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Do Akitas Have Black Tongues? (Answered)

Your massive Akita looks like a lean Chow. We bet you have already heard that a thousand times, and it’s true. Like a Chow, Akitas can also have black tongues.

Sometimes Akitas are born with a black tongue, while other times they develop pigmentation over time. If it is either, you may want to know if there is any cause of concern at all.

Read on to know if all Akitas have black tongues.

Do Akitas have black tongues?

Akitas can have a black or blue tongue both naturally and through development. The dark color in an Akitas tongue is due to melanin production by the skin cells. This melanin causes pigmentation. Akitas may also have a black tongue to due genetics, health issues, and birthmarks.

Do all Akitas have black tongues?

Akitas are massive dogs with heavy coats and a tongue that they love to stick out. All Akita’s, despite looking a lot like Chows, do not have black tongues.

Usually, they will have pinkish tongues, but many also have black, blue, or even purple tongues.

Few Akitas have light pink tongues with black or blue spotting. These pigments are natural unless you notice that the spot or dark colored area on your pup’s tongue has a different texture.

Why would an Akita dog have a black tongue?

There is a common misinterpretation about why Akitas or any other dogs have black tongues or black spotting on their tongues.

We’ve all heard about the story that any dog, including Akitas, will have a dark tongue if they have Chow bloodline or heritage.

According to experts, that is not true at all. In fact, the real reasons an Akita could have a black tongue are:

Melanin production:

If you know the dog language, you would know how many dogs have dark “points”. These dark points are referred to as the shadowy parts on a dog’s face or body, whether it’s the nose, paws, or tongue.

Thus, any of these dark points on a dog, including your Akita is due to melanin production. Melanin is a skin pigment that is made naturally by the skin cells of all organisms.

Health issues:

If you notice that your Akita’s tongue suddenly became black due to appearing spots, you might want to seek the advice of a vet.

Usually, if the dark pigments have a different texture than the rest of the tongue or have a smell, it could be related to underlying health problems like tongue cancer or cell carcinoma. Additionally, you should also keep in mind that your

Akita’s tongue turning black suddenly can also be due to ulcers, and other times it could be related to more serious problems of the heart, kidney, or lungs.

Other than seeing the vet, you’ll also have to keep your Akita’s dental hygiene updated and fresh, with brushing and rinsing off regularly.


Sometimes, Akitas can be born with freckles and dark spots on their tongues. These dark spots can be of various shapes, sizes and black or blueish in color. In this case, the Akitas will have a black tongue due to a birthmark.

Usually, birthmarks are permanent but may fade over the years up to the point of disappearance as the pup grows. The cause of birthmarks is also related to considerable pigmentation for melanin.


Although we have said that the black tongue of your Akita has little to do with the Chow heritage, genetics plays a part in the appearance of your pet.

Akitas with pigmented tongue might have a lineage of a generation that can be traced to a black tongue breed, like the Spaniel, Pointer, or Chow.

Do purebred Akita dogs have black tongues?

For most people, there is no visual test to say whether your canine friend is purebred or not. Whether it is a purebred or a mixed breed Akita, will not have any impact on their black tongue.

The parent Akitas of a black tongued puppy can be purebred, giving birth to a purebred Akita as well. In that case, such appearance of the tongue can be explained by either melanin production or other health issues.

If genetics is to be the reason for the pigmented tongue, it would most possibly be due to their ancestors.

Besides, for any dog, being purebred does not make any difference in temperament or behavior. However, there can be changes in the looks of the canine. Meaning if you know for sure that your pet is purebred, it will possibly look exactly like the other dogs of its breed.

What does the color of an Akita dog’s tongue mean?

As we’ve already made it clear, not all Akitas have naturally black tongues. Some have pinkish tongues, while others have shown other colors depending on health conditions and other illnesses. Here is what each colour of an Akita dog’s tongue might mean:


If your Akita has a pink colored tongue, it is completely normal. Most dogs will have different shades of pink on them, some of the more solid than the others.

Some Akitas can have freckles on their pink tongues as well, while others could spot pigmented birthmarks.

Black, blue or purple:

If your Akita is almost completely a Chow look alike, it is most likely that they have a darker colored tongue. Whether it is blueish or more purple, you don’t have to worry about the pigmentation as it is caused by melanin production.

However, if the dark areas are also differently textured and have a foul smell to them, your Akita might have underlying health issues related to the kidney, lung, or heart.

Sometimes experts suggest that the sudden appearance of dark pigments on the Akita’s tongue can be due to poor mouth health.

If your Akita was born with a pink tongue but has developed a black tongue as it is growing up, be sure to have a checkup for oral cancer as well.

Pale or White:

Some Akitas have tongues that are almost white or look too pale. Most of the time, a pink tongue on an Akita can look or turn pale due to several reasons, with malnutrition and blood loss being two more common reasons.

More often, if your Akita is feeling weak and looking sick, and you have not noticed already, their tongue will become whitish in appearance, suggesting that the canine is ill. A compromised immune system of the dog can also result in the pale tongue.

Along with the white color, a yellow stint on the tongue may indicate gastric or liver issues for your Akita.


Like the loss of pigments, you might sometimes notice your Akita’s otherwise pink tongue going red.

In such a situation you may want to consult the vet so that a proper diagnosis can be done. This is usually related to nutrient deficiency, dehydration, or some kind of infection.

Do Akitas have blue tongues?

It is possible for Akitas to have blue tongues. Akitas can be born with a blue-tinted tongue or spots of blue on a pink tongue. Other times some Akitas show sudden changes in their tongue color, and it could turn blue.

Although there is a high possibility that the Chow influence on your Akita has caused the bluing color, it could be a direct sign of underlying health disease if the pigmentation appears more suddenly.

Do Akitas have purple tongues?

A blue and purple tongue in Akitas is a term that is usually used interchangeably. Hence, Akitas can also have purple tongues.

Other than the reason being melanin causing the pigmentation in Akita’s tongue, genetics can always have important roles when it comes to the looks of the pup.

Sometimes, if the purple color on your Akita is bumpy and textured distinctly than its usual tongue, the canine might have some sort of heart or lung disease.

Do wolves have black tongues?

Wolves generally do not have black tongues naturally. However, if there is a genetic crossover that has been artificially bred, genetics can cause wolves to have black tongues.

Although they have very dark nails, their tongues are usually pink with purplish tints in some cases. If, however, the wolf has health problems, their tongues might change in color to paler or darker hues.

What dog breeds have black tongues?

  • Chow Chow
  • Chinese Shar-Pai
  • Thai Ridegback
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Bouvier de Flandres
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Akita
  • Bichon Frise
  • Siberian Husky

Black tongue and Chow breed go hand in hand. And when it comes to our Chow look-alike canine friends, Akitas can also have black tongues. Some have spotted while others have bigger marks.

While genetics is not the only factor, your Akita’s skin producing melanin and the health of other organs can do a lot to color their tongue black. However, if you notice the usual blackness that wasn’t previously there, it’s wise to immediately consult the vet.

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