People unfamiliar with the breed often ask about Pyrs’ double dew claws. They notice the two nails on Pyrs’ hind legs that usually are surrounded by a cuff of fur. Double dew claws are toes with individual bone structure. They are a component of the breed standard of the Great Pyrenees in the United States (as established by the Great Pyrenees Club of America) and a distinguishing feature of the breed around the world.

Picture of double dew claws courtesy of It’s Dog or Nothing.

 These toes and their connecting tendons stabilize the foot. In the past, when Pyrs were primarily working dogs in mountains, they provided traction and enabled stability.

Double dew claws are neither defects nor problems, and they should never be removed. To be clear, removal of double dews is amputation requiring the surgical cutting away of bones, tendons, and nerves. It serves no purpose and can result in biomechanical problems of the foot as Pyrs age, particularly when the amputation is performed on young dogs before they have finished growing.

Caring for double dew claws is simple: keep them trimmed. Nails that are not left long enough to hook cannot get caught on anything.

Scan of double dews courtesy of Colorado Great Pyrenees Rescue Community.