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Dew claw question

March 21st, 2005, 02:07 PM
My pup is now 16 weeks old and someone told me I should have removed the dew claws by now otherwise they are problematic when they are older.

My wife and I are bothered by the idea of removing his thumbs. :sad:

Should we have done this? Is it too late to do this?

We also plan on showing the pup in dog shows if that matters.

March 21st, 2005, 02:09 PM
I believe if your planning to show they must be fully intact, including their declaws.

Mine has not been done. Sme can be problematic, but I don't agree with remiving them UNLESS they are a problem...

What kind of dog do you have?

Lucky Rescue
March 21st, 2005, 02:20 PM
but I don't agree with remiving them UNLESS they are a problem

Agree. I might remove them if they are very loose and floppy, literally hanging by a thread.

If they are firmly attached, this surgery is painful and sometimes has complications. I would leave them alone.

March 21st, 2005, 02:37 PM
If you are showing, you have to check with the breed qualifications-- some allow you to remove them and others require them.

We had our big dog done because his dewclaws were like thumbs-- like human thumbs sticking out and even though I found them really fun to play with, the vet said they would rip off in the snow so we had them removed.

Just be sure that if you get them removed, the incision should be no more than a centimeter in length. I have seen some bad ones where the incision was over 2 inches and that is totally unnecessary and takes longer to heal which could be problematic.

March 21st, 2005, 02:43 PM
He's a malamute.

March 21st, 2005, 02:46 PM
He looks very cute!! I don't think that you should have a problem with them. If they are firm and well intact, then I would just leave them. The chances of something happening are slim to none. Then if you are worried about it, talk to your vet; but I wouldn't just go out and get it done. :)

March 21st, 2005, 02:48 PM
Thanx for the info. :)

March 21st, 2005, 04:06 PM
Your puppy looks adorable. I don't know the standered for malamutes so I don't know if it would be a problem with showing or not. I wouldn't recommend having them removed unless they are very dangly. My dogs are VERY dangly and loose, I never thought about having them removed at the time she was spayed so I didn't. Well not too long ago she got one caught in the fence and tore the nail out. there was blood everywhere and I couldn't tell how bad it was so I took her to the vet. luckly all that got ripped was the nail so the vet removed the rest, she no longer has much of a nail on that claw any longer. I asked the vet about removing them, she said it was a good idea because they are so loose but doesn't want to put her under just for that (she's an italian greyhound and they are very sensitive to anethestic). so next time I have a teeth cleaning done she wants to remove them. I'm still not sure if I will because I'v heard such bad things. If they are tight to the body and you keep the nail well trimmed it should be fine.

March 21st, 2005, 04:55 PM
my pup had his removed before he came home with us at 14 weeks. nonetheless, one grew back (something our vet says happens sometimes). it was hanging by a thread and got nipped by the groomer. not fun. fortunately, our vet said he can have it removed when he's neutered in about a month.

March 21st, 2005, 06:22 PM
CKC Breed specification for the Alaskan Malamute


Origin and Purpose
The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, was named after the native Inuit tribe called Mahlemuts (now spelled Malamute) who settled along the shores of Kotzebue Sound in the upper western regions of Alaska. Written accounts of Alaska from various explorers and travellers rarely mention the Mahlemut people without reference to their dogs which were of the spitz-type described as being powerful looking and of remarkable endurance and fortitude. These dogs were used primarily as draught animals to haul heavy sleds, but were also used to pack supplies, for hunting seals and in packs to track polar bears. Early writings indicate that the dogs kept by the Mahlemut people were better cared for than was usual for Arctic sled dogs, and this seemingly accounts for the breed’s affectionate disposition.

General Appearance
The Alaskan Malamute is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled body. The Malamute stands well over the pads, and this stance gives the appearance of much activity and a proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing interest and curiosity. The head is broad. Ears are triangular and erect when alerted. The muzzle is bulky, only slight diminishing in width from root to nose. The muzzle is not pointed or long, yet not stubby. The coat is thick with a coarse guard of sufficient length to protect a woolly undercoat. Malamutes are of various colours. Face markings are a distinguishing feature. These consist of a cap over the head, the face either all white or marked with a bar and/or mask. The tail is well furred, carried over the back, and has the appearance of a waving plume.

The Malamute must be heavy boned dog with sound legs, good feet, deep chest and powerful shoulders, and have all of the other physical attributes necessary for the efficient performance of his job. The gait must be steady, balanced, tireless and totally efficient. He is not intended as a racing sled dog designed to compete in speed trials.

In judging Malamutes, their function as a sled dog for heavy freighting in the Arctic must be given consideration above all else. The degree to which a dog is penalized should depend upon the extent to which the dog deviates from the description of the ideal Malamute and the extent to which the particular fault would actually affect the working ability of the dog. The legs of the Malamute must indicate unusual strength and tremendous propelling power.

The Alaskan Malamute is an affectionate, friendly dog, not a “one man” dog. He is a loyal, devoted companion, playful in invitation, but generally impressive by his dignity after maturity.

There is a natural range in size in the breed. The desirable freighting sizes are males, 25 inches at the shoulders, 85 pounds: females, 23 inches at the shoulders, 75 pounds. However, size consideration should not outweigh that of type, proportion, movement and other functional attributes. When dogs are judged equal in type, proportion, movement, the dog nearest the desirable freighting size is to be preferred. The depth of chest is approximately one half the height of the dog at the shoulders, the deepest point being just behind the forelegs. The length of the body from point of shoulder to the rear point of pelvis is longer than the height of the body from ground to top of the withers. The body carries no excess weight, and bone is in proportion to size.

Coat and Colour
The Malamute has a thick, coarse guard coat, never long and soft. The undercoat is dense, from one to two inches in depth, oily and woolly. The coarse guard coat varies in length, as does the undercoat. The coat is relatively short to medium along the sides of the body, with the length of the coat increasing around the shoulders and neck, down the back, over the rump, and in the breeching and plume. Malamutes usually have a shorter and less dense coat during the summer months. The Malamute is shown naturally. Trimming is not acceptable except to provide a clean-cut appearance of feet.

The usual colours range from light grey through intermediate shadings to black, sable and shadings of sable to red. Colour combinations are acceptable in undercoats, points, and trimmings. The only solid colour allowable is all white. White is always the predominant colour on underbody, parts of legs, feet, and part of face markings. A white blaze on the forehead and/or collar or a spot on the nape is attractive and acceptable. The Malamute is mantled, and broken colours extending over the body or uneven splashing are undesirable.

The head is broad and deep, not coarse or clumsy, but in proportion to the size of the dog. The expression is soft and indicates an affectionate disposition. The eyes are obliquely placed in the skull. Eyes are brown, almond shaped and of medium size. Dark eyes are preferred. The ears are of medium size, but small in proportion to the head. The ears are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tips. They are set wide apart on the outside back edges of the skull on line with the upper corner of the eye, giving ears the appearance, when erect, of standing off from the skull. Erect ears point slightly forward, but when the dog is at work, the ears are sometimes folded against the skull.

The skull is broad and moderately rounded between the ears, gradually narrowing and flattening on top as it approaches the eyes, rounding off to cheeks that are moderately flat. There is a slight furrow between the eyes. The topline of the skull and the topline of the muzzle show a slight break downward from a straight line as they join. The muzzle is large and bulky in proportion to the size of the skull, diminishing slightly in width and depth from junction with the skull to the nose. In all coat colours, except reds, the nose, lips, and eye rims’ pigmentation is black. Brown is permitted in red dogs. The lighter streaked “snow nose” is acceptable. The lips are close fitting. The upper lower jaws are broad with large teeth The incisors meet with a scissors grip.

The neck is strong and moderately arched.

The shoulders are moderately sloping; forelegs heavily boned and muscled, straight to the pasterns when viewed from the front. Pasterns are short and strong and slightly sloping when viewed from the side. The feet are of the snow-shoe type, tight and deep, with well-cushioned pads, giving a firm, compact appearance. The feet are large, toes tight fitting and well arched. There is a protective growth of hair between the toes. The pads are thick and tough; toenails short and strong.

The chest is well developed. The body is compactly built but not short coupled. The back is straight and gently sloping to the hips. The loins are hard and well muscled. The tail is moderately set and follows the line of the spine at the base. The tail is carried over the back when not working. It is not a snap tail or curled tight against the back, nor is it short furred like a fox brush. The Malamute tail is well furred and has the appearance of a waving plume.

The rear legs are broad and heavily muscled through the thighs; stifles moderately bent; hock joints are moderately bent and well let down. When viewed from the rear, the legs stand and move true in line with the movement of the front legs, not too close or too wide. Dewclaws on the rear legs are undesirable should be removed shortly after puppies are whelped.
The gait of the Malamute is steady, balanced, and powerful. He is agile for his size and build. When viewed from the side, the hindquarters exhibit strong rear drive that is transmitted though a well-muscled loin to the forquarters. The forequarters receive the drive from the rear with a smooth reaching stride. When viewed from the front or from the rear, the legs move true in line, not too close or too wide. At a fast trot, the feet will converge toward the centreline of the body. A stilted gait, or any gait that is not completely efficient and tireless, is to be penalized.

The Malamute is structured for strength and endurance, and any characteristic of the individual specimen, including temperament which interferes with the accomplishment of this purpose, is to be considered the most serious of faults.

Any indication of unsoundness in legs and feet, front or rear, standing or moving is to be considered a serious fault. Faults under this provision would be spayed footedness, cowhocks, bad pasterns, straight shoulders, lack of angulation, stilted gait (or an gait that isn’t balanced, strong and steady), ranginess, shallowness, ponderousness, lightness of bone, and poor overall proportion.

High set ears. Overshot or undershot. A long loin that may weaken the back.

Blue eyes.

Don't think you have to worry about the dew claws, at least not for faults or disqualification.
It really is a judgment call.
My dogs dew claws were removed at 3 days old. Because she is a hunting dog and can get caught on the trees, weeds and other things in the forest she hunts in (or is suppsoed to hunt in )

March 21st, 2005, 06:56 PM
You missed this in your post Safyre:
Dewclaws on the rear legs are undesirable should be removed shortly after puppies are whelped.

March 21st, 2005, 08:34 PM
whoops, thanks Prin. I sorta just cut and paste that for the OP.

March 22nd, 2005, 01:42 PM
What are dewclaws for anyways and if the dogs dont need them then why do they have them? Just curious oh and my dog still has them and they dont seem to bother him.

March 22nd, 2005, 01:54 PM
I'm not sure of the purpose, if there even is... I guess it's kinda like an appendix ... :rolleyes:

March 22nd, 2005, 04:25 PM
My boys use their dewclaws to get a better grip on things when they are devouring something large and inedible. Also if I don't pay attention to them they will put a paw on my knee or shoulder and flex their claws -- when they do the dewclaw digs in and hurts like hell, so I know there is a gripping ability there.

As well, I was at a kennel once and they had a stud there for one of their b*tches and it looked to me as though he was using his dewclaws to get a better grip on the female. -- Not that I paid all that much attention to 2 dogs you-know-whatting


March 22nd, 2005, 04:25 PM
We had our beagles removed when she was being desexed. We were advised by the vet because they really stuck out a lot..

March 22nd, 2005, 08:05 PM
Dewclaws are only in the back. The front ones are just 1st digits or thumbs. Usually the front ones are left on because they usually don't stick out like the dewclaws do. The back ones are exactly like human wisdom teeth. Evolution is just slow at removing useless things. Like the human pinky toe- it's getting smaller and smaller with every generation but it's going to take a long time before it is gone. Most dogs have "evolved" past the dewclaws, although most still have the front ones.

March 23rd, 2005, 12:06 AM
The front ones are just 1st digits or thumbs.

I'v always heard them called dew claws by every vet and breeder I have ever met (quite a few), where did you learn that they are not? I'd like to try and learn more about that. Do you know what kind of purpose they serve? Is it for holding things? Candi has dew claws in the front and hers stick out a lot, hence why they got stuck on the fence. BJ's also stuck out a lot, so much that the breeder had them removed when he was very young.

March 23rd, 2005, 08:51 AM
I always thought they were the ones on the front too! Are they i never noticed my dog having them on the back legs maybe he does i havent really taken a close look :rolleyes:

March 23rd, 2005, 08:52 AM
Nope just checked he only has them on the front!!!

March 23rd, 2005, 09:31 AM
well I just tried to do some research, and most sites don't specify where the dew claws are, front or back.
HOWEVER, one website I have found on Dachshunds that says "Dew Claw (from PetVet) Since the dew claws are located on the inside of either front or hind legs (or both) ..."

So I'm not sure. ymself, I have always thought of dew claws being on the back legs.... I'll try to do some more research when I have more time and see if I can find out more info

**Update** ha, i shoulda just typed in Defintion of Dew Claw to begin with!
The fifth digit on a dog's paw, set farther back on the inside of the paw. Can be on the hind legs, or both front and hind legs. Double dewclaws refer to a fifth and sixth digit on the paws of some breeds. Great Pyreneas, Beaucerons, and Lundehunds are a few of the breeds with double dewclaws.
Doo*Claw • (noun)

Also Known As:

Beaucerons have double dewclaws, but Rottweillers only have one.

as per

From the dictionary
A vestigial digit or claw not reaching the ground and found on the feet of certain mammals.

So I guess front and back are both called dew claws. :)

March 23rd, 2005, 09:40 AM
So I guess front and back are both called dew claws. :)

Yes Safyre, I think you're right to say the front and back are both considered Dew Claws.

For show dogs, Dew Claws should be removed if the judging qualifications indicate them to be so removed.
For the average pet, one that's not going to be shown, Dew Claws should only be removed IF they become a problem for the dog.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a Black Lab with Dew Claws so "floppy" that I worried for him. I recommended the owners have them removed as they like to bring him to the country to let him run and romp. It's only a matter of time before he rips one, or both, of his Dew Claws.

March 23rd, 2005, 09:46 AM
my dog had hers removed at 3 days, because the b reeder does this for all his litters, because of the breed. They are to be running through forest and what not, so they can get ripped off. So I never even thought about dew claws till this thread.
Just thought it was interesting about whether or not dew claws were front and back aso i looked it up. Gotta continue learning.

March 23rd, 2005, 03:11 PM
I'm sorry, I just assumed that dew claw only referred to the back ones-- when I was working at the vet, "removal of the dew claws" meant only the back ones, not the front ones. It is rare that people have trouble with the front ones, they usually don't stick out like the back ones do. But like I said before, it is breed specific whether they have them or not-- our mutt just happened to have them.

The back ones don't seem to have a purpose but the front ones are definitely a help in grabbing things.