Why Does My Dog Have Spots On Their Tongue?


Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, furs, and colors. You may see dogs with different eye colors and not think anything of it. The same goes for dogs with different tongue colors. Contrary to popular belief, having dark spots on your dog’s tongue doesn’t mean they are part Chow or they are sick. In fact, this trait is not unique to the breed and can be found in many dog breeds. If you’re looking for a reason why your dog has spots on their tongue, read on for more information.

What causes black spots on a dog’s tongue?

Black spots are simply pigmentation. Like with humans, dogs can have extra pigmentation that can cause freckles or birthmarks. It also extends to the tongue, where some will develop spots or completely dark tongues. May breeds simply have naturally darker lips, noses, tongues, and gums.

Pigmented spots on your dog’s tongue, will appear black or blue. These spots may change shape and color gradually over time and are perfectly normal. Most dogs are either born with these spots or develop them when they are young.

What dog breeds have black spots on their tongues?

You may automatically recognize a few dog breeds as having spots on their tongues. The Chow Chow and the Chinese Shar-Pei are famous for their dark tongues, but there are actually 38 breeds that are prone to spotty or dark colored tongues.

  • Airedale
  • Akita
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Bichon Frise
  • Bouvier des Flandres
  • Bull Mastiff

  • Cairn Terrier
  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • Collie
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Dalmatian
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • English Setter
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • German Shepherd

  • Golden Retriever
  • Gordon Setter
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Irish Setter
  • Keeshond
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Korean Jindo
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Mastiff
  • Mountain Cur
  • Newfoundland

  • Pomeranian
  • Pug
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Rottweiler
  • Shiba Inu
  • Siberian Husky
  • Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Tervuren
  • Tibetan Mastiff

Needless to say, if your dog has a spotted tongue, it is probably one of these breeds or they are a mix of one of these breeds. However, this list is not definite. Scientists are unsure why some breeds are more prone to spots or dark tongues than others. In addition, regardless of breed, some dogs develop extra pigmentation on various parts of their body as they age, including their tongue.

When spots on your dog’s tongue aren’t just color

Your dog’s black spots are usually nothing to worry about. Pigmentation is normal and offers just one more thing for you to love about your best friend. Thin of them as a birthmark or as freckles. That being said, it is a problem is if the spots change rapidly or if the texture is raised of different from the rest of the tongue. Canine oral cancers and melanomas can appear as raised spots or fleshy tumors. Another problem is if they are any color besides bluish black or they smell bad. Have your dog checked by a veterinarian if you see unusual changes in their mouth. Routine dental care, like brushing your dog’s teeth and oral examinations, is another thing you can do to help aid in early diagnosis or oral cancers.