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Hi All,

 

I read in the archives on this but didn't see a lot of breeder responses & I am curious. I am in the market for a new pup. One of my more minor requirements (aka- not a deal breaker but...) is dew claws.

 

How many working dog (stock dog) breeders remove dew claws? Front? Rear only? Or none?

 

I'd appreciate hearing from those of you who have bred litters & why you made the choice you did regarding dew claws.

 

Thanks!

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I am not a breeder.

I only have 1 dog that had theirs removed as a puppy. The rest have them (in the front).

I find that they seem to use them and am happy that they were left on. I might not think back ones would be as useful but front has caused no issues for us.

 

The dog that has her dew claws removed is one that was came out of a BYB so I don't think it says much about breeders one way or the other.

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We leave front but remove rears. Most of our dogs are born without the rears but every now and then we have one that has them. The last one was Ricky, he had only one on one of his hind legs, it was disconnected only held by skin. When he was about 48 hours old I snipped it with the nail clippers, no noise from him and only one drop of blood. With ones that are connected I take them to the vet when they are under a week, he charges a nominal fee (I think it was $4.00 a pup) as opposed to the cost when they are 8 weeks old, at that point it turns into a surgery.

 

I had one female out of a litter of 7 that had rears, the rest had none, for some reason I just didn't notice her rear dew claws until she was too old for simple removal. Somewhere I have pictures of her after her surgery, little red heeler with both hind legs wrapped up to the hock in red vet wrap with perfectly spaced white tape so that they made candy stripes. I think that the vet tech had fun wrapping her up.

 

I had one dog that had rear dew claws as an adult, I always worried about him getting them hung up on something, ended up getting one caught on something in the field, tore it and we had it removed to speed healing and prevent a reoccurance. IMO, it is way less traumatic to remove them when they are only a few days old then to wait to see if they end up with a torn one.

 

I suspect that if I had not had the older dog with the injury in addition to few of pups being born with them, I may not be as apt to remove them from our pups.

 

As far as leaving the fronts, I have seen our dogs use them.

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Was the rear that was caught a firmly attached, fully articulated toe or the floppy type?

 

I was thinking about maybe leaving the functional ones on. I've got a bitch that had articulated rear DCs. The breeder had them removed, but they missed some of the bones. I can see them moving when she curls her toes. They clearly they would have been fully functional.

 

To answer the OP's question, I leave the front DCs. I might leave rears that are fully articulated, but I haven't decided yet.

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There is evidence other than owners tales that dogs DO use front dew claws. This is done when running and especially useful for tight turns. I have seen Pyrs and a Beauceron use the rear dew claws when climbing steep slippery slopes.

 

I leave all front andwould be tempted in the future to leave well formed/articulated rears.

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I've bred just one litter, but I left the front dewclaws on because I do believe they use them (I see them holding objects to chew with them, and when they run and make sharp turns the dew claws to make contact with the ground, and I believe increase stability). I had one pup with rear dewclaws and I removed those. If I were looking at litters I would prefer front dewclaws on and rear dewclaws removed, in general.

 

J.

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Was the rear that was caught a firmly attached, fully articulated toe or the floppy type?

 

More towards the floppy type but he could move them, they were not like tags, which is what Ricky's one was. I think that it they were tight to his leg like the fronts he would have been ok.

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I had a Pyr mix that had several dew claws, a couple were floppy, and a couple were fully articulated toes. He never had problems with the floppy ones, but he was always catching the fully articulated ones on stuff and making them bleed. When he was about 3 years old, I inquired about having them removed and was quoted $1K. We left them on and just managed it. I always loved his goofy looking feet.

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When I got Rye as a pup, his rear dew claws were fully articulated but the breeder had snipped the end of the digit. My own vet agreed with how it was done. He thought that even as a new born it would have been a fairly invasive procedure to remove rear DCs that were so firmly embedded with so much bone. I have heard anecdotal opinions about his rear dew claws over the years....he's 10 yrs old and still running strong and sound so I'm more than satisfied.

 

Rye has been breed a handful of times.....nearly all of his pups have rear dew claws. Most of the rears are loosely attached and I snip them off within 48 hrs (pinch them with a hemostat, snip with nail clipper, super glue if needed). If I had one fully articulated/alot of bone...I'd take it to the vet to remove.

 

I remove the rear DCs because they don't appear to serve a useful purpose and represent the potential to tear.

 

I do not remove front DCs....in my experience, the dogs do use them, they are fully articulated and aren't as prone to tearing/snagging. I associate front DC removal with show/conformation breeders who seek a clean line on the front foot.

 

One of my first litters I took to the vet for rear DC removal.....she immediate went to the front foot, and I jumped in and said "NO!! only rears!"...she was surprised because most breeds want the fronts removed, but she did acknowledge that nearly all were AKC or toy breeders....and the breeders request front DC removal in order to have a "clean foot".

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My dog with the remnants of rear DCs is sired by Amanda's Clive, so related to your Rye. I believe her breeder snipped the ends off at home, intending to get the entire DC but missing a bit.

 

I've never seen a dog whose front DCs were removed that had P1 and P2 left in place. If you use curved hemostats and get them between the DC and rest of the foot they should all (P1-3) come off. Maybe P2 and P3 are just harder to get off the rear feet?

 

BTW, the loose, hanging rear DCs generally only have P3.

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Craig threw the dew claws....now Rye does.

 

I can only speak for my dog.....when I got him at 7-8 weeks and had his puppy vet check my vet said that the rear dews were very attached, heavily boned and theorized that snipping the last digit, rather than a more invasive procedure (even at 48 hrs or less), accomplished the intended end....removing a clawed digit that could potentially snag and tear. As an adult, his feet look slightly funky and bulky (if you bother to study them) because he actually still has his rear dew toe....sans the last digit and claw.

 

His chiro vet thinks that sometimes his rear dews, along with his other toes, get hit or absorb impact when he runs.....and jam and hurt. I'll sometimes massage his feet including dew toes to make sure they're loose and relaxed before or after work.

 

I've run into a couple of conformation people obsess about the appearance of his rear feet....and think they ought to come tell me about it. I don't care what they think.

 

Again, he's 10 yrs had a successful work and trial career and running strong and sound.....so it's not a concern for me.

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For the AKC wackos the absence double dew claws on the rear legs is considered a fault in the breed standard. I don't know if they have the floppy ones or the articulated ones, but I've seen Pyrenees that looked like they had on baseball gloves fore and aft.

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When I see how the front dewclaw nails wear on my dogs, it's fairly obvious that they serve a purpose for traction in certain turns and maneuvers. Someone also postulated once that they may provide protection/stability to the "fetlock" area and/or the wrist joint.

 

I have no experience with rear (to remember it, anyway) but I'd never want to remove sound front dewclaws. JMO.

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My Jack has torn one of his front dew claws several times working sheep. I know that he uses them when running and turning. Of course, he goes like a bat outta hell, and normal dogs probably don't keep hurting themselves. :rolleyes:

 

Alex came to me at 3 months with rear dews (the floppy, unattached kind). I felt they were likely to get caught on something, so I had them removed.

 

Obviously I'm not a breeder, but as an owner, I'd want front dew claws, but not rears.

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Thanks for the replies everyone! I tend to agree with Elizabeth & find the automatic removal of front dews associated with a Kennel Club appearance standard (like docking tails & cropping ears) that really turns me off.

 

Now my next question is ....would the breeder's decision about dew claws prevent you from getting a puppy from them? All else is good in your mind. Pups well cared for & socialized & good breeding with tested parents, etc...

 

For instance: Since most of you prefer a front dew claw, lets say the breeder removes them? Would the potential for carpal issues later prevent you from getting a pup from this breeder?

 

Thanks again! :)

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If I felt that keeping front dewclaws was a soundness issue (which I do), then I wouldn't choose a pup from a breeder that removed them. I doubt that any (many) working breeders would remove front dewclaws.

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The two litters I've bred have had rear dews that I removed (the first time I had a vet do it, the 2nd time I did it myself). The last litter had one puppy with that looked like double rear dews claw.

 

Both litters related to Elizabeth's Rye/Amanda's Clive and going back to Craig.

 

I wouldn't want a puppy with rear dews and I probably wouldn't want one without front dews.

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Anyone I'd buy from would NOT remove front dewclaws....and would LIKELY remove rear dewclaws.

 

I would not buy a dog with front dewclaws removed....I might buy a dog that still had rear dewclaws....I'd have to really like the dog.

 

It's not something I ever think to ask about because I take it for granted. I expect that most people I'd deal with feel the same way and would do the same.

 

Maybe one day I'll get a "surprise" for not asking...really too detailed for me to remember.

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Frankly I am a bit surprised at a lot of replies in this topic, especially this being a working dog forum where the dog´s appearence shouldn´t matter.

 

My opinion is that dew claw removal is a cosmetic thing.

The arguments for it sound suspiciously similar to those for removing tails/eartops in certain breeds (forgot the proper english term).

 

I own an icelandic sheepdog/bc (probably) mutt, who has double dew claws on his hindfeet, floppy and unarticulated. Pretty big, makes his feet look a bit goofy. Never a problem.

 

Interesting enough there was a belief among farmers that double dewclaws were a sign a dog would make a good sheepdog, the reason why a lot of icelandic sheepdogs still have this trait.

 

Bottom line for me, I don´t want the breeder to remove dewclaws from my prospective pup and i wouldn´t like it if he did this habitually.

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Frankly I am a bit surprised at a lot of replies in this topic, especially this being a working dog forum where the dog´s appearence shouldn´t matter.

 

 

Huh? Maybe I need to go back and re-read, but I don't remember anyone saying anything about removal for cosmetic reasons?

 

My vet at the time seemed disinclined to want to remove Alex's rear dews, like I was asking for plastic surgery or something. And the price quote certainly seemed in line with that! I ended up going somewhere else (which now turns out to be my current vet) because the price was so much more reasonable. As the dews were very loose and floppy, it couldn't have been "major surgery" (vets, correct me if I'm wrong) and I ONLY did it because I felt it was a safety issue.

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My opinion is that dew claw removal is a cosmetic thing.

The arguments for it sound suspiciously similar to those for removing tails/eartops in certain breeds (forgot the proper english term).

 

 

I understand what you are saying but IMO it's not black and white. Yes, the decision to remove dewclaws can be cosmetic. If my pups were sold to be house pets, service dogs or sport dogs I wouldn't be so concerned about removing rear dew claws, the likelihood of trauma IMO is greatly reduced compared to what my dogs are being bred for. But since my dogs are going to be used on in open fields and I have directly experienced dealing with torn dewclaws, which BTW is not a pretty deal, I am electing to save the future owners and myself the trouble, especially since most of my dogs are born either without rear dews and the ones that have them do not have fully functioning dew or they totally lack function (a tag with claw)

 

IMO the same is true with tail cropping, for the most part it is cosmetic and not necessary, but once again there are some breeds that are prone to splitting the tips of their tails, have extremely fragile tails and I could also see where some were docked due to increased risk of work inflicted injury. I've seen dogs with injured tails too, it's a nasty deal and not fun for either owner or dog. IMO a way better deal for everyone would be if a little prevention is exercised when dealing with those breeds that have fragile tails and just docking the tail soon after birth if the dog is being bred for a specific purpose that will increase the risk of injury to the tail.

 

I see no point in docking tails or ears on dogs based on the history of the use of the breed when the dogs are not being used or even bred for that original purpose or when there is little to no risk of injury that would warrant the removal. I guess to me that is strictly cosmetic. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that way more cropping and docking is being done strictly for cosmetic purposes which over time will probably lead into a complete ban on the practice. It will then disallow those that are doing it out of practicality and result in unneeded trauma and expense for working dog owners.

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Huh? Maybe I need to go back and re-read, but I don't remember anyone saying anything about removal for cosmetic reasons?

 

My vet at the time seemed disinclined to want to remove Alex's rear dews, like I was asking for plastic surgery or something. And the price quote certainly seemed in line with that! I ended up going somewhere else (which now turns out to be my current vet) because the price was so much more reasonable. As the dews were very loose and floppy, it couldn't have been "major surgery" (vets, correct me if I'm wrong) and I ONLY did it because I felt it was a safety issue.

 

Paula, I may be mistaken, but I think there are places where tailing docking, dew claw removal and ear cropping is illegal unless done after an injury is incurred and the vet deems that removal would be best for the dog. There are people that believe that any puppy cropping/dockings are completely for cosmetic reasons.

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Just as a side note, virtually every serious injury my dogs have received has been while they were being goofy pets, not while working. During play they tend to make moves they would never do at work, chasing and bouncing off one another, twisting through the air and landing in odd positions. I don't think the argument that dogs are less likely to rip the DCs if they are pets is necessarily a good one.

 

We need the LGD people to weigh in and let us know how often their dogs rip the rear DCs.

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Paula, I may be mistaken, but I think there are places where tailing docking, dew claw removal and ear cropping is illegal unless done after an injury is incurred and the vet deems that removal would be best for the dog. There are people that believe that any puppy cropping/dockings are completely for cosmetic reasons.

 

I'm curious if my old vet (and this surgery was NOT the reason I now have a new one) does puppy cropping/docking. Honestly, I have no idea. I did get the feeling they did not want to do it, though. I guess I can't blame them, if they thought I was being frivolous. I thought I was looking out for my puppy, though. :(

 

I went back and dug up an old thread on Alex's procedure (from another board) and a vet tech there posted that the removal of floppy/unattached DC was a "simple skin incision, with little pain, and usually no stitches, just surgical glue". That is exactly how it was for Alex.

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