With so many potential causes of hind leg weakness you can see why it’s important to consult your vet for a diagnosis. Humans have 5 toes and so do bears, primates, weasels, bats, and several types of reptiles and birds. Surprisingly, Many Of Us Don't Really Know Date: January 29, 2009 Source: Cell Press Summary: Despite the fact that most of … Some breeds possess a fifth toe on the hind foot, commonly referred to as a dewclaw, but more accurately called polydactyly. Let me give you brief information regarding that first before going further. I took her to the only veterinarian that was opened and they are suggesting amputation of the leg. However, this doesn’t answer our question:”why do dogs have only four toes?”, ” What evolution did to dogs was to rock their legs forward so that their heel would no longer touch the ground. While us humans and bears are plantigrades, meaning that we place our whole foot on the ground with a rolling heel-to-toe action, dogs are digitigrades, meaning that they only walk on their digits, a quality that makes them faster and quieter runners as their heels are not required to touch the ground, explains Stanley Coren, in the book “Do Dogs Dream? How is owning pets any different then slavery ? Are they such CRAP that their ignorant/lazy/CHEAP "back-yard-breeder" didn't remove their DEWS???? The Anatolian shepherd dog is a larger-than-life giant dog breed that … and why are they only in the front?John Buckwalter, retrieved from the web on April 10th, 2o16. However, a little higher up on the leg is the dew claw, which looks a little like a thumb if you have a good imagination. The topline is the line formed by the withers, back loin and croup. The female is the odd one out. : Nearly Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know” by Stanley Coren, W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (July 16, 2012). Many times inbreeding will cause genetic mutations such as the loss of limbs but other times it is simply a characteristic of a breed. Some animals such as dogs, foxes, wolves and coyotes though have though four fully functional toes instead of five. The fifth toe, actually the first digit, is no longer functional, and if it is present is called the "dewclaw." Other times, the cause is a little more elusive. “An increase in limb length adds to stride length, whereas reduction in limb weight especially distally, enhances stride rate.”says  S. M. Kisia in the book “Vertebrates: Structures and Functions.”. Note: If you don’t see this fifth digit on your dog’s front feet it likely was removed shortly after birth to give the dog a cleaner look or to prevent it from getting caught on things. Some dogs, such at St. Bernards and Portuguese sheepdogs, have this feature on their back legs as well; in fact, many of them have two! This means that a dog can have as little as four toes on the rear legs or as much as six. My small 8lbs dog was run over by my giant 90lbs dog. Sometimes dogs are born with the dewclaw, but owners will often have them removed when the pups are still quite young. Some dogs have dew claws (fifth toes) on their rear legs but most do not. He was listed as a mix. 9th Revised Edition, By S. M. Kisia, CRC Press (April 12, 2010), 15 Fascinating Facts About the Brittany Dog Breed, These Ear Drops May Be Making Your Dog Deaf. Reduced weight is also a plausible explanation also as to why a dog’s legs has concentrated muscle mass at the top, while at the bottom the legs get more slender with a lighter foot. The dewclaw is only occasionally present on the back paws, causing dog’s to have an extra nail on the front paws. We adopted a 3 month old puppy from the shelter and found he has 6 toes on each back paw - a fixed dew claw and a loose one. That's what they're SUPPOSED to have!! Can you feed your dog anything for example only rice? four toes is natural, not mutation. Some dogs have feathering along the back of their lower thighs and hocks. Paw and pads in dog by Amos T Fairchild,  CC BY-SA 3.0, edited to add text and adjust size. The vestigial toe and dewclaws are not useless and can in fact … An extra toe may weigh just a few ounces, but its extra weight on the foot  may ultimately have an impact when it’s carried along for the ride as an animal runs to catch his dinner or runs for his life. In technical terms, it’s a vestigial structure, meaning that it has lost its original function and therefore has atrophied. If so, perhaps one of the most prominent contrasting features you may notice is that your hands and feet have five fingers and five toes (that makes you pentadactyl, by the way), whereas, your average dog has only four functional toes. Dogs have 5 toes on their front legs and 4 on their hind legs. Even the dewclaws are muscled and functional, making the Lundehund an amazing climber. So evolution decided that it was in the dog’s best interest to not have a fully developed 1st digit, which is the equivalent of our thumb. While inspecting your dog's pads, you may have noticed how those pads on the back of a dog's front legs look quite similar to the pads on the bottom of a dog's feet. If we look at the toes of many animals, we may notice that the general standard is to have five toes at the end of a limb. When your dog’s hind legs suddenly go weak, there could be any number of causes, says veterinarian Dr. Jules Benson, BVSc, chief veterinary officer with NationwideDVM, a pet insurer company. What’s wrong? These additional claws are called dewclaws. Each one of the toes contains a nail. There was an absence of sensation along his lower back, thighs and the tops of his paws, but he had sensation on part of the lower back legs. Some dog breeds (like the Great Pyrenees or Briard for example) have one or even two dewclaws on their rear feet as well! If you've ever examined your dog's paws or legs, you may have noticed a small, seemingly out of place claw that rests just above the others. So, when the dog is having difficulties in moving around, and he walks by over pushing his front legs and not at all using his back legs, it is known as dragging back legs. My Dog Cannot Support its Hind legs. 2016. Without the dewclaw, there are risks that leg may twist which over time can lead to problems such as carpal arthritis and other injuries to the dog’s  elbow, shoulder and toes! Blu (cane corso) stepped on YumYum (papipoo) and now her ankle (small bones part) is dislocated. I raise Chihuahuas,and have never seen one that has five in the back. Dogs didn’t rely much on their digits to manipulate things, but there’s likely an additional reason for having four toes: it’s likely an issue of weight. Mailman  said my dog nipped him in my neighborhoods driveway. That claw is known as the “dewclaw“and it’s a remnant of that original fifth digit dogs used to have in the past. In reality, that extra digit is still there but it’s just reduced. The extra toe is called a dewclaw. I was just curious. She then made her final verdict that less was better than more. However, there is an exception. Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. Have you ever looked at your hands and feet and compared them to your dogs’? Join Yahoo Answers and get 100 points today. It would be wrong though to say that the dog has totally lost his fifth toe. five toes is the one that is weird. The reason for this delay is due to the fact that the dog cannot feel its foot; hence, the dog knuckles. In us humans, our extra digit, the thumb, played a very important role in our evolution allowing us to manipulate things, but why would a cursorial animal do better with less toes? 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