Have you ever taken a closer look at your Labrador Retriever’s paws and noticed that each toe is attached to the next by a thin membrane?
You can’t help but ask:
“What kind of Paws do Labs have?”
The more you think about their paws, the more you find yourself asking another question:
“Do labs have web feet?”
If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions then you’re in luck because we’ll be providing answers to them in this article.
Do Labs Have Webbed Feet?
The quick answer to your question is yes. Labs have webbed feet. Each toe is attached to the next by the aid of a thin membrane.
If you open up a lab’s paw, you’ll notice that it shares a striking resemblance to the feet of a duck or swan. Even though they have prominent web feet, you can only notice them when you intentionally examine their paws.
The prominence of this membrane varies, they’re more noticeable in some labs than others. These membranes typically have no hair on them.
Now that you have confirmed that Labradors have webbed feet, it’s time to find out why.
Why do Labs Have Webbed Feet?
To understand why Labradors have webbed feet, you need to first understand their history.
Labrador Retrievers are believed to have descended from St John’s water dog. These dogs existed in Newfoundland in the 18th century.
They were handy dogs who helped their fishermen’s owners retrieve nets, ropes, and even went as far as retrieving escaped fishes from the sea.
They were prolific swimmers whose oily double-coated waterproof skin allowed them to swim in very cold waters. These are traits that can still be found in Labradors today.
Sadly, by the early 20th St John’s water dog was going extinct and by the middle of the century, they were gone.
There you have it, a brief history of where Labradors came from.
So the answer to the question:
“Why do labs have webbed feet?”
“Because their ancestor had webbed feet”
But what do Labradors or even their ancestors, St John’s water dog, need webbed feet for?
We’ll answer that next.
What Do Labs Use Their Webbed Feet for? ( Why are Labs Good Swimmers?)
When exposed to water early in their puppy life, Labradors grow to become great swimmers.
Their webbed feet are one of the reasons why Labradors Retrievers or Labs for short, are great swimmers. It helps them navigate the water easily.
Another reason why Labs are such amazing swimmers is because of their oily double-coated waterproof skin. It allows them to swim in very cold waters.
They also have strong legs and paddle-like tails that propel them in water.
So, since Labrador Retrievers have the potential of becoming such great swimmers, can every Lab swim?
Also, want an answer to that? Then you should read the next section.
Can All Labs Swim?
No, all Labs cannot swim and there are a few that don’t even like being around water.
Even though Labs have features that make it easy for them to swim, if a Lab must know how to swim, it must learn.
For a Labrador to love swimming, it must be exposed to water early on in its puppy life. Even then, the process must be taken gradually. That is, Labradors learn how to swim gradually.
The presence of a thin membrane in between the paws of a Labrador Retriever is a natural trait that helps the dog swim. Despite having the potential of becoming an excellent swimmer, not all Labs like water.
Just like humans, talent or in this case potential isn’t enough. If a Labrador wasn’t exposed to water early on in life, it might grow to despise swimming.
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