Shamelessly co-opting Emily’s picture

This is somewhat ironic, because Emily commented that she is always in favor of removing dewclaws, but I am going to TOTALLY steal her gorgeous photo to illustrate what I am talking about in terms of dogs really using dewclaws for something.

This is her post. Which is gorgeous dog photo porn. Gorgeous. I mean it. Click the link. Just do it. I promise, it’ll be good.

See how Red Bull is actually flexing that “thumb” to hold on to the post? It’s on, ummm… his left. Your right. His right paw is relatively relaxed, so you can see the nails clearly on all toes, including the dewclaw. His left paw is flexing strongly into the wood, and SO IS THE DEWCLAW.

You can also see it when you compare that one to the pic below it. When he’s standing, the dewclaw’s nail is clearly visible pointing toward the front of his foot. In the holding-on picture, the nail is invisble–because it’s flexed and holding on.

Do you forgive me, Emily?

By the way, to answer some other comments, yes there’s very definitely a difference between front dewclaws. Some are attached at a very prominent angle and some sit very close to the leg. That’s the kind I always had on the Danes–they didn’t stick out much at all. The close-set ones would at least theoretically be safer from injury.

And yes, the flyball dogs all wear neoprene wrist guards that velcro around the leg. They use them to avoid skidding injuries but such a thing could also be very useful for a working dog going through heavy cover.

And I’m still really unconvinced by the “they could get injured” argument. Looking at the Danes over the years, by far the most common injuries were to tails (but Danes are never docked); a second would be lacerations over hips or ribcages. I did have lots of cut pads, some torn-out nails, and a broken toe. Zero dewclaw injuries. I ran my dogs through very heavy stuff and up and down mountains. So by that logic we should dock Danes’ tails, cut out loose skin on the hip, remove nails, etc., because better to deliberately cause the wound in a controlled environment than risk any possibility of it outside.


6 thoughts on “Shamelessly co-opting Emily’s picture

  1. I don’t mind at all. Also, I talked to Kay (Red Bull, and Gaia’s owner) tonight about her opinion on dews. She does weightpull, flyball, schutzhund, and more with her dogs, Gaia is an EXPERT tree climber, and Kay’s opinion, is that Gaia could not climb trees without the dews.

    Now as a person raised with field dogs, loose dews really scare me (as I expressed in my earlier comment), but I agree connected dews, are useful. Cove, our mutt, has his front dews, but they are loose, floppy, not connected “big skin tags with claws”, much like many rear dews. The only reason Cove still has his dews, is he’s sensitive to anesthetics, and both times he’s been put under, has had trouble waking up. If he ever has to be put under again, we’ve already discussed with the vet, snipping those suckers off.

    I don’t understand why the Cardigan standard says “no dewclaws”, but I have seen what problems loose dewclaws in field/wooded areas can have, and am NOT a fan of them. Not at all. I don’t know what type of dews Cardis naturally have, since I’ve never seen them. I’d NEVER want to live in this area with a dog with loose dews though, with the grass, and woodlands we spend all our time around here.

  2. And you know what, I’m being a total space-cadet. Kiwi has front dews, but they fit on here leg, and are ‘attached’- like a real toe. Even with fast turns, and stops on cement playing fetch, and playing, or out in the fields she’s not had any of the problems Cove has had with his ‘skin tag’, loose dews.

    The dew claw that was ripped on the family Spaniel, were loose ‘skin tag’ style dews. This is what I’ve seen on a lot of the sporting breeds, which I believe, is where the habit of removing dewclaws began. (With field hunting breeds)

  3. Are you of a differnet mind on back dews/double dews? My ASD has double dews in the back, and they’ve not been any kind of problem. My Pyr mix had his removed (by his previous owner) and the place where they were is infection prone. So my anecdata says leave ’em.

  4. When I started in Cardis they told me that the reason you remove dewclaws from THIS BREED is so they can’t open doors. 😉 Too smart to leave them their thumbs – if they had them they could take over the world.

    I do plan on doing dewclaws, because that’s what the standard wants. Still, I’m of the opinion that the less you can cut off a dog, the better. That’s one of the reasons I picked Cardis over Pems – no docking required.

    We’re all used to looking at cropped ears, docked tails, removed dewclaws, etc., so that when they’re there we thin the dog looks odd. I think once we got used to looking at everyone au naturale (no – I can’t spell) they would quickly look as beautiful.

  5. I forget where I heard this story, & perhaps it’s just an urban legend. But it’s still funny, and knowing how smart cardis can be, totally believable.

    Anyway, I heard that there was a cardi owner who moved into a new home with her 3 cardis. The doors had levers, rather than doorknobs. Within 6 months all the levers were replaced with knobs. The cardis figured out how to open the doors & would let themselves out!

    So consider yourself warned, Joanna, when rebuilding your home. LOL!

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