In some breed groups (example: sled dogs) the dew claws are not removed to improve traction. In other breed groups (example: bird dogs) the dew claws are often removed to prevent them getting torn off in underbrush.
Actually we remove our sleddogs dewclaws. They are pretty high up on their legs to be of much help with traction in Siberians anyways. Depending on what trail we are on, and what season(sled for winter, ATV for spring/summer), they can easily get caught on brush and tear. We remove ours just for safety's sake.
Fast fact: Most Siberians are not longer born with rear dewclaws, b/c they are not needed for survival anymore.
Some breeds are required to have dewclaws intact. Most breeds it is optional in the general aspect, but are usally done as a routine thing when pup are 3-5 days old. They serve no purpose in most breeds and are more of a nuisance and poe a danger to eye scrates, being caught on things and ripped off, etc. Most breeders will take them off on the pups unless the breed requires them to be intact. The only typical dogs that still have them generally come from byb's and pm's who dont want to spend the money to have it done.
People are like slinky's, not really good for much. But its still fun to push them down the stairs.
If you look in the show ring, 50% have them, 50% do not. I dont remove them on our pups either. I think it's probably breed specific too although my breed is working/hunting etc, and we still do not take them off. No reason anymore.
anothermauri, I don't think it's a dumb question for one thing. It'd definitely a breed specific preference to remove the dew claws, and preferred in my dogs. I personally don't like them in any dog because where I live, in the winter we have a lot of snow. One of my vets who is also a good friend of mine, swears about them every winter because when the snow gets a crust on the top dogs break through it, and the first thing that happens is their dew claws rip, if they have them. Of course, it depends on your climate too.
my saint bernard has them too, though im not sure if i want to have them removed, it's a bit high on her legs and wont be a danger when she scratches her eyes.. a question though, are dewclaws hereditary???
As for "what are dew claws", I've always heard that eons ago dew claws on dogs were like their "thumb" & they appear on the backs of dogs legs a few inches above their feet. They have no practical use in the canine world though.
Normally dew claws don't pose any problems but if the dog has exceptionally loose or large dew claws that can get snagged (especially the ones on the rear legs), they can be torn which is, of course, painful. Also, sometimes the dew claws escape attention & if they grow too long they COULD grow back into the dogs leg which, of course, would also be painful. I understand torn dew claws, though, & even more so, dew claws left to grow back into the leg, are both fairly rare occurrences.
I'm not sure but I think that dogs born without dew claws or who have had their dew claws removed have a large scaly protruding "bump" where the dew claws would normally appear.
I hope this helps; Lord knows there are far more knowledgeable folks on here than me! And please always remember that the only "dumb questions" are those that remained unasked. Honest, there's nothing "dumb" about an inquiring mind & I salute you in your willingness to ask questions.
Neither of my Shibas were born with them, and if you feel their leg you can feel a bump where I suppose they would have been, but you can not see it, and it is no way scaley. My Chow on the other hand had them on both hind legs, double ones at that, her "breeder" never had them removed so when she was spayed they were removed. They had no muscle to them, they were floppy pieces of skin with 2 nails growing out of each, they were of no use, and I can see them being a hindrance. But some breeds do have functioning dewclaws on their hind legs still such as the Lundehund and Great Pyrenees.
But why some people remove the front ones I do not understand, I have never met a dog that didn't have some muscle and bone attached to that toe.
If removed properly there is not a scaly bump. They are ONLY removed at 2-4 days of age. Also, we live in a huge snow climate and i've never ever had a problem with them being on. I used to remove them with my vet, as mentioned, i dont do it anymore, no need.