Do Beagles Have Dew Claws?

By John Martin - September 18, 2022

Beagle next to flowers showing paws

Some beagles come with dew claws. It’s a fascinating look, but you need to know what their purpose is and whether to keep them or remove them.

In this piece, we will tell you all that and a little more too. It’s a fascinating story of the evolution of dogs.

What Are Dew Claws?

If you didn’t know it already, dew claws are another name for the fifth thumb that is just above your little canine’s paw. It looks like a claw and is above your dog’s foot.

More often than not, this thumb does not even make contact with the ground. That’s because it’s not a full thumb but a little toenail of sorts that is present on their foot.

Honestly, it really isn’t of any use to the dogs but it is present anyway.

The reason behind this is simple: evolution. Like the tailbone in humans, dogs, including beagles, have dew claws because ages ago, the ancestors of dogs were actually like cats and were known to climb trees.

So, having the fifth claw helped them have a better grip when they would climb trees. Over time, dogs evolved into beings that couldn’t climb trees but the claws remained.

So, today, they are just evidence of the fact that dogs have ancestors that used to climb trees.

As mentioned before, it’s like tailbones in humans. We don’t need them but they are proof that apes, our ancestors, used to have tails.

Typically, dewclaws are present on the front paws only. But as rare as it is, time and again, you will see some beagles that have dew claws on all four paws.

This is based on their bloodlines. And in those cases, the dew claws in the back might be really big.

That’s not a good thing because they might lead to injuries more than the smaller ones in the front.

In some countries and some breeds, registry associations demand that dogs not have dew claws if they are to qualify in shows or take part in performance classes. In the US, many prefer their beagles to not have dew claws because they may cause injuries.

The removing of these dew claws happens when the beagle is still a puppy. At the time, the dew claws do not yet have a bone that connects them to the dog’s leg.

When the connection is just through the skin, it is easier to remove it. Most of the time dew claws don’t touch the surface of the ground.

But depending on their size, that can happen when the dog is running. That’s what increases the likelihood of injuries and you do not want that.

Pros of Removing Dew Claws

There are quite a few advantages to removing dew claws from your dog’s paw, especially when they are still puppies.

  • This usually happens during the first visit to the vet soon after the puppy is born. So it is also a good opportunity for the vet to take a good look at the pup.
  • Dew claws have the possibility of causing injuries if they touch the ground. And since they don’t actually wear off, it is a good move to get them removed. If you let them grow too long, they have the ability to curl and that will cause problems too.
  • One of the other ways in which the dog can get injured because of dew claws is if the claw gets to be too long and starts getting stuck in grass or weeds and carpets in the house. This not only causes injuries that are painful, but the act of getting caught itself will be very painful for your canine.
  • It might lead to injuries that will need you to rush to the vet, along with other injuries down the road.
  • And let’s not forget the fact that your beloved pet can also accidentally scratch you with it and cause problems.

Also Read: 18 Beautiful Beagle Colors and Markings with Pictures

The Argument Against Declawing Your Dog

Declawing can be a problem that can lead to infections in the bed of the nails for your dog. So, for starters, you want to be sure that you are getting the right people to do it.

Those infections can lead to serious problems that can cause a lot of pain to your canine. But the good news is that this is not a common problem among dogs.

If you notice that your furry friend is constantly licking their paws or is having trouble walking around, you should see if they have an infection. You will know that there is a problem if the nails are red or swollen.

The nail’s color is also going to be unusual if there is an infection. And it should be treated.

These infections can be fungal or bacterial and you should find out the root of the problem. Abnormalities in the nails can lead to trauma because of the pain or tumors or even cancer among dogs.

But they could also be the result of extreme growth in your dog’s growth hormones or a disorder in the dog’s immune system. So you need to get them checked by the vet.

Your vet will go for a physical check of the nail beds, which may also include a skin scraping test. This will be used to determine if the condition is fungal or bacterial.

In severe cases, your vet might also go for a biopsy which will tell them how bad the infection is and what needs to be done to fix it.

Also Read: Are Beagles Good Swimmers?

Wrapping Up

Sometimes breeders don’t remove the dew claws because they don’t want to spend money. So, you need to check this beforehand.

In general, beagles do come with two or four dew claws and removing them is recommended.

If you don’t do that, your beagle might end up with injuries.

It is okay to remove them because there is no practical use for dew claws in beagles and other dog breeds as well. They are only part of the dog’s anatomy because their ancestors used to climb trees and dew claws provided them with a better grip.