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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

  7. 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

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