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.

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