Double Dew Claws

 

 

Double dew claws are one of the trademark traits of a Great Pyrenees.  If a dog does not have double dew claws on its hind legs, at best, it is a Great Pyrenees with a serious fault but, most likely, it is not a purebred Great Pyrenees.  Double dews are part of the standard and although they are sometimes found on other breeds, Great Pyrenees are the only breed which makes them part of the standard.  Many people use the presence of double dews as the starting point in beginning the determination of whether a rescue is a Great Pyrenees or not. These double dew claws are actually extra toes that a Great Pyr uses to help give it stability and better footing when working in rough country, climbing and fighting. 

It never ceases to amaze us the number of vets who are not familiar with Great Pyrenees and routinely recommend the amputation of a Pyr's double dews.  The usual justification is that "they're useless" and "will probably get hung up on something and torn off anyway".  As we've explained earlier, they are certainly useful, not useless, and we have never had a Pyr (and ours work in quite rough country) do any damage to its double dew claws.  In actuality, removing these claws is injurious to the dog's function, needlessly cruel and a waste of money. Lest you have a Pyr that you do not intend either to work or show and think, therefore, it is acceptable to remove the dew claws, please consider that you are surgically making the dog appear to be less than it really is.  If dew claws are truly objectionable, we would recommend you find a breed without them as there are several.

The Pyrmont Kennel in New Zealand feels strongly enough that the removal of dewclaws in inappropriate that they have posted an excellent x-ray (http://pyrmont.tripod.com/dewclaws.html) on their website showing that these are not just toenails, but extra toes.

 


Dan & Paula Lane
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