The Hare Foot

We don’t think we have a foot fetish, but we do put importance on dog feet because, for starters, it holds them up. It also helps them do the job for which their breed was created.

One foot type found in dogs is the “hare-like foot” which tends to have a long third digital bone. Breeds that have quick bursts of speed or bounding gait should have this kind of foot, and the best example of this is the Greyhound. Her semi-hare-like feet give her maximum leverage, and because they are well knuckled and compact, she gets better traction and requires less energy to lift them as she runs. As her weight shifts forward, the ball of her foot becomes a fulcrum and her pasterns (knees) and toes become a lever while thickly padded paws act as shock absorbers – – – and it all starts with her feet.

Flat feet can be hereditary in Greyhounds, or it can be due to a lack of exercise, but in 1972, a study of Greyhound feet conducted at the Purina Dog Care Center was reported in “Popular Dogs.” It found that Greyhounds raised on concrete runs developed flat feet whereas those raised on sand and clay developed normal feet. Once knuckles of the toes flattened out during a puppy’s teething period, not much could correct the problem. It seems like common sense now, but forty-four years ago, it was news.

“Diva”, oil on canvas by Anthony Valentino Robinson
His work is available here:

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