“Help! I found a black spot on my Lab’s tongue – does it mean he’s part Chow?”
Contrary to popular myth if your dog has black or dark spots on his tongue it doesn’t mean he’s part Chow. Yes – it is true that one of the most well known physical traits of a Chow is his blueish black tongue, but it’s not just a trait seen in Chows. Many other common breeds such as Labs, Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers are also known to have spots on their tongues.
Over 35 breeds are prone to spots on their tongues; it’s not just Chows.
In addition to the Chow and Shar Pei there are over 35 other breeds that are known to develop bluish black spots on their tongues. Regardless of breed some dogs develop extra pigmentation on many parts of the body – including the tongue.
Despite popular myth It’s not just Chows that have dark tongues, there are many dogs that develop dark spots on their tongue through their life. So why do some dogs have spotted tongues anyways?
Tongue Spots Are Just Extra Pigmentation
The dark spots on your dogs tongue are just extra deposits of pigmentation. Just like freckles or birthmarks on humans. Dogs can also have dark pigmentation on their skin that look like freckles. My dog Laika has numerous dime sized “freckles” on her chest that are barely noticeable under all that fur.
Chows and Shar Pei’s are both born with pink tongues – they gradually turn dark around 8 – 10 weeks due to extra pigmentation.
So regardless of your dogs ancestry dark spots on their tongue or skin does not mean they’re part Chow. Sure it’s possible – Chows are one of the oldest breeds known to man but there are also 38 other breeds known for tongue spots.
Tongue spots are quite common amongst a wide variety of breeds. If you were hoping to narrow down your dogs genetic make up based on their tongue alone you’re not going to get very far. Sure you can narrow down the field slightly but you’re still looking at many combinations when you consider 38 breeds are prone to tongue spots.
If you’re truly curious about looking into your mixed breeds ancestry you could consider getting a dog DNA test done. (I’ve had one done on my own dog – she has spots on her tongue but her results didn’t show any Chow)