Why Are Chow Chow Tongues Blue: Unveiling the Mystery

by Lisa

Chow Chows, with their lion-like manes and distinctive appearance, are renowned for their captivating, bluish-black tongues. If you’ve ever wondered why these charming dogs have such uniquely colored tongues, you’re not alone. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating science and history behind the blue tongues of Chow Chows.

1. The Distinctive Blue-Black Tongue: A Unique Feature

Chow Chows are one of the few dog breeds in the world known for their blue-black tongues. This feature sets them apart from other breeds and adds to their mystique. While their tongues are predominantly blue-black, it’s essential to note that their lips, gums, and the roof of their mouths can also exhibit this intriguing coloration.


2. The Genetic Explanation

The distinctive blue-black tongue of the Chow Chow is primarily a result of genetics. This unique trait is inherited, and it’s controlled by specific genes. Scientists have identified a gene called the “Tyrosinase” gene, which plays a crucial role in the production of pigments in a dog’s tongue.


3. Melanin and Pigmentation

The Tyrosinase gene regulates the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for the coloration of skin, hair, and in the case of the Chow Chow, their tongue. In Chow Chows, the melanin production in their tongues is unusually high, resulting in the striking blue-black color.


4. Historical Significance

The blue-black tongue of the Chow Chow holds cultural and historical significance. These dogs have a long history, dating back thousands of years to ancient China. Their distinctive tongue color was considered a symbol of good fortune and mystical protection against evil spirits.


5. Not All Chow Chows Have Blue Tongues

While the majority of Chow Chows have blue-black tongues, it’s important to note that not all of them exhibit this trait. Some Chow Chows may have tongues with varying degrees of pigmentation, including shades of lavender or spotted patches of pink. The degree of tongue coloration can vary among individual dogs within the breed.

6. Other Breeds with Unique Tongue Colors

While the blue-black tongue is most commonly associated with Chow Chows, there are a few other breeds that can also have unique tongue colors. For example, the Shar Pei is another breed known for its bluish-black tongue, and some Australian Cattle Dogs may have speckled or mottled tongues.


In conclusion, the distinctive blue-black tongue of the Chow Chow is a fascinating genetic characteristic that sets this breed apart from others. It is a testament to the rich history and cultural significance of these dogs, dating back centuries to ancient China. While not all Chow Chows have completely blue-black tongues, the majority exhibit this striking trait, adding to their allure and charm.

FAQs about why Chow Chow tongues are blue:

Q1: Do all Chow Chows have blue-black tongues?

A1: No, not all Chow Chows have completely blue-black tongues. While the majority of Chow Chows exhibit this trait, some may have tongues with varying degrees of pigmentation, including shades of lavender or spotted patches of pink.

Q2: Why do some other dog breeds, like Shar Peis, also have blue-black tongues?

A2: Similar to Chow Chows, the blue-black tongue in Shar Peis is also due to a genetic factor. It’s the result of elevated melanin production in the tongue, which is controlled by specific genes. Some other breeds, such as Australian Cattle Dogs, may have unique tongue colors as well.

Q3: Are there any health concerns associated with a blue-black tongue in Chow Chows?

A3: No, the blue-black tongue in Chow Chows is a genetic trait and not indicative of any health issues. It’s a normal and harmless characteristic of the breed.

Q4: Is there a link between the blue tongue and the temperament of Chow Chows?

A4: No, there is no established link between the color of a Chow Chow’s tongue and its temperament. A Chow Chow’s temperament is influenced by various factors, including genetics, socialization, and training, but not the color of its tongue.

Q5: Are there any cultural or historical beliefs associated with Chow Chows and their blue tongues?

A5: Yes, the blue tongue of the Chow Chow holds historical and cultural significance. In ancient China, where the breed originated, the blue-black tongue was considered a symbol of good fortune and was believed to have protective qualities against evil spirits.

Q6: Can a Chow Chow’s tongue color change over time?

A6: While a Chow Chow’s tongue color is typically established early in life and remains relatively consistent, there have been some cases where the tongue color may change slightly with age. However, significant changes in tongue color are rare.

Q7: Is tongue color used as a criteria for judging Chow Chows in dog shows?

A7: Yes, in dog shows and breed standards, the blue-black tongue is a desirable trait for Chow Chows. It is considered one of the breed’s defining characteristics, and judges take it into account when evaluating the breed’s conformance to the standard.

Q8: Can other parts of a Chow Chow’s mouth, such as the gums and roof of the mouth, also be blue-black?

A8: Yes, in addition to the tongue, the gums and the roof of the mouth (palate) of a Chow Chow can also exhibit the blue-black coloration. This is part of the breed’s unique pigmentation.

Q9: Are there any genetic tests available to determine the likelihood of a Chow Chow having a blue-black tongue?

A9: While there are genetic tests available for various traits and health conditions in dogs, there isn’t a specific test to predict the color of a Chow Chow’s tongue. Tongue color is typically determined by examining the dog directly.

Q10: Can a Chow Chow with a blue-black tongue have puppies with different tongue colors?

A10: Yes, it is possible for a Chow Chow with a blue-black tongue to have puppies with varying tongue colors. The genetics behind tongue color can be complex, and the coloration of the puppies’ tongues may vary even within the same litter.


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