Black spots on a German Shepherd’s Tongue can be for a number reasons.
The reasons can rage from the black spots being an indication of the breed of your GSD, to disease and illness.
Coat spotting or ‘ticking’ is a separate issue.
We cover both in this article! Let’s take a look!
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
5 Reasons For Black Spots On Your German Shepherd’s Tongue + Coat
Summary Of Black Spots
Even though some black spots can be non harmful, some spots on the skin and tongue might be a sign of a more serious health conditions.
See a vet or ask your dog’s vet at their check up to make sure if you suspect it’s serious.
1) Black Tongue Spots Can Indicate The Breed Of Your German Shepherd
It is inaccurate to say that just because your German Shepherd has black spots or patches on his or her tongue that they aren’t purebred.
In fact, there are over 30 purebred breeds of dogs that are known to have black or blue spotted tongues, including the German Shepherd.
The way you can 100% tell if your German Shepherd is a purebreed or not, presuming you don’t have papers from your breeder or rescue organisation, is to get a breed DNA test done at your local vet, and they can interpret the testing for you.
If your German Shepherd’s spotty/patchy tongue is caused by having some mix breed in it, it’s possible it could be a German Shepherd Chow Chow mix.
Chow Chows are known for their blue/black tongues.
It is worth noting that the Chinese Shar Pei also had a blue/black tongue and mouth.
You can read more about popular German Shepherd Mix Breed Dogs and Puppies here.
2) Black Spots Can Be Due To Melanin/Pigmentation
The second reason your GSD dog or puppy might have black spots on his or her tongue is simply due Melanin.
Melanin is the pigment in your GSD’s genetical makeup that determines colors in certain ‘points’ of your German Shepherd like lips, nose, eye rims, pads and even toenails.
Like humans have birthmarks and freckles on their skin caused by our melanin, your GSD might have spots or patches on its tongue that develop and stay there for the remainder of its life.
So, this is completely natural and nothing to be concerned about.
Where the color of the coat/fur of a German Shepherd is influenced by dominant and recessive genes (Blue German Shepherds and Liver German Shepherds are more rare than Black and Tan for example), patching/spotting on the tongue is a little more random.
Two parents with spotted tongues may not produce a spotted tongue puppy, and vice versa for parents without spots or patches on their tongues.
3) Black Tongue Spots Can Mean Cancer
When your GSD puppy is born with black patching or spotting on it’s tongue, or the spotting develops while it is relatively young, you generally have less to be concerned about.
“Black spots that suddenly appear on an older dog’s tongue, or that appear raised or textured, may signify cancer. If your dog’s pink tongue is suddenly discolored with spots, or if existing spots change in size, shape or texture, call your veterinarian.”
It is in some way comparable to how humans sprout large black moles or lumps on their back, or anywhere on their skin – they generally mean some sort of unnatural growth of cells.
4) Black Spots Can Mean Other Illnesses or Body Conditions
Black spots on a German Shepherd’s tongue can also mean other types of illnesses and diseases that cause tongue discoloration.
Low blood oxygen, often as a result of heart or lung problems;
Like cancerous growths, these spots appear suddenly and were not present at birth. Have your vet check any change in your dog’s tongue, including turning a purple-black color.
5) What If I Have a Spotted German Shepherd In Other Areas Of The Body (Fur, Skin etc.) … Irish Spotting and Panda Shepherds!?
Spotting in any other area of skin like the belly for example should have the same principles applied as above.
The fur/coat of your German Shepherd is a different story altogether. Without getting into the specifics of it (because it can get a little confusing!), black AND white spots and patches on the coat are caused by one of two things:
‘Irish Spotting‘ or ‘Ticking’ of the coat/fur to produce black spots and patches
White mutation of the KIT gene which is rare. This affects German Shepherd differently than it does any other dog breed (one of the wonders of nature!), and produces white spotted ‘Panda Shepherds‘.
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