Many people mistakenly assume that a dog with a black tongue is a Chow or at least part Chow. In reality, there are many other breeds of dog that may have black spots on their tongue or gums.
I began researching the internet after adopting Ms Molly from the local Humane Society. She looked like a Golden Retriever and had the friendly personality to match, but since she had black spots on her tongue, she was listed at the shelter as a Chow/Mastiff mix. As she didn’t fit the profile of either breed in looks or size, I decided to spend the few dollars to get a DNA test to confirm her lineage, merely to satisfy my curiosity.
The Chinese Shar-Pei (commonly referred to as the ‘wrinkle dog’) is another breed that is known to have a black tongue. Many breeds are known to have tongues or gums with black spots, prompting less knowledgeable owners to think they may have a dog that is of mixed parentage rather than a purebred. The list of dog breeds that are known to have tongues with black spots include:
Australian Cattle Dog
German Shepherd Dog
as well as several other breeds that are less well known here in the United States.
What causes black spots on a dog’s tongue?
The black spots on a dog’s tongue are a result of excessive pigment, much the same as freckles or birthmarks that might appear on you and I. Many dogs also have pigmented spots on their skin that are visible only when their hair is closely trimmed or shaven.
Is a dog with a black tongue smarter or otherwise special?
My dad always told me that if a dog had black in its gums, it was a sign of a good dog. In reality, a dog with black spots on its tongue or gums is no more or less special than a child with freckles. While there is no scientific basis to support it, I’ll argue in favor of my dad’s observation on the basis of my relationship with Ms Molly.
The results of Ms Molly’s DNA test report that she is a mix of (in order of percentage) St. Bernard, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, English Springer Spaniel and, of all things, Italian Greyhound.
I don’t care what she is, she’s still the prettiest dog in town – black spotted tongue or not.
Sources: Personal knowledge and DNA testing