The inside of most dogs' mouths are pink: pink roof, pink lips, pink tongue. Even dogs that are all black, such as a Labrador retriever and the Newfoundland, will have pink pigment inside their mouths. Some breeds, however, are notable exceptions. Some breeds might have black pigmentation on the tongues. Others might have the pigment on the roof of their mouths. On rare occasions, black pigmentation on the inside of a dog's mouth can be the sign of illness, especially if the pigmented areas are raised or if they recently appeared.
Dogs With Black Tongues
- Chinese Shar-Pei: The Chinese Shar-Pei is best known for his wrinkled skin. However, like another Chinese dog breed, the chow chow, most colors of Chinese Shar-Pei are expected to have a solid-colored blue-black tongue, as well as black lips, gums and roof of the mouth. Dogs with dilute colors, which cannot have black pigment, are permitted to have lavender-blue pigment in these areas.
- Chow chow: The inside of the chow chows mouth should be solid black, including the gums, roof of the mouth and lips. A solid black mouth is described as being "ideal." The top surface of a chow chow's tongue should be "a solid blue-black, the darker the better."
Dogs wit Black Mouth Interiors
- Black mouth cur: The black mouth cur is a medium-sized hunting dog, not recognized by the American Kennel Club. Most colors displayed by this breed of dog have a black mask of contrasting black or dark-colored fur on their muzzles. According to the breed standard, "lip pigment and the inside of the mouth, excluding the tongue, are darkly pigmented."
- Saint Bernard: Dogs with black masks are likely to have black or dark pigmentation in their lips as well, although not all Saint Bernards are required to have this coloration. The breed standard states that a black roof to the mouth is "desirable."
Illness and Black Pigmentation
Normal areas of black pigmentation in a dog's mouth are typically smooth and are found at the same level as the unpigmented areas of her mouth. Oral tumors called melanomas are often black and appear as a raised mass, rising above the affected area of her mouth. Melanomas are malignant masses; that is, they are cancerous and can be fatal. Bring your dog to a veterinarian immediately for a diagnosis, if you suspect she has a melanoma.