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Why Does My Dog Have Dark Spots on Fur? (Explained)

Have you suddenly started to notice dark spots on your furry friend’s fur like at the back of your dog, ears, abdomen, belly, or other places?

As an owner, such a sudden change in your dog’s fur can be quite a concerning matter for you, thereby, wanting to know the reasons behind the dark spots on your pooch’s fur naturally must be your number one query. 

So to have a detailed insight into the reasons, keep reading the explanations explained ahead. 

Dark Spots On Dog Fur 

Dark spots on a dog’s fur are an indication of hyperpigmentation. It’s a skin condition that occurs due to producing an increased amount of normal skin pigmentation, known as melanin. Aging, breed, sun exposure, or traumatized skin conditions are mainly responsible for dark spots on a dog’s fur. 

Sometimes you may notice your dog is losing hair or having itchy skin when these dark spots are occurring on its fur/skin. Also, sometimes your canine can have these black spots on its belly skin. 

Thus, below why all 3 of the skin condition occur with dark spots on dog fur/skin have been explained to let you learn the answers. 

Dark Spots On Dogs’ Skin With Hair Loss:

Alopecia X, also known as the black skin disease is the main reason that causes dark spots on a dog’s skin accompanied by hair loss. Hormonal imbalance is the most potent cause of alopecia X in dogs.

Other than that allergies, ectoparasites, skin infection, canine obesity, and genetic predisposition are the other common possible reasons that cause alopecia X in dogs. 

If a dog gets affected by alopecia X, the symptom generally will start with gradual hair loss, and later those areas will be replaced with dark spots instead of hair. Chow Chow, Siberian Huskies, and Pomeranians are most likely to get affected by this disease. 

Dark Spots On Dogs’ Skin With Itchiness:

Dark skin condition accompanied by severe itchiness is primarily a result of allergic reactions in dogs. If a dog’s skin is infested with fleas/parasites, bacterial/fungal infections, or environmental/ food allergies, the pooch will have very itchy skin.

And it incessantly will scratch, rub, or lick its skin which will lead the skin to get traumatized. To protect the vulnerable skin, the skin cells activate repair mode and produce an increased amount of melanin which gradually will form dark spots on a dog’s skin. 

Any breed of dog can have this skin condition but German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Basset Hounds are more likely to have it.

Dark Spots On Dogs’ Belly Skin:

Dark spots on a dog’s belly skin are caused by similar reasons that cause a dog dark patches along with itchy skin. And again the reason is skin allergies due to bacterial infection or skin inflammation due to parasite infestation/traumatized skin.

So, when a dog’s belly area is affected by either of them, the release of a high amount of melanin to repair the damaged skin gets accumulated in the skin and causes black spots there. 

However, some breeds of dogs can have black spots on their belly as an outcome of aging, which is harmless.


Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition found in dogs where the skin cell makes a higher amount of skin pigmentation known as melanin than the normal amount a dog should have, and when the melanin gets accumulated underneath the skin, it becomes visible as dark spots in a dog’s skin/fur.

And it has two types, primary hyperpigmentation and secondary hyperpigmentation Below both the hyperpigmentation types are described below for your better knowledge. 

Primary Hyperpigmentation:

Primary hyperpigmentation in dogs has been stated as a breed-specific skin condition that typically occurs in the Dachshund breed of dogs.

This type of hyperpigmentation also has been considered a sporadic type of hyperpigmentation and has no permanent cure. 

However, if primary hyperpigmentation occurs in a dog, treatments and medications are available to manage it. And sometimes when primary hyperpigmentation affects a dog’s outer layer of skin only, it might not require any treatment at all.

If a dog, especially a Dachshund is going through this primary hyperpigmentation, the signs will start appearing by the time the dog is one year old. 

Secondary Hyperpigmentation:

Secondary hyperpigmentation is a more common type of hyperpigmentation found in dogs regardless of their breeds and a good number of underlying skin issues are at fault for causing this hyperpigmentation in canines. 

Skin inflammation or friction is to be held as one of the main culprits causing secondary hyperpigmentation in dogs.

Also, allergies, a bacterial infection such as yeast infection, or a parasite infestation are deemed as the other main reasons that further cause itchiness or redness, and bring changes in the skin such as crusty skin, scaling, or hair loss along with forming dark patches on the dog’s skin. 

When a dog is undergoing secondary hyperpigmentation, it’ll scratch, rub, bite, and lick its skin, and these activities lead to skin trauma. To repair the skin from trauma, the skin cells involves in producing and releasing more melanin than normal.

As the higher amount of melanin gathers in layers of skin, it begins to appear as dark spots on a dog’s skin. Secondary hyperpigmentation can be treated. 

What Causes Hyperpigmentation In Dogs?

As already discussed above that there are two kinds of hyperpigmentation known as primary hyperpigmentation and secondary hyperpigmentation, the reasons to cause each type of hyperpigmentation are different.

Here causes of each type of hyperpigmentation have been ahead for your information. 

Primary Hyperpigmentation:

A dog’s breed is the primary reason that causes primary hyperpigmentation as a few specific breeds of dogs undergo this hyperpigmentation, particularly the Dachshunds. 

Secondary Hyperpigmentation:

Skin infection, contact with parasites, environmental or food allergies, skin inflammation, obesity, and hormonal abnormalities are the possible main causes that cause secondary hyperpigmentation.

Signs And Symptoms Of Hyperpigmentation In Dogs

Hyperpigmentation doesn’t affect a dog without showing any signs and symptoms, if you know these symptoms, it would be easier for you to seek medical treatment earlier. Thus, here the signs and symptoms of hyperpigmentation have been listed for your understanding. 

Discolored Skin:

An occurrence of sudden discoloration in a dog’s skin is the first sign of hyperpigmentation. If your dog has gotten hyperpigmentation, hyperpigmentation-affected areas will lose their natural skin color and turn from light brownish color to black color.

Areas where your dog has less hair such as the groin, inside the ears, legs, armpits, belly, or around the eyes.

Hair Loss:

Hair loss is another apparent symptom that occurs by pairing up with discolored skin. It’s known as alopecia X but people mostly call it black skin disease in dogs.

First, you will notice your dog to lose hair from different areas of its body like from the back, tail, head, and other areas, then instead of filling those spots with hair, black patches will appear there. 

Changed Skin: 

Impacted by hyperpigmentation, parts of your dog’s skin may change too, especially if your pooch has secondary hyperpigmentation. Those areas on his skin might become crusty, scaly, or thick accompanied by black patches. 

Itchiness/Redness/Skin Infection/Odor:

You may notice your dog to scratch, rub, bite, or lick its skin due to itchiness, skin infection, and redness, know that all of these can be prior symptoms of hyperpigmentation as a continuous scratching, rubbing, redness, and skin infection can cause skin trauma.

And to heal such skin, abundant produce of melanin gathers underneath the skin and appears as dark patches. Sometimes the pup can smell too if it has gotten a severe skin infection and the skin is badly traumatized.

What To Do If My Dog Has Hyperpigmentation?

Regardless of the hyperpigmentation type, there really isn’t much you can do in times when your pooch is going through hyperpigmentation except for seeking medical help from vets.

However, if your pooch has gotten primary hyperpigmentation, it’s incurable, especially if your dog is a Dachshund.

And in case, there’s a presence of any skin inflammation, to control it you must seek a vet’s suggestion and use vet-recommended shampoos and steroid treatment. Also, know that if the hyperpigmentation condition seems cosmetic, your dog doesn’t need any treatment.

In the case of secondary hyperpigmentation, there are treatments available, and treating your dog as early as possible is the only way of lessening its pain and discomfort if there are any.

As soon as you will notice black patches, hair loss, skin infection, or skin inflammation, take a vet’s advice and keep your dog under medication given by its mouth or injection, antifungal treatment, and bathe him regularly with medicated shampoo to treat your dog.

Final Thoughts

Hyperpigmentation causes dark spots in a dog’s fur. Dogs can get this skin condition due to their breed type, age, hormonal imbalance, obesity, allergies, skin infection, or inflamed skin. At this time their skin goes through a requirement process and makes more melanin which causes dark spots.