Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Doberman: Feet

Yup, feet.

See, conformation standards cover everything, from the head to the tippy toes.

Dobermans are supposed to have cat feet, according to the AKC standard, meaning "well arched, compact...turning neither in nor out." Why, what did you think it meant?

Elka's feet aren't perfect Doberman feet, but they are pretty good, in my fond and amateur opinion. She doesn't have hare or rabbit feet like some breeds, where the center toes are longer than the side, or splayed toes. Her nails could use some work, but then, so could mine.

So, what's the cat food advantage? Why is it the preferred foot for the Doberman? According to, the compact foot "require[s] less energy to lift, allowing the dog to conserve energy and increase his endurance in the field." That's as good a reason as any, I guess! It makes sense in the context of working and endurance, going along with the intent for the Doberman to be a medium sized breed as well. Other breeds with cat feet include Bull Terriers (whose heads I love, by the by) and Akitas.

Unlike some breeds, the Doberman (or at least not Elka) doesn't have a lot lot of hair growth between the toes. Hair like this was recently a problem for one of our friends! (Was it Bailey? I can't find the post, but I remember it. Geeze.)

I do confess, Doberman paws have rather spoiled me for others. I see some pictures of dogs (like Neapolitan Mastiffs) and their paws just look all wrong to me. Of course, to aficionados of other breeds, Doberman paws may look weird. A lot of it just has to do with what you're used to, and what the dog is bred for. 


  1. Elka, you feet are beautiful!! :o)


  2. Yes, lovely feet Elka.

    Gracie the Bull Terrier insists on taking care of her own feet, which includes crawling under a blanket and chewing her nails...she doesn't think anyone knows what she's doing under there. Her nails look like all chewed up nails - ragged and sometimes too short - but she insists that she's the best judge of how they should be.

    Who are we mere mortals to argue?

    1. Elka will lick and nibble at her feet, but makes no headway on actual nail length. She lets me cut her nails with minimal fuss, though, so that's all right.

      Yes, clearly, we are mere mortals and mustn't question!

  3. All four of my dogs, normally trusting, are hyper about someone touching their feet. I wish I could find the solution for easy grooming.

    1. I wanted Elka to be handle-able from the start, so we would play with her feet, look at her toes, open her mouth, etc. right up from when she was a puppy.

      She isn't thrilled with nail clipping, but treats always help. I wonder if prodigious and correct treats would help you as well?

  4. When you mentioned "cat feet" I immediately thought of the poem about fog coming in on little cat feet. I had no idea Carl Sandberg was writing about Elka! :)

  5. English Setters can have either & of course much debate ensues about relative merits of each. LOL - dog world sure obsesses about details! Here's a link to an 1891 book: ES feet are discusses on #8. I find it an amusing read. I don't really care what feet look like but I dislike long nails on dogs.... & on short coated dogs like dobes, it really shows a lot more when the mani/pedi is not utd. My guys have long haired paws & it hides it a lot more when I don't get to it ontime. But the long hair is a pita when using the dremel!