One day in the week it was pouring hard with rain, the sun found a gap in the clouds and this is what we saw.
I started thinking about how unusual it is to see two rainbows at once and this reminded me that people are often surprised when they notice that I have double dewclaws. So I am going to answer the Frequently Barked Question: Why do Pyrenean Mountain Dogs (or Great Pyrenees) have double dewclaws on their hind legs?
These double dewclaws are much firmer and stronger than the dewclaws on most breeds of dog. We have some control of them and they are helpful on rough, mountainous terrain.
Most of the time these dewclaws are not in contact with the ground. The nails on them grow quite fast and need regular trimming. It is very unusual for a Pyrenean Mountain Dog to catch a dewclaw in something and rip it. If they do have a problem it is usually due to the nails not being trimmed frequently enough, sometimes the nails grow in a curve and can grow inwards if not kept in check.
I only have one dewclaw on each front leg, but they are quite adequate to keep this chew perfectly positioned! If you look carefully, you can see the double dewclaws on one of my rear legs – the nails are black.
Here’s a photograph from Wikipedia of double dewclaws on a dog with short hair – they’re easier to see!
The Pyrmont Kennel in New Zealand have an x-ray of a Pyrenean’s double dewclaws on their site, which shows that they are firmly attached and are extra toes.
I find mine very useful when I want to descend a steep slope quickly, especially if the surface is loose. I bend my back legs and spread my dewclaws and I have a much firmer footing. They also give me a firmer base when I need to jump and I use them to help me turn when I’m running.
The Briard and the Beauceron also have double dewclaws on their hind legs and some other breeds that originate in France may have them.
My dewclaws didn’t help me get the Internet time I need and deserve during the last week or so though! I appreciated your comments and I’m looking forward to catching up with you all again over the next few days.
See you next Wednesday!