Twice as nice

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.

Double rainbow

Double rainbow

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!

Double dewclaws

Double dewclaws

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!

95 thoughts on “Twice as nice

  1. I guess I never really put much thought into why your breed has the extra claws. I have met a few Great Pyrenese dogs who rear dew claws are not attached by bone and are just dangling by skin.

    • That’s interesting to hear, they would be more vulnerable to injury. The breed standard only really states that the dewclaws should be present, so I guess that some breeders don’t worry beyond that.

  2. Clowie, your breed is incredibly well prepared for life in the mountains. Lucky you to have mountains to climb! The double rainbow is glorious.

    • I love hiking in the mountains! I think my bipeds are quite envious sometimes about how easy I make it look to get up and down tricky sections.

  3. Love your Rainbow Clowie, wonder if there was a pot of treats at the end. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have one dew claw and it holds my bones and chew perfectly.. I would love to go mountain climbing with you ๐Ÿ™‚ See ya next week xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  4. Clowie you are the most exceptional mountain dog ever. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  5. What a stunning rainbow, Clowie! And that’s fascinating about your double dewclaws! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Those extra nails sound like they come in very handy for you, C. I’m kind of OK with the regular amount, so when I go to the groomer to get them trimmed every month, I am in and out of there in a flash. Well, not before I knock his glasses off by kissing him so much and slap him in the face a few times with my wagging tail.

    Love and licks and I hope those rainbows come to my house!

    • They are very useful, but the trimming gets a bit boring! They also trim the hair on my paws and that can get a bit ticklish, but it’s usually worth a treat or two – so that’s not so bad.

  7. I didn’t know this about your breed’s dew claws – very interesting. Also, I love the rainbows, and your very nice introduction to the topic.

  8. Double rainbows are so pretty. Hope you managed to find the pot of gold, or at least a pot of treats at the end of it:-) Thanks for sharing about your dewclaws – who knew!

  9. Hi Clowie! I’m wondering if my little extra toes might be dewclaws and if that might mean I’m part Pyrenean too??????????

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

    • Hi Sammy! You are an honorary Pyrenean! Some people do say that Pyreneans are part cat because of our tendency to only hear what we want to hear.

  10. My Kuvasz sis just has one on every leg but they are a nuisance as they do grow fast and they like to curl, so mom has to stay on top of them constantly.

    • Only one of mine curls and, luckily, that’s a pink one – so it’s easier to trim it to the limit than the black ones. It is surprising how fast they grow!

  11. Sounds like you’re perfectly engineered for life in the hills!
    (I keep telling mom I NEED more food,so I have a good layer of fat in case we ever start retrieving in ice water….)

    • I think I am pretty well adapted to my environment.
      My advice about the food is to keep trying. One of my cats is always asking for food and he occasionally gets an extra meal because he’s managed to convince the bipeds they must have forgotten to feed him!

      • I try that every day!
        Maybe in a few more years my person will be senile enough to believe me?

  12. Wow, great capture on that photo. Never saw a double rainbow. You must have the soul of a saint, St. Clowie! And, what an interesting education on dewclaws. We woof your site so much. Max & Bella

    • We took a few photos in quick succession and that one was the clearest. We didn’t really expect it to be successful – it was still pouring with rain! But it was so beautiful, it was worth a try.

  13. Clowie – you are very unique my friend and we love the rainbows xx

  14. Chancy and his cats

    Beautiful rainbows! That is very interesting about your dewclaws. Hugs and nose kisses

  15. You are a special grirl :o) a double rainbow means a double pot of gold, right?

  16. Wow! That’s very interesting! I had no idea! Sounds useful too!

  17. Love the rainbows, double is twice as nice!

    • Thank you, I think so!

      • Thank you for that information about your dewclaws. That was very interesting. I have never known such an interesting and educated dog as you Clowie. My Sam Cat said to tell you he has extra toes – one of those six toed cats like the bidped writer Ernest Hemmingway liked. The double rainbows are almost as beautiful as you!

        • Thank you, I’m glad it was interesting. I hope Sam Cat finds his extra toes as useful as I do! The rainbows were really bright and appeared very suddenly.

  18. The Mastiffs at the country both have double dewclaws, it looks funny, didn’t know they served any purpose, always assumed it was due to all the breeding and things like that.
    Double rainbow double gold pot, you just gotta kill 2 leprechauns.

    • We’re so used to seeing most dogs with a slim and smooth leg that the dewclaws do look surprising, especially on a dog with a short coat. Mine tend to disappear into the long feathery hair on my legs most of the time. They make it look as though my paws are much larger than they are.
      Leprechauns can be tricky, but I think I can manage!

  19. I think double dewclawed Clowie is even more beautiful that that double rainbow! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Seeing double today!! Thanks for the dewclaw info and for the lovely rainbow pic xx

Comments are closed.