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13 Dog Breeds With Fur Between Toes (Updated 2023)

Dog Breeds With Fur Between Toes

All dogs have fur between their toes. 

But there are those special breeds who have really hairy paws. 

Want to learn more about them?

Keep reading to discover:

  • 13 dog breeds with fur between toes.
  • The method for removing “hairy paws”.
  • 5 reasons why too much hair between toes is dangerous.
  • Precisely why you shouldn’t ignore it if your dog has a lot of fur between their toes.
  • And many, many more…

13 dog breeds with fur between toes

#1: Shi Tzu

This dog breed has ties to royalty. 

The Chinese bred Shi Tzus as companions for emperors and empresses. 

Their original jobs in olden times were:

  • Lapdogs. 
  • Palace watchdogs. 
  • Companion animals.

A Shi Tzu’s brown and white coat is plushy. And it often tends to grow long. 

This extends to their paws. The fur between a Shi Tzu’s toes grows long. 

This causes them discomfort as it takes away the traction from the paw pads. 

It’s why this breed is often seen at the groomer. 

#2: Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

The AKC describes as:

  • Happy.
  • Friendly.
  • Devoted.

Their origins lie in their work as Irish farm dogs. 

A Wheaten Terrier’s coat is soft and low-shedding. 

It’s also silky and wavy. With pale beige to gold colors, which is why they’re called “Wheaten” terriers. Their coats remind you of golden fields of wheat. 

This coat protects them from the elements. That’s why it often needs a lot of diligent grooming. 

A regular trimming schedule prevents their fur from matting. Especially in the area around their toes. 

Tangled hair can catch:

  • Mud. 
  • Pebbles.
  • “Velcro” seeds.

And this causes a lot of discomfort for the dog. 

#3: Golden Retriever

This breed is a popular family dog. 

Their first job was to retrieve the game shot by hunters. 

This makes them part of the working dog group. 

This means that they’re full of energy. But still loving and obedient to their family.

PetMD tells us that Lord Tweedmouth of Scotland originally bred this dog. He did it to improve on the retrievers of his time. 

He wanted to have a dog that could hunt alongside the game hunters. But also have the physical characteristics to survive in cold, cold Scotland.

His breeding experiment gave birth to dogs with a long, wavy coat. 

And it’s this coat that grants the Golden Retriever, hairy paws. 

It protects the dog’s feet from the cold. And at the same time, it allows them more traction over slippery spots. Especially during the snow season. 

Fast forward to today, the majority of Goldens don’t help their hoomans hunt game. 

Instead, they’re adored family dogs. 

This is why there’s no need for such hairy paws in this dog. 

#4: Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky Paw

Ah, the breed of Togo and Balto fame. 

If ever there was a poster dog for marathon runners, it’d be a Husky. 

They weren’t built for short sprints. But instead, their purpose was to carry heavy loads over long distances. 

They have a lot of endurance and stamina to do that. 

Interesting fact: RD says that Huskies can reach top speeds of 28 mph. And they can keep running all day at 10 – 12 mph.

As snow dogs, they also have a very heavy coat. 

It consists of 2 layers. An undercoat and guard hair. 

This is all over their body. Especially their paws. The extra hair is a natural protection from the cold.

But the AKC reminds dog parents to pay special attention to their paws. 

The extra hair there can lead to matting. So Huskies need a regular trim. 

They also shed a lot. When you blow-dry their fur, you’d have a tornado of Husky fur in the room.

You might also want to know: 27 Tips To Keep Your Husky Happy And Healthy (How-To Guide)

#5: Labrador Retriever

According to Hill’s, the Labrador was a dog bred to work in water hunting. 

They’d retrieve waterfowls, like ducks. 

And today, they’re still working dogs. 

They have jobs as:

  • Scent dogs.
  • Guide dogs. 
  • Performance dogs.
  • Hunting companions.
  • Search and rescue canines.

But they’re also popular as family dogs. 

They’re outgoing and friendly. 

Labs are also loyal and protective of their hoomans.

Their coat reflects their original job as water retrievers. 

Like Huskies, they have a double coat. 

This protected them from the cold waters. But it also guarantees that they’re heavy shedders.

During shedding season, dog parents need to pay special attention to their paws. 

This breed can have a lot of fur between their toes. And without proper grooming, it can matt. The old fur gets tangled in the new fur.  

#6: Chow Chow

This breed is also popular with families. 

But they do tend to have a special bond with one person. 

Chow Chows look like big fluffy teddy bears. Especially after a day at the groomers. 

This is because of the coat that they have. 

Aside from their distinctive fur, Chow Chows also have a:

  • Frowny face.
  • Blue-black tongue. 
  • Stilted way of walking. 

Vetstreet tells us that the breed originally had the job of:

  • Hunting. 
  • Herding.
  • Guard dog.
  • Pulling carts.

Chow Chows came from the northern region of China, where the weather is cold. 

Their furry coat kept them warm. And of course, gave them the hairy paws of a lion. 

#7: Finnish Lapphund

This is a herding dog from the cold Arctic Circle. Their job was to take care of…

Can you guess it? 


Yes, this pooch herds the family of Sven the Reindeer from Frozen.

Because of where the breed came from, they have a very bushy, double coat. 

From their paws to their tail, trust me. They have a LOT of hair. 

And during shedding season, they blow their coat. 

However, this trusty covering, also means that it can get easily matted. 

Dried mud and shedding hair can be an unfortunate combination. Especially around the paws. 

So dog parents have to pay attention to paw grooming with their Finnish Lapphund.

#8: Samoyed

Samoyed Paw

Literal walking clouds, Samoyeds are.

This always-smiling, people-loving breed is a gentle dog. 

They’re perfect for families with children. Because they’re such calm dogs. 

But don’t let its fluffiness fool you. EPI informs us that Samoyeds are an active breed. 

They need daily exercise. And they’re prone to boredom if left alone. 

And you know what they say about dogs and boredom?

It’s not a good combination. 

Without enough stimulation, they’re prone to endless barking and digging. 

This is because of their start as a breed. 

They’re reindeer herding dogs like the Finnish Lapphund.

Fun fact: Samoyeds today still have the character of the herding dog. They’ll even try to herd young children.

It’s also the reason for their very fluffy coat. Which extends down to their toes. 

Because of this, Samoyeds have furry paws. 

The hair that grows between their toes is an extra layer of protection. As the dogs run through the snow and bark at reindeer.

#9: Norwegian Elkhound

Just like their name implies, this breed’s original job was to help in elk hunting. 

Elkhounds are very independent. They can think for themselves. Especially when cornering an elk for the hunters to shoot.

And Hill’s states that they’re not just good hunting dogs, they’re:

  • Loyal.
  • Reliable.
  • Fearless.
  • Energetic.

However, this breed has a strong prey drive. 

So it’s not recommended for families with very young children. And those who have smaller dogs or small animals as pets. 

This breed has a heavy-duty double coat. And it sheds with the seasons. 

So there needs to be a lot of grooming during those times. 

Pay attention to their paws. As fur tends to grow between their toes. 

#10: German Shepherd

You often see them accompanying their policemen handlers. 

Or sniffing luggage at the airport.

They even work as disease-sniffing dogs. 

Interesting fact: Scientists have trained German Shepherds to detect the COVID-19 virus. 

It happened through a proof of concept study. This proves that the idea works in a real-life setting. 

The researchers used 3 dogs of different breeds:

  • Labrador. 
  • German Black. 
  • German Shepherd.

They trained the dogs to detect the virus through mucus samples from the nose. 

And the dogs could do it.

They had:

  • 86% sensitivity. 
  • 92.9% specificity.
  • 89.6% correct identification of positives. 
  • 90.3% correct identification of negatives.

However, the researchers said that the dogs could only work with a small number of people at a time. 

This also means that they will be useful in places where there’s a shortage of test kits.

These fearless and intelligent dogs are versatile. 

They can be working dogs. But they’re also great companion dogs for your family. 

PetMD says that this breed originated as sheepherders in Germany.  Hence, their name. 

Because of this, they have double coats that protect them from the elements. 

They shed all year long. This is why it’s a good idea to brush their coat every day. If you don’t want scads of dog hair on your clothes and furniture. 

Their long coat also needs a trim now and then. Especially in these areas:

  • Tail. 
  • Paws.
  • Underside/Belly.

You might also be interested in: 11 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Shave Your German Shepherd

#11: Alaskan Malamute

This breed has looks similar to Siberian Huskies. Only with heavier, denser coats. 

By nature, Mals are working dogs. They’re bred for pulling heavy sled loads. 

For Malamutes, it’s not about speed. It’s about stamina. 

The Harlingen Vet Clinic gives interesting information about this breed. 

Malamutes are the oldest Arctic sled dogs. They have roots reaching as far back as 4000 years ago. In the tents of an Inuit tribe, the Mahlemuts. 

Their coat is suitable for cold weather. It has the customary two layers. And it’s waterproof. 

But the downside is that they need a lot of serious grooming. 

Their long fur is prone to matting and hot spots. Especially in between the toes of their paws. 

If it’s not cleaned correctly, dirt and mud can stick to their hair. So this breed needs regular trimming of their bear paws.

#12: Irish Terrier

Irish Terrier Toes

This breed is famous for their fiery red coat. And their daredevil disposition. 

Did you know? In World War II the army used Irish Terriers as messengers and medic dogs. They saved many soldiers even in heavy gunfire.

PetMD says Irish terriers are:

  • Bold.
  • Curious.
  • Assertive. 
  • Independent.
  • Good-natured.

They have a lot of energy. And it’s best if they have daily exercise. So that they can behave properly when indoors. 

As terriers they love running around, chasing small animals. This is why they’re not right for homes with small animals as pets. 

This breed has a wiry coat that sits tight against its body. But their fur also has a tendency to grow a lot between their toes. 

And because of the nature of their coat, a lot of dirt and loose hair tends to get stuck. 

One dog parent on the Internet says that she often needs to trim the fur of her Irish Terrier. 

Especially on the paws and between the toes. Where the fur gets really long.

But there’s another reason why their paws need special attention…

Hereditary Hyperkeratosis

This is a condition where the skin on the paw pads gets dry. And it cracks. 

The cracks often resemble fur. This is why the condition’s also called hairy paw. 

According to this study, it’s a medical issue first recorded in Irish Terriers. 

The researchers isolated a mutation of the FAM83G gene. Which is the reason why some breeds are prone to this condition:

  • Boxers.
  • Labradors.
  • French Bulldogs.
  • English Bulldogs.
  • Golden Retrievers. 

It’s not contagious. But it can cause dogs to lose their grip. Especially on slippery floors. 

But with the guidance of a vet, dog parents can remove it at home. Just like this video:

#13: Boxers

This breed came from Germany in the 19th century. 

And they were originally hunting dogs. 

They’d hunt large animals. And sadly, for a time people had them in dog fights.

Today, they’re a fairly popular breed. 

According to the Countryside Vet Clinic, they’re lovable and goofy dogs. 

They’re great cuddle bugs. But they also have a lot of energy for fun and games. Perfect for those hoomans who like to do both. 

Boxers are also great family dogs. They get along well with other animals and kids.

The only downsides might be that they:

They’re also prone to hyperkeratosis. So their paws need extra special care. 

People also ask:

Are dogs supposed to have fur between their toes?

All dogs grow fur between their toes. And it’s normal. But there are breeds that have exceptionally furry paws. 

Like the:

  • Shi Tzu.
  • Samoyed
  • Chow Chow.
  • Golden Retriever. 
  • Alaskan Malamute.

This happens because they either have:

  • Long fur. 
  • Curly coats.
  • Thick coats.
  • Fur that just grows. 
  • Double coat layers.

If your dog has coats like these, it also means that they need to have regular grooming sessions. 


If you notice that your dog’s paw pads are dry. And they crack and splinter into hair-like structures. This might be hyperkeratosis. 

Schedule a checkup with your vet if your dog has this. 

Although it’s not contagious, it’s also a sign of these serious conditions:

  • Leishmaniasis.
  • Zinc deficiency.
  • Canine distemper.

Should you trim the fur between dogs’ toes?

You should trim the fur between dog’s toes. Especially if they get really hairy and long. Dogs can lose their grip on the floor if they have this. 

The hair covers their paw pads. So they lose traction. This is dangerous as dogs can slip while they’re running. 

They can sprain a muscle. Or worse, break a bone. 

Having long fur between their toes also makes it easier for things like mud to get stuck there. 

And this can get uncomfortable for dogs. Especially while they walk.

Read next: Can I Shave My Dog to Stop Shedding? 5 Reasons Why…