Border Collies are a unique breed of dog that have gained popularity over the years for their intelligence, agility, loyalty and herding skills, amongst other things.
One feature of Border Collies that garner some attention are their paws, which are said to be webbed. This has led many people to wonder whether Border Collies have webbed feet and what benefits this may provide.
So do Border Collies have webbed feet? What are webbed feet? How extensive is their webbing? What are the benefits of having webbed feet? Where do Border Collies fall, in a list of dogs with most webbed feet?
The answer to the main question, yes. Border Collies like most dogs, do indeed have webbed feet. With that said, their webbing is not as prominent as in other breeds of dogs. The webbing helps the dogs navigate through various terrains, such as snow, mud, and water, and is a beneficial to have, from an evolutionary standpoint, bit isn’t critical in Border Collies.
In addition, the webbing provides extra support and stability to the dogs when they are running and jumping, and in this article, we’ll be looking in more detail at these benefits of webbed feet and more.
Let’s take a look.
Physical Characteristics of Border Collies
Border Collies are a medium-sized breed of dog that is known for their intelligence and agility.
They are highly energetic, somewhat high maintenance and require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.
In this section, we’ll go over some of the more defining physical characteristics of Border Collies, and then we’ll dive into the specifics of their webbed feet.
Trademark Black and White Coat
Possibly the number 1 most obvious and stand out physical characteristic of Border Collies, is their trademark black and white coat.
Border Collies come in a variety of colors, but the most common are black and white. Other variations are Blue Merle and Red Merle.
Their coat is thick and double-layered, which provides insulation in cold weather. The outer layer is water-resistant, which helps to keep them dry when they are swimming or playing in the rain.
Their outer coat is weather-resistant and can be straight or slightly wavy, while the inner coat provides insulation.
This coat not only protects them from harsh conditions but also aids in their herding activities by allowing them to navigate different terrains.
Sharp Gaze and Expression
One of the most striking features of Border Collies is their intelligent and intense gaze.
This keen gaze is essential for herding tasks as it allows them to maintain constant contact with the sheep and anticipate their movements.
Their focused expression is an outward reflection of their keen intelligence and inherent drive to work and is also extremely characteristic of this breed of dogs in particular.
Most Border Collies have a well-proportioned body with a strong and muscular structure.
They’re fit, lean, extremely athletic and have amazing stamina.
So naturally, their physical capacities make them stand out from the crowd and their athletic build is a very recognized characteristic amongst breeders and dogs owners.
Webbing Between Toes
Another noticeable physical characteristics of Border Collies is the webbing between their toes.
It’s not specifically a “trademark characteristic”, per se, but it’s something to take into account, and since this article is about webbed feet, we’re going to mention it.
Although Border Collies don’t have the most webbed feet possible, from amongst other dog breeds…
because of the fact that they’re so athletic, having just enough webbing in between their toes has helps them tremendously when it comes to swimming efficiently, maintaining balance on uneven terrains, moving quickly through mud and snow and so on.
Why Do Border Collies Have Webbed Feet?
As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, Border Collies have webbed feet, which is one of the traits that help them excel in various tasks.
But why do Border Collies have webbed feet? Well, the presence of these in Collies (and most other dogs for that matter) can be attributed genetics and evolution.
Over generations, the natural selection process favored traits that enhanced the dog’s performance in various environments, including water or mud for example, and having these available, is a plus.
Fully aquatic animals like ducks, have much more sophisticated webbing in their feet, as an essential adaptation for their primary habitat, which is water.
Dogs have found use in keeping a balance between their need for effective movement on land, and good performance in aquatic environments which is why they’ve “kept” a hybrid version of feet, as the generations have progressed.
Swimming and Water Activities
Border Collies are natural swimmers so most of them do like water.
Here, their webbed feet play a crucial role in helping them navigate through water with ease, as it increases the surface area that can push water away from them.
The webbing between their toes acts like a paddle, and the increase in surface area allows them to swim faster and with more precision, making them excellent at tasks such as retrieving objects from water.
Digging and Ground Activities
Webbed feet also help Border Collies with activities that involve digging and navigating through rough terrain.
The webbing between their toes acts like a shovel, allowing them to dig through soil and mud with ease and more efficiently.
Additionally, the webbing helps them maintain their balance on uneven surfaces, preventing them from slipping or getting injured.
Having webbed feet also helps optimize their overall locomotion.
The additional surface area reduces resistance as they move through water and on soft ground, conserving energy and enabling them to work effectively over extended periods.
All in all, Border Collies have webbed feet because they’ve adapted to a terrain which requires swimming, digging and running.
The webbing between their toes allows them to navigate through water and rough terrain with ease, making them one of the most versatile dog breeds out there.
Benefits of Webbed Feet in Border Collies
Let’s now highlight with a bit more detail the benefits of having webbed feet, when it comes to the Border Collie breed:
Enhanced Balance and Control
Webbed feet provide Border Collies with better balance and control, especially when traversing rough terrain.
The webbing between their toes acts like a natural shock absorber, allowing them to maintain their footing on uneven surfaces.
It’s also a lot easier to change directions and turn corners, when you can dissipate all that kinetic energy through the additional surface area.
This enhanced balance and control also make them better at navigating obstacles and performing tricks.
Improved Traction on Slippery Surfaces
The webbing on their feet also gives Border Collies better grip on slippery surfaces.
This is especially useful when they are running on wet grass or mud, so the webbing comes in handy and acts like a natural non-slip sole, providing them with better traction and preventing slips and falls.
Protection from Infections
Another less known benefit of having webbed feet in Border Collies, is that it provides protection from infections.
The webbing acts as a barrier between their toes, preventing dirt, debris, and other foreign objects from getting lodged between them.
This reduces the risk of infections and other foot-related problems.
To sum up, webbed feet of Border Collies provide several benefits, including enhanced balance and control, improved traction on slippery surfaces, and protection from infections.
These benefits make them better at performing various tasks and activities, including herding, agility, and obedience training.
Caring for a Border Collie’s Webbed Feet
So as we’ve mentioned throughout this article, Border Collies have webbed feet that provide them with several benefits, including improved swimming ability, better traction on uneven terrain and even protection from infections.
With that said, it’s essential to take proper care of your Border Collie’s feet, to ensure that your pup is healthy and happy.
Plus, your dog’s feet are going to get used a lot, can easily get sore, get injured and might even need surgical procedures like when their dew claws get ripped off or if they break a bone.
Here are some things to keep in mind.
Cleaning and Grooming
Regular cleaning and grooming of your Border Collie’s webbed feet are essential to maintain good hygiene and prevent infections.
Some tips for cleaning and grooming your Border Collie’s webbed feet:
- Use a damp cloth to wipe the webbing between the toes and remove any dirt or debris.
- Trim the hair around the paw pads to prevent matting and reduce the risk of debris getting trapped in the fur.
- Use a dog-specific shampoo to clean your Border Collie’s paws thoroughly.
Protection from Injuries
Border Collies are an active breed that loves to run and play, and so their feet are extremely susceptible to injuries, especially when they are running on rough terrain.
Some tips to protecting your Border Collie’s feet from injuries include:
- Avoid walking your Border Collie on hot pavement or rough surfaces that can cause cuts or abrasions.
- Use protective boots when walking your Border Collie on rough terrain or during extreme weather conditions.
- Keep your Border Collie’s nails trimmed to prevent them from getting caught in the webbing between the toes.
- Regularly check between each toe. Sometimes your dog can get thorns, sticks, and even broken glass stuck between them.
Regular Check-ups with a Veterinarian
Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are crucial to maintaining your Border Collie’s overall health, including their feet.
If your dog is experiencing any pain when walking, or is limping, then you’ll want to reach out to a vet.
Some tips for scheduling regular check-ups with a veterinarian:
- Schedule regular check-ups with a veterinarian to ensure that your Border Collie’s feet are in good condition. You’ll want to do check-ups every 6 months or so.
- Discuss all concerns you have about your Border Collie’s feet with your veterinarian during the check-up. Make sure to not leave any stone unturned.
At the end of the day, caring for your Border Collie’s feet is essential to ensure their overall health and well-being.
Regular cleaning and grooming, protection from injuries, and regular check-ups with a veterinarian are crucial to maintaining your Border Collie’s feet in good condition.
Do Border Collies Have Webbed Feet: Conclusion
In conclusion, to answer the question of whether or not Border Collies have webbed feet, the answer yes, Border Collies have webbed feet.
Having webbed feet, essentially means that the toes of their paws are connected via a thin layer of skin. This feature provides them with a stronger grip, faster running and swimming, and better digging abilities.
It’s an evolutionary trait, that has been beneficial for dogs to maintain because they’re quadrupeds and will be walking on all fours all their lives.
Having said that, although Border Collies have webbed feet, they’re not considered a “true webbed-foot breed”.
Only a handful of dog breeds are considered true webbed-foot breeds due to their characteristically extensive webbing.
Essentially this means that even though Border Collies have webbed feet, they don’t have as much webbing as other dogs.