20 Dog Breeds With Black Tongues (With Pictures)

Black tongue dog up close

Dogs with black tongues may appear dirty or stained. While it could be unappealing, there isn’t much you can do about it, as their genes are the ones that normally bring this additional pigmentation.

If you are concerned about your dog’s black tongue, you shouldn’t be because it is quite natural and totally harmless! In fact, there are a lot of dogs out there that have black tongues.

Want to meet these dogs with black tongues? In this article, we’ll introduce the 20 different dog breeds with black tongues and answer the frequently asked questions about this topic. So, if you’re ready, let’s begin!

The 20 Dog Breeds With Black Tongues

There are plenty of different dog breeds that have black tongues. Some black tongue dogs have this trait as part of their breed standard, while others may develop black tongues for no apparent reason.

The list below does not include every breed with a black dog tongue, but it contains the most popular breeds with this characteristic.

1. Chow Chow

Black tongue Chow Chow front portrait

The Chow Chow is admired for having a thick coat of fur and adorable tiny eyes that add to its lion-like appearance. But what sets it apart from almost every other dog breed is its blue-black tongue.

The origin of the Chow Chow’s blue-black tongue is the subject of several myths. However, the American Kennel Club (AKC) claims that there is no evidence to support such.

In the 1820s, the Chows were exhibited at the London Zoo as “the wild dogs of China.” This event marked the beginning of this feature becoming required for distinguishing a purebred Chow Chow.

2. Chinese Shar-Pei

Black tongue Chinese Shar Pei up close

Other than the Chow Chow, the Chinese Shar-Pei is also noted for its solid blue-black tongue. Surprisingly, the two breeds have no known genetic link yet share the same feature.

This wrinkled dog is actually born with a pink tongue. It gradually changes from pink to blue-black once the puppy is about two and a half months old.

However, not every Shar-Pei will have a solid blue-black tongue. Dogs with diluted coat colors associated with solid lavender pigmentation on the tongue are exceptions.

Your dog will be disqualified from competing in dog shows if its tongue has a color other than the colors mentioned above.

3. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Black tongue Rhodesian Ridgeback looking menacing

Next on the list of black-tongue dogs is the Rhodesian Ridgeback. This is an African-bred dog with a robust, athletic build and silky hair.

This wheaten pup is renowned for its strong personality and eye-catching hairline that runs down its back.

This breed, which was developed to hunt lions, is brave, aggressive, strong, and agile. Your Ridgeback’s presence alone will scare any intruder at home.

This dog is obviously not related to the Chow or Shar-Pei, but the majority of the breed have tongues that are all black or have black markings on them. 

The abundance of melanin granules in this breed may be the explanation for its black tongue or spots.

4. Thai Ridgeback

Black tongue Thai Ridgeback face portrait

Similar to the Rhodesians, Thai Ridgebacks are among the black-tongue dogs that are native to Thailand.

According to estimates, there are just almost 2,000 Thais registered, making them a rare breed that is seldom ever seen outside of that area.

These dogs share a lot in common with the Rhodesian Ridgebacks, including the ridge of hair at the back and their overall appearance.

They also have spotted tongues that perfectly complement their coat and help them stand out from the rest of the dogs.

The color of the coat is the primary distinction between these two dogs. While the Thai comes in a variety of hues, including black, fawn, red, and white, the Rhodesian only has one coat color, which is wheaten.

5. Phu Quoc Ridgeback

Phu Quoc Ridgeback with black tongue walking outdoors

Another rare Ridgeback that has a black tongue is the Phu Quoc Ridgeback. Its home island, Phu Quoc, situated in the southern Vietnamese province of Kien Giang, gave rise to its name.

This rare dog is noted for its stunning spiraling hair around the spine and webbed feet, which it utilizes to hunt fish and other animals.

Additionally, this pup will probably have a black tongue, much like the first two Ridgebacks.

Sadly, there are less than a thousand of these dogs around the world. As a result, there is an extremely minimal chance that you will encounter one of them in your lifetime. If you do, consider yourself lucky.

6. Eurasier

Black tongue Eurasier exploring in the backyard

The Eurasier is an uncommon cross between the Chow Chow, Wolf Spitz, and the Samoyed. It is also referred to as the Wolf-Chow or Eurasian Spitz.

Even though the final appearance of this dog breed may vary, the majority of Eurasiers lean toward the Samoyed side with a blue-black tongue. This dog, however, does not inherit any of the Samoyed’s coat colors.

As you might have guessed, its black tongue is inherited from the Chow Chow side of its family. This feature is one of the most notable things about the breed, which contrasts nicely with its adorable coat.

Aside from the incredible beauty of this Spitz-type breed, the Eurasier is known for its loyalty, intelligence, and even temperament.

7. Labrador Retriever

Black tongue Labrador Retriever biting a twig

Among the list of canine breeds with black tongues is America’s favorite dog — the Labrador Retriever!

Some Labs, like the charcoal and chocolate variations, may also have dark colors around their tongues due to the presence of small melanin granules.

Your Lab may have a few dark spots, or its tongue may be covered with them, depending on how many of these granules are present.

However, unlike the Chow Chow or Shar-Pei, the entire tongue of the Labrador does not turn blue-black.

Furthermore, people think that this breed’s black color is an undeniable indicator that the dog had mixed genetics at some point in its past.

This, however, is not justified and does not even lead to the breed’s exclusion from the breeding standard.

8. Newfoundland

Newfoundland with black tongue up close

The Newfoundland is one of the large dog breeds with a black tongue. This dog is well known for its immense size, incredible power, intellect, loyalty, and gentle nature.

In the past, this dog has been used by fishermen to haul fish nets. These days, it excels in water/lifesaving tasks owing to its webbed paws, thick double coat, swimming skills, and strong frame.

In addition to their alluring appearance, some Newfoundlands have black spots on their tongues.

In some cases, the tongue will exhibit additional pigmentation, giving it an unusual color. These spots may even randomly appear in purple or blue-black.

Whatever the color of the spot, it surely makes this dog extra special!

9. Pomeranian

Black tongue Pomeranian on white background

One of the black-tongued dogs that have consistently ranked in the top 15 of all dog breeds registered with the American Kennel Club over the past ten years is the Pomeranian.

With its super-fluffy, small, and elegant body, the Pomeranian is surely one of those cutest dogs that you can’t help but pet, cuddle with, and take endless Instagram photos of.

To make the deal sweeter, the Pomeranian is fun to hang with. When around people they love, they usually stick their tongues out to show how pleased they are.

A pink, black, or pinkish-black tongue may be present on this pup. Poms have distinctive black tongues because they are a miniature version of the Spitz sled dog breeds, like the Chow.

10. Border Collie

Black tongue Border Collie looking upwards

Next on our list of black-tongue pups is one of the most colorful dog breeds, the Border Collie.

There are more than 20 standard Border Collie colors recognized by different kennel clubs, including black, blue, blue merle, brindle, red merle, sable, and more.

While the coat of a Border Collie can be predicted through genetic testing, one cannot exactly predict the resulting pup of this breed.

These dogs may develop hyperpigmentation, which causes some changes in the way their coats look. Even their normally pink tongues can change to black or pinkish black.

Keep in mind, though, that this condition is not necessarily an underlying disease; rather, it is a transitory change that occurs in a dog as it ages.

11. Rottweiler

Black tongue Rottweiler side profile

Another popular dog breed with a black tongue is included in our list — the Rottweiler. In the past, this dog served as a police dog, guide dog, and search-and-rescue dog.

But this giant dog breed is so much more than a hard worker. With proper training and early socialization, the Rottweiler may also be a sweet friend that displays devotion and affection to its family.

At home, this pup is quite satisfied with being alone with its human owners. It also enjoys wandering around your house, which is why you’ll see it grinning widely and sticking its tongue out most of the time.

While there is no standard Rottweiler tongue color, it is not unusual to observe black spots on a lot of them. This dog may even have tongues that are entirely black or blue.

12. Golden Retriever

Black tongue Golden Retriever on white background

Golden Retrievers may also have black tongues, much like Labradors do. This dog enjoys carrying random objects in its mouth wherever it goes. It could be clothing, toys, sticks, or anything else that isn’t tied down.

Because of this habit, it might even carry filthy objects that could turn its tongue black, which can make owners frustrated.

This dog breed is also one that is prone to having a black tongue by nature. Similar to the other dog breed covered in this article, many myths have been linked to the characteristics of this breed.

Regardless of the cause of its black tongue, it is still your obligation to frequently check your dog so that you can take prompt action if a health issue develops.

Watch this video to learn more about why some Golden Retrievers have a black spot on their tongue:

Why Some Golden Retrievers Have A Black Spot On Their Tongue?

13. Bullmastiff

Black tongue Mastiff side profile

The Bullmastiff is one of the black-tongued dogs that drool more than others simply because of its loose skin around its mouth, short muzzle, and large jowl.

You will often catch this dog drooling saliva on its tongue or the sides of its mouth.

Because of its exposed mouth, this dog can get bacteria, which can cause black spots on its tongue. While this could be true, it is not always the case. Some Bullmastiffs are naturally born with black tongues.

To ensure the health of your Bullmastiff, always wipe its mouth with a clean sheet of a towel, and if possible, brush its teeth regularly.

14. Great Pyrenees

Black tongue Great Pyrenees side profile

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog, popularly referred to as the Great Pyrenees, is another giant dog that may have a black tongue.

The Pyrenees is a competent large-sized guardian dog that is fearless and obedient. This dog also has a deep affection for those it loves. Aside from its endearing personality, it also has a regal and gentle appearance.

This giant dog is covered with a white double coat that sheds anywhere from moderately to heavily, depending on the season and other circumstances. 

In addition to its white base coat, this dog may have a badger, gray, reddish-brown, or tan marking.

As for the tongue, most Pyrenees have it pink. However, they could also have more melanin deposits, which would explain why they might also have black tongues or black patches.

15. Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois with black tongue exploring outdoors

Next up is one of the well-known dogs for its tongue — the Belgian Malinois. The majority of canines you may encounter have dangling tongues. They do this to express joy or fear, recoup after exercise, or cool down.

But the Belgian Malinois is one of those dog breeds that takes this dangling tongue to the next level. Since its tongue is too big for its mouth, you will always see its tongue hanging out.

Speaking of the tongue, a Belgian Malinois has a solid pink tongue, even the black ones. However, this breed is occasionally known to have spotted tongues.

So, if you ever come across one of them with a pink and black tongue, you shouldn’t be alarmed by it and should be aware that it is completely normal.

16. German Shepherd

Black tongue German Shepherd resting outdoors

The German Shepherd, also known as the Alsatian, is not only one of the breeds with large snouts, bushy tails, and pointed ears. This dog also belongs to the group of canines that have black tongues.

Typically, a German Shepherd’s tongue’s appearance is not given much attention unless it appears odd, such as having black patches, which raises concerns regarding a German Shepherd’s ancestry.

Some people thought that if a dog had black patches on its tongue, it must have been a mix with the breed known as the Chow Chow, which is recognized for having a tongue that is all black.

However, there is no proof of this or blatant indication of relativity between these two species.

Thus, it is fairer to conclude that black spots on a German Shepherd’s tongue are actually extra melanin deposits rather than an indication that the dog has a mix of Chow.

17. Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky with black tongue out in the snow

Following our list of black-tongued dog breeds is the Siberian Husky.

This dog can at first seem intimidating to approach, especially for first-time dog owners. But once it relaxes its jaw, rolls out its tongue, and smiles, it becomes instantly friendly.

With regards to their tongue, these dogs are generally born with pink-colored tongues. The color of some of them, though, may change as they age, going from pink to purple or pink to black.

While a sudden change in tongue color may point to a medical condition, it is quite normal for this breed’s tongue to change color gradually.

If you want to ensure your dog doesn’t have any illness, it is advisable to visit a vet as soon as you observe any strange changes in your dog, not only on its tongue.

18. Dalmatian

Black tongue Dalmatian on white background

Among all dogs listed on this list, the Dalmatian is the only spotted breed. According to its breeding standard, its base color should be pure white, and the only possible spot colors are dense black or liver brown.

The existence of other coat colors, such as the rainbow Dalmatian, is completely the product of creative minds.

Even though a Dalmatian’s coat is attractive, there are some downsides to it. The piebald genes that give this breed its coat are also what make it susceptible to deafness.

In addition to deafness, this gene may also cause greater pigmentation, which would cause more black patches on other parts of the body, including the tongue.

Fortunately, unlike deafness, this additional pigmentation has no negative effects on your Dalmatian’s health.

19. Australian Cattle Dog

Black tongue Australian Cattle Dog staring at owner

The Australian Cattle Dog, widely known as the Queensland Heeler or Blue Heeler, also has a black tongue.

This dog is renowned for its stocky, muscular physique that is intended to optimize strength, endurance, and stamina.

Blue and red are the two basic colors specified by the Australian Cattle Dog standard. These colors are achieved through the intermingling of white hairs with black hairs and red hairs, respectively.

This dog could also have red, black, or tan markings, which may even extend to its tongue.

These markings appear as freckles or birthmarks on the tongue. They can be small or huge, depending on the extra pigmentation.

20. Bichon Frise

Black tongue Bichon Frise up close

This list of dogs with black tongues would not end without the Bichon Frise!

The Bichon Frise is described in the American Kennel Club standard as “a tiny white powder puff dog with a joyful nature.” This dog lacks many of the genes that code for pigments associated with fur color.

Even though the Bichon Frise is most famous for its classic yet stunning solid white hue, it’s possible for this dog to have darker coloring on other parts of its body, which includes the tongue.

However, it is believed that its black tongue is a result of being mixed with a dog with a black tongue.

Despite this, the breed’s standards don’t explicitly mention having a black tongue is a fault. Therefore, it is not sufficient to argue that a Bichon Frise with a black tongue is not purebred.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dog with black tongue smiling

What Does a Dog’s Tongue Color Mean?

The color of your dog’s tongue is a sign of their general health condition. Normally, a healthy dog has a pink tongue unless you have a breed recognized for having a blue or purple tongue.

Other colors could indicate your pooch is dehydrated, anemic, injured, etc. To find if there is an underlying illness for a dog’s unusual tongue color, it is a good idea to provide vet checkups on a regular basis.

What Does It Mean When a Dog’s Tongue Is Black?

Black tongues are simply additional pigmentation. This feature is visible in a Chow Chow or a Shar Pei and is even part of their breed standards.

However, a black tongue on any dog other than a Chow Chow or a Shar Pei can be a sign of an illness. If that is complemented by blood-tinged saliva and bad breath, you should arrange a vet check-up immediately.

What Causes Black Tongues in Dogs?

Black tongue in dogs is primarily caused by extra melanin deposits, which result in darker pigmentation. These typically develop at or shortly after birth and do not suggest any health issues.

However, if a dog gets black spots or turns its tongue to black all of a sudden, this should be cause for alarm, as it may be caused by low blood oxygen levels, niacin deficiency, or even cancer.

Final Thoughts

Your puppy may have a black tongue for a bunch of reasons. In most cases, if it descended from the Chow, it can naturally be born with a black tongue. It may also develop even after birth without posing a health problem.

The sudden appearance of black spots on other dog breeds, though, could be cause for concern. If these spots continue to spread and the texture gradually changes, your dog may have a health problem.

Watch out for unusual signs; if you’re worried, take your dog to the vet!

Is your pup one of the dog breeds with a black tongue? Comment below and share your story.

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