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. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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?

    1. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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,

  7. 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.

    1. 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,

  8. 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.

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