Dogs with blue tongues are one of the most unique animals in the world of mammals. In contrast with giraffes and polar bears that mostly have blue tongues, this trait is rarely exhibited in many dog breeds.
One of the most common assumptions about blue-tongued dogs is that they descended from Chow Chows. While this may be occasionally true, other factors could also cause blue tongue in dogs.
This guide will walk you through the 17 dog breeds that can have blue tongues. Additionally, the latter part of this guide will answer some intriguing questions about the dog’s tongue color, so keep reading!
The 17 Dog Breeds With Blue Tongues
One of the first dogs that might come to mind when you hear the term “blue-tongued dog” is the Chow Chow. Many people even think that Chow Chow is the only dog breed that can have a blue tongue.
But contrary to this popular belief, almost all dog breeds can have blue or bluish-black pigments in their tongues. This trait is more frequently seen in dogs with dark lips, noses, eye rims, paw pads, and toenails.
Below is a detailed list of the 17 dog breeds with the highest prevalence of blue-pigmented or blue-spotted tongues. Feel free to check them out!
1. Chow Chow
Of all the breeds in this list, the Chow Chow is the most popular dog with a blue tongue. Essentially, its whole oral cavity contains a significantly high concentration of pigmented cells, which causes the blue color.
Chow Chows are suitable for pet parents looking for medium-sized dogs with blue tongues. Although they look big in pictures, Chow Chows only stand between 17 and 20 inches and weigh around 45 to 70 pounds.
Due to their less active nature, Chow Chows require fewer food and calories daily to stay healthy. Their coat comes in various shades of black, blue, cinnamon, cream, merle, brindle, albino, and red.
Chow Chow mixes, like the Chow Pei and Pitchow, are also known to have blue tongues. If you aren’t interested in hybrid dogs, there are many reputable breeders where you can buy purebred Chow Chows.
Another breed known for having a blue or bluish-black tongue is the Shar-Pei. Although its tongue color is similar to that of a Chow Chow, there is no genetic evidence to support the ancestral relationship of these breeds.
The standard Shar-Pei can reach a height of 17 to 20 inches and a weight of 40 to 65 pounds. Its coat comes in various colors and patterns, including black, blue, brown, chocolate, cream, fawn, red, isabella, and many more!
All Shar-Pei variants, including miniature and bear coat Shar-Peis, also have bluish-black tongues. This is also possible for most Shar-Pei mixes, including Walrus Dogs, Sharp Eagles, and Mini Hippo Dogs.
Before getting this calm, loyal, and protective dog, be sure to research some reputable Shar-Pei breeders and the overall cost of owning one.
Originating from Germany, the Eurasier is a purebred dog that belongs to the Spitz family, which has Chow Chow, Keeshond, and Samoyed ancestry.
Due to its Chow Chow lineage, this dog can have a blue, pink, or spotted tongue.
The Eurasier has a height of 19 to 24 inches, and its weight varies from 40 to 70 pounds.
Its medium to long coat comes in any color possible for a Chow Chow, Keeshond, and Samoyed, such as wolf gray, black, fawn, and red.
Physically, the Eurasier looks more like a Keeshond or a Samoyed. Yet, its temperament is a mix of its parent breeds’ traits. It is loving and kid-friendly, like Keeshonds and Samoyeds, but aloof to strangers, like Chow Chows.
4. Chongqing Dog
Like Chow Chows and Shar-Peis, the Chongqing Dog is one of the ancient purebred dogs in China. Although its entire tongue is predominantly blue or bluish-black, it might occasionally have spotted areas.
This muscular dog, which looks like a small version of a Mastiff, can stand anywhere between 13 and 18 inches and weighs around 33 to 55 pounds. Its short coat can be reddish-brown or black, and its tail is always held upright.
Chongqing Dogs were originally bred for hunting and guarding. Because of their high prey drive, they may not be ideal for households with other pets. With early socialization, they can get along well with young children.
5. Chuandong Hound
Also known as Easter Sichuan Hound, the Chuandong Hound is another purebred pooch native to China. Like the Chongqing Dog, this scenthound can have blue, bluish-black, or spotted tongue.
Originally, the Chongqing Dog and the Chuandong Hound were classified as the same dogs. However, in 2016, the CKU recognized them as separate breeds due to their obvious differences.
Being larger than Chongqing Dogs, Chuandong Hounds may reach a height of 15 to 20 inches and a weight of 33 to 54 pounds. They also have terrier-type muzzles longer than those of the Chongqing Dogs.
Red is the only coat color of Chuandong Hounds. Genetically, these dogs are closely related to Tibetan Mastiffs, Chow Chows, and dingoes. This may be the right breed for you if you’re into an adaptable and loyal working dog.
6. Laizhou Hong
The Laizhou Hong, or Chinese Red Dog, is a rare dog breed with a muscular physique, pronounced skull, and powerful jaw. The huge portions of its tongue and gums are known for having a blue or bluish-black color.
True to other Molosser-type dogs, like Mastiffs and Bullmastiffs, Laizhou Hongs are large, heavy-boned, and compact-bodied. They can reach a height of around 25 to 32 inches and a weight of 77 to 100 pounds.
Their short, glossy coats come in black with red markings — one of the distinguishing features of this breed. Although they have blue-spotted tongues, they are not closely related to Chow Chows and Shar-Peis.
In terms of temperament, Laizhou Hongs are loyal, confident, tough, intelligent, and courageous. These make them ideal security dogs for households.
Watch the video below to learn more about Laizhou Hongs:
7. Thai Ridgeback
Originating from Thailand, the Thai Ridgeback is an intelligent dog breed that was first bred as a hunting and guard dog. Most Thai Ridgebacks have several blue or bluish-black spots in some areas of their tongue.
They may occasionally develop a solid blue or bluish-black tongue. Moreover, the short coat of the Thai Ridgeback comes in black, blue, red, and yellow.
It has a height of around 20 to 24 inches and a weight of 35 to 75 pounds.
Like other Ridgeback breeds, the Thai Ridgeback has a pattern of ridges on its back that resembles a mohawk. It also has a muscular and streamlined body that matches its natural agility and athleticism.
Thai Ridgebacks are ideal for pet parents looking for loyal, playful, trainable, and protective dogs. But remember that because of their high prey drive, they might not be suitable for households with other pets.
8. Phu Quoc Ridgeback
The Phu Quoc Ridgeback (PQR) is among the rarest breeds in the Ridgeback family and the entire canine world. This breed from Vietnam exhibits bluish-black pigment in some or all areas of its tongue.
Its short coat comes in black, red, brown, yellow, sable, and brindle. Being the smallest Ridgeback breed, the PQR stands around 19 to 22 inches and weighs between 26 and 55 pounds.
Unlike the Thai Ridgeback, the PQR has webbed feet, which makes it an excellent swimmer. It is also known for its swiftness and versatility as a hunting dog. Due to its protective nature, the PQR can be a good guard dog.
If you have an active lifestyle and want a courageous and friendly dog, the Phu Quoc Ridgeback might be suitable for you!
9. Border Collie
Like most dogs, Border Collies are typically born with pink tongues. However, due to some random pigmentation, some of them develop blue or bluish-purple pigments in some or all areas of their tongue.
Most cases of random blue pigmentation in Border Collies’ tongues are deemed harmless. Also, this feature can be inherited by some Border Collie mixes, including the Border Pit, Border Beagle, and Collie Pyrenees.
Border Collies have wavy, double coats that come in shades and patterns of black, blue, red, blue merle, red merle, tricolor, and many more! They have a very long lifespan that ranges from 10 to 17 years.
There are many reputable breeders and rescues across the United States where you can buy a Border Collie. But before you get one, be sure to know all the expenses involved in owning this smart and highly energetic pooch.
Although they are rare, blue tongue spots are also possible in Rottweilers. Similar to Border Collies, the blue tongue markings in some Rottweilers are just caused by random pigmentation and are not distinctive to the breed.
These random blue tongue spots can also be observed in some Rottweiler mixes, including Rottadors, Pitweilers, Rotticorsos, and Blueweilers. The same is true for miniature, longhaired, and white Rottweiler variants.
Rottweilers can reach a height of 22 to 27 inches and a weight of 80 to 135 pounds. Some factors, like their diet, sex, and origin, may affect their sizes. Their short coats are typically black with mahogany, rust, or tan markings.
Finding a reputable Rottweiler breeder or rescue in the United States is not difficult due to the breed’s popularity. However, before getting one, make sure you have enough time and finances to care for this brave guard dog.
11. German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is among the herding breeds that can develop bluish-black tongue spots. These harmless spots are just the result of excess pigmentation in the dog’s tongue, similar to freckles in humans.
German Shepherd mixes, like Shepnees, Malinois X, Shepweiler, and Shepsky, can also develop these bluish-black tongue spots. This is likewise true for some GSD variants, including DDR, short-haired, and dwarf GSDs.
The dense coats of German Shepherds come in colors and patterns of black, liver, blue, isabella, sable, black and white, and many more! GSDs are ideal for those who are looking for smart, brave, vigilant, and kid-friendly dogs.
12. Shiloh Shepherd
Originating from the United States, the Shiloh Shepherd is a rare dog related to German Shepherds. Like GSDs, this dog can also develop blue or bluish-black tongue spots due to excess pigmentation.
But occasionally, some Shilohs are born with reddish-purple or bluish-red tongues. The first Shiloh was bred in the early 1990s by Tina Barber, who repeatedly crossed her German Shepherd to other herding dogs.
Although they are not currently recognized by the AKC, the Shiloh Shepherd is acknowledged by the American Rare Breed Association as a separate breed.
Shilohs have a closer resemblance to German Shepherds. However, they are more wolf-like and relatively bigger than GSDs. They stand anywhere between 26 and 32 inches and weigh around 80 to 160 pounds.
In addition, Shiloh Shepherds are deemed gentler, calmer, easier to train, and less aggressive than German Shepherds.
13. Golden Retriever
Blue and bluish-black tongue spots are also common in Golden Retrievers. Occasionally, Golden Retriever mixes, such as the Goldmaraner, Golden Chi, and Golden Rottie, can likewise develop these dark tongue spots.
Many Golden Retriever pups are born with light-colored tongue spots. But as they age, their tongue’s pigment-producing cells become more active. This causes their light-colored tongue spots to turn bluish-black over time.
Golden Retrievers can reach a height of 21.5 to 24 inches and a weight of 55 to 75 pounds. However, their sizes may vary depending on their diet, sex, origin, and even the purpose of breeding them.
14. Tibetan Mastiff
Excess tongue pigmentation can also occur in Tibetan Mastiffs. Because of this, many Tibetan Mastiffs and their mixes, including the Tibetan Mastiff Husky mix, are often observed with blue or bluish-black tongue markings.
Note that these tongue markings should have the same texture as the rest of the tongue. If these markings are bumpy, you need to see your trusted vet immediately, as bumpy tongue spots may signify oral melanoma.
The Tibetan Mastiff has a height ranging from 24 to 30 inches and a weight of around 70 to 150 pounds. Being sexually dimorphic, male Tibetan Mastiffs have thicker coats and are bigger than their female counterparts.
Tibetan Mastiffs can also make good guard dogs due to their highly vigilant nature and intimidating size. However, being the most expensive dog breed in the world, owning a Tibetan Mastiff typically comes with a high cost.
Blue and black tongue spots can also be observed in many Newfoundlands. But similar to the few breeds previously discussed, these spots are simply caused by the overactivity of some pigmented cells in the dog’s tongue.
Newfoundland mixes, like the Saint Bernewfie and Newfypoo, can also exhibit these tongue spots. The Newfoundland or Newfie stands anywhere between 26 and 28 inches and weighs around 100 to 150 pounds.
As with other dogs, male and female Newfies have some physical and behavioral differences. Male Newfies are typically larger, more playful, clingier, and less suspicious of strangers than their female counterparts.
Despite these differences, all Newfoundlands are deemed sweet, patient, and very child-friendly.
16. Taiwan Dog
The Taiwan Dog or Formosan Mountain Dog is a purebred pooch that is naturally born with blue or bluish-black tongue spots. Some Taiwan Dogs even have bluish-purple patches covering the majority of their tongues.
Tongue spots are among the defining characteristics of the Taiwan Dog. It can reach a height of 17 to 21 inches and a weight of 26 to 40 pounds. Black, brindle, fawn, and white are the FCI-accepted coat colors of this breed.
Taiwan Dogs were originally bred by Taiwanese aborigines as hunting dogs for small animals and wild boars. Despite their small size, they are agile, versatile, fearless, and extremely protective, making them good guard dogs.
With early socialization and intensive training, Taiwan Dogs can get along well with children and other dogs. Currently, there are only a few breeders and rescues in the United States where you can get a Taiwan Dog.
17. Kai Ken
Native to Japan, the Kai Ken is a rare, medium-sized dog breed with naturally blue or bluish-black spots in the mouth and tongue. As the Kai Kens matures, these patches increase and sometimes get even darker.
Also, these mouth and tongue spots are among the AKC’s breed standards for Kai Kens. Generally, Kai Kens can reach a height of 15.5 to 19.5 inches and weigh approximately 25 to 40 pounds.
These dogs have medium-length, double coats that always come in a brindle or striped pattern, hence the nickname “tiger dogs.” Behaviorally, the Kai Ken is intelligent, agile, protective, and devoted to its master.
Because they were originally bred as hunting dogs, Kai Kens have a high tendency to chase small animals. However, a well-socialized Kai Ken will rarely exhibit aggression towards kids and other dogs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does a Dog’s Tongue Color Mean?
A dog’s tongue’s color may tell the abundance and activity of its pigmented cells. Generally, if a dog’s tongue has numerous or overactive pigmented cells, it will acquire a darker tongue color, like blue or black.
Yet, tongue color may also reveal the dog’s health status. For many breeds, a pink tongue is deemed normal. If it changes into red, purple, or yellow, it may signify abnormal blood flow, hypoxemia, or jaundice.
What Does It Mean When Your Dog Has a Blue Tongue?
If your dog has a blue tongue, it may mean that it has excess tongue pigmentation, which is completely harmless. It may also mean that your dog is related to some blue-tongued breeds like Chow Chows and Shar-Peis.
However, a sudden change in the dog’s tongue color from pink to blue could indicate cyanosis. Cyanosis occurs when there is a lack of oxygen in the dog’s system due to cardiovascular or respiratory issues.
Lastly, it can also be a symptom of oral melanoma if the blue portion of your dog’s tongue is bumpier and rougher than the rest of the tongue.
What Causes Blue Tongues in Dogs?
As established earlier, the overactivity of the dog’s pigmented cells can cause them to have blue pigment in some or all areas of their tongue. However, it can also be caused by a lack of oxygen in the dog’s system.
In Chow Chows and Shar-Peis, the high concentration of pigmented cells in their mouths causes them to have blue tongues. These breeds are born with pink tongues that will eventually become blue as they age.
Many dog breeds can develop blue tongues or tongue spots due to the overactivity of their pigmented cells. Likewise, the high concentration of pigmented cells in the oral cavity can cause blue tongues in dogs.
Some dogs with blue tongues are genetically related to Chow Chows, Shar-Peis, Thai Ridgebacks, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks, or Chongqing Dogs.
However, blue tongues can also indicate low oxygen levels in the dog’s body, especially if the color change in your dog’s tongue is abrupt.
After learning everything about dogs with blue tongues, which among the breeds covered in this guide piques your interest the most? Tell us your top pick in the comment section!