Do Labs Have Rear Dew Claws?

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Understanding as much as possible about a dog is necessary to take proper care of them. This includes their paws and identifying if labs have rear dew claws.

Labs are typically born with rear dew claws, but they aren’t functional.  It’s considered rare to see a Labrador Retriever with functional front and rear dew claws. When a lab does have rear dew claws, it looks like a flap of skin because they don’t develop properly to provide any purpose.

Many labs don’t have any type of rear dew claw because breeders remove them at a young age. This is helpful, so the skin never gets caught on anything to cause injury, and it looks better on show dogs. This guide will explain more about the rear dew claws on labs.

Do Labs Have Rear Dew Claws?

All labs have dew claws on their front legs, and it's possible for a Labrador also to have them on the back legs too. It is extremely uncommon for a Labrador to be born with dew claws on both the front and hind legs.

Labrador retrievers are known for their friendly and playful personalities and willingness to assist humans in hunting or fishing. These characteristics make them excellent pets but also prime candidates for hunting assistance.

However, as many other breeds do, not everyone knows as much about these dogs, including that they do not have rear dew claws on each of their paws.

It’s also important to remember the dew claws during grooming. Both the front and rear dew claws need attention, and regular trims when the dog gets its nails trimmed are required.

Failing to trim the rear dew claw regularly can lead to health issues if they get too long and hinder the lab’s ability to walk freely.

What Are Dew Claws?

Dew claws are often called a dog's thumbs and big toes. On the front legs, the dew claw is attached by a bone to the foot of the dog to make contact with the ground when the dog runs.

This is helpful because as dogs run, they can slip without having this added spot for stability. The front dew claw helps with walking and running stability and extra traction on wet surfaces.

The dew claws are slightly different on the rear hind legs and don’t serve many purposes. For labs, they are born with these, but the rear dew claws hang on the leg like an extra flap of skin and don’t provide the same function as the front ones.

We have seen labs with and without rear dew claws, so no evidence supports the usefulness of the rear dew claws.

How Many Dew Claws Does A Lab Have?

Some labs have rear dew claws that are not always visible. The rear dew claw is a digit on the back of the foot, typically hanging from the paw.

On all dogs, there is only one dew claw on each paw. This means each dog would have two front dew claws and two rear dew claws unless the dog has already had them removed as a puppy.

If the back paws only have flaps of skin, as we mentioned, this means the lab’s dew claws didn’t develop properly. Take some time to identify the dew claws on a lab at an early age and see how they develop as the dog grows.

How Do You Find Rear Dew Claws On Labs?

The dew claw is an extra nail located on the front paws of a Labrador. The rear dew claw is raised and looks like a flap of skin.

To find the dew claw, turn the lab on its back with all four paws spread. Once granted access to the paw, inspect each paw one by one and look where a thumb would be on the hand.

This is the area where the dew claw is located. The rear dew claw will be slightly farther back and raised like a loose flap of skin.

Are Labs Born With Rear Dew Claws?

Yes, labs are born with dew claws, and all Labradors are born with both front and rear dew claws. The only difference may be the functionality of these dew claws based on the dog.

The dew claw is not just an extra nail. And it also helps maintain balance while walking and running. When adopting a lab, ask the breeder about the dew claws because the breeder has the freedom to remove the rear ones in the first 3-5 days.

If this has happened, there’s no reason to be alarmed. The front dew claws are the most important of the four. Even if a lab doesn’t have these rear dew claws, they can still function similarly.

Should Rear Dew Claws On Labs Be Removed?

Dew claws serve no purpose for most dogs, so it’s easy to understand why so many pet owners wonder whether to remove them or not. However, removing them after a certain age isn’t recommended.

If your lab was born with rear dew claws, you should only opt to remove them if they present some form of health condition. Otherwise, putting your dog through this procedure is pointless and cruel.

Many breeders will choose to remove these dew claws from the hind legs at an early age when the litter is first born too. This is preferred for anybody interested in training their puppy as a show dog.

While many dog owners like the look and design of rear dew claws on their dogs, others prefer to have them removed. Some dogs are born with dew claws completely removed before they are even old enough to leave their mother. Other dogs have their dew claws removed later in life.

How Are Rear Dew Claws Removed in Dogs?

Labrador retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in North America, and they have several physical traits that make them stand out from other dogs.

One of these is their rear dew claws, which are located on the back of the paw and not visible unless you're looking for them. But it’s common for these dew claws to get removed when they are puppies.

It’s becoming less popular because many dog lovers consider it a cruel and unnecessary procedure. When breeders remove them, it happens within the first five days after a puppy is born.

Removing dew claws is simple and usually done with anesthesia if the dog visits a vet. If not, the breeder simply needs to take a pair of scissors or nail clippers to remove the dew claw.

We recommend keeping them on the lab if it isn’t done right away. Removing the dew claws at an older age is only required if there is a relatable health issue.

About THE AUTHOR

Mark Brunson

Mark Brunson

Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.

Read more about Mark Brunson