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Why are there black spots on my dogs tongue?

Does it mean my dog is part chow? Nope, well maybe. Where it is true that one of the most well known traits of a chow is black spots on the tongue, it isn’t only specific to chows. It could be one of 38 different breeds actually. Have you ever seen a beautiful golden puppy, like the one above with black spots on its tongue? Well we’re here to tell you what those spots really are and why they’re there.

Regardless of breed

Some dogs develop extra pigmentation on various parts of the body throughout their life, including the tongue. They could mean that there are just extra deposits of pigmentation, like freckles or birthmarks on humans. Dogs can also have dark pigmentation that look like freckles on other parts of their body. My dog Eev-aa had little ones as a puppy and now spans throughout her entire tongue and inside of her mouth. She is part shepherd, no chows about it.

So why chows?

So why do we assume dogs with these spots on their tongue are part Chow? Chows and Shar Pei’s are both born with pink tongues, and around 10 weeks they’ll begin to show spots due to extra pigmentation.

Having some Chow in any mixed breed is a possibility being that they’re one of the oldest breeds known to man, but there are also 38 other breeds known for tongue spots.

So what breed is my dog?

Tongue spots are quite common among a wide variety of breeds. If you were hoping to narrow down your the breed by just the spots alone you’re not going to get very far. With the below list you can narrow down the field slightly, but you’re still looking at many combinations when you consider the 38 other breeds that it could be. Many of the breeds are a part of the Spitz family, and many of them have Spaniel or Pointer ancestors.

While many of these breeds have some definite similarities no one has been able to determine exactly why these breeds have tongue spots while others do not.

Next time someone claims your dog must be part Chow because of his tongue, you can tell them that’s not always true. Below are the 38 dog breeds known to have spotted tongues does yours fit the bill for one of these breeds?

  • Airedale

  • Akita

  • Australian Cattle Dog

  • Australian Shepherd

  • Belgian Sheepdog

  • Belgian Tervuren

  • Belgian Malinois

  • Bichon Frise

  • Bouvier de 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

  • Tibetan Mastiff

Is it a freckle?

If you start to notice spots that you’ve never seen before, it is always best to get it checked out. It could be Canine melanoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. They can appear on your dog’s skin and oral cancers can too present themselves inside your dog’s mouth. Always check for anything new that you’re unsure about with you local veterinarian.

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