Whether you’re a new dog owner or someone with a long history of having dogs as pets, the question of how many toes a dog has is likely one that you don’t think about too often.
You might even think it’s a trick question, but it’s not.
Most dogs have a total of 18 toes, with each rear foot have 4 toes and with each front foot having 5 toes.
However, some dog breeds have more than 18 toes, and some end up with less than 18 toes because the dewclaws have been removed to eliminate injury risk.
Below we’ll give you more details on doggie toes.
Dog Paw Anatomy
You likely aren’t spending much time thinking about the anatomy of a dog paw, but this is a good place to start when explaining dog toes.
Ruffwear has this great image to illustrate the parts of a dog paw –
The dog paw has five basic parts: (A) the claw, (B) digital pads , (C) metacarpal (on the front paws) and metatarsal (on the rear paws) pad, (D) dew claw, (E) carpal pad.
When counting toes, it is important to remember that if your dog has a dew claw, then that is counted as a toe.
What is a dew claw?
I like to think of the dewclaw as a sort of canine thumb.
While the dewclaw may look like a thumb due to its position on the canine paw, it really is a claw – and that counts as a toe.
Do all dogs have dewclaws?
No, all dogs do not have dew claws.
Though not all dogs have them, the dewclaw does serve a purpose – it gives your dog something to use for extra grip when chewing on a toy or something else.
Counting Dog Toes
As mentioned, most dogs are going to have a total of 18 toes.
On each rear foot, the dog will have 4 toes.
On each front foot, the dog will have a total of 5 toes, which are made of up 4 regular toes and one dew claw.
Of course, some breeds don’t have dew claws and others may only have dewclaws on the rear legs or on all legs.
Dog Breeds With Rear Leg Dewclaws
Though is is rare, there are a few dog breeds known to have dewclaws on the rear legs.
This tends to be found in the very large breed dogs, or even the giant breed dogs.
And some of these breeds actually have double dewclaws on those back legs!
Here are those breeds:
- Norwegian Lundehund
- Portuguese Sheepdog
- Great Pyrenees
- Estrela Mountain Dog
- Anatolian Shepherd Dog
- Icelandic Sheepdog
- Saint Bernard
The Norwegian Lundehund is a breed that ends up with a total of 6 toes on each foot thanks to the extra dewclaws on the rear legs.
The Portuguese Sheepdog dog breed can have rear legs with either single dewclaws or double dewclaws.
The Great Pyrenees dog breed has rear legs with double dewclaws.
The Estrela Mountain Dog dog breed can have rear legs with either single dewclaws or double dewclaws.
The Beauceron dog breed has rear legs with double dewclaws.
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog dog breed has rear legs with double dewclaws.
The Briard dog breed has rear legs with double dewclaws.
The Icelandic Sheepdog dog breed can have rear legs with either single dewclaws or double dewclaws.
The Saint Bernard dog breed can have rear legs with either single dewclaws or double dewclaws.
As you can see, most dogs are going to have a total of 18 toes, including front dew claws.
However, some dog breeds have more dewclaws and end up having more toes than other breeds.
Your dog may also have no dew claws because they were removed by the breeder or a vet.