Do Golden Retrievers Have Dewclaws? Should You Remove It? Importance Of Dewclaws

Do Golden Retrievers have Dewclaws? Or are you wondering why your Golden Retriever has a claw that is not connected to the others? Have you also been puzzled by the fact that they have these extra claws on their front paws but not their hind feet? Well, these extra claws are normal, and most dogs have them.

Some dog owners may consider removing these claws, believing that they are unnecessary. These extra claws are not a form of genetic mutation, nor are they some form of an unessential appendage. They are called dewclaws and are essential to your Golden Retriever.

I will discuss why you should not remove your Golden Retriever’s dewclaws and their importance today in this article!

What Are Dewclaws In Dogs?

Dewclaws are vestigial dog digits; they are essentially the dog equivalence of human thumbs and big toes. Dewclaws are not directly connected to the other four claws. Unlike the human thumb and big toes, dewclaws are relatively isolated. Dewclaws grow higher up the dog’s leg in such a manner that when the dog is standing, the dewclaw does not make contact with the ground.

golden retriever puppy sitting on couch

Simple! I hope you are now clear with this primary term ‘Dewclaw,’ now, let’s know that do Golden Retrievers have dewclaws?

Do Golden Retrievers Have Dewclaws?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are among the dog breeds that have dewclaws. However, Golden Retrievers have dewclaws solely on their front paws and not on their hind paws. Dewclaws have extra tendons in them that help dogs move around more freely. Dewclaws provide dogs with increased grip and balance. These claws should be cared for regularly because they could result in severe injuries if they are not adequately supervised.

golden retriever 1

As Goldens are active dog breeds, you need to make sure that the dewclaws don’t get injured; if injured, it can lead to problems like limping, licking the surrounding area, and crying out when you touch their leg. 

Dewclaw injury in active dogs is nothing unusual, it’s quite common, but you should reach out to your vet for proper treatment in this case.

Are Dewclaws Useful In Golden Retrievers?

Dewclaws are useful to Golden Retrievers because of the increased grip and balance they provide. These claws give your Golden Retriever enough grip to allow them to take sharp turns at high speeds while maintaining their balance.

Golden Retrievers also use these claws to grip objects, such as their chewing toys, balls, or bones. Without dewclaws, your dog would be more challenging to keep their tog steady while they chew on them.

Golden Retrievers are known for being playful and highly active. When your Golden Retriever runs, they run in such a way that their dewclaws make contact with the ground. Active dogs need their dewclaws to limit the likelihood of incurring an injury from the decreased grip and balance while running around. 

Should Dewclaws Be Removed On Golden Retrievers?

No, dewclaws should not be removed on Golden Retrievers. Dewclaws have quite a few tendons attached to them, and they allow your Golden Retriever to move around more freely. When your Golden Retriever runs, their dewclaws dig into the ground to give your Golden Retriever more support and balance. 

should dewclaws be removed on golden retrievers

Golden Retrievers are renowned for being one of the world’s most treasured working dogs. Their reliable, calm, and attentive nature make them ideal working dogs. Working dogs are required to be agile enough to take sharp turns at incredibly high speeds.

If your Golden Retriever is a hunting or a working dog, they would be running the risk of injury on missions if they do not have their dewclaws.

Dewclaws prevent Golden Retrievers from stretching or damaging their carpal ligaments and resulting in carpal hyperextension injuries. These injuries are common in larger dogs, such as the Golden Retriever. Active dogs that no longer have their dewclaws are prone to developing arthritis from the tension that would have been relieved by the dewclaw.

Why Are Dewclaws Removed In Dogs by Some People?

When people decide to remove their dogs’ dewclaws, they generally do so within the first few days of their dogs’ lives. Some people choose to have their dogs’ dewclaws removed because they are consistently catching on things or deformed. Other people have no choice but to remove their dog’s dewclaws because their dewclaws have been seriously injured.

Typically, people opt to remove the dewclaws of working, hunting, search, and rescue, as well as police dogs. These dogs are stripped of their dewclaws primarily because of their field of work. These dogs are required to venture into places where their dewclaws could quite easily be caught in vines, fences, and wires. 

If their dewclaws are caught while running at high speeds, they could incur severe paw trauma. These injuries could lead to severe infections.

Veterinarians often remove double dewclaws that are not firmly attached, or they remove hind dewclaws in an attempt to decrease the likelihood of incurring an injury. The probability of this ever being the case is quite slim. The removal of dewclaws is typically scheduled to co-occur as the spraying of your dog. 

Why Should You Not Remove Dewclaws In Your Golden Retriever?

If your Golden Retriever participates in agility sports, then the dewclaws are essential to them. The dewclaws can refine sharp turns, landing certain jumps, and ultimately mean the difference in scores that your dog can achieve. 

Even if your Golden Retriever is not a participant in agility sports, you should still refrain from removing your Golden Retriever’s dewclaws. Removing your Golden Retriever’s dewclaws means that you would be running the risk of your dog developing arthritis or carpal hyperextension injuries. 

Carpal hyperextension symptoms are instability of your dog’s joints, swelling of your Golden Retriever’s forelimb, and limping. Carpal hyperextension can be treated by fusing the carpus. This surgery procedure is to place a steel locking plate in your Golden Retriever’s forelimb to span the wrist joint. The rehabilitation duration is usually twelve weeks.

The removal of your Golden Retriever’s dewclaw has become as controversial as declawing cats, cutting off dog ears and tails. Unless your veterinarian recommends it, you should not remove your dog’s dewclaws because you will be stripping them of functionality.

Here’s a very insightful video that I found, and I hope that it would also help you!

Why Is It Called Dewclaw?

According to Grammarist, the term ‘Dewclaw’ was first noticed in the 1570s, the exact meaning is unknown, but there are theories around it. The first theory states that the dewclaw never touches the ground, but it brushes the grass’s dew and hence called the dewclaw.

List Of Dog Breeds With Dewclaws

All dog breeds have dewclaws, but not all dogs have dewclaws on their hind paws and forepaws. Some have them on both, and some only have them on their forepaws. This list discloses ten dog breeds that have dewclaws:

  1. German Shepherd
  2. Great Dane
  3. English Bulldog
  4. Dalmatian
  5. Golden Retrievers
  6. Chihuahua
  7. Briard
  8. St. Bernard
  9. Catalan Sheepdogs
  10. American Pitbull

And more, now let’s move on to the FAQ section.


Do Golden Retrievers Have Double Dewclaws?

No, Golden Retrievers do not have double dewclaws. The Great Pyrenees breed is a dog breed that is known for having double dewclaws. The double dewclaw is a result of an inherited trait.

Do Golden Retrievers Have Front Dewclaws?

Yes, Golden Retrievers do have front dewclaws. The dewclaws on Golden Retrievers are found higher up the front paws. Although these claws are not connected to the other four paws, they should be cared for in the same manner. 

Dew paws should be cared for with even greater attention than the other four paws because they are not worn out by always contacting the ground. Dewclaws tend to grow longer and more quickly than the other claws. The nails on the dewclaw should be cut regularly to prevent them from latching on to things and possibly resulting in injuries to your Golden Retriever’s paw.

Do Golden Retrievers Have Rear Dewclaws?

No, Golden Retrievers do not have dewclaws on your hind paws. The Golden Retriever breed only has dewclaws on its front paws. 

Can I Perform The Dewclaw Removal Procedure At Home?

You should not attempt to remove your Golden Retrievers dewclaw at home. There are tendons attached to their dewclaws. Carelessly removing these dewclaws can cause your Golden Retriever’s a lot of pain, and it could result in health issues from infections. Even if the dewclaw looks to be very loosely attached, you should still not perform the procedure yourself.

There are quite a few complications that could be encountered while removing the dewclaw. The nail could regrow after removing the dewclaw.  You should go to your veterinarian, who will perform the procedure safely.

What Are The Costs Involved In The Surgical Removal Of The Dewclaws?

Different veterinarians charge different fees, but these are the most common costs that you could incur:

1.) Surgical fee
2.) Local anesthesia
3.) Bandaging fee
4.) Fees for any complications

How Should I Treat A Dewclaw Injury?

Dewclaw injuries are extremely painful to dogs and could easily lead to infections. To avoid hurting your dog even more, you should take your Golden Retriever to a veterinarian for proper treatment. 


Dewclaws are common in every dog breed. There are different dewclaw variations, such as double dewclaws and solely having dewclaws on the front paws. Regardless of the dewclaw variation, they are still essential to your Golden Retriever. 

These dewclaws should not be removed unless your veterinarian says otherwise; if you opt for removing the dewclaw without your veterinarian’s consent, you run the risk of exposing your dog to injuries that require expensive surgeries as treatment. 

You should regularly inspect and care for your Golden Retriever’s dewclaws to ensure that they are not getting too long and bothersome to your dog.

I hope you are quite clear with this query, ‘Do Golden Retrievers have dewclaws.’ If you have any thoughts, drop them in the comments, and if you enjoyed reading this guide, make sure you check the recommended reads!

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