In some cases it is useless, but in others, it contributes to the stability and balance of these large dogs. However, it is also found in other dog breeds.
Do mastiffs have thumbs? During evolutionary processes, body parts adapt, change or even disappear. Some also hang and are only underdeveloped structures. They are there, but no longer serve any real purpose, like the spur of the Mastiffs.
Think only of the coccyx or perhaps the cecum. The former shows that humans used to have rods and the latter probably had function indigestion.
What is the spur of the Mastiffs?
Although dogs have thumbs, but these no longer function. The spur of the Mastiffs is, therefore, a kind of attachment that the animals have until today.
Each domestic dog paw has 4 toes, but the mastiffs have a fifth on the front paws. It occupies more or less the same place that the human thumb has. That is why the spur of the mastiffs is often called the dog’s thumb.
This fifth limb of the paw is thus the spur of the Mastiffs. You can observe that this toe does not touch the ground while running. What does he serve then?
What is the spur of the Mastiffs?
The front spur fulfills various functions, even if they are minimal. These include balance and stability when the dogs are moving over irregular terrain or when they come ashore after swimming.
It also serves as a support and control during cleaning. This is especially true when the dogs are cleaning their heads and faces. You can even see how your dog uses the spur when playing with its favorite toy and chewing on it.
And what happens to the spurs on the hind legs?
If one mentions the spur of the Mastiff, some may also think of the small, meaningless thing with a claw hanging from its hind paw. All mastiffs have spurs on the front paws, but most spurs on the hind paws are just a genetic anomaly.
While the spurs on the front paws perform a minimal function and are connected by bones and tendons with the paw, so those on the hind paws are actually superfluous.
If they are present, the spurs usually appear at some distance from the paw. These spurs are only connected by a little skin and have no further connection by bone or tendon to the leg.
Mastiffs with double spur
While it is strange, there are also mastiffs who are born with a functional double spur. In some breeds, it not only happens every now and then but belongs to the standard.
Other dog breeds sometimes have this double spur. These include, for example, Anatolian, Australian and Icelandic sheepdogs.
What do they have in common? They are all big working dogs that use the double spur on uneven and difficult terrain.
Removal of the rear spur
Just as with the coccyx and cecum of the human, we mostly notice the spur of the dogs only when they have hurt him.
Since the rear spur is often not firmly attached to the body of the animal, it often gets stuck or gets pinched.
This can lead to blood and injuries, which is why some dog owners opt for surgical removal. Through the surgical intervention in the puppy age, they want to avoid future injuries.
Although the removal of the posterior spur in Mastiffs is typical, it is not universal, nor is it necessary from a medical perspective. You can have the surgery done on the first vet visit.
At such a young age, pain is reduced and healing occurs faster.
If you decide to remove the spur, it is advisable to have this done at puppy age. In adult dogs, it is more expensive and painful.