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Can A Purebred Dog Have a Spotted Tongue?

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I received a great image today in my RSS feed (Check it out below) of a handsome puppy who looks like a purebred Golden Retriever.  However, one distinct feature that might lead one to believe he’s not a purebred is his black spotted tongue.  I have always heard that Chow Chow’s have black tongues and if your dog has a black spotted tongue then he’s probably mixed with a Chow.  The different color tongues I’ve heard of are solid black, blue black, and purple from a spotted tongue to a full black tongue.

What a face, originally uploaded by Syncharmony.

My dog Linus has a spotted black tongue and until today I’ve always assumed that he must be mixed with a Chow.  Originally we had heard from the shelter that he was primarily an Australian Shepherd with some possible Chow and Labrador Retriever.  He was on the fluffy side when he was younger further leading us to believe that he was part Chow.

After a little internet research today I came across a couple sites that may have the answers to my question.

Can A Purebred Dog Have a Black Tongue?

Well we already know that a purebred Chow Chow has a blue black tongue and I confirmed that at the Wikipedia website.  The Wikipedia site confirms that not all mixed breed dogs with black/blue black/purple spots on there tongue have Chow mixed in with them.  In fact an article on The Great Tongue Debate professes that there are more than thirty pure breeds with members known to have spotted tongues.  Here are some other interesting facts:

  • A dog with a partially black tongue does not necessarily mean he’s mixed with a Chow.
  • Chow’s are not the only breed with a blue black tongue.  Sharpei’s share the blue black tongue trait.
  • More than 30 pure breeds are known to have members with the blue black tongue trait.
  • Spots on a dogs tongue are like freckles or birthmarks on people.
  • If a dog looks like a Chow, but has a completely pink tongue it is most likely not a purbred Chow.

From the Great Tongue Debate:

Breeds known to have members with spotted tongues:

  • 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
  • Korean Jindo
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Mastiff
  • Mountain Cur
  • Newfoundland
  • Pomeranian
  • Pug
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Rottweiler
  • Shiba Inu
  • Siberian Husky
  • Tibetan Mastiff
  • Thai Ridgeback

Check out the Great Tongue Debate for more information.  They also received a ton of pictures of dogs with black and spotted tongues and have posted to their site.

Linus has a spotted tongue and now it’s definitely up to debate what breeds are in his mix.  The Golden Retriever in the image at the top of this page may or may not be a purebred and according to the list Golden Retriever is one of the breeds said to have members with spotted tongues.  So we can’t assume that the spots on his tongue means he is not a purebred.

As a puppy raiser I’m around purebred Labrador Retriever and Golden Retrievers quite often.  I’m going to keep an extra close eye out for Labs with spotted tongues.

How about you?  Do you know a dog with a black/blue black/purple or spotted tongue?  If so, is he a purbred dog?

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  1. We have a purebred golden retriever that not only has a spotted tongue, has some Chow characteristics, ie tail is always curled up, and he can get grumpy at times. Not your typical happy Golden. He is 2 1/2 yrs old.

  2. I have a 3 year old purebred AKC registered Golden Retriever who has had a spotted tongue since she was about 4 months old. That is when we first started noticing the spots appearing. She now has 7 or 8 spots. She also started turning white around her muzzle by the time she was 2 years old.

  3. My ‘pure bred’ black cocker spaniel has a pink tongue with black spots.

  4. A lot of Pit bloodlines had a generation or two of mixed into their bloodlines during the early days of certain breeding programs. Certain hard-mouth varieties of Sharpei carry some traits that are very desirable to Pitbull Terrier (especially game-bred Pitbulls) fanciers. That’s why this practice is fairly common.

  5. Since the Chow Chow is the oldest dog breed known to man that is officially recognized by any Kennel Club, the fact that so many pure breeds have the blue/black tongue trait sometimes show up in certain dogs is really not all that surprising. My theory is that the ancient Chow Chow is an ancestor to nearly all modern dog breeds because of the fact that we can trace it’s lineage back farther than any other breed. So I’m guessing that it’s just a recessive trait that pops up very rarely in all of these other breeds, because they probably all have ancient Chow way way way far back in their bloodlines. I don’t have any proof of this, but it seems like a logical theory.

  6. I have a half red nose and half blue Camelot pit and it has spots on his tongue. Do you know of pit breeds that have this?

  7. My pure bred golden retriever has s spotted tongue. Is aight impaired individual, whose guide dog golden has a spotted tongue, was told it means the dog comes from royal lineage. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  8. We have a 6 month old German Shepherd (she’s purebred but not registered with AKC or other) and she has a tongue like cow hide.

  9. Thanks for sharing! I always find it interesting to hear about the different breeds that have spotted tongues.

  10. I have a pure bred, AKC registered Black Russian Terrier with a spotted tongue.

  11. It’s tough to tell without seeing your dog in person. If you have any concerns about your dog’s tongue have your veterinarian check him out.

  12. I have a mixed yellow lab with two Hugh black sports on both sides at the back of her tongue i was wondering if this is normal what’s the cause of it.

  13. He i have a puppy that was giving to me at 4weeks his name is Rocko and i dnt know his breed he is mostly white what a tan spott on his lower back his face is mainly covered with colors on it like his left eyes is patched with dark brown and black all the way to his ears and is right eye is tan to his ear he have black spots on it also ! But under his eye and is white with a white strip leading down his nose he has black spots on his tounge and his tail curl and it has spots on the back ! He is VERY VERY ACTIVE AND HAPPY ALL THE TIME ! He chews up everything cords and all can you please help me

  14. I have a purebred MinPin and she has black spots on her tongue. Its common in her breed also.

  15. Siberian Huskies are also from a genetic line of sled dogs that dates back thousands of years in an isolated region of Siberia. They are not related to Chows and yet they can have black spots on their tongue. It’s not really that far fetched. All dogs can have spots inside their mouth, on the roof, lips, and gums. Even labs and goldens, who aren’t spotted, have spots in their mouths. There’s really nothing stopping them from having color on their tongues other than selective breeding.

  16. Remember that there really is no such thing as a “purebred” breed of dog. Most of the modern breeds are of fairly recent origin and each was bred for a particular purpose by mating dogs with characteristics desired in the “new breed.” It so happens that the Chow Chow is one of the oldest breeds and dates back thousands of years. Their genes are in many of the so-called “purebred” breeds.

  17. Thanks for sharing your story! I’m guessing it’s probably a recessive trait that’s being expressed in the puppies. You would probably have to look further into the genetics of Staffordshire Bull Terriers to find out exactly what’s going on.

  18. I have a 1 1/2 year old staffordshire bull terrier who had a pink tongue until after she had her puppies November 8, 2013. I had her DNA tested and she isn’t mixed she is full blooded. What could cause something like this? I kept one of her puppies and I noticed tonight she has a tiny dark spot on her tongue as well. I know that the father is the same breed as the mother was full blooded and registered so she isn’t mixed either. Their breed isn’t one of the ones on the list of dogs that it is common in. Both mother and puppy has purple spots on her lips as well. Their coats are solid black for the puppy and black with a salt and pepper patch on her chest. They are both very healthy dogs so no health problems. If they are birth marks them will they go away and why would my mom dog just now get them after having puppies?

  19. Yes a pure breed can have black spots on their tongue, I have a half mastiff and half rotty and his mom mmm is full rotty both with spot tongue eue too and a another dog which is a terrier (large size too) and he has spots too and neither are part chow and we have had chow chows theirs are solid black tongues

  20. Thanks for sharing! We’ve seen several purebred Labs from our guide dog school that have spotted tongues.

  21. I have an AKC registered German Shepherd that has several blue spots on his tongue.

  22. If i could post a pic of our AKC yellow Lab with a black tongue and he is a gorgeous block head! he is a prime example of a purebred with that trait.

  23. Sorry Nicole, but this is false information. I have a 5-generation pedigree on our golden (not trying to sound snooty, the research was done for his hip clearances) and yet he has an adorable black spot on his tongue. So if your golden has a black spot, it does not mean he isn’t a purebred dog! I can’t speak for all black/blue, though. If it helps, I think it’s a common misconception among veterinary assistants – our vet tech asked us the other day if he had some Chow in him.

  24. Some dogs have black tongues. We’ve had purebred Labrador and Golden Retrievers with spotted tongues, but we haven’t seen one with solid black yet.

  25. I have a pure black labrador with a solid black tongue. I was told she was lab mix w/ shar pei. Did anyone ever hear of this?

  26. Hi Jenny,

    I looked up Alsation and it refers to a German Shepherd Dog. You probably won’t really know the breeds unless you get a genetic test.

    Take care,

  27. Hi Jackie,

    There’s probably a pretty good chance that it’s a Lab mixed with another breed. They have genetic test now that can determine what breed(s) a dog is. I’m not too sure of the accuracy, but you might try consulting your local vet.

    Take care,

  28. Hi I have a husky of 7 months. when people look at him, they said ”wolfhusky”. the day I go the vet the woman said he is a husky and chow breed but looks like an alsation. What does that mean, because i know his mother is a siberian husky. his colour is like a dark brown/gold and black.

  29. Thank you all for the wonderful info. I have a 9 year old AKC registered black lab named Mosh, he is a great dog. He is the second lab I have owned . Until recently I believed that labs didn’t have spotted tongues, but my friend rescued a pup from our local shelter, they told her that he was pure lab. I disagreed do to some tell tales signs, spotted tongue, semi curly tale, long coat that isn’t shiny like most black or chocolate labs. But he does have the build of a lab, the squared style head and webbed type toes. So I’m wondering if anyone on here might have some ideas as to what type of dog my friend maybe dealing with I would appreciate any feed back on this subject.

  30. I have a Dachshund/Miniature Pinscher mix and her mount is black and pink and her tongue has a black spot on it. Also don’t waste your money on those dog breed test. They don’t work and are not accurate.

  31. I’ve got a pure bred yellow lab that has several large blue spots on his tongue as well. That’s what brought me to this site – verifying that the spots weren’t betraying his AKC lineage.

  32. @Kara, my current guide dog puppy in training, Apache is a purebred Golden Retriever and he has a little black dot on the front of his tongue.

  33. Our Labrador is also a purebred and and is AKC registered and she has one black spot on her tongue. I think it is unique. I love this dog.

  34. We have two pure breed black male labs both have bl
    ack spots on their tongues. They are both akc registered. Both have the sweetest disposition ever. I say the spots are a good sign.


  36. We got our dog from the Blue Cross Rescue Centre and were told that because she has a blue tongue she must have chow in her and from other features she’s probably crossed with a staffie. We accepted that quite happily, but today did some investigation and decided she could be a Shiba Inu cross! The personality and untrainable traits certainly fit! She doesn’t open her mouth much at all, so getting a photo isn’t easy!

  37. We have a long haired standard dachshund and she has one quite large black spot on her tongue. She is pure bred and definitely does not have a chow or sharpei in her bloodline

  38. So glad I found this. I bought a Lab 3 weeks ago and she’s just now started having black spots show up on her tounge. Everyone had me convinced I’d paid a lot of money for a dog that wasn’t pure breed.

  39. “As a veterinary assistant I can tell you that only breed mixed with Chow’s and Sharpei’s have blue/black tongues,”

    Sorry. Not buying it, despite your lofty credentials.

    I have had two golden retrievers, both from high-end show breeders, unquestionably purebred, and both with black spotted tongues. Perhaps you missed the point of the article, which suggested that other breeds exhibit the black spot phenomenon beyond simply Chows and Shar Peis.

  40. I have a dog who I thought had chow in him for sure, because of his purple spotty tongue. However I have just had DNA testing done on him through a great place, http://www.muttmix.co.za. He has no chow whatsoever, he is mostly rough collie with a little bit of sausage dog!

  41. i got my dog from an animal shelter, they say he has chow because of his spotted tongue but he looks like a pure bread german shepherd to me but his tongue gets blacker each month and he is very dominant

  42. I have a 10 month old male yellow lab puppy. He is pure bread. Both his parents are yellow labs. And he has a pink tongue with black spots on them. I checked out this blog because I was not sure if black spots were normal especially since I don’t remember seeing them on yellow labs before. Thanks for the info.

  43. We just got a black lab puppy. The mother is a black lab the father a yellow lab with papers & our puppy’s tounge has purple spots. I think it gives our Ms. Sophie more character, I love it!

  44. I have a 3 month old 1/2 golden 1/2 labrador retriever he is the most gorgeous and sweetest puppy. he is solid black and stocky like a big lab, hair like a golden, and has a solid black tongue. I wouldnt trade him for any purebreed on the market 🙂

  45. @Ashley, thanks for sharing your story about your black lab! I noticed a small black spot on one of our yellow lab puppies just the other day.

  46. I have a purebred black lab who is a little over a year old. He has had black spots on his tounge since we got him as a puppy. He is registered through AKC(American Kennel Club) and they only register purebred dogs. I was a little curious to know why he had the black spots and now that i know i think it is pretty cool that he is different from most labs. He has something his own birth mark. Thanks for all the info.

  47. @red, they now have DNA tests to see what breed(s) are in your dog. You might try consulting your veterinarian to see if you can get your sharpei tested.

  48. Hey,my shar pie puppy does not have a blue/black tonuge,his tail is strait as of a pit.is it possible he’s not a fullbreed sharpie?please help I’m so curious to know what breed I’m dealing with.I no forshow he I s shar pie

  49. i have a purebred german shephard. hes primarily black with only brown on his feet. with all that black on him its not surprising half his the underside of his tongue is black. its just pigmentation

  50. I have a 9 month old pure breed AKC registered golden retriever and today I noticed she has 3 black spots on the very back of her tongue…I brush her teeth often and have never seen these spots till today!

  51. Our 8 month old shepard from Slovakia has a large purple spot on her tongue.. We have papers that indicate she is a purebred. We believe that she is.

  52. I saved 2 puppies at the age of 5 days old and they are Huskey / Lab Mix. They are now 7mos old now. One is white with gold ears. He has the face of a lab and the coat of a huskey. He has a blue/purple tongue. The other is black with gold markings on his face and legs and has a pink tongue with black spots. He has the coat of a lab. They are the best dogs I have every owned. In the past I have owned German Shepeads and Rotts.

  53. My girlfriend and I just adopted a black lab from the pound. her name is Bailey. She’s a great looking dog. Looks completely like a full black lab but has a spotted tongue. I looked up possible mixes and she doesn’t look like any of them. Just a regular black lab but with a spotted tongue. I think it could be possible for regular pure breds to have it. It’s like a person being born with a birth mark. I don’t think people can predict everything. Just the way some things are.

  54. To the vet, Lucky claims to be a pure breed black lab. But her tongue has quite a bit of black. I’m still not sure what to believe. A chow mix or pure breed?

  55. my purebreed choc. and my purebreed blk male had 3 camo moasic, pups!has anyone seen this this is my 4 breeding and im blown away. they are all different. beautiful!!!! 1 day old. i wittness tie myself

  56. As a veterinary assistant I can tell you that only breed mixed with Chow’s and Sharpei’s have blue/black tongues, whether they be fully covered or spotted. You golden retriever is a mix. If you still have concerns over exactly what breed then I suggest getting blood work done at your local veterinary hospital.

  57. @Kate, I’m not too sure about the all black tongue and still being a purebred. Someone else may be following this thread that might have more information about black tongues and purebred Labrador Retrievers.

  58. I was wondering if a lab can have a all black tongue and still be purebred? I see on here that its normal to have spots sometimes but what about all black?

  59. I have a pure bred black lab and she has a black/purple tongue, it’s not spotted, it is completely black.

  60. @Heather, thanks for leaving the comment. That’s very interesting information on Chow’s. When I first got my dog Linus and saw the blue/black on his tongue everyone just assumed he was part Chow. All of this information really helps clarify (or maybe confuse) his lineage.

  61. Purebred chows without blue/black noses and tongues are common if they were improperly bred. Line breeding is a common practice-breeding the daughter back to the father. If this practice is carried out over a long enough period of time then your purebred chow will show discoloration and still be considered purebred.

  62. I have had 2 dogs that were rescued. When I spoke to the vet, I was told they were chow mixes based on their tounges having black spots. As they both got older, 1 started to look more and more like an all black german shepard and looked nothing like a chow. The other looks like a black lab with a curly tail and pointy ears. So when I got my pure bred golden retriever and he had 2 black spots I didn’t know what to think. So I did some research and came across your website! Thanks.

  63. Eclipse is a pure Golden Retriever and has a sizeable light black spot on his tongue, it’s actually grown with him /grin/ Coreena’s Loden from GDB was a purebred Lab and also had black spots on his tongue 😀

  64. My 1st GDA puppy Kamra has black sports on her tongue. Just a little extra pigment to make special

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