Why Golden Retrievers Have A Black Spot On Their Tongue? (Truth Revealed!)

Golden Retrievers, known for their loyal and friendly demeanor, occasionally surprise their owners with a unique characteristic: a black spot on their tongue. This naturally leads to curiosity and sometimes concern. What causes this spot? Is it normal? Let’s explore.

Key Takeaways

  • Black spots on a Golden Retriever’s tongue are typically benign pigmented areas.
  • Not all Golden Retrievers will have black spots on their tongues.
  • The appearance of black spots doesn’t determine the purity of the breed.
  • The spots can appear at any age, even in puppies.
  • Regular monitoring and veterinary consultations are recommended for any sudden changes in the spots.

Do All Golden Retrievers Have Spots On Their Tongue?

No, not all Golden Retrievers possess this distinct marking. The appearance of black or dark spots on a Golden Retriever’s tongue is similar to how humans might have freckles or moles. Just as every human doesn’t have freckles, every Golden Retriever doesn’t have these spots. It’s a naturally occurring phenomenon based on genetics and the distribution of pigment cells, known as melanocytes, in the tongue. Over time, these cells can cluster together, leading to pigmented spots.

Is there a way to prevent black spots from appearing on my golden retriever’s tongue?

The short answer is no. These spots are a natural manifestation of the dog’s genetic makeup. Just as we can’t determine where or if we’ll get freckles, we can’t control the appearance of these spots on our pets. 

It’s essential to understand that these spots are not the result of any external factor like diet, environment, or lifestyle. They’re simply a part of some Golden Retrievers’ genetic coding.

Can the black spots on a golden retriever’s tongue grow or multiply?

Yes, they can. Just as a child might develop more freckles as they grow and are exposed to the sun, a Golden Retriever might develop more spots as they age. Some dogs might have a singular spot for years, and others might see a gradual increase in the number or size of spots. 

Typically, there’s no set pattern, and the change is slow and gradual. However, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on any rapid changes or irregularities in the spots, as with any skin or mucous membrane changes.

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

At some point, while playing with or grooming your Golden Retriever, you might notice a distinct, pigmented area on their tongue. These black spots vary in size from small pinpoints to larger patches and usually appear flat against the surface of the tongue. Their shape can be round, oval, or even irregular in some cases, and the color can range from a light gray to a deep black.

The texture of these spots is generally the same as the rest of the tongue – smooth and moist. These spots are not raised bumps or lesions. They’re simply areas where melanin, the pigment responsible for skin and hair color in both humans and dogs, has accumulated more densely.

Should I be concerned if the black spot on my golden retriever’s tongue changes shape or size?

It’s natural for owners to be vigilant about the health and well-being of their pets. While the black spots on a Golden Retriever’s tongue are typically benign and harmless, it’s good practice to monitor them for any sudden or significant changes.

If you observe that a spot is rapidly increasing in size, changing in color, developing an irregular border, or if your dog appears to be bothered by it (e.g., excessive licking, sensitivity when touched), it’s advisable to consult with a veterinarian. While most changes are innocuous, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and ensure there aren’t underlying health concerns.

When Do Golden Retrievers Get Black Spots On Their Tongue?

One of the delightful mysteries of owning a Golden Retriever is observing the evolution of their features as they grow. Just as humans might notice new freckles or beauty marks appearing over time, Golden Retrievers can develop black spots on their tongues at various stages of their lives.

Can puppies be born with black spots on their tongue?

Yes, absolutely. Some Golden Retriever puppies are born with these characteristic spots on their tongues. This early appearance suggests a strong genetic predisposition for the trait. It’s not uncommon for new owners, especially those unfamiliar with the breed’s quirks, to be surprised by a tiny black mark on their adorable puppy’s pink tongue during those first puppy yawns or playful moments.

For others, these spots may develop weeks, months, or even years later. The appearance of these spots is not tied to any particular age or stage of life. Instead, they can emerge, grow, or change over the dog’s lifetime. 

Just as two Golden Retrievers might have different coat colors or temperaments, the timing and appearance of these tongue spots can vary widely between individual dogs.

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

For the vast majority of Golden Retrievers, these black spots are benign and completely harmless. They are merely areas of increased pigmentation, akin to freckles in humans. However, being observant and cautious about any changes in our pets is always beneficial.

How can you tell if a black spot on a dog’s tongue is abnormal?

While most black spots on a Golden Retriever’s tongue are nothing more than pigmented spots, it’s essential to recognize signs that might indicate something more concerning:

  1. Rapid Changes: While the size and shape of a spot can change over time, any sudden or swift alterations are worth noting.
  2. Texture: Normal spots are flat and smooth. If a spot becomes raised, rough, or has an irregular surface, it’s a reason for further inspection.
  3. Color Variations: While pigmented spots can range from light gray to deep black, be cautious of spots that have multiple colors or uneven color distribution.
  4. Sensitivity: If your dog starts showing signs of discomfort, like frequently licking the spot, or if they wince or pull away when the area is touched, it may indicate an issue.
  5. Irregular Borders: While many benign spots can have irregular shapes, spots that have notably jagged or undefined edges should be monitored.
  6. Overall Health: If your dog shows other signs of ill health, like changes in appetite, behavior, or energy levels, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian, even if the symptoms don’t seem directly related to the spot.

If any of the above signs are observed, or if you have any doubts about a spot’s appearance, it’s always wise to seek the counsel of a veterinarian. They can provide a more detailed examination and, if needed, perform tests to determine the nature of the spot.

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

One of the most persistent myths in the dog-loving community is the association of black spots on a dog’s tongue with mixed breed lineage. Specifically, many believe that if a Golden Retriever has a black spot on its tongue, it must have some Chow Chow ancestry, as Chows are known for their fully pigmented blue-black tongues. This belief, however, is a misconception.

Breed purity is determined by lineage and genetics, not by physical characteristics like tongue spots. If you have concerns or questions about your Golden Retriever’s pedigree, it’s always a good idea to refer to the dog’s registration papers, if available, or consult with reputable breeders or breed clubs.

In short, a black spot on your Golden Retriever’s tongue does not mean your dog is not purebred. It’s just one of the many unique features that make your pet special.

Which Dog Breeds Have Black Spots on Their Tongues?

The appearance of black spots on a dog’s tongue is not restricted to a specific breed. It’s a manifestation of pigmentation, and many breeds can exhibit this trait. Here are some of the breeds that are known to occasionally have black spots on their tongues:

  1. Chow Chow: Probably the most famous breed for tongue pigmentation, Chows have a blue-black tongue, which is a hallmark of the breed. However, it’s essential to note that not all Chows will have a fully blue-black tongue; some might have lighter spots.
  2. Labrador Retriever: Much like their Golden counterparts, Labs can also have these spots.
  3. German Shepherd: Some German Shepherds might have black spots on their tongues, although it’s less commonly seen compared to breeds like the Chow Chow.
  4. Akita: This majestic Japanese breed can also have spots on its tongue.
  5. Dalmatian: While they’re famous for their unique black or liver spots on their white coats, Dalmatians can also occasionally have spots on their tongues.
  6. Rottweiler: Some Rottweilers might exhibit this trait as well.
  7. Mastiff: Various Mastiff breeds can have black spots on their tongues.
  8. Cocker Spaniel: Though it’s less common, some Cocker Spaniels can have these pigmented spots.
  9. Australian Cattle Dog: Known for their unique coat patterns, some also have black spots on their tongues.
  10. Bulldog: Both English and French Bulldogs can occasionally exhibit this trait.
  11. Malamute: This cold-resistant breed can also have spots on its tongue.

It’s crucial to remember that while the above breeds might have individuals with black spots on their tongues, not every dog of these breeds will exhibit this trait. 

Additionally, there are many other breeds and mixed breeds that can have these pigmented spots. The appearance of such spots is a natural variation and doesn’t indicate any specific health concerns or lineage determinants.


Golden Retrievers, like many breeds, possess distinct traits, such as black spots on their tongues, that highlight the diverse genetics of dogs. These benign markings serve as reminders of nature’s unpredictability. As pet owners, understanding and caring for these nuances is essential. Whether your Golden Retriever has a clear tongue or one with spots, they are equally deserving of love and appreciation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Black Spots on Golden Retrievers’ Tongues 

Do black spots on the tongue affect a golden retriever’s sense of taste or overall health?

No, black spots on a Golden Retriever’s tongue don’t affect their sense of taste. These spots are benign pigmented areas and don’t impact the dog’s overall health.

Do purebred dogs have spotted tongues?

Yes, purebred dogs, including Golden Retrievers, can have spotted tongues. The presence of these spots isn’t an indicator of a dog’s purity or lineage.

Do black spots on a golden retriever’s tongue fade over time?

Typically, black spots on a Golden Retriever’s tongue remain consistent throughout their life. However, their size and shape might change slightly as the dog ages.

Is it bad if my dog has a black spot on his tongue?

No, a black spot on a dog’s tongue is a natural pigmentation and is generally harmless. However, any rapid or unusual changes in the spot should be discussed with a veterinarian.

Galen has been connecting quality Golden Retriever breeders with loving families since 2012 and is the founder of My Golden Retriever Puppies. He and his wife have four children and love spending time together, traveling (lived oversees for 4 years), enjoying the outdoors and connecting Golden families.