How Many Toes Do Dogs Have?

As pet owners, we often wonder about the anatomy of our furry friends. One of the most common questions dog owners ask is, “How many toes do dogs have?” In this article, we will answer this question and explore some fascinating facts about your dog’s paws.

Canine Paw Anatomy

Before we dive into answering the question, let’s first understand the structure of a dog’s paw. A dog’s paw is made up of five parts:

1. The Claws: Dogs have five claws on their front paws and four on their back paws. Claws are used for digging, climbing, and gripping surfaces.

2. The Digital Pads: These are the round, cushioned pads on the bottom of a dog’s paw. They help absorb shock when your dog walks or runs.

3. The Metacarpal Pad: This is the pad located above the digital pads on the front paw.

4. The Carpal Pad: This is the pad located above the digital pads on the back paw.

5. The Dewclaw: This is the “extra” claw on the inner side of a dog’s front paw. Not all dogs have dewclaws, and some owners choose to have them removed.

Now that we understand the basic anatomy of a dog’s paw let’s answer the question, “How many toes do dogs have?”

How Many Toes Do Dogs Have?

Dogs have a total of 18 toes. They have four toes on their back paws and five on their front paws. However, some breeds of dogs have an additional toe, called a dewclaw, on their front paws.

The dewclaw is located higher up on the paw than the other toes and does not touch the ground when a dog walks. Some people believe that dewclaws can get in the way and cause injury, so they choose to have them removed when their dog is young.

Why Do Dogs Have So Many Toes?

The number of toes a dog has is determined by genetics, and different breeds have different numbers of toes. However, all dogs have a minimum of four toes on their back paws and five on their front paws to provide balance and stability when walking or running.

Additionally, dogs’ paws are designed to help them navigate different terrains. The digital pads on their paws help them grip on slippery surfaces, while their claws are useful for digging and climbing.

Paw Health

Just like humans, dogs’ feet need proper care and attention to stay healthy. Here are some tips for keeping your dog’s paws healthy:

1. Regular Nail Trimming: Trim your dog’s nails regularly to prevent them from becoming too long. Long nails can cause discomfort and pain when walking and can also lead to injury.

2. Check for Debris: After walks, check your dog’s paws for any debris such as rocks, thorns, or glass. These can cause injury if left in the paw.

3. Moisturize: In dry climates, your dog’s paw pads can become dry and cracked. Moisturize them with a paw balm to keep them healthy and moisturized.


Now you know the answer to the question, “How many toes do dogs have?” Dogs have a total of 18 toes, with some breeds having an additional dewclaw on their front paws. Understanding the anatomy of your dog’s paw is essential for maintaining their health and wellbeing. Remember to give your dog’s paws the attention they deserve and keep them healthy and happy!

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Van Hellen

Being a dog parent has never felt this good. Here at Wheaten Dogs, finding the best essentials for your dog is our top concern. My mission is to provide information and latest updates, especially about best dog products, to dog owners and lovers alike.

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