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Updated October 14, 2014

The Truth About Those Black Tongues                      Courtesy of Vicki DeGruy, Kathy Welsh and Anna Wallace of the Chow Club Welfare Committee

Does the black spot on your Labrador's tongue mean he's really a Chow mix? That mixed breed puppy in the shelter with a partially black tongue -- is that a sure sign he's part Chow?  The answer to both questions is:   No!

The Chow Chow's blue-black tongue is one of the breed's most well known physical characteristics. It's also the most misunderstood.
The Chow is one of the most ancient breeds and is the ancestor of many breeds of today. The origin of the Chow's black tongue is a mystery; we don't know how or why he came to have it. 

We do know that the Chow is not the only breed with a blue-black tongue. The Chinese Shar-Pei shares this trait as well.  A few other animals have black tongues, too:  the giraffe, polar bear, and several breeds of cattle including the Jersey. We also know that blue-black spots on tongues are very common in dogs - more than 30 pure breeds are known  to have members with spotted tongues.  Spots on tongues are simply deposits of extra pigment, like birthmarks and freckles on people.  Dogs often have spots of dark pigment on their skin, too, hiding under their coats.  These spots can be large or small, many or few.

If a Chow's tongue has a pink spot on it, does that mean it's not purebred?  No. Chow puppies' tongues are pink at birth. They darken to blue-black by 8-10 weeks of age. Some tongues don't  cover completely and they may have small spots or splashes of pink. Elderly Chows and Chows with the dilute coat colors of cinnamon and blue sometimes lose tongue pigment as they age and develop pink spots.  What if the dog looks like a Chow but has a completely pink or mostly pink tongue?

Knowledgeable Chowists agree that such dogs are not purebred Chows and might not have any Chow parentage at all. The Chow is a member of the spitz family, a large group of breeds that includes the  Samoyed, Siberian Husky, Malamute, Akita, Shiba Inu,  Pomeranian, Norwegian Elkhound, Keeshond, etc. They all share basic physical characteristics:  a similar body structure, over-the-back tail carriage, upright triangular ears, and a dense offstanding coat.  A Chow-looking dog with a pink tongue is more likely to be a mix of one of the other spitz-type breeds.

Breeds known to have members with spotted tongues

Airedale, Akita, Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Malinois, Bichon Frise
Bouvier de Flandres, Bull Mastiff, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar-Pei, Collie, Cocker Spaniel, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher,
English Setter, Eurasier, Fila Brasileiro, Flat-coated Retriever, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Gordon Setter, Great Pyrenees,
Irish Setter, Kai Ken, Keeshond, Korean Jindo, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Mountain Cur, Newfoundland, Pomeranian,
Pug, Rhodesian Ridgeback Rottweiler, Shiba Inu, Siberian Husky, Tibetan Mastiff, Thai Ridgeback

More Black Tongue Info

Comments from dog guardians:

Sept 15, 2012 This morning I was, once again, researching what kind of dog it is that I've managed to pick up. She's hands-down the best dog I've ever had. We know nothing of her first few months, and we got her from Craigslist. Until this point, I've been pretty sure that she was cattle dog/pit bull. This morning however, I discovered something called the American Dingo or Carolina dog. This is my dog. I am sure of it. It fits her descriptions 100% and nothing else really comes close. She is unlike any other dog I've known. I also noticed, however, that she could not qualify as such because she's got blue spots on her tongue. What's more, I noticed at least three dogs toward the top of your page, who's breeds were still at large, who also appear to match the exact description of the same breed, down to the subtle patterns my dog has as well. They are also only a few of several similar descriptions (of the same rare dog with blue-spotted tongues) I've found searching today. Now, while you may already know, this is a pariah breed and one of the only known true primitive breeds. If other non-domestic animals carry the blue tongue gene, wouldn't it make sense that instead of being a disqualifier, this may actually be something of an indicative trait, given that this dog is closer to non-domestic than most (and even originating in Asia, where blue-tongued dogs seem to be more common)? Not to say that it would be a definite sign in the slightest, but I am noticing that maybe this dog actually has this trait more commonly than other breeds. If this were the case, this serving as a disqualifying trait is very problematic. I have very little experience in any of these arenas, its just something I've noticed. Thanks for any input!                 Kory Sampson

--I have a collie / shepherd mix and my Vet noticed a purple/black spot on her tongue and told me that my dog has another breed in her because Collies nor Shepherds have black tongues. Could this be a sign that I should I change vets?  

--I have a PB German Shepherd with papers (AKC) and her parents were imported from West Germany and Czechoslovakia and she has purple spots on her tongue also.  I was told that many dogs with imported parents also have spots. She is the only one of ours that have those and I haven't seen any of our rescues with them, but I do know her heritage so it must be true.  I do know that it doesn't mean that the dog has chow in its background. 
Kathy, Columbus OH

--Hello, not sure if I spelled it right but my rott had a big black spot on her tongue and had Von Willebrands (form of hemophilia). I did not realize there was a connection but later read it in a rottweiler book. Most of the breeds listed on this site are in the group that can also have that hereditary disorder.

I think black spots on tongues are VERY common, and von Willebrands is not.  It does have an incidence in certain breeds, but is recessive, and the gene that carries it is known to be carried in a simple recessive manner and we can test for it by cheek swab. The black tongue spots can also be found in breeds where there is not a significant incidence of vWD
So I think the existence of the 2 traits is coincidental.  I think this is like drawing a link between human hemophilia and left-handedness. 
Yes, there are left-handed hemophiliacs, but there are also people that are left-handed and NOT hemophiliacs. 
Roussi, Breeder


Black Tongues

August 2014
This is my puppy Sya.  I have no clue what she is. Was abandon in country, someone found her, she's a very protective of her yard though and aggressive to strangers until I say its okay but such a good dog with kids.
Stacy in Kansas

Oct 2014
  This is our Jenny we adopted about 9 months ago. She
was found as a stray so no-one knows her exact age or breed. Our vet thinks she is probably a beagle/yellow lab
mix. They also think she is approx 3/4 yrs. She weighs 30# and absolutely has no chow characteristics other than the black spots on her tongue. Thank you for the information.
Now I can feel more confident telling other people I don't
 think she has Chow in her. She is the sweetest, calmest
dog I have ever met, and currently she is going through classes to become a therapy dog. I can't wait to share
her 'wonderfulness' with others!
Lori, Milford, CT


July 2013
Hi there, I absolutely love this website and it has been very informative. I just love seeing all the pictures of the spotted tongues. The 2 pics I have included are one of the mother (Tally) and her daughter (Beauty), they are both rescue foster dogs I am caring for. Both have spotted tongues, but we are not sure what type of dogs they are. Tally has some grey undercoat which can been seen in the picture at her left hip, and sometimes the top of her eye lids are ‘lazy’ similar to the bully breeds and the top of her head is quite muscular. He daughter Beauty looks like pure bred black lab except that she has one little grey spot on her tail. Any thoughts as to their breed would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch!
Charlene,  Manitoba, Canada


Sept 2013
This is Odin he comes from North Shore Animal league
they say he is a rott weiler mix. 
What ever he is he is the most loveable wonderful smart dog.
May 2014
Recently rescued an Australian Shepherd / Golden Retriever mix but unaware he had a blue tongue until arriving home hours later. It just added a bit more cuteness to his adorable, sweet loving character. We decided to do the Mars DNA as he wasn't growing much and were curious to know the breed. Turns out our little bundle of joy is Boxer, Cocker Spaniel and Chinese Shar-Pei. The tongue is darkening as is his eagerness to learn, please and train. Very smart at only 4 months of age.

March 2013
Hi. Love the site and seeing all those great dogs with they're spotted or black tongues! My "Chewy" aka Chewbaca is a rescue and I was told a Tibetan Terrier. All the characteristics match him perfectly...  Total black/purple tongue and of course everyone thinks he has Chow in him. Vet said not! I was so glad to see this many purple tongued dogs of of breeds and mixes... so now I can tell those non-believers that it may not be the norm but it surely is not rare.. Just wanted to share.
Ellen Orlando  FL


  May 2013
Hi. We loved finding your web page about black spots on dogs tongues.
It was so informative and fun to see all the pictures.
We adopted this little girl from the shelter over a month ago. Ava Astor. She's 7months old and 31 lbs. The strangest thing is her spots are growing with her! The front ones used to be tiny? We had a DNA test done and are dying to find out the results next week.
MG, California

May 2013
Hey Kelly, Thank you for the wonderful website, very informative. Here is a picture of my Asher girl. She is a rescue pup from las cruces New Mexico. She is currently 4 years old, and we believe she is chow chow, yellow lab and husky. Thank you again.
Madison, Blessings from New Mexico

Nov 2012 I enjoyed your website and all of the pictures of the dogs with black tongues! Here is CeCe, about 4 years old, who was rescued from a shelter in KY. We believe she is a Shiba Inu Corgi mix... and has a very interesting tongue! Laura, Derry, New Hampshire

Sept 2012 We have a boy who is probably 1/2 but may be full Appalachian Mountain Cur--got him as an abandoned farm dog just down the road from you in Athens, Ohio. I noticed a few other dogs on here who look like they have a lot of Mountain Cur in them. Lots of folks assume pit bull mix because of color, but their heads are way smaller and they care way more about treeing squirrels than ANYthing! After people (wrongly) assume your dog is part pit bull, they confidently assure you he must have some Chow in him because of his tongue! He is what he is--Rocko, the black-tongued squirrel dog. Angela & Peter Athens OH


Sept 2012 Hello, I saw the website about the black tongue in dogs and love all of the pictures you have displayed. 

Sept 2012

Hi! My cocker spaniel Lucy had a very small black spot on her tongue. I have always wondered about it, and saw that cocker spaniels are on your list. I love her spot and I think it makes her even cuter than she already is, if that is possible. :)  Matthew & Stacey San Luis Obispo,CA


July 2012
Hi I was looking at your website about the spotted tongues and I was wondering if you would be able to help me figure out what kind of mix my dog is. Bruno he is 15months and weighs 45lbs. His vet, as well as many others believe he has pitbull in him.
As well as German shepherd because of his colors.

 Thank you! :-) Springfield NJ

March 2012

  I am sending you a couple of pictures of my puppy Fabibi. She is a german shepherd mix (almost 4 months old). She is really energetic and goes crazy at times, but I love her and one of my favorite things about her is her black/purple tongue. Esmeralda, Brownsville, Texas

April 2012

Hi Kellie, thanks for your great website! We're originally from Columbus but moved to Charleston, SC 4 years ago. Attached is a picture of our buddy BRUTUS that our 7-year old son rescued on Christmas. Curious to know about his black spotted tongue. We "think" he's lab or rhodesian ridgeback but know that whatever he is, he's full of LOVE :)   Thank you for your dedication to animals! Khrystin and Sean Harshaw Charleston SC


Aug 2012 Hello! My fiance and I were looking at your site and wanted to send you some pics of our little guy, Neo.

We rescued him from a shelter in Rocky Mount, NC. He was only 2 lbs when we brought him home! They told us he was a Terrier mix, but we think German Shepherd and something else. Our friend has a German Shepherd/Lab mix and they share a lot of similarities except her ears are floppy and Neo's are straight up. However, as a puppy until about a year old, Neo's ears were floppy too. We didn't know if you could help us out in what breed/mix our pup is.

He is 3 1/2 years old and weighs around 50 lbs. He is extremely intelligent and loyal. He loves being around us and other people. He's very gentle around little ones too (pets and people). He's always ready to play and is super curious about everything. We call him Mr. Sniffy sometimes as a joke because he likes to sniff everything at home and what we bring home, such as groceries, etc.

We love him so much and can't imagine our lives without him. :)

Greenville NC


Hi Kellie, I found your comments on the Black Tongue Debate when we started to have doubts about the breed mix of our Rescue dog! The Rescue Centre had no info on Bella and guessed she was a Chow x Staffie - Chow because of the blue tongue and with a Staffie build. We took her home when she was just nine months old and three months later we discover that although she's a doddle to train inside, outside is unusually difficult - the saddest part being that we can't let her off the lead because she has absolutely no recall! (She went missing for 10 hours one day!) She's climbed over a five-foot wire fence to get out of our garden into the wide open school playing field on the other side, so we cannot let her out on her own. She also doesn't respond to 'negative' training or being in submission - as all the info seem to say about a Shiba Inu! They say the Shiba Inu's work with you! Everyone asks what she is and thinks she has a beautiful face! After a little investigation we thought she might be closer to a Shiba Inu but there may be more investigation to do! She doesn't really bark, and hardly ever opens her mouth so this is a rare photo of her tongue, taken at the Rescue centre!

May 2012
Here's Cooper's black tongue.
A lab/german shep mix, about 75% of his tongue is black.
What a handsome boy !
Andy & Family, Columbus Ohio

Jan 2012
This is my dog Izzy. She's about 2. I was told she was part black lab and something else...  and she is definitely something else! Izzy loves to "high-five" and give "puppy hugs" ..she's definitely a lover, not a fighter.
Lebanon, Missouri


January 2012

Hello, I'm Ella and I'm a 3 month old chow chow and I have black spots on my tongue.
I have bit my owners cables every where but she still loves me :)
San Diego, California 


April 2012
This is Doji - a full German Shepherd shelter rescue. He has had a spotted tongue from day one. When the rescuer gave him to me, I was told that he was probably Chow-Shepherd mix. As he's grown older, we can tell he's 100% Alsatian.
Kenlie  Rock Hill, SC


March 2012

Here is a picture of my beautiful baby boy Nico. He was adopted from The North shore Animal League, Long Island, NY.
I would guess that he is part husky,
part german shepherd and part brat
Thank you
Michael M, West Islip , NY


Jan 2012
Hi my puppy's name is Luckie. He's, 5  months I'm not sure what other breed he is, maybe you could tell me. My friend gave him to me she said is pitbull mix but when I took him to get his shots this lady told me he is probably chow also. He is very friendly does that have to do alot with the kind of breed? Thanks

Luckie's Lucky Owners are from
Long Beach, California




2011 Black Tongues


Sept 2011
Kayla is a Bearded Collie from a rescue shelter and has a spotted tongue.
Don   Fostoria, Ohio

Nov 2011
Hi Kellie.  Great to find your black tongue webpage. My dog Riley is almost 15 now. I adopted her from a shelter when she was 3 mos and she’s always had a black tongue. The shelter told me that the people who surrendered the puppies said the mother was pure Doberman and the father a mix, mainly black lab. I have to bite my own tongue when people say “Oh, she’s got chow in her.” Her personality is very Dobie-like although her love for fetch and other traits are very Lab-esque. I’ve seen no chow traits or appearance other than the tongue. I would much rather people comment on her elegance in old age. She’s a very remarkable lady.
James   Indianapolis, IN


Nov 2011
Hello, my name is Ziggy I am 9 mos. old and I already weigh 90 lbs. My owner got me for free at Walmart parking lot and I have already eaten most of the back yard oh yeah and back door.
My owner truly loves me.  Brent 

Oct 2011
Love your post and all the pics of the black spotted tongues. This is my happy pitbull Adrienne with her black spotted tongue!
Mai   Seattle, WA

Oct 2011
Our German Shepherd mix, Susse (German for "sweetheart") came to us a year ago as a stray from the SPCA. Since there was no background on her we wondered what the other part of her mix was. People kept telling me she must be part Chow, but after I found your website I learned differently. She lives up to her name and charms the residents at our local nursing home where we visit weekly. The shelter she came from thought she had been spayed but a week and a half after we brought her home she had 11 puppies! Good thing we didn't know she was pregnant when we picked her out or we probably wouldn't have gotten her. We would have missed out on a wonderful dog. We love her and her cute tongue!
Becky     Houghton, NY



Nov 2011
Bella is a 1 yr old Newfoundland and her tongues is getting blacker all the time, can anyone tell me why this is please


Oct 2011
I recently found your web page and love it. I am sending you a picture of our dog Carter. He is currently 9 months old. This picture was taken when he was about 3 months. He is a Belgian Malinois, Chocolate Lab mix. He is incredibly clever and a great companion. Thanks so much!
Jennifer Puyallup, WA

Oct 2011
Kellie, This is Sir Coloring Book “Caymus” aka Moose, our beloved 4 ½ year Golden Retriever with two black spots on his tongue. I was panicked when I first noticed the spots, but after doing some research I calmed down. Now that I know it’s pretty common, I would like to share it with you. He is a handsome boy with a long tongue that never stops licking! He likes to sneak attack and lick your face… Maybe those spots have super powers that make his tongue the fastest tongue in the WORLD!    Regards,  Jackie  San Diego CA


Oct 2011
This is Annie, my rescue dog of two days.
The shelter had her down as a Golden Retriever mix and the vet thinks the mix is likely Australian Shepherd from her carriage. I came to your site because I, like others, heard that my dog *must* be part Chow because of her tongue color. Jane   Tucson, AZ

July 2011
This is Lucky, mixed breed, 9 yrs,
Love your website with all of the spotted tongue dogs.
Thanks for sharing all of the pics.
Pat & Teresa, St Louis Missouri


Oct 2011
My Theo has a black tongue. He was from a rescue who said he was a border collie mix. I think he is a flatcoat newfie chow border collie..whatever!! He is independent and not that obedient but a great navigator and always comes back. We hike with him all the time Susan   Suffern NY

Oct 2011
This is my baby sunshine! I came across the website because I was curious to find out why my "lab" developed spots on her tongue. Now I know she's not chow :) Wheeling WV


July 2011
Hi, love your website about spotted tongues! This is Max, whom we adopted from a shelter at 8 weeks old. He's now 6.5 and my best bud, we just love him so much! My husband and I had his breed tested and it came back Akita, chow and unknown. He's definitely loyal, protective, smart and very loving...typical traits of both Akitas and chows.
Jodie, Jeremy, Max and Emme
Chicago IL


August 2011
We just adopted Kloey from a high-kill shelter in GA. We were told she is a lab mix - not sure what she is mixed with, but she has an adorable tie-dye tongue. She is the sweetest thing ever, loves every dog or person she meets. Thanks for posting the pics of these special dogs!    Arlene   Sleepy Hollow NY

June 2011
My boy is 6 months old and has had the spots since I adopted him at 8 weeks. I had him DNA tested at my Vet’s request and he is pure Lab. He is a joy in every way and I LOVE his spots!
Cathleen, Ontario, Canada

June 2011
My dog Teddi. She just turned a year old in April. We believe that she is a Chow/Corgi Mix, she definitely has the Chow mentality and attitude. We always get stopped walking in the pet store on on our walks by people wondering what breed she is, so we plan on getting a
DNA test to satisfy our curiosity.
Erica    Gainesville  Va

Dear Kellie,      July 2011
I adopted Anubis in December of 2010 from the H S of Fayette Co in Pa. They told me she was a Chow/Border Collie mix. The more I have researched, I have really come to think that she is full Border Collie. The only thing that would point them to chow is her blue/black tongue. Also I am including a picture of my Mom's Golden Retriever Gracie. My Mom bought her from a breeder. She is full blooded Golden, but also has a spot of blue/black on her tongue.  Tina Olsavsky  Fayette PA

June 2011
This is Bear, our 12 week old puppy. He loves giving kisses and showing off his cute spotted tongue. We were told by his rescue the he is a german shepherd/chow mix. But I believe they were just guessing based on his tongue.
Katie, San Clemente, CA



August 2011
Scooby, is my spotted tongue boy. He is Sheppard and German Wirehaired Pointer mix, not Chow. I'm glad someone is addressing this issue. I have friends telling me that he must have Chow in him, even though we know the parents.
Thanks, Connie
Apex, NC

August 2011
Hi Kelly,  I stumbled across your site like most of your readers, trying to figure out if the black tongue meant my Kendi is part Chow. She was a feral puppy, and her Mom died just before she was rescued, so I have no way of figuring out exactly what she is. The adoption agency told me she was Mastiff/Chow, because they knew her mom was a Mastiff, plus the black tongue. This seemed unlikely to me since she she looked like a Pitbull when I first saw her at 3 months, got more "Matiffish" by 4 months, and then she started to look like a Lab. After reading your page, and other research, I'm pretty convinced there is no Chow.
She's a little dirty in this picture, but you can see that her tongue is all black, with a little pink underneath her tongue. Thanx for the info, and posting Kendi on your site!
Stacy   Montreal, Quebec, Canada

July 2011
Hi. Glad I found your site, I never had a dog with black spots on his tongue so started to look at the internet to see why and found your site, it sure was a big help. This is our dog Rowdy, he is Kelpie and lab mix, he is a shelter dog, very much loved, and a great dog. He was in shelter with his mother and 7 pups, so we know the mother was a kelpie, we think father was lab.  Thanks for your site, I had no idea that many dogs have black spots everyone that sees our Rowdy says is he part Chow, I say no he is not, there is a web site that shows all these different breeds with black spots on their tongues and tell them to check it out, you have done a great service to all of us for putting that information out there.  Thanks for a job well done and much appreciated.
Roy & Roberta   Red Bluff, CA


Feb 2011
Wanted to share my photo of my 7 month old Golden/Boxer mix. Her name is MOKI and she is awesome! Thanks for all the info you give us!     Debbie    Mesa  AZ


August 2011
Hi, I saw your your website and was very interesting reading.
On the right is my dog Lazy. (8 months) Both are brother and sister. They are both mixed with chow/rottweiler, and yes they do have there black tongues. Valerie,    Long Beech CA


May 2011
I came across your website, after finally searching about black / spotted tongues. My 18 month old pit bull mix has a spotted tongue as you can see and we get asked about at least once a week. We actually think he's a German Sheppard mix, but who knows? He's is pure love however !!! Thanks for the great Information!
Mike & Bubba  Pearl River, NY


April 2011
Dewey is our rescue and protector. We were told he is Newfie/Sheppard mix. I had a stroke in 2006, and since then, Dewey will not let anyone near me. Somehow he knows I need extra protection. A loving friend and my protector, and he's handsome- yes?
Diane  E Norriton, PA

June 2011
I've had Kenya for 10 years and she was originally called a "Malinois mix" as a stray puppy at the shelter. I recently had her Wisdom panel done, and she came back as half Tibetan Mastiff, with some Finnish Spitz, Staffy Bull and a tiny bit of Chow (2%) among other things. Very interesting to learn that TM's can have spotted tongues too!
I was surprised there wasn't more Chow or Shar Pei in Kenya, given her tongue color (it's black at the back and mottled at the front.) I asked Wisdom Panel to take a second look at her genetic analysis, as some of these were such unusual breeds, and they said they had a high degree of confidence about the percentages of Tibetan Mastiff,
Spitz and Staffy.
Trish,   Urbana  IL


June 2011
Sammi is a 9 month Cocker Spaniel.
He has the blue/black tongue.
Had never seen anything like it before he
came into my life.
Michelle, Dover, DE

Feb 2011
We just got him yesterday at the shelter and he has warmed up very fast @ 7 months old. We are amazed at his spotted tongue and fell in love with him at first site. He reminded us of a passed dog named "King Henry the 1st A.K.A. Hank". So we now have a new King in the house.
King Henry the 2nd A.K.A. Hank Jr.    John   San Jose, Ca

April 2011
I came across your website, "The Great Tongue Debate" and I was intrigued by what I read. This is 2yr old Jordan.  My sister got her from a family who couldn't keep her. She's the first dog I have ever had which means I am learning a lot about dogs & particular breeds. I know she is a Chow Chow by quite a few of her traits. I also believe she is a Shiba Inu. When people try to guess what breeds she might be, they usually guess Chow w/ either Shiba Inu, Akita, and even Husky. I think she is part Shiba Inu because her puppy pictures resemble Shiba pups. At full size, she is 30 lbs. Her facial features are very similar to a Shiba. Regardless of her breed, she's an ideal dog & one of her gifts is to bring a smile to people's faces.
Alfonso Sanchez, San Diego, CA


March 2011
I was convinced my dog was a chow/german shepherd because of the black on her tongue. I would very much like to know what breed she is! It's good to know that she doesn't necessarily have to have chow in her, but that makes my quest harder instead of narrowing it down! Thank you for the info
-Audrey    Richmond VA

Feb 2011
We too thought our dog must be part chow due to the black spots. Now I see we were not correct in that assumption. We do believe she is a Border Collie - Huskey mix.
Thank you!
Tracy  McKinleyville, CA



June 2011
Hi, Our neighbors forwarded your website to us and we were so happy to find a place that celebrated dogs like the Iceman!
This is a picture of Ice, our 9-year old, pure-bred Golden Retriever, with his polka-dot tongue. We "rescued" him three years ago from a house with five other dogs, a two year old, and a baby on the way. We love him to death, even though he is the quintessential un-golden. He doesn't retrieve, he doesn't like the water, and he doesn't like kids or other dogs … maybe it's the spot that has made him this way.
Kristyn, Paul     Newburyport   MA


Jan 2011
My name is Jenn and I work at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary as a dog caregiver. We get many dogs with black spots on their tongues, and everyone ALWAYS says, "Oh, they must have Chow in them." I happily refer them to your web site for the "Great Tongue Debate". :) Here is a great shot of just one of the kids I take care of here at the sanctuary. His name is Bosley, and we were told by the previous breeder/hoarder that he is a Malamute/Great Pyrenees mix.
Jenn, Dog Caregiver
Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, Utah

March 2011
This is 1 year old Charlie, she is lab &
min-pin mix, when we brought her home from the pound we discovered she has a paw print of spots on her tongue!
Dana,  Las Vegas NV


Feb 2011
Floyd is a Golden Retriever mix that has the black spotted tongue. People were always telling me he has Chow in him because of the black tongue! I was going to have my vet do the testing to find out what Floyd actually is but decided against it. No matter what he is mixed with, I love him and his sister, Ginger (who is an AKC Yellow Lab sans black tongue). And your website answers a lot of questions - I am glad to educate people on the whole black tongue debate!
Thanks,  Maureen  Seabrook, NH

Feb 2011
Minnie is 1 yr, a a chihuahua mix with chow tail, weighs 9 lbs, longer legs than a Chihuahua, rescued dog at 6 weeks.
Sharon Lowell Arroyo Grande, CA

Jan 2011
Hello! I saw your website when I was researching what breeds of dog have black tongues, as my Rottie mix does not have Chow in her but her tongue looks like she ate a pen. In fact, the first time my mother took care of her for me, when I got home my mom was worried she'd eaten something as she hadn't noticed the black spots before. I'm fairly certain she doesn't have chow in her because not only does she not have the coat or tail, but my veterinary technician friend breaks out in hives when a chow licks her, but hasn't had a problem with Beka. She's had the spots since I adopted her when she was about 18months old. Thanks for your website explaining the tongue phenomenon. I've attached a picture of my girl.
Jennifer  Ithaca, NY



2010 Black Tongues


Nov 2010
I like your site, as now I see that my dog isn't the only one with a black tongue! Her name is Roxy and she is now 5 years old. She is believed to be a Catahoula Cur and weighs 57 pounds. She was rescued from the streets 4 years ago and is now the little sister to a long-haired Chihuahua. She is full of energy and loves to hike and play.   Andrew, San Jose, CA

When we got Fenix, we were told he was German Shepherd, Lab, and Doberman. Our vet mentioned that she thought he was part Chow due to his size (over 50 lbs) and tail (slightly curled). Fenix is over a year old now and his tongue has lightened considerably from when he was a puppy. It use to be mainly black, with small pink spots on the left side.
Katelyn White
Parkersburg, WV


Dec 2010
Buddy, shown here at four years ten months, is half pure Labrador and half pure Border Collie. No Chow in his lineage!
We often sing to him, to the tune of "King of Pain" by Sting and the Police, "There's a little black spot on his tongue today." He is not offended!
Ken in Camarillo, CA


Hello! Thanks for posting the page on black spot tongues! Timber was picked up by the SPCA after living in the dump with her littermates.  She is a complete mystery mix!  Another weird thing is that the older she gets (she's still under a year old) the more spotty it becomes. Will it be totally black soon?
Thanks again!
Laura,  100 Mile House, BC

Nov 2010
Thanks for your great website. I thought I was alone with my non-Chow black tongued dog. Her name is Moxie, I got her from a shelter when she was 4 months old and as long as I've known her, she's had a black tongue (it's all black/purple on top and pink on the bottom). People tell me she must be Chow, but as hard as I've looked, I just don't see it. She is 4 1/2 now, weighs just over 50 lbs and is very loyal and protective. Other than German Shepherd, I have no idea what she is, but I think there are a number of breed mixed in there. She hates being away from her family (my husband and I) which makes going on vacation without her stressful. She is also obsessed with sniffing every square inch of grass or street she can get her nose on. But she's the sweetest, most loving dog and I wouldn't trade her for any other.
Astrid, Fort Lauderdale, FL


Dear Kellie,  I really enjoyed your website when searching for information about dogs with black tongues. Our son, Graham, recently adopted a young dog with a solid blue/black tongue. Mya is 2-3 yrs, 37 lbs, has the body type of a husky, the thick over-the-back tail of an Akita, and markings similar to a German Shepherd. She's quiet, well behaved and doesn't bark much - except when she sees a squirrel! We've spent a lot of time speculating about her heritage, so we're giving Graham a Doggie DNA test kit for Christmas.
I thought you might like to include Mya in your photo collection. The picture of her with her black tongue hanging out is too cute!
Linda, Chapel Hill, NC


Nov 2010
Hi, We got Lucy off of and she did not look any thing like her brother he look like a black Lab mix.
They said she was a chow/Golden mix. I think its cute that some dogs have black spots. Thanks,
Christy Charlotte, NC

Dec 2010
We found her at an animal shelter, they were getting
ready to put her down, she had a lot of medical
problems, so we decided to take her she was only
1 month old, we took her home and got her fixed up
and then noticed she had a solid black tongue, which
our vet couldn't explain. She is a wonderful little dog,
she is a Chihuahua mix, 8lbs, and really smart and
playful, now she is 2 years old.
Samantha & Cry Baby 
Williamson WV


Oct 2010
Hi, This is a rescue pup we now have in foster. We have her listed as Australian Shepherd mix. Many people assume she is mixed with Chow because of her spotted tongue--even the pound thatshe was in had her listed as "Chow-Aussie mix." This is a great website. I would like to put this link on our "spotted tongue" pups adoption page so people can see the many different types of breeds and mix breeds that have this trait.
Thanks for sharing this page.
Nancy  Frederick, Maryland

Sept 2010
I found your website, and love looking at the pictures. I finally made "business cards" with the url link on them, and give them out to anyone who says "Oh, Annie MUST have chow in her, loooook@!Her tongue is PURP pull" I am also emailing the link to all my friends..BTW, my vet says there is no reason to think she is not a full blood Golden Retriever (she's a rescue) because blue/black tongues are pretty common to lots of breeds besides chow. Ok, so here's a cute picture of my darling!
Joy   Afton, Virginia


Sept 2010
This is my dog, Birthday. I've had him for two years, he's about 2 1/2. He was rescued from a junkyard along with his three sisters. People all have their own opinions about what he is mixed with, the most common being "chow/golden right?" I think he does have some chow in him, because of his tail and his eyes, but none of this explains his naturally super short hair. Sometimes I think he's got some pit bull in him because of his skull shape and his stockiness. Also, he has one black and white sister, so, border collie as well? I never saw his mother but she has been described to me as "an overgrown chihuahua"! Whatever he is, he's absolutely perfect. I love his speckled tongue.

Kaylyssa and I'm from Charlotte, NC!

Sept 2010
This is Zippy, who I recently adopted from an animal shelter. He is about 1 year old and does have a mostly black tongue. He is a super sweet,intelligent, and willing dog. Seems to be mostly German Shepherd, but we don’t know what else. He is my fearless leader. Let me know if the pic is too grainy,
and will take another one.
Connie  Dexter, Mich

Hi there,
I came across your site while trying to look for pictures of lab/chow/GSH mixes. This is little Roxy, she was recently rescued by a friend of mine while running around on a busy road. At first I didn't think she had Chow b/c she lacks that lion-like mane and her coat is more like that of a lab. She has grown so much these past few weeks and the bigger she gets the more crinkled her forehead gets, that along with her slightly spotted tongue and straight hind legs has made me wonder if maybe she does have part chow. Her snout looks very German Shepherd to me and she has a black ring on her tail. Other than that she definitely has the playful mannerisms, coat and coloring of a lab. Any ideas?
Vanessa  Columbia, SC
Nov 2010  

This is our 6 year old brindle Gypsy. We got her from a shelter at 6 months. She was neglected and tied out 24/7 in the Arizona desert. She is 50 lbs. Her brother is also brindle but has a pink tongue. He is with another family.
Our vet has no clue to a breed though she has some resemblance to a Plott Hound but shorter ears. She was returned by her first family for "wanting to be with you all the time." Some people should just adopt potted plants.
They have the same coloring. I also get the Chow response from people. I just say she is mostly Mutt with some Pooch thrown in. She is obviously a scent dog. On our twice daily walks she "tracks" the entire time. We just moved from Arizona to North Carolina and she loves the grass with all its delicious smells. She is, however, a devoted house dog and does not want to be separated from the pack. My wife and I went ten years without a dog after our 16 year old Huskie mix died. My wife saw her at the vet with a shelter worker and fell in love. I was delighted to find your site and just wanted to share these photos.
The Joneses, Cary, NC

Sept 2010
Great site, nice pics. We have only had Maxwell for a month and I hear the "must be chow mix" every day. His tail is like a Shepherd, no high carriage at all (chow, akita, etc.) His coat looks like some Red Huskies. I think his muzzle looks Huskie too. We think he looks most like a White German Shepherd mix but we know little. Max was found on the street in a rainstorm and approached a stopped car with my friends in it. He is super sweet, independent, barks only when he can't play with a nearby dog, chases deer, likes water, sniffs out chipmunks and has very sharp teeth. He plays too rough and dogs yipe quickly but its always play, never a fight. Maxwell is totally house trained, friendly to all humans and easy to bathe. The Vet thinks he is about a year old and appears very healthy. He is 45 lbs and very strong, loves to pull. Maxwell was a bit thin when found and never misses a chance to eat but is not aggressive at his bowl. We'll just never know his background. So far he seems trainable but no serious effort yet. Take a look. What do you think? Maybe a White Shep with Yellow Lab or Golden mix? Thanks all, Maxwell and his humans.
Howard, Sandy Springs, GA


We just adopted Moby this last Saturday, and we aren't sure if he is part Chow or not. The rescue program we got him from said they think he is part chocolate lab and part Newfie. But then other people we run into think he might be part Chow? He is one year old, and 54 lbs. His paws are a little large for his body, which makes us think he might grow a bit more. Do you have any ideas?
Beth  Washington DC


Hi Kellie,   I came across your website while googling info about dog breeds, etc. These are photos of my rescue dog, Hazel. She is about 2 years old and I was told that she is probably an Australian Shepherd or Sheltie mix. Hazel is a city dog, and everyone we meet on the street tells me she’s part Chow, but I don’t agree. I get asked several times a week about her breed, but just respond that she is probably some sort of shepherd mix. Thanks for the information on your site, it’ll help me explain that not just chows have black/spotted tongues!
Jennifer   Atlanta, GA


This is Ludo! I work at a shelter and would pull what few dogs we could from kill facilities the day they were to be killed with heart sticks and Ludo is one of the dogs I saved. The vet/others believe him to be a purebred English Lab (I'd get a DNA test but it doesn't matter to me), he's got some nice black tongue spots in the back.
Trena, Pittsburgh PA

This is my rescue Riley with his almost black tongue. I came across your website while I was doing some research and saw the request for pictures of dogs with black tongues. I got him as a rescue in 2004, the SPCA listed him as a lab mix. What a great article, thanks for clearing up the myth!
Deb    Ithaca NY

May 2010
This is my Taxi. We thought he was Shiba Inu, Retriever, and Chow - but only threw the Chow in there because of the tongue. Other than the tongue - he looks very Shiba, with the hair of a retriever.
Thanks for your site...I'm thinking he's not Chow at all!
Stacy, Boston MA

This sixty pound boy, named Mouse, was adopted from Louisiana. He has many chow characteristics, including his purple tongue, aloofness and cat-like nature and stiff gait. I decided to do a DNA test and he came back 40-70% Chihuahua, 10-20% Doberman, 10-20%Pomeranian and less than 5% retriever. No Chow at all! I'm not sure if DNA my dog got it wrong, but they retested for free with the same results.
Tanya  Louisiana


May 2010
This is a my chow chow Simba...he has a blue-black tongue.
  Nicole  Rochester  NY

Here is a picture of my 2 year old German Shepherd mix (w/ pit bull we think) named Stella. She has multiple black spots on her tongue that are actually darker than they look  :)
Mel in NM

August 2010
Hello, This is my beautiful 3 yr old pup, Lucy. She has an extremely speckled tongue but her breed is unknown.
Tyler.    Nederland, TX


Hi this is Buddy!  We got him outside a pound when he was less than 4 months old! He is a Golden Retriever/ Cocker Spaniel Mix! He would like to thank you for explaining why he is NOT a Chow mix!
Great website and again thanks!
Yadira, Marietta, Georgia!

September 2010
The Shar-Pei on left is a dilute color which has
no black fur and they have a lavender instead of a
black tongue. They one on the right is a regular color
with the black markings and her tongue is black.
BJ   Moody, AL

Buddy as a pup and at almost 1 yr of age
I am glad you cleared that up! I was one of those people who though it was only the Chow Chow that has the spots on the tongue. I did some research when we got our 1st Puppy, Buddy Holly, last July and did learn it is like a person having a freckle or a birthmark and was wondering why only a Chow would have this? Just wanted to send a pic of our little boy the day we got him! He is still just as cute and the best dog we could have wished for! Thank You,
Jennifer & Marty Gresh    Ohio


Here is our Daphne, We adopted her from AZ humane society in 06. Her description then said Chow Chow mix. When I took her to the vet for her follow up check up, the vet said there was no way she could be Chow. Wish we knew what she is, we get asked at least once a week "what breed is she"? Her purple tongue gets people's attention for sure!
Marcy Jones Yelm, WA


This is our Becca. She is half Lab half mystery dog who can jump a 6 ft electric fence. She is very high active and never sits still. She was a christmas gift and it took me until July to get good clear pics of her tongue. The bottom of her tongue has long black streaks but it's a little hard to get a camera under there. Without this website we would of assumed she was of a chow breed.
Marylee & David
Lancaster, CA


Hi.  This is a picture of Rossi, a 6 yr mix rescued and as a pup. Still not sure what the mix is.... our vet says Chow, but we're not as convinced. Was a devil as a puppy, but has turned into a great pal. Total black tongue on top and streaked on bottom.
Great dog.
Dave & Bev,   Proctor, VT



This is Cissabella. She is an 8 month old mixed breed that we adopted from the animal shelter when she was 10 wks . Everyone asks if she is part chow because of her spots on the tongue. The vet believes that she may be a bearded collie and golden retriever mix. She weighed 21 pounds when we got her and now weighs 55 pounds and is still growing. Whatever her breed, she is a sweet lovable easily trainable pet!
Carol    Safety Harbor, FL

Hello. This is my dog Princezz. I had received her at the age of 1 year, 4 months. She came from an abusive family, and they couldn't tell anyone much about her. She is 2 years, 3 months now. I have been trying to figure out why she had black spots on her tongue, and now looking at your site it helped me find out she's not a chow like the vet thinks. As far as we know she is Rottweiler and Golden Retriever Mix. She maybe a different breed, or even more. She has the color, and body of a Rottweiler. Also has the hair, and attitude of a Golden Retriever. Thank you for having this site you have help us so much now.
The Rose & Mosquera Family. Poughkeepsie, NY

Hi Kellie,  Thanks for your informative site. This is Elsa - a mystery mix dog adopted from a shelter that is either a mix of Germ Shepherd or Belgian Malinois with pit and perhaps some lab. She weighs 75 lbs and has a short dual coat (fluffy hair underneath a hard flat coat.) Lots of people see the black spots on her tongue and say she must be part chow. I know she sheds a lot but there is nothing chow-like about her. Someone looked at her big ears and long toes and said she was part kangaroo! If anything her personality is like a lab (loves to eat, fetch and get wet) or German Shepherd (protective and suspicious of strangers in the house), but she is also super affectionate like a pit (she is my shadow.) She also has a smear of black hair on the top of her tail. Nobody knows what she is, but she is definitely unique, and the spotted tongue is just another thing that makes her special.
Thanks!     Susan - San Luis Obispo, CA


This is bear we saved him from the street. People, even my mom, thought he was chow because of the spots. I kept telling her no thank you. This website proved my point ... here's his pic its hard to see his spots they aren't that dark.
Diane El Paso TX

 My family has been breeding feists since 1928.
Last year we had a puppy born with a solid black tongue and none of us can ever remember one having that trait. The dog has no medical issues and we've been wondering what caused it.

Hi, submitting a photo of my dog with black spots on her tongue. Love your site!
This is Moxie, an Australian Cattle Dog mix (maybe Shepherd?). Some think that she is part chow because of her spots, even when I explain that all breeds can have spots. She looks and acts nothing like a chow. Moxie and I are ecstatic with this webpage, and enjoy seeing all the other "CHOWS" (-:
Crystal - Fort Collins, CO


Schatze was adopted as a puppy from a shelter
in Nov. 2008. They said she was a shepherd mix. We think she may be predominantly Icelandic Sheepdog, but probably not purebred. She looks remarkably like Icelandics, but is taller and heavier.
Janette,   Massachusetts


We adopted Mishka two months ago from a shelter in CT and everyone has been telling me he must have Chow in him. So helpful to learn that is not necessarily the case. Interestingly, we took Mishka to the beach for the first time yesterday and there just happened to be a Chow there at the same time. The Chow had no interest in the water; whereas, Mishka couldn’t get enough of it!
Thanks for the helpful site.
Gregg     Arnold, MD

I love your site! Here is Kadie, she is a rescue dog from the California wild fires. She is 3 years old and we think she is part Scottie, part mutt.
Linda, Seattle WA

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you,
for giving me some information to "defend my pup" I am so sick of everyone telling me she has chow when
I know she does not. It drives me crazy. Gracie is a competitve frisbee dog, won 1st place in the Novice division at the World Finals last year. So she is front of so many people that comment on her tongue.
Thank you Crystal and Gracie,  Tulsa Oklahoma


Here is our Rott/golden retriever mix,Harley,
who has a purple and pink tongue.
We always get comments that she must have Chow in her
and I decided to look it up and found this page!
Now I know why her tongue is that way :)
Denee,  Battle Creek MI
This is Leonard (Lenny), my amazingly fun and loving purebred Golden Retriever. Lenny is 4 yrs. , but still has a puppy face; which includes his spotted tongue. When he was a puppy, he did not have any spots on his tongue, then one developed. At 3 yrs. old, another spot appeared! I like his tongue freckles, but did not know they were so common! =)
Rebecca   Columbus OH

Mom is pure Husky show dog.
Dad is pure black Lab
Nicole, Minneola, FL

We bought Kato from a pet store who said he was a Lab/Husky which we believed but everyone we know wants to call him a Chow because of his tongue.
Though at ten months old he is 92lbs and has no other actual characteristics of a Chow.
We still are still unsure what his actual breed is.

The pound said that I am a Wheaten Terrier mix, but my parents saw a book that had a Schnoodle that looked just like me. We had the same brown beard and the same coat,
but I sport a black tongue which remains
a mystery to everyone.
Woody and Allison
Gilbert, AZ


Thank you so much for your very informative article about black tongues and puppy dogs. We are frequent visitors to the Laurel Canyon Dog Park here in Los Angeles. The best explanation we ever heard is the following story from a gentleman who loved his chow until she passed at age 16.

When God was cutting out the stars in the night sky, he didn't want to waste the bits leftover. He gave the bits to the chow-chow so their tongues would be sweeter when the gave you kisses.
If one knows anything about chow-chows and how aloof they can be, a chow-chow kiss is truly a blessing! :)
Thank you again!     Sincerely,
Elizabeth & Rick, Los Angeles CA


This web page has really helped me explain to people why my dog is not a chow (despite the bet saying so too haha).
Mona is an 8 year old mix who loves to dig in mud! She also loves to run, bark and get her neck scratched. She's a wild thing and is very vocal when she wants something. She isn't much of a licker, and she loves pig ears! She carries her tail on her back and is pretty fluffy. Had a husky mask as a puppy.
Giovanna, Gustavus, Alaska

These are photos of Felony (we sprang him
from doggy jail). He's a mix of sorts with
traits from several breeds. We think Chow Chow may be included in the mix due to the spotted tongue, thick coat in the front of the neck and high, (semi-)sickle tail. He has a feathered coat, similar to a golden retriever, on his legs, tail, belly and box type ears. His head is definitely hound (redbone, we think), with the drooling, and unstoppable chase
and treeing instincts.
Tim  Arlington Washington

Hi. This is cooper, our Blue Heeler and we think Lab cross, Cooper. His mom is Blue Heeler. And as many of the others noted, most people think he has some Chow in him. But he has not one Chow characteristic. He is 10 months old.
Thanks, Maria in Texas

Hi.  Xiao bao bei came from S. China. She is 31 lbs, non-aggressive, sweet and lovely. Her tail is short and bushy, but does not roll over onto her back like chow tails do. All the dogs like her that I saw while I was in China have black tongues. Some Chinese people think that her breed is the original chow-chow. In fact, I saw dogs like her in ancient pottery and paintings. If anyone tells you that they also have such a dog please let me know, as I wish to acquire another one in N. America. Thank you
Royann   Vancouver, BC Canada


Here's my boy. You can see the front spot,
also the back of his tongue is solid black, and just for fun - I turned my attention elsewhere for probably 30 seconds
and boom! was a hot Arizona desert day.

I found your black tongue debate site and was interested.  Chows are not super rare in our area, and they can be clever at getting out of peoples' yards, but they are not so common that it is likely that every mixed breed dog at the local shelter with some spots on its tongue is a chow mix.

I always heard that many breeds of dog could have some splotching on the tongue, but the only breeds that typically have entirely black tongues, as opposed to black spots, are the chows/shar-peis/foo dogs etc.  So a lot of the dog people I know assume that mixes with spots on their tongues could be almost anything, but a dog with a mostly black tongue was very possibly a mix of one of the "black tongue" breeds at least.  They have DNA tests now for helping to find what breeds may be in a mixed breed dog. They vary greatly as to how many breeds they are supposed to find, ranging from about 60 up to over 170. I'm not sure what the accuracy really is for different ones of these, as I've seen some results that are.....hard to believe.  But genes can do strange things when they get shuffled up and mixes don't always look like what they are.

One of my dogs (Roxy) is a solid black dog that has a mostly black/blue tongue/lips/mouth, but some pink on it on the sides.  The shelter said she was a "border collie mix" according to the owners who refused to come bail her out the third time she was picked up off the street (funny how she's never wandered off from us in 10 years).  It is very possible she has border collie or some other herding breed in her, but I suspect she may be part chow as well.  In addition to the mostlyblack tongue, she has a tail that curls up over her back sometimes, a generally "spitzy" appearance and a ruff, though her coat texture is quite different from a chow's and her muzzle and face are not as heavy and wrinkly as most chows.  She can get a certain expression on her face when she is being thoughtful that is rather "chowish" sometimes.    Her shoulder and rear leg angulation are more "upright" than most herding breeds but less so than most chows.  She's a little under 40 pounds.

Two of our other dogs, Astra and Simon, are also mystery mixes and they have some spotting on their tongues, but they do not look as "chowish" to me as Roxy does.  They looks like they could be mixes of lots of breeds, and if there is any chow/shar-pei in there with either of them, it is probably a small part of the whole.  Astra is the black and tan dog and is very fluffy and soft and slightly wavy (like puppy down).  I can't think of any breed with a coat quite like hers, but there was a paper in Science a while back that stated that most of the amazing variation in coat length and texture in dogs comes from various combinations of a pretty small number of genes, so she may have just gotten an interesting mix of genes.  I don't have a great picture of Simon that shows his tongue, but he is the large yellow dog and has a fair amount of splotching on his tongue. Maybe there's some lab is in there, but he doesn't act much like the labs I've known (no interest in water or in retrieving).

I am a biology instructor and so I have been curious about the genetics of the all black tongue color.  It appears to be pretty true breeding in chows (and is a breed standard requirement) but seems to be highly variable in its appearance in mixed breed dogs that are known to have one chow parent.  Maybe more than one set of genes controls tongue color and there are issues like incomplete dominance at work with some of them.  I've never found any discussion anywhere on the webs of the actual inheritance pattern of the blue/black tongue in chows.  Hope I didn't blast you with TMI, but dog genetics interests me.  And I dislike "breedism" in any case, as there are just so many variables besides a dog's breed or mix that determines whether the dog will be aggressive or not.
Erica,  Sacramento, CA


This is Mulligan, a 5 month-old Chocolate lab, German Shepherd mix adopted from the York Co H S. He has a curled tail so we think he might have a little chow in him. He enjoys long walks in the woods, toys that squeak and the occasional cake frosting he can steal, refer to photo with some on his nose.
Amy   Tega Cay, South Carolina

This is Freckles, my 11 month old Australian Cattle Dog I sprang from the shelter. Thanks for your site! People ask me too if he is part chow (even though he doesn't look like it at all) and now I can tell them that a lot of breeds have black spots!
Rachel   Fort Huachuca, AZ

Rosco was given to us when he was a little puppy. The people said that they weren't sure what they where mixed with, but it had to be Chow. So their guess was Chow and Black Lab. But when I came across your website, I though that he couldn't be Chow because he looked just like a flat coated retriever.
Which do you think he is?


This is Hanzo! He is (probably) a Mastiff mix stray that I rescued when he was 8 wks. His mother was  a poorly-bred Mastiff who I was trying to rescue but she was sadly hit by a car before I could earn her trust. Fortunately, I was able to save her one pup!
I have no idea what he is crossed with but I got sick of people telling me he must be a Chow Chow mix because of his fantastic spotted tongue! There isn't an ounce of Chow in this fella, and I felt vindicated seeing that Mastiffs of several types made your list.
I also see that German Shepherds and Malinois made the list, which are two possible (mutt version) suspects for daddy's parentage. Of course, he also looks a lot like a pit bull and 90% of the strays around here are lovable pitty mixes! Whatever he is, he is 65 lbs of love aimed at the world in general and anything in his path! His tongue is one of his most endearing features and adds a great deal of charm to his giant grin :)
Thanks for the great site!
Erica in Conyers, GA


Bobby is a rescue. The vet said he was a Lhasa Apso, but I think he is mixed with something else
as he weights 30 lbs and is larger that a Lhasa Apso. As you can see his tongue has black spots. The first thing people try to tell me is he is mixed with Chow. I doubt it!
Janet      Montverde, FL

This is my Chow-Chow / German shepherd Mix (Charlie). The owner want to put him a sleep that's how I wound up with him. He is carrying the Chow sign of the blue tong. His hair is splendid and he is a little stubborn. I am working on to graduate to the alfa position but it is
hard when you are not the owner from puppy stage and he has not been properly broken in.

Best regards,
Erno (from Hungary)


This is Aster.  
They first said she was a collie mix,
but we think she is possibly Newfoundland.  She is so young and big already.

I work at the Jacksonville Humane Society in Florida, I wanted to know what other breeds have all black or black spotted tongues. Cause I knew chows weren't the only breed that have black tongues. And my dog KissKiss whose an American Bulldog, about 1yr & 7mos old, has a black spot on her tongue. I adopted at the Humane Society when she was 9wks old. When she first came into the shelter, she came in litter of 8 or 9pups. All of them were absolutely gorgeous, each with different coloring and markings. The guy who brought the litter of puppies in said that both parents were American Bulldog, not sure if the parents were both purebred American Bulldogs. Well she's about 60lbs now, and is just a big mama's girl. She is like my shadow, wherever I am she is not too far away.
Melissa, Jacksonville  FL


This is Bailey, and Australian Shepherd/Cocker Spaniel mix with a tongue even Gene Simmons would be envious of. His tongue is ultra long and hangs out of his mouth to the side when he's really panting. Bailey is a great dog that we adopted from the Humane Society.

Bailey was actually a local celebrity in Phoenix. He made the news when the Humane Society's van was stolen with 10 dogs inside. When the van was recovered they found that one dog was missing(Bailey). The local news stations carried the story and showed pictures of the dog. The human society posted a $1000 reward for his return. Bailey was a big celebrity and was adopted quickly by another family, but they found him to play a bit too rough with their dog. My wife and I had no idea of his history when we walked in and saw him in his cage, we just thought he was adorable. Now Bailey sleeps 16 hours a day and is generally on the receiving end of rough play from our other dog.
MG   Phoenix, AZ

This is Wesson. He is about 7 years old, possible chow-akita mix. He is about 75-80lbs, copper in color, has a massive head, stocky build, and a beautiful over the back tail. I rescued him over 3 years ago from a junk-yard; covered in matted hair, fleas and ticks, and aggressive toward other animals and people. He is now a happy reformed dog (who enjoys my sofa while I am away) whose buddies are 2 cats and a boarder collie-boxer. I couldn't ask for a better friend or more faithful animal.

Thanks for the great site!
Denell   Jacksonville, NC

Hello, My Irish Setter Rowan had one black dot at 5 months old at the back of his tongue and now at 10 months another one has just appeared towards the end of his tongue, he is a Pedigree dog of show quality.
County of Lincolnshire in the UK, on the top of the Lincolnshire Wolds



 Hobo at 6 months
This is Hobo, a Chinook. He has a pretty heavily spotted tongue, including the bottom, the interior of his mouth is all black. His tongue has been spotted from the time he was a baby, although the spots have gotten much more prevalent. Hobo is currently 5 and a half, and most of the pictures are from the past year, but I did include two from when he was younger so you could see how the spots have changed. He has absolutely no resemblance to a chow whatsoever in looks or temperament.
Ang, Nashua, NH

This is Gretchen. She is 3 years old. We rescued her from the pound, so we're not too sure what kind of breed she is.
Anne Whyte
Chino Hills, CA

Hi! Stumbled on your site, love all the pictures! Our adopted dog April's breed is often debated. Most say German Shepherd and Lab, but some suggest Rottie or Doberman, too. It's all about the eyebrows and the tan markings. But the spotted tongue adds more to the debate. Ah well, she's 100% MUTT!
Dawn     Havertown, PA


8 months                    1yr
Hello, I have attached 3 photos of Miss Maddie showing the progression of her tong spots. It went from none at 4 months to several large spots at 1 year. We got her from a shelter but I doubt there is any chow in this pup.
Daniel,  Murrieta, CA


Mickey is a purebred Black and Tan Siberian Husky, when we first got him his tongue was blotchy black, now at a year and a half it's practically ALL black.
Davie, Fl

Hi. I know I sent you a pic of my dog's spotted tongue ages ago, but I didn't have a very good one at the time. I thought I'd submit a couple new ones if you want to replace them or post up a couple better ones! Dahlia is a border collie or Aussie mix (likely with some sort of retriever) and has several spots on her tongue.
Michelle and Dahlia
Syracuse, NY

 Nana was being chased by some kids that were throwing things at her in the rain.  She was VERY sick but is now VERY healthy although she is extremely anxious. We always thought she was a lab/chow mix (and that the chow explained why she didn't like water- that and being a stray in the rain) and why she can be a little moody sometimes but now I'm not sure! I really like your site and I enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions. Nana's spots have gotten bigger and more spread out as she has gotten older. They are now pretty much covering her whole tongue and are not really "spots" anymore. It is strange to see her next to our Flat Coat Retriever whose tongue is all pink. We have become so used to seeing the black tongue that it is odd to us to see a dog without one!
Thank you,
Katie Bower  St Augustine FL


This is our 12 week old puppy, Pearl.
She is one half Great Pyrennes, one quarter Chow, and one quarter Shar Pei.
People say her tongue looks like a lava lamp. Her father, the Great Pyr, has an all pink tongue. Her mother, the Chow/ Shar Pei mix, has an all purple tongue. This is what we ended up with.
Jody & Jim, Woodbridge, VA

Thank you for your informative web site! Here’s my Norwegian Elkhound with his Hershey’s kiss-shaped black spot on his tongue. He’s a therapy dog and the patients he visits don’t mention his tongue because his beautiful tail is wagging so happily!
Julie     Johnson City, TN


Hi,  I have been tired of hearing that Dusti is part chow because of the spots. I am glad I found your site and have been passing it along so the non-believers can see for themselves.
We adopted Dusti from the Tampa Bay Humane Society when he was 9 weeks old, he is now 8 months old. He had the spots on his tongue when we got him, they have become more defined as he gets older.  They said he was a miniature schnauzer mix. He is around 40 pounds so I think that guess is out.
Thanks for your site.
De,   Plant City   FL

Hi, we rescued Sparks from our local shelter. He is a German Shepherd mixed with... we're not sure. But he has an all black tongue which is always a conversation starter. :-)
Andrew,  Plumas Lake, CA

 I stumbled upon your site the other day. This is my 3 year old Rott/Chow mix bear. We were told he was a rottweiler and chow chow mix but I have my doubts. We didn't really argue because he was very fluffy as a puppy and developed the spots. Now it is possible he is something else. From his size I have always figured he had some mastiff in him.
Mandisha     Las Vegas, NV

Kellie, Thank you for your website. It's obvious from the pictures that many more dogs have spotted tongues than just Chows. The animal rescue center told me Mia is part Chow and part Flat Hair Retriever. The vet told me she is part Lab and part Flat Hair Retriever. Everybody else tells me she is definitely part Chow - because of her tongue.
It really doesn't matter what the mix is - she is a super dog and companion. btw, she weighs 35-40 lbs. Although the pictures don't show it, she frequently carries her tail circled above her back. If you have an opinion on her lineage, I'd love to hear it. Even though it doesn't matter, it is intriguing.
Tom   Batavia, OH


I fostered a chocolate cocker with her puppies. Of course, I had to keep one pup. The other 6 all had blue/black tongues,
3 pups' coats were all black,
1 was a little darker than Lorry, and 1 was mixed brown and black.
Debbie, Loganville, WI

This is Wyatt at 6 months old. He was born at the shelter where both of his parents were surrendered; his was dad a German shepherd and mom was a lab mix. In this photo you can only see one spot on his tongue, but he has a whole cluster of them near the back. His spotted tongue is only one of the many things that make him wonderfully unique.
Margaret, Jackson MI

I stumbled upon your site when I was searching for dogs with black tongues. My husband and I adopted our dog from the local Humane Society. They said she's a Mastiff/German Shepherd mix. She's big, about 90 pounds. I fell in love with the spots on her tongue and everyone asks if she's part Chow Chow. No one believes me when I say no. Even my aunt and cousins who used to raise Chow Chows said she had to be. They think she looks part Chow Chow. I don't know where they see it. That's why I did a little research. Thanks for your site and here's a picture of our 2 year old Mastiff/German Shepherd mix Rosie.
Stacy, Louisville, Ohio

This is Hunter, he is approximately 3 months old. We got him from a friend who found him and 4 of his brothers and sisters (who also have blue tongues) on the side of a dirt road. The vet believes he is mostly Labrador Retriever & up until I found this site I had been told only Chows have blue/black tongues so everyone assumed he was a Lab/Chow mix. I really didn't think so since he displays no other Chow characteristics but I had no proof to back up my argument. Thanks so much for the information!
Kayla Fortenberry    Cullman, AL


Hi, I'd like to add our girl to your mix. 
Her mother was a border collie
and it's possible dad was a keeshond
which I believe explains the tongue.
Thanks, Len
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
This is Independence, our 7 month old AKC registered Golden Retriever.  Just this morning, yet another person stopped us as we were out walking and stated authoritatively that "he must have some Chow in him", because of course ONLY Chow have spotted tongues.  Sigh. 
Melissa, New Mexico 


Here's Old Crow, a shelter dog who lives in Maine but grew up in Georgia.
Who the hell knows what kind of dog he is...


This is this picture he was only 3 months old..this halloween 2008 he will be 2! He is a Austrailian Cattle Dog Mix..mixed with what who knows..but he is primarily aust. cattle dog aka red heeler. his ears stand up now and he is much bigger but his tongue still has that great pigmentation of blue on top and bottom. He is the love of my life and loves his baby sister jubilee a 1 year am bulldog who also has a tiny black spot on her tongue..all the other dogs at the dog park wish they could be so special to have a blue spotted tongue like my 2!
The Hibbs Family of Tallahassee,FL


We adopted Rufus  from a shelter in Kentucky. He is a lover and loves to be with people and play. He lives with me, my husband, and our other dog Bryan who is a Beagle/Bassett mix. We have no idea what kind of dog Rufus is; he was supposed to be a manchester terrier/pom mix, but he is now 40 pounds. If you have any ideas of what kind of dog he is, please let us know because we're really interested in finding out. My email is

Thank you for your site. Everyone kept telling me he was a chow, and he might be part chow, but now I know there are many other breeds that he could be. Thank you!
Sherry, Mannogate TN

This is Lucy, our beloved shelter mutt. 
The staff at the shelter had her marked as a spaniel/chow mix, but I'm really not sure what she is.  Although she has a chow-like tail (the fluffy, curled over the back look), that's about where the similarities end.  She is 27 lbs, doesn't shed (she has noundercoat), and herds other dogs or children likethey're sheep!  Other people have guessed she might be part border collie or flat coated retriever.
Thanks for adding her to your site!
Karen, Alexandria  VA

This is Nick. He is a 2 year old Border Collie/Golden Retriever Mix that we adopted from a
Golden Retriever Rescue Dawn, Cincinnati OH

Here's a pic of our purebred Golden Retriever boy Midas or "Midy Mouse".  Pic on left at 1yr old. Midas' surprise spot appeared near 2 years old. He is definitely one in a million!
Thanks for The Great Tounge Debate!!!

Michelle Warren-Williams


This is Ghengis, our 3 year old pure bred Siberian we rescued from a local breed rescue group.  We love the 'paw print' on his tongue!  Thank you for your informative site.
Kelli    Clinton  UT
This is Winston. He is 2 yrs and was rescued. The rescue group thought he was a Tibetan Terrier. I own two Tibetan Terriers, and our TT breeder says that although Winston looks a lot like a TT they never have blue tongues.  I was interested to see that Tibetan Mastiffs can have blue tongues. Some people think that TT's are the ancestors for all the Tibetan breeds. Winston is about the right size and coat for a TT, although his proportions are a little off.
I'm curious if anyone else has a thought on what he might be a mix of.  Thanks
Troy VA


Hi.  We adopted Lily from a shelter in North Carolina in 2005. She'd spent 5 months in the shelter, and we think that part of the reason that no one would adopt her was because of her black tongue (people thought she was a chow).  Her tongue has a few pink spots at the front, but it is mostly black near the back, as is the roof of her mouth and her lips. We know she's some sort of spitz, but we have no idea what she is.. a little of this, a little of that - people have suggested chow, shepherd, collie, retriever, carolina dog, husky, shiba inu, jindo, canaan dog, or a mix thereof. Whatever. She's a sweet girl, and a great companion. She's now 4 years old, and lives with us in Switzerland.
Elaine and Lily the Pup, Switzerland

We got Foxie from a rescue shelter about 7 years ago.  She was about 6 mo. old and appeared to be very abused but is now loveable and intelligent, very well trained and practically lives outdoors in the back and front yards watching everyone pass by.  But she is still afraid of anything or anyone new as you can tell by the picture.  She is totally black including her entire tongue and has floppy tips to her ears.  No one knows what she is but probably has Belgian sheep dog and terrier in her.  Has very soft furry hair when groomed which kids love to bury their face in - kinda like real fur.  She hasn't a mean bone in her body and loves all people and other dogs.

Harry, Teaneck, NJ

My name is Spike. I am a 6.5 year old GSD/ ?? Mix.My mommy saved me from a horrible home where I Was covered in fleas and just very... Unhappy.If my muzzle was a tad bit longer, and if my ears Were a bit bigger and stood up, You'd mistake me for A purebred  German Shepard. I have a nice, thick double coat.And come spring time... I shed like a Siberian Husky!If any one has any ideas as to what I may be mixed with,
Drop my mom a note at
Thanks bunches,    Spike... In eastern NC


I'm so happy I found your website! I knew that other breeds besides the Chow could have spots on their tongues, but it's amazing how quickly people tend to assume that just because my dog has a spotty tongue that he must be a Chow mix. My dog Luke was a rescue, I got him when he was 12 wks (3 now) so his parents are an unknown and I won't know for sure until I get him DNA tested but my best guess would be Lab and Golden mix, or possibly Flat Coat. Defiantly retriever and water dog! I did get to see a picture of his sister who was a golden/yellow color with short hair. His coat really is a mixture of super soft, medium length hair around his head and chest like a golden, and a little more coarse toward the rear (like long lab hair), water rolls right off of him. He looks like a black golden retriever and I don't really see any chow in him, but most people tend to be convinced just off his tongue. Its so great to finally have some answers, and to see so many other people with purebreds and mixes who also have spotty tongues. Thank you for the great info! 
Stephanie Perrins, Fremont CA


We adopted our boy MAX from a local PAWS shelter at just 8 weeks.  He is now 10 months old, 22 in. at the withers, and 50 lbs.  Local vets seem to think he's a Flat-coated retriever, or a Golden/Lab mix.  His entire tongue is black.  He has no undercoat and does not shed, and his coat repels water like "Rain-x."  His coat is so soft and shiny total strangers stop us to ask what he is.  He loves everyone and appears to "kiss" our female BC.  He actually licks her lips.  I don't know if any of this helps...but no matter what, he is one of the smartest dogs I've ever worked with.  He learns every trick in one day, was potty trained in 3 days, etc.  He's just as handsome as he is smart too.
Jeanie, Murfreesboro TN

This is Scooby, when she was 3 months old.  She is now 6 years. When we got her at a shelter I was told she was a blk. lab/cocker spaniel/rat terrier mix.  Naturally, I thought the blk. lab was obvious; as she is medium size I thought that was due to the rat terrier, her bounciness too.  The vet said because of her black tongue she was chow.  I had a dog DNA test done and the results are: 20-36% each of Cocker Spaniel and Rottweiler; 10-19% each of Great Pyrenees, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Yorkshire Terrier and Boston Terrier.  No black lab! Who would have guessed.  I didn't believe the results until I did a little web research.
Still seems a little unbelievable.
Erika Gray, Surprise AZ


I just came across your website today and was enjoying all of the black tongue pictures. Attached is a picture of my three German Shepherds (although Star we think is mixed with Malamute). They are from left to right: River (who has a few spots), Sage (who has no spots), and Star (who has lots of spots). Everyone always assumes because of the spots and red coat that Star is mixed with Chow, but I disagree based on her body and head shape, plus her incredible widow's peak. I think she's mixed with Malamute. Anyways, thanks for clarifying the great tongue debate and Merry Christmas!
Sincerely,     The Figueroa Family            
Riverside, California

This is my 6 month papered AKC Newfoundland Mungo who has a spotted tongue. At 8 wks,  he had 3 small spots,
now he has multiple spots that keep growing. I was pissed that people kept insisting he was a Chow-Newf mix because of his tongue. Silly people just cant understand that is just a
Rachel & Mungo, Salt Lake City, Utah

Clarisse was a rescue and I was told she was a Chow / Shepherd mix, but now I am not so sure! They guessed chow because of her tongue, they said her mom looked to be full blooded German Shepherd, so what do you think? Oh she lost her leg due to her mother’s owners leaving her and litter mates outside during their first winter(07) and her paw became frozen to a metal pipe and was so frost bitten she had already lost her paw when the rescue got her so the rest was removed! I don’t care what she is I love My Tripod!
Annie, Kentucky


Hello you have a great web site. I just got a puppy and his previous owner and I are trying to figure out the breed of the father. Mom is said to be 1/2 rottie and 1/2 pitt. My pup Shadow has an almost total black tongue!  As I was looking at the dogs and snapping a few shots I noticed that our 100% Siberian Husky (Tank) has a blue spot on the tip of his tongue too.  You can just make it out in this funny chance pic -
a rare shot to see his tongue.
Thank you,
April,  Surprise AZ

I just came across your website and just love the pictures, I am on a cocker spaniel message board and I posted this picture of Butters after she was groomed yesterday, you can see the spots on her tongue pretty good in this one. I adopted her in 2004 from the local animal shelter, they had her down as Labrador Retriever Cocker Spaniel mix but anyone else who has seen her says she is definitely Golden Retriever Cocker Spaniel mix.

Jaye, Fairbanks Alaska


This Rico Suave. He is about 15 weeks old. That is a guess as he showed up at our house, obviously someone's discard, being covered with fleas. He received a good bath that day and moved in. Two of his vets believe he may be medium sized in adulthood. We have had fun trying to guess his heritage.
Robyn  Baxley, GA

Hey Kellie, Love your site. I got Lula Belle when she was just 6 wks and was told she was full chow (1 parent a black chow and the other a red chow).  As Lula has aged she is looking more and more like a chow mix.  I had Lula Belle's DNA tested and it came back all chow.  Go figure.  Lula Belle is pretty big for a chow - - she is 8 months old and weighs 65 lbs and her coat is smooth and flat - - more like a golden retriever.  Her head and tail are quite chow chow poofy though.  Her tongue was pink when she was born (like all chows) and has been changing as she ages.  Just for fun i attach a few pics of that progression. 
Heidi, Seattle WA


Hi Kellie...we just adopted this little guy who the rescue place thinks is a Tibetan Terrier / Glen of Imaal mix or  Lhasa Apso/Schnauzer mix. We have no clue. Everyone we talk to thinks he has chow (of course because of the blue/black mouth and tongue) but who knows.  Chewy &  Ellen, Columbus OH
Opinions on what breed this dog may be can be sent to

This is Bailey, who was rescued from the shelter at about 6 months, and already had a black tongue.  I'll have to watch to see if it gets more color!
Megan, New Orleans  LA
So I was surfing the web today trying to find out why my dog had black spots on her tongue--didn't realize it was so common.  Anyway, I found your website and was scrolling through all the pictures when I came across Brownie from CA. My dog is also named Brownie, has spots on her tongue, and is a pitbull mix(pitbull/spitz/german shepard/black lab). She has spotted gums
cheeks-all except her roof of mouth(black). She's also got a curly tail. So I'm thinking she's part chow since chow falls under the spitz category, but I can't say for sure.
Pam Rochester NY  


Hey, I was trying to find answers for why my newly adopted pup had a purple tongue. When I came across your website I found it. She is a Husky/Shepherd mix. She was 8 weeks old when this picture was taken. Thanks for the insight!
Chelsie,  Elizabeth  IN



This is Chewy, a 1 yr old black terrier mix we got at our local shelter.  When I saw the picture of the dog sent in by  Jared, Halifax, NS   Canada, I had to send in our picture too.  They look a lot alike.  Same wire haired coat, floppy ears, and terrier fur between the eyes, and on the muzzle.  Wish I knew what he is, but in any case, he's a sweetie.
Dani Demyen  Lancaster, CA

I stumbled on your page about "black tongues" and thought it was great! Noah is a 15mth old Pure Bred Golden who frolics in the lakes around North Bay, ON Canada - I have always known why Noah has them but it was so cute to see so many fuzzy kids with these marks! I did have one person asked me if he "ate a ballpoint pen"
Wendy     North Bay, ON    CANADA


Gizmo came to us as a stray. The vet told us
that he must be a mix because of the spots on his tongue.  We are still unsure if he is a full pit or mixed with something else. We love him, though, no matter what he is! I was always one to believe that pit bulls were inherently bad dogs… Gizmo set me straight in short order. He is the best dog I have ever had! Vancouver, Washington


Ziggy's a 2yr old German Shepherd/Chow mix.  We adopted her from the animal shelter in July 2006. She also has a dense undercoat and the cutest tail that curls up over her back so I think she probably is part Chow.
Liz,     Peoria  IL

Here is a pic of our adopted dog Karma. She is a lab mix, almost 2yrs old and has a very fast black spotted tongue!!
James, Fort Mill, SC

My pup can from a backyard litter that was so inbreed that every puppy looked different.  Everyone who sees my pups tongue say, "Oh, he is a Chow!" but umm HELLO have you looked him he is not.  He is Lab/Shepard as far as we can tell.  I would guess to say his tongue is 95% black and out of the 7 in his litter I think he was the only one with any black on his tongue.  People should just leave black tongued dogs alone.


After googling to try and find out what kind of dog mine is I came upon your site, and thought I'd submit a great picture of my son, Jake!  He looks like a lab, but who knows.  Many people enjoy guessing, because his tongue tends to throw them off!            Wendy, Monterey CA

Every "dog genius" told me my dogs had Chow in them. Since I didn't know, I searched the web and found a lot of sites that debunk that myth. Thank you for posting yours. Here is my shot of both brothers. Lefty is the one on the right and Ritey is the one on the left. Ritey has a black spot way on the back of his tongue (you can just barely see it in the photo) and some under his tongue. You can obviously see Lefty's spots. And the spots have been growing as fast as the pups have too. At first Ritey didn't have any spots and Lefty's were just small dots.
Brady, Melrose FL

Cubby is about 7 yrs old.  I always assumed chow mix because of the tongue.  But he has the tail with long hair and big poof that curls up over his back, large mane, smaller back
end & broader chest,  and long hair on his legs and back haunches.  His mane has thinned considerably in the last few years and he has become gray and white in places.
Coldwater MI


I was delighted to happen upon your site.  This is a picture of our Stella.  We rescued her from a human society.  They told us she is a chow akita mix.  She is currently 4 months old.  She is a lovely dog with a great temperament.  I see a lot of Akita in her appearance, but not much chow chow. 
Thanks,Laura  Ann Arbor, Michigan


Dahlia's a lab/border collie cross and you can see a few of the spots on her tongue in this picture.  Most of them appear  further back on the tongue, so you can't see them too easily, but there are a few down toward the end!
Michelle,  Syracuse NY




I thought that I would send you this picture of my boy, Biscuit, and his tongue spots. He didn't have any until he was around 3 mo old and then they started out the size of a freckle and grew to what you see in the picture. He is Pure Bred Golden Retriever.
I call them "Treat Spots"---they show you where to place the treats! LOL
Cathy,  MA


Malamute Mix, Buddy
2.5yrs, Northwest OH

 We found Princess, 3yrs, in a field as a pup, I have no idea what she is so any guesses.  I would love to know. 
Thank you Rhonda Buckeye AZ
send guess to:


This is our beloved Max rescued from the street (showing off his splotchy tongue :)  We are guessing him to German Shepherd Dog mix. Jacksonville  FL



Rex, our 7 yr old Bouvier Des Flandres with the black spot on his tongue.  There is no chow in his lineage.  The spot did not appear until he was 3 yrs old.
Geri, Jordan, MN


My dog Zoe is half GSD and Black Lab. 
I always wondered why spots appeared on her tongue.  When she was a pup she had one little spot on the back of her tongue, and now she is almost a year and she is spotted up quite a bit!   Jen,  Early TX

My greyhound has 2 blue spots (one is visible picture) many other greyhounds also have blue spots. I don’t think most dog savvy people even know this about greyhounds
Oscar   Chicago IL


Lab/Flat Coat Mix, shelter pooch & the sweetest dog ever !
Oak Forest IL


Hello from sunny Puerto Rico,
Attached is our wild and crazy 8 month Golden Retriever Shaggy Dupree. When I asked our vet about the black spots on the tongue he mentioned the chow mix theory.
Great website, German and Judy, Puerto Rico

 English mastiff Tank
  He was not born with the spot but it later appeared.
Corpus Christi, TX

adopted from ASPCA
Largo FL

Rescued in November 2006, the shelter designated Grendel as a Rott/Akita mix.  My vet determined he was barely a year old and might be a Mastiff, Pit Bull mix.  I don’t think he has any Pit Bull in him and I’m just curious enough now to ask for the new blood test.  Lezlie in Monclair, VA 


Sarah in New Mexico is
looking for input on what kind
of dog her pooch is.            
Sarah at

Here’s a pic of “Chongo”…appreciate the site about tongues. We too have been told he has Chow….but more astute folks say GSD/Lab mix. Smart dog with a lot of vitality… the neighborhood, he’s a dog’s dog.
Great pal…too.
Doug Konieczny  Spring TX



DNA Tested !
Originally thought to be a chow-lab  mix, recent DNA testing ruled out chow-chow and lab (as well as some other breeds: husky, shepherd, akita) but not Jindo or Austrailan Cattle Dog, so that's my current guess, until I have more detailed testing done.Thanks for the webpage discussion on this topic - interesting and helpful!Megan, Washington, DC

Hi, Sassy is a pedigree German Shepherd Dog and has always had a spotted tongue, the farther back in, the more spots there are, we heard that they were called "Best of Breed" spots!

Cheers, Kirt & Lisa
West Sussex, BN132QA


Hey, thanks for the great info. on dogs w/blue tongues.  It was helpful trying to figure out the heritage of our newest pooch.  Our dog Misty came from a rescue in Tenn. called friendsfurlife TN.  As best we can tell she is a Rhodesian Ridgeback mixed w/ lab and perhaps German shepherd.  One of the vets claimed that she had to be part chow b/c of the black spots on her tongue.  I didn't buy this, as her coat is short and very wiry - not fluffy chow-like at all.  Hope you like this pic.  She's a love.  Katie Westford, MA



The shelter said he was a chow lab miix ..
I have found a dog called a ca de bou..from Spain that looks exactly like him ..?But none of the pics of that dog show inside the mouth ..Not many have a black tongue and black mouth too.
Toby lives with Michael in Carbondale, IL


I can now say with certainty that my 8 yr old Border Collie/Australian Shepard mix does not have Chow in her.   She has long silky hair and no undercoat, as a Chow would have.  Kelly was a 5 month old rescue puppy when I adopted her.  Her tongue is about 80% black and the whole inside of her mouth is black.   Ladera Ranch, CA


I was told my dog, Rosco,  was a
Lab-Weimariner Mix.  Now I am not so sure. Either way he is a sweetheart.
Heather,   Keller TX

Finally an answer to my question.  I have owned 2 pure bred German Shepard's and my first one had a couple of spots but my second Shepard has tons of them! She was born with a plain pink tongue and then they started appearing at 6 months old and I notice the old ones, way back on the tongue appear to be slowly getting bigger.  I think it is cool and just adds to her character.  I get sick of  people saying "is she a pure bred?"  or "she must have chow in her"!!  Now I'll tell people she has freckles! 
Kelly and Jenna, Monkton VT


How's this for a pic! He's My Brindle 120 lb Mastiff/pit mix?
Diana, Los Angeles CA


Our Rottweiler Charlie was a rescue from Galveston Texas, we're now in NH.  He appears to be a full Rott but has very long straight hair and the black spotted tongue.  He’s very compact at 79lbs & 1 yr.  He’s extremely agile which makes me think he’s part cheetah with that tongue of his.  Laura, NH


Coco, 1.5 yrs, Sheltie/Shep Mix,
the black or we call it purple on the back of her tongue....and the next one on the top of her tongue...that zigzags to the back of her tongue
Burnsville   MN


I've been doing animal rescue for many years and have seen members of a variety of breeds with all black or spotted tongues that are not Chows or mixes.  This is Kozmo, a dog I re-homed.  Kozmo is a purebred Red Siberian Husky with a completely black tongue
Green Valley AZ

Below is Maki, whom I thought might be a dwarf Chow. Her coat was just starting to grow back after I adopted her as a mostly naked dog from the pound. It turned out she had advanced
thyroid cancer and  only lived a couple months. She was about half the size of a normal Chow and quite old

Linda Richmond CA


a Belgian Malinois/Golden Retriever mix -
both breeds, known to have black tongues.  The black on her tongue is growing and is now almost solid black.  Adopted from the shelter at 11 months, she had solid black on the back 1/3 of her tongue, a small black spot in the middle and another small black spot on the front 1/3 of her tongue - now, almost a year later, she has some small pink spots

Black/Tan Coonhound
rescued from the local pound
Copake Falls, NY

Jack, busted mid-yawn.  He’s a German Shepherd
Mix that we got from the SPCA.   
Rena, Newport News, VA

You  can watch Sabor on TV He plays a police K-9 and SAR K-9
when needed for the show Forensic Files.
Sabor is a German Shepherd with European bloodlines that can be traced back to Slovakia.  I was told by my Slovakian born grandmother that all of her German Shepherds in the old country had black
spots on their tongues.  Tami


We rescued Sam  from the streets when he was about 4 weeks old. He is 1 yr now. Animal control told us he is a lab/chow mix. Thanks for the information on your site.
 Debra,  Port St Lucie  FL


Most people think my dog, Yasha, has Chow in her because she has black on her tongue.  But, we had her (DNA) tested (38 different breeds including Chow), and the only breed she tested positive for was Golden Retriever.  We have noticed that her tongue is getting more black on it as she has gotten older. Shelley, Mesa AZ

This is Hotchy a pound puppy that we sadly lost this past summer at age 12. They said he was a lab/chow mix  but we think there had to be some spaniel in there based on his little bit of curl and long fur on his ears. He's growing out his summer cut in this photo so the true length and curl of his fur is not shown, but that black tongue is. 
Liz, Gaithersburg, MD


This is our Pure Bred Black Lab "Dingleberry Fungus" and his spotted tongue.  His second name is a result of when he was a pup my husband said "it looks like he's got a fungus growing on his tongue.. and so our boy "Dingle" came to be!
Warm regards from
Alaska,  Marni







Golden Mix

This pooch was found as a stray in
Tampa Bay Florida    
Butzi in  N Carolina

Golden Retriever 


Adopted From shelter in Tampa FL
Chinchilla Cardigan Welsh Corgi

6months, pure breed golden
Beulaville NC

Shar Pei




Rocky in California

Kosey,  Eskimo Mix
New Haven   CT

We got him from a rescue,
he might be lab, gsd, and
maybe chow chow

I've been trying to figure out what
Cody is mixed with but I just
don't know! Lab, Pit, shar pei? chow?
who knows!
Emily  NY NY

This is our dog Riley, we adopted him from the local shelter. We have no idea what type of dog he is. He has two coats, the outer coat is black wire haired. 
Halifax, NS Canada


Slider Adopted from
Florida Shelter


Koa, Flat Coated Retriever 

Washington DC

Vonda & Betsy

Max Allentown PA


An AKC show quality Golden Ret
courtesy Chow Club Welfare Committee


614-471-9000   or  
Kellie at

   Columbus Dog        2761 Johnstown Rd       Columbus OH  43219