What Dogs Have Black Tongues? | The Surprising Answer

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Many of us wonder what dogs have black tongues. In this article, we’ll explore which breeds have black tongues and the reasons behind them.
Dogs are fascinating animals with unique traits that keep them special compared to other animals. One of the most unique features of some dogs is their black tongue. Many people wonder what dogs have black tongues and why. In this article, we’ll see the answer to those questions and poke into the history, myths, and science behind this interesting characteristic.

Which Breeds of Dogs Have Black Tongues?

Most of us see only pink tongue dog breeds and not all dogs have black tongues but some breeds are more likely to have them than others. Let’s see the breeds which have and are known for their black tongues:

Chow Chow

This breed is the most well-known for its black tongue. Chow Chows are the Chinese breed with a thick coat and a blue-black tongue along with their soft white or red coat.

ColorCream, Red, Black, Blue, Cinnamon
Height17-21 Inches
Weight45-75 Pounds
Life Span8-12 Years
Popularity RankingAs per AKC, 92 rank


Another Chinese breed, Shar-Pei is recognized for its wrinkled skin and dark tongue. They were originally bred as farm and hunting dogs and have become popular family pets.

ColorBlack, Cream, Brown, and Red
Height18-20 Inches
Wight45-60 Pounds
Life Span8-12 Years
Popularity RankingAs per AKC, 68 Rank

Labrador Retriever

While Labradors are typically known for their pink tongues, a small percentage of them have black tongues. This is because the breed has some genetic overlap with the Chow Chow.

ColorBlack, Chocolate, and Yellow
Height21-25 Inches
Wight55-80 Pounds
Life Span11-13 Years
Popularity RankingAs per AKC, 2nd rank

Golden Retriever

Like Labradors, most Golden Retrievers have pink tongues, but some may have spots or streaks of black on their tongues.

ColorDark Golden, Golden, and Light Golden
Height21-24 INches
Wight55-75 Pounds
Life Span10-12 Years
Popularity RankingAs per AKC, 3rd rank


This large breed of dog is known for its thick, water-resistant coat and its deep bark. Even Newfoundlands also have black tongues, which are sometimes referred to as ” bear tongues.” Some other breeds, including the Thai Ridgeback and the Eurasier, also have black tongues.

Some other breeds, including the Thai Ridgeback and the Eurasier, also have black tongues.

ColorBlack, Brown, and Gray
Height26-29 Inches
Wight100-150 Pounds
Life Span9-10 years
Popularity RankingAs per AKC, 42nd rank.

The Evolutionary Reason for Black Tongues

The reason some dogs have black tongues is the inheritance from their ancestors and Wolves, from which all dogs descended, have dark-colored tongues. They use their tongues to clean themselves and their group members, and the darker color protects them from the sun’s harmful rays.

As time evolved, dogs have different characteristics and changes, including coat colors, sizes, and shapes. However, some breeds have a black color tongue from their heredity. It may sound like a minor trait but only a few dog breeds have this unique black-colored tongue trait that makes the breed unique.

Debunking Myths About Black-Tongued Dogs

Some people have a misconception and myths about black-tongued dogs. Some people assume that these breeds are more aggressive and have health issues, but actually, there is no scientific evidence to prove this misconception. Moreover, black-tongued dogs are healthy and friendly like other breeds.

Another myth is that a dog’s tongue turns black when the dog is sick or unhealthy and there may be chances of changes in tongue color when a dog is sick but a black tongue on its own is not a cause for concern, it’s just a natural variation within the dogs breed.

Health Concerns for Dogs with Black Tongues

As we know now, the black color of a dog’s tongue is not a health issue, but as with other breeds, black tongues dog breeds also have health issues.

For example, Chow Chows are prone to developing skin allergies, which can cause discomfort and require treatment.

Shar-Peis are also prone to certain skin conditions, including pyoderma and eye problems.

And Newfoundlands are prone to hip dysplasia. Regular veterinary check-ups and attentive care can help ensure your dog stays healthy and happy, regardless of their tongue color. Check here for affordable vet check-ups and vaccination.


Are black-tongued dogs rare?

Yes, black-tongued dogs are rare. breeds like Chow Chows and Shar-Pei, are known for their black tongues.

Is a black tongue a sign of illness in dogs?

No, a black tongue on its own is not a sign of illness but if there are any changes in tongue color can be health issues. it’s best to consult with a veterinarian if you notice it.

Can a dog’s tongue change color over time?

It’s rare that a dog’s tongue color change over time. However, as dog’s age, their tongue color may become darker or lighter.

Why do some dogs have spots or streaks of black on their tongues?

Some breeds, like Golden Retrievers, may have spots or streaks of black on their tongues. This is a result of genetic overlap with breeds like the Chow Chow, which have completely black tongues.

Are dogs with black tongues aggressive?

No, black tongue dogs are not aggressive they are friendly like other breeds, this is just a misconception and myth about black-tongued dogs.

Why is Chow Chow tongue black?

It is due to the presence of pigmentation cells which are inherited from their ancestors.


The short answer to What Dogs Have Black Tongues is that several breeds, including Chow Chows, Shar-Peis, and some Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Newfoundlands, have black tongues.

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