What is the Black Spot on my Dog’s Tongue?

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Common Canine Questions By Paula Simons 3 min read May 16, 2019 1 Comment

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When was the last time you took a good look into your dog’s mouth?

Does your dog’s tongue make you think someone dribbled black paint in his mouth? Some owners are surprised when they notice their dogs have developed dark spots on their tongue, but is this reason to worry?

What is the black spot on my dog’s tongue? Should I be concerned?

We’re glad that you’re an extremely observant pet owner!

Often times, changes like these can go unnoticed. But don’t fret; these black spots are almost always harmless.

Where do black tongue spots come from?

These dark spots on your dog’s tongue are actually just areas of hyper-pigmentation.

Basically, these spots are the freckles or beauty marks of the canine world. They are harmless markings that develop when more pigment is deposited on one area of the tongue.

These spots are typically blue to black in color and can come in a range of shapes and sizes. They should always be flat to the surface of your dog’s tongue and have the same texture as the surrounding tissue. If you notice any raised areas of color on your dog’s tongue, you’ll want to take them to the vet to get it checked out.

dog spotted tongue

My puppy was born with these spots – is that normal?

This is perfectly normal. Some puppies are born with spotted tongues while others will develop the markings later in life.

I thought only Chow Chows had black tongues?

chow chow tongueChow Chows are best known for their blue-black tongues – a common myth is that dogs who are mixed with Chow Chow will have spotted tongues.

While this may be true, there are many purebred dogs that have this characteristic. It all comes down to genetics.

Scientists and veterinarians are still a bit unsure as to what causes the spots but they do know that it is a hereditary trait. This means it passes from the parents to the offspring.

I was surprised myself when I noticed my dog had black spots on her tongue. Then, I did some research and found out that this is a common trait in hounds.

If you have a mixed breed dog, identifying your dog’s tongue spots may inspire you to consider grabbing a dog DNA test and finding out your dog’s background – who knows where Fido came from?

Do these spots mean my dog is not a purebred?

Absolutely not. There are several breeds of purebred dogs that commonly have spotted tongues. Feel free to see the list below of popular breeds that can have these characteristics.

What breeds commonly have spotted tongues?

There are many breeds of dogs that can have spotted tongues, including: 

  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Bichon Frise
  • 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
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Mastiff
  • Mountain Cur
  • Newfoundland
  • Pomeranian
  • Pug
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Rottweiler
  • Shiba Inu
  • Siberian Husky and several more!

How do I know if these spots are abnormal?

While dark tongue spots are usually normal occurrences, it is still best to be vigilant. Pay close attention when you are brushing your dog’s teeth to any changes in their oral health.

dog tongueIt never hurts to mention new spots to your veterinarian. A quick look into the mouth will allow them to determine whether or not the spots need to be assessed.

Veterinarians become concerned when the spots are raised or hardened.

Two of the most common oral cancers are melanomas or squamous cell carcinomas. Tumors from both of these cancers may appear as dark masses on your dog’s tongue or mucus membranes. These will be blatantly different from the normal, flat spots.

You can determine a lot about your pet’s health by observing their tongue.

Remember, the spots on your dog’s tongue are almost always normal. They add character to your already gorgeous best friend, so go ahead and embrace them!

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Written by

Paula Simons

Paula is a second year veterinary student who has worked in the field for several years. She is passionate about sharing her pet knowledge. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her best friend Liberty!


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Thank you for this information! I got worried when I saw black spots on my purebred Siberian Husky puppy. After having 5 of these amazing dogs, he’s my first with spots on the tongue. This article helped answer my questions. Thank you!


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