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Growing up with a Golden Retriever, I remember hearing people explain that the black spot on his tongue was the result of Chow Chow bloodlines somewhere in his breeding. Like most kids, I believed what I heard, but it turns out that black spots on a dog’s tongue have a much simpler explanation than an inexplicable number of Chow crossings.

What causes black spots on a dog’s tongue?

Black spots are simply pigmentation. Just like certain breeds have darker “points” or spots, spots on a dog’s tongue are merely pigmented skin cells. Points, in terms of dog coloring, refer to the lips, nose, eye rims, paw pads, and toenails of a dog. Many breeds have darker lips and noses, and that pigmentation can also be found in their tongues and gums.

dog tongue

What do black spots on a dog’s tongue look like?

Pigmented spots have the same texture as the rest of your dog’s tongue, but the skin appears 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?

Some dog breeds, like the Chow Chow and the Chinese Shar-Pei, require a blue-black tongue in the breed standard. Black spots, on the other hand, can appear in any breed, but are more common in breeds with black points.


Are black spots ever a problem?

Pigmented spots are normal. However, if the spots start to change rapidly or if the texture of the spot is raised or different than the rest of the tongue or gum, call your veterinarian. Colors besides bluish black, and a foul odor, are also causes for concern, as they could be signs of a more serious problem. If you have any questions about the black spots on your dog's tongue, don't hesitate to ask your veterinarian.

Your dog's black spot is usually nothing to worry about. It does not mean that your dog isn't purebred, or that there is something wrong with his tongue. What it does mean is that there is one more unique thing about him to love.
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