If you’re just learning about dogs or the Great Pyrenees breed, you may not even know what wolf claws are and what they are for, let alone why a dog needs two. That’s why we spend some time discussing the unique and important features of the foot of the Great Pyrenees. Without a good reason, the two claws would not be there. So let’s see what it is!
Modern canine biologists believe that the Great Pyrenees have two wolf claws, because these extra claws help the dog to maintain stability during difficult mountain navigation. When the Great Pyrenees graze mainly in rugged mountains, if they have two extra claws on their hind feet, they will certainly come in handy!
Double claws are usually found only on the hind feet of the Great Pyrenees. There’s only one wolf’s paw on the front foot.
The Great Pyrenees relief group in southern Ontario says many people introduced to the breed for the first time are understandably curious about why two wolf claws appear on the hind paw. In a rare case, a Great Pyrenees pup has only one claw on each hind foot, which may be for two reasons:
(1). The dog was born with a genetic defect that led to a wolf claw.
(2). This dog has mixed canine genes somewhere in the pedigree.
The Pyrenees relief charity in Carolina has a good explanation of what wolf claws are and what they can be used for. You can also see photos, even X-rays of a Great Pyrenees with double exposed claws to help you better see their internal structure.
Wolf’s paws are basically extra toes on the dog’s feet. These toes are higher on the claws – more at the ankle if it’s your foot – and usually not touching the ground. Some breeds of dogs do not have any wolf claws on their front or back paws at all. Some breeds of dogs have a wolf’s paw on their front or rear paws or both. Some rare breeds of dogs, such as the Great Pyrenees, have two claws on the hind paw and one on the front paw. As psychology today explains, this unusual feature is called polydactyly, a term that basically means dogs have more than the standard number of toes.
Dr. Stanley Colen, a canine expert at psychology today, points out that the presence of wolf claws in modern dogs is like a glimpse of a dog’s distant genetic past. Although we don’t have any records today that date back to 11000 years, the Great Pyrenees breed is widely believed to have started at that time, but modern dog researchers believe that double wolf claws are the stabilizers of the feet.
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