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As you watch your dog stand next to you or walk around, you can’t help but notice that her feet are not as straight as those of other dogs. Instead, the paws point outwards.
As a loving and responsible pet owner, you get searching to know if your doggie is okay.
Well, several things lead to turned-out paws. The common ones include:
- Shape of the Body: Breeds with short legs and long backs like Dachshunds are more predisposed to turned out feet because their body shapes interfere with their postures, making them to splay out their front feet.
- Genetic Faults: The bones on the lower front leg of some breeds grow unevenly, making the leg to twist a bit. Some dog breeds are also born with considerably weak pasterns (section between a dog’s paw and his lower end of radius bone—closest to his paw), which interfere with their overall gait.
- Injuries: Trauma caused by falls, slips, improper jumps, poor exercise routines, and accidents may disrupt normal bone development, making the leg to grow malformed or twisted.
- Joint Issues: Joint problems like Elbow Dysplasia, Carpal Valgus, Medial Patellar Luxation, Arthritis and other joint instability issues may alter a dog’s posture, making his feet appear turned out.
- Overgrown Nails: Claws that are too long can make it a bit difficult for a dog to walk properly on his toes. A dog may try to shift his leg to the side, for instance, in order to accommodate the overgrown nail. Over time, this may result in his feet being turned out.
- Paw Deformities: These may cause a dog to have malfunctioning toes on his foot. Such a dog may need to twist his feet out a bit to find a better posture.
- Obesity: In breeds that are predisposed to turned out feet (we’ll highlight them shortly), adding extra weight may exacerbate the condition.
- Nutrient Deficiencies: A dog that isn’t getting the right nutrients from his food may have weak bones, making him susceptible to turned out feet.
Dog Breeds with the Highest Disposition for Turned Out Feet
As aforementioned, certain dog breeds have the highest disposition for having feet that point outwards (than others).
Because we understand that every pet owner needs to pick any issues relating to their pup’s health as soon as possible, we have listed 12 of the leading ones.
Various issues affect different dog breeds in the course of their lives. So, it doesn’t mean that dog breeds that aren’t included in our list are ‘safe’ for turned-out feet condition.
And while turned-out feet can be a cause of concern, it is important to note that most dogs can live happy and healthy lives with the condition.
A large majority of dachshunds have turned out paws of sorts. It has actually become breed standard. As long as the paws are only slightly turned out, your dog can take part in the show ring.
There are many reasons this breed suffers from turned-out paws. These include overweight problems, nutrient deficiencies, genetics, Carpal Valgus, medial patellar luxation, and elbow dysplasia among others.
While it is okay for a dachshund to have slightly turned-out paws, you should be worried if they are too turned out. It may indicate disease or injury.
Either way, it is painful and uncomfortable for the poor animal. If not attended to, it may bring health problems down the line.
2. Basset Hound
When you look at a basset hound standing still, you will notice that her paws face outwards.
Her short stature combined with wide shoulders and a long body needs a special kind of balancing act. That’s where the turned-out feet come in.
As the dog stands, walks, or tracks prey, the feet turn out to give her balance.
Typically, all basset hounds have some type of turned-out feet. For others such as those that are overweight and obese, the phenomenon is much more pronounced.
Things like untrimmed nails and genetics increase the severity of the situation.
Related Post: Is a Basset Hound Chihuahua Mix Right for You?
If you own an English bulldog or the standard bulldog, you are a witness to the breed’s tendency to have turned out feet. The biggest reason for this is the size of the doggie and her closeness to the ground.
Bulldogs are small, long, and so close to the floor. That combo always needs a mechanism of balancing and supporting the dog.
By pointing her paws in an outward direction, a bulldog is essentially increasing her center of gravity thus balancing her body better.
The breed also has a heavy, stocky body supported by tiny legs. Without being deliberate about supporting herself, she will not be able to have balance.
The corgi, or the royalty dog, is also among the top dog breeds that are predisposed to having turned out paws. Just look at her body and you will know why.
Like the basset hound and the dachshund, the corgi is a small dog with a long body. While that may appear cute to you, it certainly presents balance challenges. To counter that, the breed will turn her paws out.
Corgis have figured a way to move their little stocky bodies that stand on nothing but four tiny legs.
The pug is one of America’s favorite dogs. How can you not love a laid-back, small, easy-to-maintain, and affectionate doggie?
Whether you have kids or not, live in an apartment or a big country home, have other pets or not, the pug will be content.
Unfortunately, as a small long dog, she has to turn her paws out lest she topples over as she walks.
Like the aforementioned breeds, the pug has a relatively heavy body and tiny shortened legs.
The breed possesses the dwarfism gene that causes the bone of the feet to be shortened.
When you see your pug turning her paws out in a standing or walking position, don’t be alarmed.
6. Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Nicknamed the “gentle terrier”, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier dog is reserved and calm.
However, she still retains the hunting instinct and tenacity of the terrier family.
The breed is easy-going, happy, affectionate, and just content to be with her owners.
Her likeliness to turn her paws out arises from the fact that she’s so low on the ground. She’s technically a dwarf dog breed with a long body and shortened legs.
Those that are obese will certainly have turned out feet to balance things out.
7. Skye Terrier
The Skye terrier is a small, beautiful dog with the face of a true canine angel. Her sweet temperament makes her even more adorable.
The breed can have members with feet pointing in the outward direction.
Some are born this way and others develop it over time because of joint issues, obesity, and overgrown nails.
8. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is a remarkable little dog breed. She has found love in the hearts of many pet lovers.
As an ideal lapdog, the members of the breed will be happy to run to your lap and enjoy being cuddled and given a head rub.
They are happy, playful, cute, and happy-making them ideal family dogs.
Some have turned out feet as a result of many factors including the shape of the dog.
Shih Tzus are long, shorter in the neck, and low to the ground.
Others turn their feet out because they are overweight or have overgrown nails that are too uncomfortable to stay in a straight position.
It is hard to notice the distinct feature of tuned-out paws among Pomeranians but if you are keen, you will see them.
It doesn’t happen to all dogs in the breed but many of them are created this way.
Long nails and obesity can change the direction of the paws among those with straight feet.
If yours suddenly develops turned-out paws, you may want to find out what caused it and see if you can rectify the issue.
If not, your dog can suffer joint problems somewhere in her life.
Referred to as a big dog in a small package, the Chihuahua is a dog with a mammoth personality. She can charge a bullmastiff without a care in the world—her body size notwithstanding.
Her high-energy character and readiness to learn make her absolutely charming.
While not all Chis are born with turned-out feet, some of them do have them.
For the most part, genetics play a role in their physical characteristics. For others, obesity and injuries are to blame.
11. Lhasa Apso
The Lhasa Apso resembles the Shih Tzu in more ways than one. Her body is long, her muzzle square, and her body so low that it almost touches the ground just like that of the Shih Tzu.
Naturally, this would present balance problems especially if the dog is obese or overweight. The solution is to increase the COG by turning the paws out.
Not all Lhasa Apsos have feet that face outward but it is not uncommon to come across one or two who do.
12. English Cocker Spaniel
Curious, alert, eager to work, active… these are some of the reasons the English cocker spaniel is a popular breed.
This dog will love you to her death bed, hunt alongside you if you want, and protect you fiercely.
As she walks and stands, you may notice the paws slightly turning out. This is true for obese dogs. Obesity is one of the biggest issues of English spaniel cockers.
With increased body weight, the COG changes and causes the dog to assume the turned-out foot’s posture to remain steady and balanced.
Dog breeds with turned-out feet look abnormal to the average pet parent.
Sure, you have a reason to worry if the dog develops the paws out of the blue.
However, if she came out of her mother’s womb looking that way, there’s no need to worry.
Speak to the vet about it and simply enjoy the blessing of having a pet.
Sable M. is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.