Why Does My Golden Retriever Have Black Spots On His Tongue? [Solved!]

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So, you’re wondering “Why Does My Golden Retriever Have Black Spots On His Tongue?”

You’re not alone! In fact, some Golden Retriever owners are surprised to see black spots on their dog’s tongue, and assume that their pup chewed up a black Sharpie!

While this may be the case for a few Goldens, it is quite common to see Golden Retrievers with spotted tongues.

However, not all Golden Retrievers have black spots on their tongues.

Are black spots something to worry about? Does it mean your Golden Retriever is not purebred?

Find out everything you need to know about why your Golden Retriever has black spots on his tongue below.

Why Does My Golden Retriever Have Black Spots On His Tongue?

Golden Retrievers can be born with black spots on their tongue, or they can appear while they are young. Black spots on the tongue are quite common in Golden Retrievers, as well as in 30 different breeds. Spots can appear black or blue and have the same texture as the rest of the tongue. These spots are just a deposit of extra pigmentation, just as freckles and birthmarks are in humans. Many owners refer to them as “treat spots”, and they are generally nothing to worry about.

1. Golden Retriever Puppies Can Be Born With Black Spots On Their Tongue

Why Does My Golden Retriever Have Black Spots On His Tongue - A Golden Retriever puppy with its tongue sticking out, looking at you.

Just like a human birthmark, your Golden Retriever puppy can be born with a black spot or several black spots on his tongue.

Black spots are simply a result of extra pigmentation in the skin of your dog’s tongue.

Some puppies have spotted tongues and some do not. There is no need to worry if your puppy has black spots, it just makes him more unique.

2. Black Spots Can Appear In Young Golden Retrievers

Just as some puppies are born with black spots, many Golden Retrievers will develop them as they get older.

Black spots usually appear in young Goldens, typically before they are the age of 3.

These black spots may change colour or shape as your Golden ages, and your Golden will have these spots for life.

3. Black Spots Are Simply Deposits Of Extra Pigments

Most dogs have pink gums and mostly pink tongues, with the exception of the Chow Chow and Chinese Shar-Pei.

No, that doesn’t mean your Golden Retriever is part, Chow Chow! More on that later.

The black spots are a result of extra pigmentation in the skin of your dog’s tongue.

Tiny granules of melanin are responsible for these dark spots which not only appear on your dog’s tongue but on the gums, lips and inside the mouth.

These pigmented spots are flat, and even if your Golden Retriever doesn’t have any on his tongue, he may have some under his coat.

These areas of extra pigmentation are just like human freckles or birthmarks.

What Do Black Spots On My Golden Retriever’s Tongue Look Like?

A Golden Retriever with its head tilted, smiling and looking at you.  This Golden Retriever has a black spot on its tongue.

These pigmented spots on your dog’s tongue can vary in shape and colour, but they will have the same texture as the rest of the tongue.

They can appear to be bluish-black or black.

Your dog may have only one small spot on his tongue, or he may have several.

These spots can also grow larger and get darker as your Golden ages. This may happen gradually and is perfectly normal.

Do I Need To Worry About Black Spots On My Golden Retriever’s Tongue?

A Golden Retriever with a black spot on its tongue, sitting outside in a field of grass.

Typically, black spots on the tongue are completely normal and of no concern.

As mentioned, your Golden Retriever may have been born with them or they may have developed shortly after.

However, if any of the spots appear to be raised, and don’t have the same texture as the rest of the tongue, it is a cause for concern.

Also, if a new spot appears suddenly, or is a colour other than blue or black, and has a foul odour, you should contact your vet.

There are two major types of cancers that cause discoloration of the tongue that you need to be aware of:

Canine Oral Melanoma

Oral melanomas are commonly found in older dogs that have dark pigmented areas of the mouth, gums and tongue.

Sadly, this list includes Golden Retrievers.

Melanomas are raised, swollen and discoloured bumps that may appear to be black, pink or white.

Other signs include foul odour in the mouth, increased drooling, difficulty eating or drinking, and facial swelling.

Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This type of cancer occurs in the mouth and throat, as well as your dog’s tongue.

Lesions may appear to be pink or discoloured and can break open and bleed.

Signs include drooling with or without blood, difficulty eating and bad breath.

It is so important to check your dog’s mouth regularly and be aware of any changes.

Both canine oral melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma can be treated and managed if they are caught early.

RELATED ===> Why Do Golden Retrievers Get Cancer?

Do Black Spots On The Tongue Mean My Golden Retriever Is Not Purebred?

A Golden Retriever with a black spot on its tongue, sitting in a field of grass, smiling and looking at you.

No, seeing black spots on your Golden Retriever’s tongue does not mean he is not purebred.

Having spots on the tongue is pretty common among Golden Retrievers, as are having no spots at all.

Spotted tongue or not, it is not an indication of being purebred.

A common myth that has been circulating around is that black spots on a dog’s tongue are an indication that your dog has a mix of Chow Chow in his bloodlines. This is not true at all!

Why Chow Chow, you ask? The Chow Chow is commonly associated with a bluish-black tongue, in fact, it is required in its breed standard.

Black spots can appear in any breed but are commonly found in breeds that have dark points. This brings us to the list of breeds below.

What Dog Breeds Have Black Spots On Their Tongue?

Black or bluish spots on the tongue are not only commonly found in Golden Retrievers but in 30 different dog breeds as well.

Dog breeds that have darker points will likely also have black spots on their tongue.

Points are referred to as noses, lip lines, eye rims, paw pads and nails.

The following are a few of the dog breeds that have been known to have black spots on their tongue:

  • Airedale
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Chow Chow
  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • Collie
  • Dalmatian
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Pug
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian Husky

If you’re wondering what other breeds have black tongues, check out dogbreedinfo.com.

Dogs aren’t the only ones that can have black spots on their tongue. Giraffes, polar bears, and even some breeds of cattle can have spotted tongues.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has shed some light on why your Golden Retriever has black spots on his tongue.

As we have learned these black spots are simply extra pigments that appear on the skin of many Golden Retriever’s tongues.

Some Golden Retrievers are born with these spots, while others may develop them soon after.

Don’t worry if your Golden Retriever has no spots on his tongue, that’s completely normal too!

The important thing to remember is regardless if your dog has a spotted tongue or not, you need to be diligent in checking your dog’s mouth for any noticeable changes.

Spots that appear suddenly or have a different texture than the rest of the skin in your dog’s mouth, may indicate a serious health issue.

Always consult your vet if you have any questions or concerns about spots on your dog’s tongue.

Does your Golden Retriever have black spots on his tongue?

Share your thoughts and comments below. I would love to hear from you!

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4 thoughts on “Why Does My Golden Retriever Have Black Spots On His Tongue? [Solved!]”

  1. I actually have a German Shepherd and a Labrador Retriever. I accidentally saw the other day my labrador had black spots on his tongue like that. At first, I thought it was something in a meal. But it did not happen. I informed her vet about it. He told me not to worry. Your post is very valuable. Everyone who has a pet should be aware of things like this. I will definitely be sharing this. Thanks so much for posting this.

    • Hi Pasindu,

      Black spots on the tongue are common among German Shepherds and Labs as well.  It can be surprising to see these spots on your dog’s tongue, especially if you have never seen them before.

      You did the right thing and consulted your vet.  As long as the spots are the same texture as the rest of your dog’s tongue, you have nothing to worry about.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I’m happy this post was helpful.


  2. Oh my gosh, I am happy to see that the black spots on the tongue of my Golden Retriever are harmless, thank god for Google and that I have found your article! About black spots though, is it normal to find them elsewhere as well on his body? My golden is always licking his paws and one of the spots turned dark, now I’m worried again. I just love Goldens!

    • Hi Lizzy,

      These pigmented spots may also appear on other areas of your dog’s skin.  They are commonly found on the belly, as well as under your dog’s fur.  Often, owners don’t know they are there because they are hidden under all that fur.  

      To ease your worry, I would consult with your vet to answer any questions you may have.  



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