Can A Purebred Dog Have a Spotted Tongue?

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

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?

Top Picks For Our Puppies

    We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
    We Like: Mighty Paw Naturals Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
    We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

Similar Posts


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. @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.


  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. “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.

  8. 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, He has no chow whatsoever, he is mostly rough collie with a little bit of sausage dog!

  9. 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

  10. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.