi Tribe in their transportation in a region where there is nothing but snow and ice.
As this breed has spent thousands of years walking on nothing but snow and ice, they have developed specific evolutionary changes to withstand this harsh condition to survive.
The webbed feet is one of the changes that have helped this dog breed to work for hours despite the freezing conditions.
The anatomy of Husky paws
Let us take a closer look at the anatomy of the paw. The study of the paw anatomy will help us understand the benefits of the webbed feet.
Even though we have mentioned that huskies have webbed feet, you should know that its appearance can change. The webbing varies from one dog to the next. While some huskies have prominent webbing, others have subtler ones.
We have indicated that the webbing of the huskies is different compared to other dog breeds. Unlike these breeds, the webbed feet of the huskies are not suitable for swimming. Most huskies detest water.
The small webbing of the huskies only helps them to walk on snow and ice. Here are some characteristics of husky paws that can help you to understand better.
Characteristics of Husky paws
- Husky paws have an oblong shape.
- The size of the paws is directly related to the size of the dog.
- The paws are furry between the toes. It helps the dog to walk on the snow.
- Pads on the paws have a thick cushion and are pretty tough. This cushioning helps the dogs to pull the sledges without hurting itself.
- Fine webbing in the paws that helps them to walk on the snows without much problem.
From the above points, it is easy to understand that all the changes took place for a reason. In contrast, all huskies have webbing in their toes, how much though it depends on the dog’s bloodline and genes.
Why Huskies have delicate webbing
You must be wondering why your husky does not have the same kind of webbing as other breeds? It is a great question, and the answer is interesting as well.
We know that the webbing on the huskie’s paws is meant for walking on the snow without much hassle. If the webbing was less subtle like the other swimmer breeds, the risk of slipping on the ice is significantly increased.
The fine webbing of the huskies helps them to get a good grip on the ground still. For thousands of years, this light webbing helped the dogs pull the sledges and transport goods from one place to the next in the freezing arctic region.
The excessive furring between the toes of the huskies also plays a significant role. As we have mentioned before, the fur makes sure that the paws stay warm no matter what, also like their double-coated fur it plays an important part. If there was no furring between the dog’s toes, the toes could have become too chilled. The chances of developing hypothermia could also be possible. The fur also serves another purpose. The researchers think that the fur between the toes prevents the paws from becoming too webbed.
Also, the fine webbing helps the huskies to dig the ground. The Huskies are a natural digger. Webbed feet help the dogs search the ground quickly, which allows them to hunt smaller animals in the wild.
Why do dogs have webbed feet?
From all the above information, it might seem like that certain dog breeds only have webbed feet. Well, that is not true. All dog breeds have a certain amount of webbed feet. However, the webbing is unique for each of the breeds. Could be that it’s very small or large webbing, thick or fine.
Most dog breeds do not have pronounced webbing like the expert swimmer ones. The designs of the webbing of the dogs entirely rely on their breed. It often helps the dogs to accomplish their goals.
The dog breed’s paws have developed over hundreds of years to enable them to accomplish their goals. Along with the webbing, other physical features of the paws help the dogs achieve their goals.
For example, the bottom pads of the paws offer protective padding to the feet of the dogs. It makes sure that the dogs get ample grip while running or walking on the ground. On the other hand, the toenails are designed differently in each species to offer them better traction during their walks. It also helps them to dig the grounds when and if it is necessary.
The webbing of the dog’s paws offers them stability and even helps them swimming. However, the webbing changes from one species to the next to help them achieve their goals.
Swimming is the main reason why all dogs have webbing in their paws. It does not matter whether the species loves the water or hate’s it, the webbed paw’s help them swim when and if necessary.
As the huskies are not natural-born swimmers, they do not need the extra webbing that some other breeds have. You should note that huskies cannot swim if they are not trained. That is one of the reasons why you should not take your husky near large bodies of water if he or she has never been trained to swim.
So, there you go! You have the answers to your question, why do huskies have webbed feet? So, now you know that the webbed feet of your husky are not an abnormality. You have to take care of your dog’s paws after every walk to make sure they are clean. If you have any confusions, don’t hesitate to consult with a veterinary doctor.
Also, Interested to learn about the Huskies beautiful eyes, here we have an article – Why do Huskies have blue eyes?
About the Author
Teresa has been a pet lover since she was little. She currently lives with two dogs and two cats, and a hamster. Teresa is a qualified dog groomer and canine behaviourist; these days, she spends her time studying canine nutrition. Teresa is the founder of the Dog Friendly Scene and loves sharing her knowledge on pets.