About the Author: Introducing Dr. Adriana Luis, our Senior Content Editor at MyPetDoggie and also Veterinarian (MVZ). Kerry devotes most of her time to penning enlightening pieces about pet health, providing invaluable knowledge to pet owners globally. As the director of our Veterinary Content Team, she ensures the accuracy and comprehensiveness of our content, thereby making pet care accessible and understandable for everyone.
Have you ever found yourself looking at your dog and noticing its different features? Well, then you must have noticed that your dog has black lips and others don’t. This raises the question of why dogs have black lips.
If you are asking the question as to why dogs have black lips then there’s a clear answer and that’s because that is how they are meant to be. Some dogs do have dark lips due to pigmentations, sun exposure, etc. But just like humans, it is not the same for everyone.
As a vet who has seen many cases of dog owners being concerned over the black lips of their dogs when they notice “non-black” lips of other dogs, I have to tell you that there’s nothing to worry about.
This whole conversation requires a deep breakdown so without further ado, let’s begin this discussion on why dogs have black lips.
Why Do Dogs Have Black Lips
We have to discuss that every dog has a different hue or shade of pigmentation on their lips just like humans! Some have more of a darker shade and some have a lighter one. Whatever the case may be, one thing to remember during all of this is that you are not alone!
Many dog parents express concern over them seeing dark lips on some dogs and lighter lips on others. They directly link it with health issues and put their dog under unnecessary medications, which is totally wrong!
How Black Lips Offer Sun Protection?
While you may be concerned about black lips on dogs, you need to know that they play an important role in offering sun protection. This is just like how pigmentation works on us humans too!
UV Rays or Ultraviolet Rays are harmful radiations that come from the sun and cause many skin-related issues like skin cancer and other infectious diseases. The ozone layer filters it to some extent but it can still cause damage to the skin. The skin has a natural defense against these rays and it releases pigments to act as a barrier and save your skin from the harmful effects of these rays.
That’s why, we can say that Black Lips offer sun protection as the pigmentation protects the skin from the harmful UV rays which cause skin cancer and other skin diseases. So that’s why, there is nothing to worry about or be concerned about if you notice that your dog has darker lips as compared to other ones.
When Black Lips Aren’t Normal on Dogs?
As we discussed above, black lips are normal on dogs due to sun exposure and skin releasing dark pigment to guard itself from skin damage. Although, In some cases, there’s a bit more to the story.
In some cases, When black lips aren’t normal on dogs, they can actually be caused by some health issues such as some sort of allergy, infections, or even skin disorders. That’s why, in these cases, contacting your vet is the best option to diagnose any health issues and address them as soon as possible. This can make sure that your dog is both happy and healthy.
Do All Dogs Have Black Lips?
No, not all dogs have black lips. In fact, you may have even noticed some dogs with a much lighter color in real life. Lip colors are not the same for every dog, it varies from dog to dog and also on the breed.
Some dogs have a lighter lip pigment and some have comparatively darker lips. It varies from breed to breed as not all dogs have black lips.
Let’s discuss this in detail what dog breed actually has black lips, shall we?
Dog Breeds with Black Lips
The following list of dog breeds is basically known for having black lips that add to their beauty and make them more approachable.
- Labrador Retriever.
Dog Breeds with Partially Pigmented Lips
Following is a list of dog breeds that are basically known for having partially pigmented lips. It adds to their beauty and appearance and makes them look more attractive and approachable.
- Australian Shepherd.
- Siberian Husky.
Dogs Breed with Pink or Light Lips
Following is a list of dog breeds that are known for having pink or light lips that match their personality, and elegance and also complement their appearance. It makes them look more adorable and adds a personality to their face.
- Golden Retriever.
- Bichon Frise.
Dogs Breeds with Varied Lip Colors
Following is a list of dogs who can have different shades of colors on their lips which makes them unique and incredibly diverse.
- American Eskimo Dog.
- Cocker Spaniel.
- Brittany Spaniel.
So this list gave you a clear look as there is nothing to worry about whether your dog has more of a darker lip color. Different dogs have different lip colors based on their breeds so there is nothing to be concerned about.
Do Dogs with Black Skin Get Skin Cancer?
I’ve seen multiple cases of dog owners expressing their concern over their dogs having dark skin or black lips. It is due to them overthinking it as an early stage of skin cancer or something. That’s why it is very important to talk in-depth about this whole situation.
While it is good to show concern, you also have to know that this situation is not as simple as it seems too. Pigmentation can provide some protection against sun rays but it is not 100% safe either. They can still develop skin diseases and even cancer even if they have pigmentation.
You also need to know that dogs of all skin colors and lip colors can develop skin cancers, not just dark skin ones. A major cause of all of this is excessive sun exposure. Being in the sun for too long can cause skin concerns. That’s why it’s important to use sunscreen and take good measures to save yourself from the harmful sun rays.
Another thing to remember is that detecting skin concerns at early stages can help a lot too. That’s why, observe your dog daily and if you notice anything concerning, contact your vet immediately.
What Dogs Have Black Gums?
Now that we discussed exactly why dogs have black lips and talked about how they differ from breed to breed, you also need to know that gum colors can also differ from dog to dog.
An important thing to know is that some people like you and me show concern for their dogs when they notice black gums. Black Gums or even pink gum with black spots is completely normal for dogs. That is why you should not be concerned at all.
Following is a list of common breeds that are basically known for having dark or black gums:
- Chow Chow
- Chinese Shar-Pei
So as mentioned above, black gums are quite normal for these kinds of breeds and if you notice other gum colors in other dogs, then it’s completely fine because it varies too.
If you still can’t seem to be 100% satisfied with whether these black gums indicate a health concern or not, you should contact and consult your vet as soon as possible.
What Does It Mean When a Dog’s Lips Are Discolored?
Okay so now that we have discussed why dogs have black lips and even whether it is okay for a dog to have black gums. Now it’s time for us to discuss what it means when a dog’s lip suddenly becomes discolored.
Following is a list of possible reasons/causes of your dog’s lips discoloration:
Changing lip colors suddenly or discoloration can sometimes mean a health concern. This can be anything from allergies to infections and even some skin disorders.
That’s why if you notice a sudden change in your dog’s lip color or some odd discoloration, you need to consult your vet immediately to make sure that your dog is happy and healthy.
Injury or Trauma
Sometimes sudden discoloration or change in pigments can be caused by an injury or trauma. If your dog has recently been through an accident or experienced any injury and you start to notice discoloration, it is important to consult your vet immediately.
The pigment in the dog’s lips can also be due to age. Dogs’ lips can naturally darken or lighten with age. However, one thing to note is that pigment change due to age is a very gradual process so if you notice any sudden pigmentation, that could be a sign of concern.
Inflammation or Irritation
Inflammation or irritation also causes changes in pigment just like in us humans where inflamed or irritated areas become a bit reddish.
Another thing that you need to know is that diet can also result in pigment change. That is why, make sure that your dog is eating healthy to keep a natural pigment.
Hormonal Changes mostly happen in female dogs and can also cause pigmentation changes. However, an important thing to note is that you can expect these pigment changes to be temporary and not permanent.
What Color Should the Inside of a Dog’s Mouth Be?
Now that we have covered why dogs have black lips and what causes it and more, now it is time to discuss what color should the inside of a dog’s mouth be.
The color of the inside of a dog’s mouth can reveal important health information about your dog. A healthy dog has pale to normal pink pigment on the inside of their mouth. A pink pigment on the inside of the dog’s mouth reveals that everything is good and you should not be worried as there is good blood circulation and healthy tissues.
If you’re still interested in what different pigments on the inside of your dog’s mouth reveal about their health, here’s a detailed look:
Bright Red Gums
Bright Red gums on the inside of your dog’s mouth indicate high blood pressure, inflammation, or even a heatstroke. A point to be noted is that if your dog’s gums are more reddish than normal then you should consult your vet immediately to get them checked out.
Blue or Purple Gums
Now that’s where your concern is valid. Blue or Purple Gums do require concern as they are not normal. They indicate an insufficient supply of oxygen to the tissues and can damage them heavily. In this case, you should contact your vet immediately to take action.
This is also a sign of concern. Yellow Gums signal a liver disease or jaundice. In this case, you should immediately consult your vet too!
Black Spots or Lesions
Black Spots usually indicate a dental or an oral health issue such as an oral tumor so a dental inspection is greatly recommended in this case.
Skin Tones on Dogs
Now that we have discussed why dogs have black lips and even gums. We even discussed some different gum pigments and what they mean. Now it’s time for us to discuss different skin tones that are found in dogs.
A dog’s skin tone can actually vary from dog to dog as well and often reflect different pigments of their other body parts like lips, gums, or coats.
Black or Dark Lips
Following is a list of dogs who are known for having black or dark-pigmented lips that add to their overall appearance and make them unique.
Labrador Retrievers are known for having an extremely friendly look and vibe. They usually have dark or black lips which overall adds to their appearance and complements their darker coat colors.
Boxer is also another breed of dog who has its own charm and character. They are also known for having dark or black lips which adds to their character and makes them unique.
Rottweilers are basically known for having a powerful build and commanding presence. Their deep black lips add to their character and their vibes of having a tough presence.
Partially Pigmented Lips
Following is a list of dogs who are known for having partially pigmented lips which adds to their unique and enchanting appearance:
Dalmatians are known for having partially pigmented or even spotted lips which makes their appearance a bit more unique and adds to their charm.
Siberian Huskies can have different pigments from black to even pink. This adds to their attractive, sharp, and enchanting faces and beauty.
Australian Shepherds can have different shades of pigments based on their genes and coat colors. This makes them incredibly unique and adds to their overall appearance.
Pink or Light Lips
Following is a list of dogs who are known for having pink or light lips which makes them more attractive and adds warmth to their character:
Golden Retrievers are known for having gentle nature. They usually have pink or lighter lip colors which adds to their personality and make them more friendly.
Light-colored poodles often have pink or light-colored lips which makes them more sophisticated and graceful.
Bichon Frise is known for being cheerful and endearing. They also have light lips which complements their fluffy white coats.
Varied Lip Colors
Following is a list of dogs who can have different pigmented lips which makes them a bit unique and adds a touch of unpredictability to their character:
American Eskimo Dog
American Eskimo Dogs can have a variation of different lip colors such as black, brown, and pink. This is based on their coat color and also their genes.
Cocker Spaniels can also have a variation of different lip colors based on their coat color which makes them a bit more fascinating.
Brittany Spaniel can also have different lip colors based on the coat color that adds to their character and makes them unique.
Why Dog’s Lips Change Color
Now that we have discussed many topics like why dogs have black lips, black gums, different pigments on the inside of the dog’s mouth, and many more, it’s time for us to discuss why dog lips change color.
Many reasons/causes of dog’s lips changing color are:
Genetics of a dog play a very important role in determining the pigment of both the dog’s lips and skin. Genes basically control the production of melanin which is the pigment responsible for the color of skin, lips, and also the coat.
Dogs experience age-related effects just like humans. Dogs’ lips can become discolored or change pigments with age. Some dogs develop more of a darker lip tone as they become more mature and vice versa.
Our skin naturally produces pigment to protect itself from the harmful radiation of the sun. The same goes for dogs, skin produces pigments to defend itself against harmful UV rays which cause skin cancer and other skin-related issues.
Different health issues like allergies, infections, and other concerns can cause inflammation and hence change the pigment of the skin. In these cases, you should immediately consult your vet to address health concerns as soon as possible.
Inflammation and Irritation can change the pigment of the skin/lips in humans. The same goes for dogs.
Hormonal changes which mostly happen in female dogs can also affect the overall pigmentation of the lips. However, one thing to be noted is that this pigmentation is usually temporary.
A dog’s diet can also affect the pigmentation and condition of the dog’s skin and lips. That’s why it is important for you to make sure that your dog is getting a proper healthy diet to be both healthy and happy.
Fur pigmentation can also affect the lip color as the skin adapts to the color of the surrounding fur.
And That was it! In this article, we talked about why dogs have black lips and even gums. We went in-depth and figured out what actually causes it and whether it has any real-world benefits or not.
We talked about different breeds having different sorts of pigments to make it easier for you to figure out whether you should be concerned or not. Different causes of dog’s lips changing colors were also discussed in this article.
I hope you liked this article about why dogs have black lips and found it informative. Be sure to check out some of my other content as well. Thanks for staying with me!