Black Spots on Dogs Tongue – Why Does my Dog have Black Spots on her Tongue?

Black spots on dogs tongue

Dogs come with different qualities and physical characteristics which are what dog owners build their preferences. While some of these characteristics are breed specific, there are others that can be seen across various breeds and in individual dogs. Black spots on dogs tongue are common. While there is a general misconception that a dog with black spots is a Chow Chow mix. This is usually drawn from the fact that Chow Chows have black tongues.

While there is a possibility for this to happen, the only way to tell if a dog is purebred is through a DNA test since it is possible to have pure breeds with spots. We explore the causes of black spots on the tongue of a dog when it is a problem and what to do if it starts to grow big.

Black Spots on Dogs Tongue

Black spots on dogs tongue may have varying characteristics. While some may just be some tiny spots, others may be quite big. Others may be barely noticeable while it is also possible to have some that are quite dark and conspicuous. There is no specific part of the tongue on which they are found. They could be towards the back and almost invisible while others may be on the front part of it.

Where their appearance remains the same and there are no visible changes, these spots are usually no health risk. Find out the various cause of the spots below.

Causes of Black Spots on Dogs Tongue

Why does my dog have black spots on her tongue? This common question emanates from concerned dog owners a lot of times. While it is normal to be concerned about your pooch, the spots may be an indication of extra pigmentation and as such should not worry you. There, however, are instances where the spots may indicate health issues as discussed herein.


Black spots on dogs’ tongue could indicate melanin deposits which lead to their having a dark pigmentation. Melanin is a genetic component that determines the color of parts of your dog such as the nose, pads, lips, toenails and eye rims. It is therefore natural for a dog to have spots on the tongue with more melanin than others.

These are just like freckles and birthmarks that humans get due to the concentration of melanin. The appearance of black spots on the dogs tongue is not obvious. As such, it is not always that two dog parents with spotted tongues will give birth to spotted puppies or those without will give birth to puppies with no spots.

Where melanin deposit is the reason for the formation of the spots, they will be present at birth or appear soon after. These do not indicate any health problem and as long as they remain as they are should not worry you.


It is possible that the presence of black spots on your dog is indicative of an illness. This is more so when they suddenly appear and have not been there previously. Among the conditions that could cause them to include:

  • Lung or heart problems resulting in low blood oxygen.
  • Kidney disease
  • Oral ulcers
  • Niacin deficiency

With the above causes, the spots will not have been present previously. Have them checked by your veterinarian for a correct diagnosis and timely treatment.


Dogs that are born with black spots on their tongue or those that develop the spots at a tender age should not be of much concern since this is most probably extra pigmentation. However, when a dog suddenly develops the spots, you should be concerned. Sudden black spots on the tongue, especially in older dogs or those adopting additional characteristics such as being highly textured or raised above the tongue’s surface, may cancerous.

As with those caused by the health conditions discussed above, these too should be checked by the veterinarian immediately. They will carry out the necessary tests. With cancer, timely intervention is vital in stopping it. Seek help immediately you notice characteristics that are out of the ordinary so as to alleviate your pet’s suffering.

What Dog Breeds have Black Spots on their Tongue?

Although people tend to think there is a black tongue disease in dogs, there are some breeds that are known to have black tongues. One of the most distinct characteristics of the Chow Chow is their bluish or black tongue. This, though, is not the only breed with a black tongue. The Chinese Shar-Pei is also known to have a black tongue.

While the tongues in these breeds are completely black, it is possible for some dogs to just have tiny spots on their tongues that are black. Contrary to what a lot of people think, this does not mean that other breeds with black spots are not purebred and are a mix with above mentioned black-tongued dogs.

There are quite a number of dog breeds known to have black spots on their tongues. According to, there are over 30 purebred dog breeds that are known to have these spots. These include:

  • 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
  • Eurasier
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Flat-coated Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Gordon Setter
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Irish Setter
  • Kai Ken
  • 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

Are Black Spots on Dogs Tongue Ever a Problem?

As indicated above, there are many reasons as to why your dog may have a spotted tongue. In most cases, puppies that are born with black spots on their tongues or those that develop them soon after birth will rarely have a problem. Any flat and unchanging black spots on the tongue should pose no health problem.

However, black spots that form on the tongue of a dog suddenly may be problematic. They could indicate that your dog is suffering a health condition. Black spots on the tongue that keep growing and getting bigger could be cancerous. Another indication of problematic spots is when their texture or color changes. Watch out for these and if concerned have your dog checked by the vet.

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