Rant - why can't greyhound breeders remove dew claws!

{97702}

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Prompted by the small white greyhound trying to remove one of her dew claws when running through the woods yesterday - she is very stoical so we only noticed when there were blood stains all over the dog bed when we got home! Luckily it isn't bad enough to need the dew claw removing, but for anyone who thinks they should be left on - please don't :(
 

Alec Swan

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Dew claws are left in place because it's felt that they aid a dog, when it's turning onto it's quarry. Dew claws are a 'turning aid' and on coursing or racing dogs should be left in place. When they tear or are even completely removed, apart from an apparently disproportionate amount of blood(!), the effects are generally very short lived.

Not always, but generally, bitches don't have rear dew claws, and there's a reason for that, they tend not to need them as dogs do.

Alec.
 

Dry Rot

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Personally, I would not remove dew claws from a "normal" dog. I regard greyhounds as having an extreme shape designed for speed, so not standard or normal conformation in my opinion. (I suppose it could be argued that greyhounds are the normal ones and all other breeds are odd!:D).

Dogs use front dew claws in grooming and when running, especially up steep inclines, as Alec has pointed out. If they were superfluous, why do wild canids have them?

I think asking why greyhounds are so thinned skinned could also be a legitimate question! Most of the lurchers I have owned in the past have torn themselves by doing nothing more than LOOKING at a barbed wire fence! If anyone wants suturing, I am an expert. Or at least, very very experienced!
 

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Well we must agree to differ then - I would never, ever leave dew claws on any breed, and this is just one example of why, Incidentally, having had dogs all my life, I have never seen a dog using it's dew claws for grooming :)

Fortunately (and this will be famous last words no doubt) I rarely have had problems with greyhounds being thin skinned, mine go through the woods on a daily basis but so far have avoided ripping themselves....until now perhaps..... :D
 

splashgirl45

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my previous lurcher tore her dew claws so often and so severely I had them removed when she was about 2. I never regretted it and luckily my current dogs do not have them, I assume they were removed as pups.
 

mynutmeg

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My collie has her front dew claws and never had any bother with the front ones however her breeder hadn't properly nipped her back ones and while she had one completely gone the other was a sort of half dew claw. I planned to have it removed when she was spayed but she ripped it herself before then and ended up needing a surgery to have it removed.
 

Zero00000

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After watching my StaffxLab (we think) tear his dew claws off continuously until they stopped growing back (and vet was reluctant to remove) I do sympathise with you OP,

However my staffs have never had an issue with them, other than digging in when they jump up, OUCH!
 

MurphysMinder

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Are we talking about front or back dew claws? Front dew claws are always left on GSDs and (fingers crossed) I have never had a problem with them. Back dew claws if present are removed. Years ago there were usually a couple of pups in a litter that had back ones, but in the last 20 years or so I have never seen one, so would seem they are gradually disappearing in the breed.
 

Dry Rot

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Lévrier;12439583 said:
Well we must agree to differ then - I would never, ever leave dew claws on any breed, and this is just one example of why, Incidentally, having had dogs all my life, I have never seen a dog using it's dew claws for grooming :)

Fortunately (and this will be famous last words no doubt) I rarely have had problems with greyhounds being thin skinned, mine go through the woods on a daily basis but so far have avoided ripping themselves....until now perhaps..... :D

You've never seen a dog wipe its face with a paw? Amazing!

Presumably your dogs are not working dogs.

And I'll bet I have been around more dogs and for longer than most on this forum! In that time, I may have seen two or three dogs with damaged dew claws.
 

Leo Walker

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Mine are working bred but dont technically work, but they do get "worked" hard including lure racing etc. I, touch wood, havent had a dew claw issue, and anyone who has seen a sight hound at full speed doing a turn can see why they might need them :) Mind scratch their faces with them too :)

And despite being mainly whippet lurchers they are hard as nails! My boy is terrible for launching himself into impenetrable bramble thickets after interesting things! His coat is very thin and silky smooth. I just check him after every walk and remove thorns etc. Hes a black dog but he has a fair speckling of white due to all the thorns I've removed! But they never seem to bother him and he suffers no lasting damage other than his mirror finish coat getting the odd white hair :)

I find mind hard as nails as a rule, although they are definitely drama queens! A little scuff needs lots of attention, a full 360 fall doesnt bother them at all :D
 

Alec Swan

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.....

I find mind hard as nails as a rule, although they are definitely drama queens! A little scuff needs lots of attention, a full 360 fall doesnt bother them at all :D

It never fails to surprise me that full rotational falls, with occasionally more than one complete cartwheel, and they're up and barely break their stride; grab one by the scruff, even for safety's sake, and the screaming has to be heard to be believed!!

Doubtless you will also have noticed when your dogs have been flat out, and when they return there's often grass, or at least debris, hooked into the dew claws. All coursing dogs should have their front claws left in place, unless of course they never have their freedom, but then it doesn't really matter anyway!

The grey flecking is an interesting observation, and all so often it's only dark dogs, black or blue which seem to grey-out from their myriad cuts.

Alec.
 

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You've never seen a dog wipe its face with a paw? Amazing!

Presumably your dogs are not working dogs.

And I'll bet I have been around more dogs and for longer than most on this forum! In that time, I may have seen two or three dogs with damaged dew claws.

I count myself fortunate that I am clearly younger than you then - and no, I haven't seen any dog wipe its face with a dew claw, because I have always known breeders who have had the common sense to remove them :)

And I have seen four dogs with damaged dew claws in the past ten years, including my old lurcher who ripped out a front dew claw 3 times before it stopped growing back. They are certainly not working dogs, they are rescue dogs who are not allowed to work - why, does that make a difference? Because I certainly don't think so, they are not soft pet dogs thats for sure.....
 

Fides

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Alec ha ha yeah mine always come back with grass stuck in them. And you're right - they're wimpy dogs!
 

Leo Walker

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Actually Alec your right! I'd just never put 2 + 2 together! They get clumps of grass and soil under there!

My young dog once screamed blue murder at the top of the stairs, I thought he was dying! I went running up and he seemed fine, but refused to walk. On closer examination he had a tiny scab behind one knee that was pulling a tiny bit when he flexed his leg. I picked the scab off and he was ok. Yet I've known him hit the ground with a hideous and ominous thud at full speed and get up and carry on! The day they were chasing a deer and hit each other mid air over barbed wire I assumed they were ok, until I got home and had to dress all the cuts!

Both of mine are black with speckles. I've never had another colour to compare, but they def seem to go white at the slightest thing. The thorns I pull out barely puncture the skin, theres never any blood. But they scar white everytime!
 

Leo Walker

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Lévrier;12440013 said:
I count myself fortunate that I am clearly younger than you then - and no, I haven't seen any dog wipe its face with a dew claw, because I have always known breeders who have had the common sense to remove them :)

Really?? These 2 are my first foray into sighthounds but they do it ALL the time! Until this post I just thought all dogs would do it if they could :D Mine do it a lot! Not every day that I notice but several times a month that I witness. I've only ever registered it as its such a careful and graceful movement that it catches my eye :)
 

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Really?? These 2 are my first foray into sighthounds but they do it ALL the time! Until this post I just thought all dogs would do it if they could :D Mine do it a lot! Not every day that I notice but several times a month that I witness. I've only ever registered it as its such a careful and graceful movement that it catches my eye :)

Gosh I clearly have had the worlds most unusual sight hounds for the past 27 years then - nope none of them do it!
 

Leo Walker

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Thinking about it, the last spaniel I had did it as well, but with less grace :D I think I've only noticed as its such a careful and obvious thing for them to do. Surely my dogs cant be that unusual? :D Actually maybe they are? My current dog in particular is bloody amazing! and is credited with me being able to walk after a hideous accident. He pretty special to me, and as such I am aware of his every breath! So its possible that I noticed it with him and then noticed it and remembered it in others?? I know if he takes more breaths per minute than usual, never mind anything else :D
 

2Greys

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Seems wrong to chop bits off dogs because they may get injured in future.

My greyhounds & lurcher all have dew claws still & so far not had any issues with them, think on some dogs they stick out or bit flappy so are more likely to catch. My dogs do also use them to scratch their heads and like an extra grip on chews. My greyhounds were track bred so maybe breeders expected them to run on decent surface & not particularly rough ground/cover.

I have read an article in the past about agility dogs were it was suggested those minus dew claws were more suseptible to (i think) carpal injury instead.

There's a brindle greyhound we see on walks that has white speckled coat, that only seen before on the blacks/blues.
 

Dry Rot

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Lévrier;12440037 said:
Gosh I clearly have had the worlds most unusual sight hounds for the past 27 years then - nope none of them do it!

You'll learn a lot about dogs in the next 30 years! :D The first 27 is just the apprenticeship.

If dew claws are of no use to a dog, why is it most wild canids have them? If they are such a hindrance, they must all be heading for extinction. (That's assuming you accept Darwin's theory of evolution, of course).

This reminds me of the post by the young vet who declared that dog saliva was full of nasty bacteria and should never be allowed near a wound. So it might be, but it is also a very good antiseptic. If it wasn't, an awful lot of animals that lick their wounds would have become extinct years ago. A lot of these questions can be answered with simple logic. A dog's paws are not very well designed for wiping their faces, which explains why dew claws are located where they are (and why the hairs on a dogs face lie as they do), on the side of the paw. They are also useful when climbing up steep inclines and gripping, as has been mentioned. Dog breeding has produced many breeds that are far removed from a natural shape so it isn't so unreasonable that some natural adaptations are no longer useful (tails on spaniels?). But personally I would not remove dew claws.

My lurchers used to get torn on barbed wire regularly when chasing rabbits and hares. But then maybe you don't have much barbed wire in that wood of yours? Or perhaps they don't hunt?
 
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MurphysMinder

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You'll learn a lot about dogs in the next 30 years! :D The first 27 is just the apprenticeship.


Well on those figures I am fully time served and should probably have received my gold watch a good few years ago, but you never stop learning do you! I think it's important to always be open to new ideas and approaches whether it is to training, feeding , breeding or whatever.
 

Dry Rot

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Well on those figures I am fully time served and should probably have received my gold watch a good few years ago, but you never stop learning do you! I think it's important to always be open to new ideas and approaches whether it is to training, feeding , breeding or whatever.

"As You Like It' -- Act 1, scene 5. Or is it Act 5, scene 1? :D
 

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I knew I should have paid more attention in English lessons, the best I can remember is "Out, damned spot, out!", and that is only because it made me think of a naughty dog. :)
 

Irishdan

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Totally agree OP! Have had a good many lurchers return from a chase with blood dripping from torn dew claws over the years. Some more susceptible than others and possibly the ground they are running has another bearing. Any Salukis bred by us will always have dewclaws removed:)
 

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My lurchers race each other over fairly rough ground every day and have occasionally managed to chase what they shouldn't but the only bits that have come back damaged are their stopper pads after a hectic chase across a gravel track. They use their dew claws to anchor bones they are chewing and they regularly wipe their faces with the inside of their front paws too. If a dog is prone to damaging the dew claws it is not difficult to tape them with vet wrap. And do cut off the hook which develops at the end of them.
 

Alec Swan

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Probably an irrelevance, but for all the breeds and types of dogs which I've owned, and over the last 50 odd years(±!), were I only allowed to have one type, it would be the dog which is bred to course. I still have the ambition, that I will one day take a greyhound bitch puppy, at weaning, keep it in the house, and bring it up, 'as a dog', rather than as a commercial racing animal. I still think that she'd be fine.

Salukis, they really aren't my dogs (my apologies to those who keep them!).

Afghans, not just wooly coats, but brains to match, mostly.

Deerhounds, but they'd be a subject for another thread!

Cross bred coursing dogs? To watch such a dog, at full tilt, either after a hare, or simply in play, with another, then there are few creatures which are quite so lithe and graceful and elegant, or such power houses. Rather like the Thoroughbred, they can go from a standstill, to flat out, in four strides!!

Finally of course, we can go back to the greyhound. I wonder if anyone has any ideas why as a breed, they seem to almost be free of inherited problems. Why do those who keep greyhounds, those on here anyway, rarely mention Hip Dysplasia? Rarely? If ever would be closer to the truth.

Has anyone ever had a greyhound with suspect elbows? Has anyone ever seen a greyhound with a shot jaw?

There are those, it's true, who in old age will be subject to spinal stiffening, but then they'll mostly be those dogs which have been re-homed as pets , invariably neutered, and from the viewpoint of safety, are never allowed, again, to gallop, or quite simply wear and tear.

As a breed, and from the health perspective, they are mostly problem free. Any thoughts, anyone, as to why?

Alec.
 

Leo Walker

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A friend of mine kept a grey as a pet and did pretty well racing with him, so it can be done. She really put the work in keeping him fit though.

Greyhounds arent bred as pet dogs try and find a greyhound puppy as a pet, its not easy! So therefore only sound dogs with decent performance records are bred from maybe? They arent bred for looks, they are bred for performance. I cant imagine anything with problems lasts very long!
 

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