What characteristics (compare those of a mountain goat foot: good grip on rocks, doesn't slip off, etc) would the foot of a dog or a wolf need to have to be useful in rocky settings such as mountains (but not very steep ones) and rocky deserts? What about the pads, claws, general roughness?

This creature relies on chasing its prey, rather than being an ambush predator.

Thanks a lot.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hi Krakukan, and welcome to Worldbuilding SE and Stack Exchange! I rewrote your question mainly for language. I think I got it all right, but if you feel my edit changed your intent in any way, by all means do feel free to Edit further. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Jul 14, 2018 at 20:14
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    $\begingroup$ How is this "unclear what you're asking"? Seems clear enough to me, even in revision 1. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Jul 14, 2018 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot for the edit Michael. Now it sounds much better $\endgroup$
    – Krakukan
    Jul 14, 2018 at 20:16
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    $\begingroup$ Wolves do actually live in the mountains with their regular feet, and their areals have always included mountains. Their close relatives the coyotes and the jackals live in semi-deserts, and they have always lived in semi-deserts. (No large predators live in outright deserts.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jul 14, 2018 at 23:58
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP: Not to mention that fairly ordinary dogs do quite well in mountain areas. Mine's quite capable of chasing (and sometimes catching) squirrels, jackrabbits, bears, &c. Though I do wish he'd stop with the bears :-) $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jul 16, 2018 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


Mountain Dog breeds are typically working dogs - built and adapted for protection of flocks. So I don't think they are a good reference point for your needs (a predator who chases its prey).

The species which would make a better reference point for a "prey-chasing rock dweller" I think is the snow leopard. Although it would prefer to ambush, it certainly does chase prey across rocks.

Some of their adaptations. Specifically - large paws, short forelimbs and a long thick tail, all to help balance. Also - extremely powerful rear legs - ability to leap crevices etc is crucial for navigating rocky environments.

They also have thick paws to avoid cutting themselves easily on sharp rocks.


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