Everyone knows that pets have pink tongues. Seeing a bright pink tongue in a dog’s mouth seems to signify a healthy mouth. It’s what we expect to see in a dog. But what about breeds with black gums? It may be more common than you think. In most cases, genetics plays a large role in color of a dog’s mouth.
Whether you’re worried about sudden black spots in your dog’s gums or you’re just curious about the phenomena, we’ve got you covered. This post will get you up to speed on all dogs with black tongues and gums. We’ll talk about what the sudden appearance of black spots could mean for your dog and how to care for your dog’s teeth and gums for optimal health.
Did you know there are at least 37 dog breeds that can have black patches on their gums and tongues?
That doesn’t necessarily mean their tongues or gums are totally black. Instead parts of the gum color may still be pink with scattered black areas around the inside of the mouth.
The Chow Chow and the Chinese Shar-Pei are the only dogs whose breed standard allow them to have black or blue-black pigmented mouths. Dogs entered into dog shows are recognized for these traits, specifically in those two breeds.
If you’re worried that your puppy appears to be developing black spots on his/her tongue, you can stop.
In this post, we’re going to give you a list of dogs more likely to develop harmless black spots inside their mouths. In addition, we’ll give you the tell-tale signs that the spots may not be what you thought. In that case, a visit to the veterinarian should be planned.
Keep reading for a detailed list of the most common breeds with black tongues and gums.
Dogs With Black “Points” Are More Likely To Have Black Spots on Their Tongues
Traditionally, a dog’s gums are pink. Sometimes, however, you’ll notice your dog has black patches on his tongue. It’s a cause for concern for many people. However, in most cases it’s just their genetics peaking through.
Dogs with a black coat tend to have the kind of heavy pigmentation that turns up inside their mouths. This black pigment is the result of microscopic melanin granules. If you have a dog like this, you’ve probably been asked, “Why does your dog have a black tongue?”
Sometimes people will refer to dogs with “black points” as more likely to have black pigment in their mouths. A black “point” doesn’t refer to the color of your dog’s fur. The term is reserved for dogs who may have black lips, a black nose, dark eye rims, paw pads, and toenails.
Do Only Purebred Dogs Have Black Gums?
According to the American Kennel Club, there are many breeds who may have varying degrees of dark pigmentation in the mouth. In some dogs, darker lips, tongues, and gums is completely normal.
Generally speaking, most puppies are born with delicate but healthy pink gums and tongues. Sometimes, as the dog ages, you may notice the development of black spots on the tongue, gums, or even on the roof of the month. This is a common characteristic that is passed down through genetics.
A mixed breed dog can just as easily have black spots on their gums.
The important thing to focus on is whether your dog has healthy gums. The color is less important, unless this is a sudden development with unexpected signs and symptoms.
What Should Healthy Gums in Dogs Look Like
Dog’s gums should have a pink or salmon color. What you don’t want to see are bright red gums, white gums, blue gums, or signs of bleeding along the gum line. The veterinarian can find out a lot about your dog’s health just by checking the dog’s teeth and gum tissue .
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, “Over 80% of dogs over the age of three have active dental disease.” In dogs, periodontal disease begins with gingivitis.
Gingivitis occurs when plaque (a sticky film containing bacteria) is left untreated. This leads to decay and can lead to infection deep within the tooth socket.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease in Dogs
Pink gums are easier to test for things like capillary refill time. Testing for this is really just the process of finding out how long it takes the color of your dog’s tongue to return to normal after applying pressure to the tissue.
This is test is quick and painless. All you have to do is lift your dog’s upper lip and press a finger into his/her gums for a few seconds.
In a healthy dog, the blood should come rushing back to the site within seconds of removing your finger. Pale, sticky gums may indicate your dog is dehydrated, anemic, or has other underlying health conditions.
The problem is that you can’t perform the test on a dog with black gums. Instead, you can get the same results by lifting your dog’s eyelids. The inside borders of the gums should be healthy, pink-like color.
What Causes the Black Coloring on My Dog’s Tongue and Gums?
Black coloring on your dog’s tongue and/or gums is typically just extra pigmentation.
Dogs That Can Have Black Spots on Tongues and Gums
The following list is comprised of a variety of dog breeds. Only the Chow Chow and Shar Pei are specifically bred to have black mouths. Other dogs may be born that way simply from genetics. Also, there seems to a dogs who have black points that will go on to grow into darker mouths.
The following is a partial list of common breeds with the potential to have dark spots on the tongue, gums and inside the mouth
When Black Pigment Signifies a Health Issue
It’s normal for dogs to sometimes have pigmented spots in their mouth. However, if colored spots suddenly appear or you notice a chance in the texture or size, you should take your dog to a veterinarian for assessment.
If the pigment appears blue-black and has a foul odor, have your veterinarian take a look. It could be nothing, or it could be a sign of melanoma. Other signs of melanoma include the following:
- bad breath
- drooling excessively or suddenly
- panting more than normal
- loss of teeth
- lack of appetite
- difficulty eating
- doesn’t want to be touched around the face or head
- facial swelling
- swollen lymph nodes
Your dog’s black spot is usually nothing to worry about. It does not mean that your dog isn’t purebred, or that there is something wrong with his tongue. What it does mean is that there is one more unique thing about him to love.
45 Breeds Predisposed to Black Gums
1. Austrian Black & Tan Hound
This medium-sized dog is bred for its hunting abilities. He has a strong muzzle, darkly pigmented lips, a black nose, and dark-brown eyes. The ears are high-set but floppy. This dog has a very strong neck and muscular body.
2. Jagterrier (pronounced: YAHK-terrier)
This hunting dog is relatively small and compact. He has an elongated, wedge-shaped head with very pronounced jaw muscles. This dog has dark eyes, v-shaped ears, and is quite muscular.
3. Chilean Fox Terrier
This little dog is a mix of the British Fox Terrier with local breeds that once existed in Chile. He is a clever, inquisitive dog with a well-balanced and elegant appearance.
4. Thai Ridgeback
This is an ancient dog breed that originated in Thailand. He has a medium sized build with a ridged pattern on his back. They are known for their wedge-shaped heads, wrinkled foreheads, spotted tongues and thick, curved tails.
This fox-like breed originated in Greece. The breed’s body is longer than its height. He has a wedge-shaped head, strong jaws, large eyes, and has dark pigmented lips.
6. Telomian Dog
You may not have heard of this one before. The Telomian is a rare breed of medium-size. They have an athletic frame with a square-build. Like the Chow Chow and other Asian breeds, the Telomian is known for his black-blue tongue.
7. Rampur Greyhound
This dog is native to the Rampur region of northern India. He is a sight hound with a wide, muscular build and a flat skull. His nose is pointed and he has high set ears.
8. Black Russian Terrier
This working dog was developed in Russia. He has powerfully large legs and a prominent block-shaped head. His muzzle is short and he has a big black nose, dark-colored gums, and black spots on the tongue.
This majestic dog is beautiful and elegant. They are a cross between a wolf spitz, chow chow and Samoyed. The result is a mid-sized dog with a wedge-shaped head, He has a double thick coast and is known for his blue-black tongue.
10. Phu Quoc Ridgeback
This dog is even rarer than the Thai Ridgeback. In fact, there are thought to be less than a 1000 of them worldwide.
This hunting dog is a mysterious creature with an unsettling cry. Known for their stubbornness, they don’t make good family dogs. They do, however, bond very well with their owners and will be loyal and loving.
12. Manchester Terrier
This little dog comes in at about 20 pounds. They are great mouse hunters and, like cats, are graceful and athletic. They have black pigmented lips.
This toy breed is named for the French word meaning butterfly. The reason for this is because of his big, wing-like ears. Although they don’t necessarily have black tongues or gums, they can have varying degrees of pigment.
14. Shiba Inu
This Japanese hunting dog is a small-to-medium breed. The dog is small but alert. He is known for his ability to traverse rough, mountainous terrain. The Shiba Inu looks similar to a Akita Inu.
15. Estrela Mountain Dog
This large breed was designed to protect herds and homes. They tend to be suspicious and stubborn. However, they are also alert, keen, and protective.
Potcakes are a mix of several other breeds. They come form the Bahamas where they once worked aboard warships to protect food and livestock. Since then, they have been left to roam the streets. Now they are being rescued by the hundreds. Because of their mixed heritage, some may have black-pigmented tongues or gums.
17. Great Pyrenees
This breed is known as a livestock guard stemming from France. This breed is known for its black-roofed mouth and pigmented tongue.
The Rottweiler is a powerful working dog. This dog is playful and self-assured, requiring exercise and attention. Their black-fur and black points make them prime candidates for pigmented gums and tongues.
The Pomeranian is a tiny dog with great zest for life. This little dog is very active and playful. They have a fox-like face and a large double coat that makes them look like tiny teddy-bears.
The Komondor was bred to be a flock guardian. He originated in Hungary and is known for his many white cords of fur. These are very large dogs with a surprising lightness in their step.
21. Portuguese Water Dog
This breed is intelligent and loveable. They make excellent and loyal family dogs, although they can be aloof. Porties are excellent and patient with children.
The Akita is a large, powerful working dog. They are affectionate with family (including children). These muscular, double-coated dogs originated in Japan.
23. Newfoundland Dog
The Newfoundland Dog is a large, docile breed. Originally, they were bred as working dogs for fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador. They make great family dogs if you’re able to handle their size and appetite.
When you hear the word “mastiff” you automatically think “big”. They’re size and appearance can give them a bad rap. However, the mastiff is remarkably good natured and affectionate.
25. Irish Setter
This breed is a good dog for families. They are very good with children and will get along well with other dogs. These dogs are energetic, intelligent and very affectionate. They have no guarding instincts.
26. Curly Coated Retriever
This breed is among the oldest of the retrievers. These dogs are extremely smart that can easily outwit an unsuspecting dog owner.
27. Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise are known as cotton-balls of curly white hair. These dogs are very sweet and charming.
Dalmatians are easily recognized by their white fur and black spots. They are graceful, strong, and loving. They can, however, be aloof with strangers and can have very protective instincts.
29. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is known for its curiously, loyalty, friendliness, and playful qualities. These dogs are common family dogs in North America.
30. German Shepherd
Sometimes German Shepherds get a bad rap. The thing is, they’re beautifial nd intellgent dogs. Like other dogs with black points, retrievers often develop black spots in the mouth as they grow into adulthood.
31. Labrador Retrievers
Labs are another adorable dog that pet owners fall in love with right away. They are perfect for busy families with somewhat of an active lifestyle.
32. Doberman Pinscher
These regal dogs are a beautiful breed with a sleek and powerful air. Dobermans are extremely smart. They are wonderful with families but will be on guard against intruders.
33. Australian Shepherd
This ranch dog is a fixture on the rodeo scene. They are a medium-sized working dog with a lot of energy. Like most shepherds, the Aussie just wants to hear everything it can.
34. Chow Chow
This breed stems from ancient China. He is a very muscular dog who appears very serious and dignified. This dog is known for its dark gums and blue-black tongue. He has a somber expression and is aloof with strangers.
35. Chinese Shar Pei
The Shar Pei is an independent creature with a compact build. They are known for their many skin folds, blue-black tongue, and small sunken eyes. This dog is best for experienced dog owners with the ability to lead the pack.
Collies are beautiful, regal dogs. They are excellent as family dogs. These athletic dogs thrive on companionship and need regular exercise.
37. Cocker Spaniels
This hunting dog has a beautiful face with round, wide eyes. They have long, lush ears, short statures, and an easy gait. This breed is great with children and can be easily trained.
38. American Staffordshire Terrier
This terrier is bred to be stocky and muscular. When bred responsibly, these dogs make amazing family dogs. These dogs, unfortunately, have a bad rap. Well socialized AmStaffs are extremely loveable.
39. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
This dog is a short-haired, medium sized terrier. They were originally bred to be fighting dogs but are now recognized as excellent companion dogs. These dogs are surprisingly docile and loving.
40. Airedale Terrier
The Airedale terrier has a regal stature and unique appearance. He is the tallest of the terrier breeds with a dense, wiry coat.
41. Australian Cattle Dog
This breed is rugged mix of colors and spirit. He is a herding dog by nature with an independent, sometimes aloof nature. They are so smart that they often outsmart their owners. Make great running partners.
42. Belgian Sheepdog
These dogs are sensitive creatures with incredible intelligence. They crave human companionship. The Belgian Sheepdog stands tall and proud with sparkling dark eyes.
The Keeshond is an affectionate family dog known to be good with other dogs and children. This medium-sized spitz-like breed has an ample coat and is known for having markings around the eyes that make it look like he is wearing glasses.
44. Kerry Blue Terrier
This dog is famous for his blue coat. The Kerry Blue Terrier is a farm dog known to be adaptable, alert, and animated.
Pugs are perfect guard dogs that are all “bark” and no bite. They are a small but muscular breed with expressions and antics that delight their owners.
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As you can see, there are many dogs that can have various degrees of pigmented tongues and gums. Some of the dogs listed above (Chow Chow and Shar Pei, for example) are bred to have those dark tongues.
At the end of the day, these are all great dogs that anybody would be lucky to have. The important thing is how you care for your dog. Maintain regular veterinarian check-ups and be sure to watch your dog for signs of dental trouble.
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