Cat Feet on a Dog (a quiz)

“Your mother wears combat boots!”

“Oh yeah? Well your dog has feet like a cat.”

Insults aren’t what they used to be. In the 21st century, a lot of moms do wear combat boots, and several dog breeds do have cat feet. Dog with “cat feet” have paws that are round, compact and tight. They have a short third digital bone, and their toes are arched.  So what, you ask?

Such a paw construction gives a dog a firm base with maximum support while making it harder for foreign objects to penetrate the feet. Cat paws provide decent traction and give a dog a better grip when walking on wet, slick surfaces. Cat feet require less energy from the dog to lift his feet, and that increases the dog’s endurance especially helpful for long-distance trotting. Not surprisingly, many breeds that work have cat feet, or cat-like feet, and we found twenty-three breed standards that call for them. Can you name the twenty-three breeds?  The answers appear below a picture of dog feet we found on Pinterest that we believe came from a blog written by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor:

feet,cat feet,paws,
Are you ready for the answers?

From the Doberman Pinscher standard: “Feet well arched, compact, and catlike, turning neither in nor out.”

From the Akita standard: “Feet – Cat feet, well knuckled up with thick pads.”

From the Giant Schnauzer: “The toes are well closed and arched like cat feet;”

From the Standard Schnauzer standard: “Feet small and compact, round with thick pads and strong black nails. The toes are well closed and arched (cat’s paws) and pointing straight ahead.”

From the Miniature Bull Terrier standard: “Feet: The feet are round and compact with well arched toes like a cat;”

From the Harrier standard: “Feet are round and catlike;”

The Australian Terrier standard reads, “Small, clean, catlike; toes arched and compact, nicely padded turning neither inward nor outward.”

In this standard: “The Tibetan Mastiff stands well up on the pasterns, with strong, tight, cat feet, giving an alert appearance;”

From the Leonberger standard: “Feet: Turn neither in nor out, rounded, tight, toes well arched (cat foot);”

From the Redbone Coonhound standard: “Feet – Cat-paw type, compact, well padded;”

From the Manchester Terrier standard: “The hind feet are shaped like those of a cat with thick pads and jet black nails;”

Treeing Walker Coonhound: “Feet – thick pads, well arched toes giving a ‘cat foot’ appearance.’

In the Bichon Frise: “The feet are tight and round, resembling those of a cat;”

From the Chow Chow standard: “Feet round, compact, catlike, standing well upon the thick toe pads;”

From the Welsh Terrier standard: “The feet are small, round, and catlike:”

In the German Pinscher standard: “The toes are well closed and arched like cat feet;”

From the Miniature Schnauzer standard” Feet short and round (cat feet) with thick, black pads.”

The Keeshond standard: “The feet should be compact, well rounded, cat-like;”

Lhasa Apso: “Feet: Well feathered, should be round and catlike, with good pads;”

From the Gordon Setter standard: “Feet catlike in shape.”

In the Silky Terrier standard: “Feet small, catlike, round, compact;”

English Cocker: “Feet- Proportionate in size to the legs, firm, round and catlike;”

In the Wirehaired Viszla: “The feet are cat-like, but slightly oval and always parallel.”

Some breed standards call for the foot to be somewhere in the middle. In the Brittany standard: “An ideal foot is halfway between the hare and the cat foot,” while in the Pug standard, ” the feet [should be] “neither so long as the foot of the hare, nor so round as that of the cat;”

In other breeds, cat feet are decidedly not desired because such feet can lack the leverage needed to change direction on a dime, or quickly change gait. In the Sheltie, Pointer, and Tibetan Spaniel breed standards, for example, cat feet are considered a fault, and written in the Pharaoh Hound standard is, “feet [are] neither cat nor hare but strong. The Saluki’s feet are “…of moderate length, toes long and well arched, not splayed out, but at the same time not cat-footed.”

Image: Doberman Pinscher by DJ Rogers – k9artgallery

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