Do Shih Tzus Have Dewclaws? Should It Be Removed?

Do Shih Tzus have dewclaws? In this post, I will discuss this interesting topic together with important points you should know.

Dewclaws are the extra toe of canines, which is somewhat the equivalent of thumbs in humans. But unlike the other toes of a dog, dewclaws have gone vestigial.

Do Shih Tzus Have Dewclaws

This means that dewclaws no longer have major functions in a dog’s body. It’s a remnant of evolution, that canines inherited from their ancestors.

So if a dewclaw doesn’t have primary uses, does it mean I can have it removed from my Shih Tzu? Below, I discuss the answer to this plus a stern reminder for all Shih Tzu owners who are thinking about the possibility of declawing.

Does a Shih Tzu have dewclaws?

Yes, Shih Tzus have dewclaws, just like most dogs. This is mainly on their front legs, though there are very rare cases when canines grow the vestigial part on their rear limbs.

Since Shih Tzus is a small breed, their dewclaws aren’t as obvious as larger canines. It’s also often hidden under their lush hair.

So what is the purpose of dewclaws? In terms of Shih Tzu’s daily life, there really is no apparent use for this body part.

Still, dewclaws come in handy when your doggo has to run fast. The dewclaw allows your Shih Tzu to have better traction on the ground while running and it also stabilizes its carpal joint.

Moreover, dewclaws add a gripping force whenever your pooch has to climb to elevated areas.

However, this function is only possible if your Shih Tzu has a declaw attached to the bone and not just attached to the skin.

In some cases, Shih Tzu’s dewclaw may be underdeveloped. This means that the dewclaw is only attached to the skin and flesh.

This type of dewclaw tends to flop around the Shih Tzu’s leg. Sometimes, dewclaws attached to the skin can develop problems, which require veterinary attention.

Should you remove Shih Tzu’s dewclaws?

There are divided opinions about whether a Shih Tzu’s dewclaw should be removed or not. The answer is actually both yes and no, depending on a few factors.

Generally, it’s not advisable to remove the dewclaws of any dog, not just Shih Tzus. While this part doesn’t have major functions, it’s still part of your pet’s body.

Removing or cutting it off will just do more harm than help. If done haphazardly, the area of the dewclaw will get infected and inflamed.

However, there are instances when a Shih Tzu’s dewclaw can be removed. Overall, there should be a good reason before a canine’s dewclaw is removed.

For example, if your Shih Tzu’s dewclaw has been severely injured, the vet may advise its removal. This is also the case if the dog has developed cancer or other diseases on its dewclaw.

Take note that only the vet should remove your Shih Tzu’s dewclaw if needed. Otherwise, you should just let it be.

If your Shih Tzu’s dewclaws are healthy, you should keep them intact. The best thing to do is keep it clean to prevent the risk of infection.

What happens if my Shih Tzu broke his dewclaw?

Shih Tzus are not outdoor dogs, so there’s a low risk to have their dewclaws broken. But in case your pet had a severely injured dewclaw, the best person to contact is its veterinarian.

Don’t try to treat a broken dewclaw at home. Since most are attached to the bone, this kind of injury requires the expertise of a vet.

Depending on the extent of the damage, the dewclaw can be retained and treated. In some cases, it will be removed to prevent further suffering for the dog.

Can a dog’s dewclaw grow back?

Dewclaws can grow back if it’s not removed properly. If the nail root is not removed, the claw can regrow after some time.

This is a common occurrence on puppies with dewclaws removed at around 8 to 10 weeks of age. There are times when the breeders aren’t able to uproot the nail, which can lead to regrowth later on.

Should you have it removed if the dewclaw grows back? If the declaw is healthy and not causing issues on your Shih Tzu, I don’t think it’s necessary to have it removed again.

How long will it take for my dog to recover from dewclaw removal?

If your Shih Tzu’s declaw had to be removed, it may need two weeks to recover after its removal. Nevertheless, if the dewclaw is removed at a very young age, your Shih Tzu pup will recover faster since the wound is very small.

Overall, the recovery of your dog from dewclaw removal is faster if it’s done by a licensed vet. And again, the removal must be done for acceptable reasons.

Is removing my Shih Tzu’s dewclaw cruel?

Dewclaw removal is unnecessary unless the vet advises you so. With that, removing a Shih Tzu’s dewclaw despite being healthy is unreasonable and even cruel to some extent.

As the saying goes, “why fix it if it ain’t broken?”. Unless there’s a very good reason to get your Shih Tzu’s dewclaw removed, you should not consider this procedure.

Do most dog breeders remove dewclaws?

Not all dog breeders will remove the dewclaws of puppies. Some will keep it since it’s a normal part of the canine’s body.

If you want a Shih Tzu with an intact dewclaw, you must inquire whether the breeder is practicing declawing or not. You should also inspect the pup’s leg to see if the dewclaw is intact.


Do Shih Tzu have dewclaws? Yes, like any canine, this breed is born with dewclaws on its front legs.

Although it’s a vestigial part, it’s not advisable to remove a dog’s dewclaw. This is unless your Shih Tzu’s veterinarian advises that it’s the best thing to do.

Overall, proper paw care is important to ensure that your Shih Tzu’s dewclaw will not sustain injuries. If any injury, infection, or defect occurs on this part, the veterinarian is always the best person to call.

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