Dew Claws and Responsible Breeding

It has been asked in another thread why it is that the presence of dew claws is a pretty good indication in the United States that a dog did not come from a responsible breeder. There is a very high correlation to whether or not a breeder does health testing, uses contracts, takes back puppies and whether they remove dew claws. What makes a responsible breeder is not any 1 thing but the big picture but when there is no background information available, like when someone finds a stray, that if the dog has its dew claws it most likely did not come from a responsible breeder.

I posted the reasons I found that most responsible breeders do remove dew claws. The difference is IMO much greater than major surgery to remove an appendix of an infant as a preventative measure to major surgery later in life versus a non-surgical procedure to remove dew claws as a preventative instead of major surgery later in life.

Here is my original paragraph on the topic.

Before breeding my first litter, I talked with many breeders about breeding practices including the removal of dew claws. The ones I spoke with have been breeding a long time and had experience with dogs that had them and those that had them removed and their overwhelming response was that they felt it was the responsible thing to remove them after having seen the damage done when one is ripped out if caught on something. Most of the situations given were run of the mill, out in the backyard, normal play type situations so it is not just for dogs that are active in performance. But everyone single one said it only took seeing one dog rip a dewclaw and have it hanging by a thread to convince them that it was absolutely the right thing to do to remove them at a couple of days old when it is not major surgery to remove.

In many of my conversations with breeders, removing the dew claws had nothing to do with showing, period…. sure it is one less nail to trim... but it really had more to do with seeing the damage that can be done... granted on our breed, you can see the dew claws and can see when they need to be trimmed, but I have seen way to many long haired dogs that people never bother with them... only to have them grow back into the leg from never being trimmed. Heck... think about how many people don't do nails at all, let alone worry about the dew claws.

And I agree with lvoss... it is not just dew claws, it is how it relates to the rest of health testing, Fanconi, eyes, hips, elbows, thyroid, etc... contracts, spay/neuter, taking dogs back, DNA for parentage, AKC registration (in the US)....

Things like dew claws "alone" can be debated until the cows come home... same as circumcisions, but the point was how it relates to what else the breeder does to be responsible

Originally from Mya's thread…

<_>

I think it is more that removed dewclaws are a 'marker' or sign in the US for a responsible breeder. IMO, that doesn't mean that you must remove dew claws in order to be responsible...but as previous posters have mentioned if you have a rescue dog in your custody, having no dew claws gives you an indication of where to start looking for the dog's breeders. Responsible breeders spend the money and effort to remove dew claws to avoid future injury. Irresponsible breeders don't. But there may be responsible breeders out there that make a conscious decision not to remove dew claws...I don't know any (again, in the US only)...but it is definitely possible.

And IMO it isn't cruel. The babies don't even notice it. They just use a little nail clipper and clip it off and put a little vet super glue on there. But, I don't feel that male circumcision is cruel either...though definitely more painful for the patient!_

True as Tanza said we can debate this until the cows come home in sweden it?s forbidden same as ear chopping and docking you can?t even import a dog that has been tampered with after 2008.Circumcision just a man made cultural idea let the boy decide when he?s 18 who are we to mutilate our children look how many botch job?s there?s been no better stop talking before I see red..;)

I have to say that having cared for a Jack Russell for many years that had dew claws and had problems with them, I'm glad I got my b's from a responsible breeder that removed them. It hurt Apatche just to get access to the dew claws to trim them because they grew so close to his paws…not to mention him catching them on things and tearing them. Dew claws were always a problem for him...

After working in vet clinics for several years, I agree the dew claws should be removed. Having them ripped out is definately more stressful, painful and just more dangerous than removing them days after birth. As far as them being an idicator for a responsible breeder, it seems if the general concensus for breeders is to remove them, then that would be a sign that that dog MAY have come from an irresponsible breeder. The same as a dog coming without health testing would be a sign. I just think a responsible breeder would be more forward thinking as to what the dog needs as opposed to what they are willing to pay for.

As far as mutilating our children, I think that is a strong opinion but it is yours to have. My son is circumsised. That was our choice. I researched the pro's and cons and decided it was better than not. I never felt it was mutilation. I am curious, how many people do you know with botched circumcisions? I can honestly say in a country that circumsises a significant number of boys, I do not know one. Granted, I have never actually approached someone and asked either:eek:

If you really research it, there are plenty of botched circumcisions here as well, it's just harder to figure out because we have such strict privacy rules.

I again feel against the general consensus, and think that although some breeds should have dew claws removed, there are others that should be allowed to keep them. Medjai has his, and hasn't had any trouble with them. He even uses them sometimes to help get the eye goop off his face.

We routinely remove dew claws, but we do not do it ourselves as I know many breeders do - they go to the vet (with Mama, of course!) at 2-4 days old. If they grow back, as sometimes happens, we leave them. I know of at least one very responsible breeder here in So CA who does not remove them; she feels very strongly that they are a 'natural breed' and that means leaving the dew claws.

On a much more minor issue - we do not trim off our show dogs' whiskers. I feel that, like cats, the whiskers are a sensory organ for Basenjis. I've had several judges compliment me on leaving the whiskers on!

Terry

We leave the whiskers always as it?s a sensory organ and secondly I would be penalized by the judge if he were to see that they had been removed 😮

@Terry:

We routinely remove dew claws, but we do not do it ourselves as I know many breeders do - they go to the vet (with Mama, of course!) at 2-4 days old. If they grow back, as sometimes happens, we leave them. I know of at least one very responsible breeder here in So CA who does not remove them; she feels very strongly that they are a 'natural breed' and that means leaving the dew claws.

On a much more minor issue - we do not trim off our show dogs' whiskers. I feel that, like cats, the whiskers are a sensory organ for Basenjis. I've had several judges compliment me on leaving the whiskers on!

Terry

Exactly… for whiskers... I do not do mine B's either.... and it has become pretty much common place for B's to have their whiskers... unless being shown on a national level... not that it should be a consideration... I think they should be left on....

due to German animal protection laws it is forbidden to amputate a dog for no reason other than health issues. This means, that you are not allowed to remove the thumbs just because there could be a problem. Same is with whiskers. It is not alllowed to remove them just for "beauty issues". They are important senses for the dogs. Am I now a non-responsible breeder, because I let my dogs have their thumbs (which they use as thumbs by the way)?

Regards,
Esther

It's an interesting juggle between the ethics of the US and the standard ethics here in Europe. I find myself agreeing with the Euro standard that dogs should not be altered unless under threat of a health problem. Lycia has hers, and the breed has had them for thousands of years.. if there were problems , it seems the Bs managed anyway.

What is interesting is how there are so many apparent situations with dew claws in the US, but I haven't seen breeders here make so much of a huff about them here. Dew claws are dew claws, different continents don't change that issue. 😕

As I said at the beginning of this thread, the presence of dew claws in the United States has a high correlation to the lack of health testing, use of contracts, etc. That doesn't mean that in other countries it is the same. As for everyone saying that they are a "natural breed", it is not an uncommon practice in the Congo for basenjis to have their tails docked, so even in their country of origin, they are not always left unaltered.

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