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37 Dogs With Black Tongues (Besides Chow Chows)

It’s a common myth that Chow Chows are the only dogs with black tongues, and that any dog with a black tongue or black-spotted tongue must be part Chow. In reality, dozens of dogs have something other than pink tongues.

Here are 37 non-Chow Chow dog breeds with black tongues and an explanation of where the black color may have come from.


Dogs with black tongues

Breed Origins
Australian Cattle Dog Australia; uncertain ancestry
Australian Shepherd America; ancestry may originate from Northern Asia and the Bering Land Bridge
Belgian Sheepdog Belgium; similar to other Northern European shepherds
Belgian Tervuren Part of the Belgian Sheepdog line
Belgian Malinois Part of the Belgian Sheepdog line
Bichon Frise Spain and the Mediterranean; descended from spaniels and Poodles
Bouvier de Flandres Flanders; bred by monks from imported hounds and local dogs
Bull Mastiff England; part of Mastiff family for guarding
Cairn Terrier Scotland; part of Terrier family
Chinese Shar-Pei Descended from Chow Chows
Collie    England and Scotland; uncertain ancestry
Cocker Spaniel Uncertain ancestry, may have originally come from game dogs in Spain
Dalmatian   Croatia; uncertain ancestry
Doberman Pinscher Germany; descended from several breeds of this region
English Setter England; descended from spaniel-type breeds
Eurasier Part of the Spitz family
Fila Brasileiro Brazil; descended from Mastiffs
Flat-Coated Retriever England; uncertain ancestry
German Shepherd Germany; descended from regional sheep dogs
Golden Retriever Scotland; descended from retrievers and spaniels
Gordon Setter United Kingdom; descended from setters, pointers, and spaniels
Great Pyrenees France and Spain; descended from large European guard dogs
Irish Setter Ireland; part of the Setter group of dogs
Kai Ken Japan; part of the Spitz family
Keeshond    Germany; part of the Spitz family
Korean Jindo Korea; part of the Spitz family
Labrador Retriever Canada; descended from the spaniel-type St. John’s Water Dog
Mountain Cur Europe; uncertain ancestry
Newfoundland    Newfoundland, Canada; similar to Mastiff and Great Pyrenees breeds
Pomeranian Pomerania (eastern Germany/Northern Poland); part of the Spitz family
Pug    China; uncertain ancestry
Rhodesian Ridgeback Africa; cross between native African dogs and breeds brought by European settlers
Rottweiler    Europe; may have been bred in the Roman Empire as one of the oldest herding breeds
Shiba Inu    Japan; part of the Spitz family
Siberian Husky Siberia; part of the Spitz family
Tibetan Mastiff Tibet; part of the Mastiff family
Thai Ridgeback Thailand; uncertain ancestry

How does this happen?

It comes down to genetics. Chow Chows are part of the Spitz family of dogs, which includes many breeds of Arctic and East Asian ancestry. Chow Chows are also one of the oldest breeds of dog known to man. This means that many of the breeds we know today are descended from the ancient Chow. As a result, many breeds have black tongues commonly associated with Chows.

As you went through these breeds, you may have noticed many of them come from the same regions and/or are descended from the same type of dogs. A few trends stand out:


   •  Members of the Spitz family, as expected by their relationship to Chow Chows
   •  Setter, pointer, and spaniel type ancestors
   •  Dogs originating from what we now know as the United Kingdom and Germany
   •  Mastiff type dogs from various parts of the globe


Much like tails curved over the back (Spitzes), inclination for the water (setters/pointers/spaniels), and size (Mastiffs), a black tongue is simply a physical trait that is passed along the generations by genetics.


The next time someone tells you your dog's black spotted tongue must mean he's part Chow Chow, you can tell them that sure, he could be. But he could also be related to dozens of other dogs with black tongues. 


If you want to find out just what breed or breeds your dog is, check out the DNA test for dogs. It compares your dog's genes to over 185 breeds. 


If you liked this, you may also like:

  Dog Behaviors That Come From Wolves - Another way ancestry affects the dog you see today.

  Dog DNA Testing: How Does It Work? - The process is pretty easy. At least for the non scientists.

  Microchip For Dogs - What Should I Know? - Answers to common questions about how they work and why they're recommended.



Photo credit: mt23

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