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How Many Toes Does a Dog Have?

By Aviram K.
January 12, 2021
1 min read
How Many Toes Does a Dog Have?

Most dogs have 18 toes—five on the front feet and four on the rear feet. However, some dog breeds, like the Norwegian Lundehund, can have up to 24 toes.

If you look closely at your own dog’s feet, you may actually find he has four toes instead of five. In that case, your dog probably had his fifth and extra toe (also called a dewclaw) taken off by the breeder or vet when he was just a few days old.

Some dog breeds have more than the usual number of toes - up to 24 toes. Most of them being large working dog breeds that need the extra toes for more stability:

  • Norwegian Lundehund: 24 toes
  • Great Pyrenees: 22 toes
  • Anatolian Shepherd: 22 toes
  • Briard: 22 toes
  • Icelandic Sheepdog: 22 toes
  • Spanish Mastiff: 22 toes
  • Beauceron: 22 toes
  • Catalan Sheepdog: 22 toes
  • Australian Shepherd: 20-22 toes
  • Portuguese Sheepdog: 20-22 toes
  • Estrela Mountain Dog: 20-22 toes
  • Saint Bernard: 20-22 toes
  • Saint Miguel Cattle Dog: 20 toes

The Norwegian Lundehund has 24 toes, six on each foot. Credit to Zorrolll @ Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
The Norwegian Lundehund has 24 toes, six on each foot. Credit to Zorrolll @ Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

More on Dewclaws (The Extra Toes)

A dewclaw is equivalent to a human thumb—it is said to give the dog a slightly firmer grip on things.

On some dogs, though, the dewclaw is not really attached to any bone and is actually just some skin and muscles with a nail attached. In those cases, it is often taken off to comply with the specific dog breed standards or to reduce the injury risk associated with having it.

For example, a dewclaw can often get stuck in things, and in turn, cause an injury, infection, and be painful to the dog.

There are arguments for both sides of whether dewclaws should or shouldn’t be removed.

Read more about dewclaws here if you are interested.

An extra toe, also called a dewclaw. Credit to Elf @ Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
An extra toe, also called a dewclaw. Credit to Elf @ Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.


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Dog Anatomy

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