If you’ve ever looked closely at your collie’s paws, you might have noticed their toes have a little stretch of skin between them. This is commonly called webbed feet, or webbed paws – and it’s nothing to worry about.
All collies have webbed feet. Although not as pronounced as some other breeds, every collie has webbed feet to some degree. Having webbed feet is perfectly normal for a collie, and in fact their webbed paws provide them with many benefits, allowing them to be more agile on rough terrain, and aiding with digging and swimming.
If you’ve ever taken your collie out to a large open space like a field or park and let them really stretch their legs, you will see their webbed feet in action as they deftly maneuvre around corners at breakneck speeds, even in wet or slippery conditions.
In this article we’ll explore all the benefits of webbed feet and why your collie has them.
Why do collies have webbed feet?
Collies have webbed feet for a number of reasons, but the main reason is because it’s a huge help for them when they are running around on rough terrain.
Collies are a herding breed, and the breed was made in the hills of Scotland and Northern England. Tearing around boggy fields and mucky hills is hard work, and collies’ webbed paws gave them a huge advantage over other breeds.
If you’ve ever seen a collie at full pelt, you will have witnessed the awesome agility that collies have, in part due to their grippy webbed paws.
Webbed paws Helps with walking on different terrain
Your collie’s webbed feet are a hidden superpower when it comes to running on various terrain.
Running on sand, gravel, dirt, or on any wet or slippery ground, your collie can keep their grip far better than a breed with less pronounced webbed paws.
The webbing between your collie’s toes gives them an increased surface area on their paws, allowing them to more accurately shift their weight, and move evenly distribute their weight on soft ground.
Webbed feet are Helpful during winter
Collie breeds were forged on the wet, windy and wild hilltops of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and Northern England.
Given the climate of these areas, every winter collies and other herding dogs had to put up with ice cold weather and slippery, wet fields.
The webbing on collies’ paws helps them grip on to even the slippiest of surfaces, even when it’s icy outside.
Webbed paws are Beneficial for swimming
Some breeds like the Portuguese Water Dog were specifically bred for working in the water, and they have very pronounced webbing between their toes to help them swim.
Collies LOVE the water, and although their paws aren’t as webbed as water dogs, they do still have webbing which helps them swim more efficiently in the water.
Imagine trying to swim with your fingers spread apart. You wouldn’t be able to move as much water as if you keep your fingers closed. It’s the same for your collie, their helpful webbed paws help them propel themselves through the water faster.
Collies’ Webbed Feet Helps them to dig
Collies love to dig.
In their past lives as working sheepdogs, collies dug small pits for themselves to lie in to protect themselves from the weather.
Clearly, this behavior has carried on to this day as most collies will dig if given the opportunity.
Collies’ webbed paws helps them to be able to dig more efficiently. They can shift a mountain of dirt, snow, or leaves with their boundless energy and their useful webbing.
If your collie digs often, make sure to check the webbing between their toes for any trapped dirt, snow, or gravel, as it can sometimes get lodged in there where they can’t get it out.
Do purebred collie have webbed feet?
Purebred collies of all varieties have webbed feet. It’s perfectly normal and just a feature of the breed.
Having been selectively bred for their herding abilities over hundreds of years, collies’ webbed paws give them an edge over other breeds when it comes to staying agile and running over rough terrain.
Do all collies have webbed feet?
Every type of collie has webbed feet, although some collie breeds may have more pronounced webbing than others.
Do bearded collies have webbed feet?
Yes, bearded collies have webbed feet.
Don’t let the beautiful coat deceive you, beardies are extremely fast and agile, and their webbed paws are a product of hundreds of years of selective breeding for herding.
Do border collies have webbed feet?
Like most collies, border collies have webbed feet. It helps them move across rough terrain, helps them with digging, and helps them with swimming.
Their webbed feet are a hangover from their past use as working sheepdogs, where the webbing allowed them to move over muddy fields more easily, without losing their grip.
Do welsh collies have webbed feet?
Have you ever been to Wales? If it’s not raining, it will be in 10 minutes.
Welsh collies share the same sheepdog heritage as border collies and bearded collies.
Their webbed feet allows them to tear about the soaking wet Welsh hillsides, herding sheep and helping the Welsh shepherds.
Do rough collies have webbed feet?
Like bearded collies, rough collies’ beautiful coats sometimes hides the true nature of the breed. They may be fluffy on the outside, but on the inside they are a sheep herding machine.
They are just as agile as Border Collies and their webbed feet come from centuries of selective breeding for agility and speed on the hilltops.
Webbed feet allow rough collies to run faster, grip better, and turn quicker than other breeds with less pronounced webbing.