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. Double rainbows are a rare treat, aren’t they? And it’s always interesting to learn more about you and your breed. I never knew what those dew claws were for!

    • I always like to see a rainbow, but a double is extra special. I was really pleased to get a photo of it, sometimes they disappear so quickly.

  2. Very interesting indeed – lucky you for the double rainbows! My sister Daisy has her dew claws and they always forget to clip them! WOOF!

  3. Pic of Chewy brightens up my day! Double rainbows are third because my dog wakes me up every day with a big smile!!

  4. Awesome tidbit of info and also great double rainbow! Did you do your own version of the double rainbow freakout for youtube?! πŸ™‚ Happy WW!

    • I had to look that up – it’s hilarious! I won’t be doing one – there’s no way I could compete with that!

  5. I always feel so lucky to see double rainbows and I did not know that you had double dew claws, Clowie. Thanks for sharing. Also, thank you for being super sweet- I have nominated you for a Super Sweet Blogging Award! Here are the details:

  6. Please forgive my ignorance we have a Great Pyrenees named Brazos for our neighbor our the two breeds related? It is amazing how nature designs each of its inhabitants with the tools to adapt to their environment.

    • I’m really pleased you asked the question. I’ve amended the post slightly to include both names. We’re Pyrenean Mountain Dogs on this side of the Atlantic and Great Pyrenees on your side. I think there are small differences in interpretation of the breed standard, probably only of interest to breed fanatics. The general appearance, temperament and working capabilities are the same. Say hi to Brazos for me!

  7. This is very interesting. I never thought about why some breeds might have dewclaws on the rear legs and others don’t.

  8. riverfrontcats

    Wow! Double rainbow! That’s amazing. Something you don’t see everyday. You were so lucky to be in the right moment and the right time to take that picture.

  9. That is great info. WE did not know you had double dew claws and that they are so useful.
    That is a gorgeous pair of rainbows.

  10. I never knew that and they seem really handy. My short little beagle legs would sure like something like that especially when I like pretend I’m a mountain goat and climb.

    • I find them useful. I like to pretend I’m a mountain goat and clamber on rocks, it must be harder with short legs! We’re occasionally lucky enough to see wild mountain goats.

  11. I had no idea that you had dewclaws, interesting.

  12. snoopys@snoopysdogblog

    I’d never heard of double dew claws before – You learn something new every day! πŸ™‚

    I sure liked that double rainbow, double the beauty!

    Hope you’re having a fun day πŸ™‚

    Your pal Snoopy πŸ™‚

    • Hi Snoopy! It is lovely to see a double rainbow. It was still pouring with rain, we were really pleased the photo worked.

  13. That’s quite interesting!

  14. A double rainbow – that has to be some kind of really good luck. The double dew claws make a lot of sense for dogs such as yourself. Very interesting.

    • I’m still searching for the pots of treats that I was hoping to find! I think all the luck was used up in the photo actually working in the pouring rain!

  15. BE proud of your double dew claws, Clowie!

  16. Absolutely fascinating! I had no idea any dogs had double dew claws! And they make perfect sense. Love that shot of the double rainbow πŸ™‚

  17. I never get tired of seeing rainbows in the sky, they’re just such a treat. I didn’t know that about your dew claws, handy for where you live and probably exactly why you have them.

  18. Clowie, that was fascinating! We had no idea dew claws served any purpose. And you can control them too! Thanks for sharing, its nice when you learn something unexpectedly.

  19. Hi Clowie! I have nominated you for a Super Sweet Blogger award. You can go to my blogsite to get all the particulars. Congratulations!

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