Shar Pei black tongue

November 27, 2015
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We have all experienced the moment of spending time with our dog cuddling or playing and all of a sudden he/she plants a sloppy wet kiss (lick) across your face. However, if you are the owner of a Chow Chow or a Chinese Shar-Pei you might know something about this “kiss” that other dog owners might not be aware of. Not all dogs have pink tongues! Some breeds, such as the Chow Chow and the Shar-Pei have completely black or bluish tongues or spots of blue/black on their pink tongue.

You might be wondering why some dogs have this coloration instead of the more common solid pink tongue. The answer is really simple. It’s just extra pigment! Humans have freckles or birthmarks, which is exactly the same concept.

Just as some people have more freckles than others, some dogs may have pink tongues and some may not. Most dogs are born with pink tongues and some may develop the darker pigmentation as they age. For example, purebred Chow Chows are born with the pink coloration and it darkens as they age. It is simply a unique characteristic of some canine cuties!

  • Akita
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Bichon Frise
  • Collie
  • Dalmatian
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Mastiff
  • Shiba Inu

Nevertheless, it is very important to keep in mind that a dog’s tongue is also an important indicator of his/her overall health. Here are a few coloration warnings according to to keep an eye on (contact your veterinarian if the coloration does not return to normal):

  • A pale or white tongue may be a sign of weakened body condition
  • A deep red tongue may indicate hyperactivity of one of the organ systems of the body
  • A bluish or purple-tinged tongue can suggest pain or congestion somewhere in the body
  • A yellow-orange tongue may indicate gastritis and gall bladder or liver malfunction

So now you know, some dogs just have a little extra pigmentation, which makes their tongues black. It’s that straightforward! Next time your cuddly companion or playful pal surprises you with a little extra puppy lovin’ you might take a moment to see if your dog has a black tongue! Or if you’re curious to see if any of the dogs at the San Antonio Humane Society possess this unique trait, check out


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