Blue – Tongue Dog Breeds

The Chow Chow dog
The Chow Chow dog

The Chow Chow dog.

Ancient Chinese dog breeds, the Chow and Shar-pei have blue tongues, in fact, it is a part of the breed standard for these dogs to have a preferably solid blue tongue. 

The shade changes with age, from dark blue-black to a lavender and light blue, yet puppies are born with pink tongues.

The Chow with its thick fur originated in northern China and the Shar-pei (wrinkled face) has short course hair and is from southern China, the original Chinese Sha-pei dog had many less wrinkles than seen today in western countries. 

According to their DNA both breeds have shared ancestors and they are similar in character and temperament.

They are not the only animals that have blue-black tongues, so do polar bears, giraffes, impalas, some breeds of cattle and skinks. 

Some Rottweiler dogs have blue tongues and more rarely the German Shepherd, dark tongue spots periodically turn-up in quite a few purebred dog breeds. 

The colour is attributed to a high amount of melanin pigment in the oral mucosa. Melanin is also responsible hair, eye and skin colour.

This unique trait adds to these breed’s allure. 

In ancient China the blue tongue was associated with good luck and considered a mark of distinction. 

However, it is just a gene mutation that gives this unusual physical characteristic, similar to the mutation in Rhodesian ridgeback dogs which allows the fur on their back to grow in an opposite direction to the rest.

The chow is a strong sturdy dog of medium to large size, they have the brachycephalic (flat, short face) which is the standard for boxers, pugs, bulldogs and Pekingese, but it is not anatomically normal. 

Chows are not normally social and out-going, they can be aloof with strangers, protective of their family and may be aggressive with other dogs. Early socialisation and training are advisable, as these types of dogs need to have their position clearly established in the family.

Originally, Chows were used as all-round dogs, for sled pulling, hunting, and livestock guardians.

They are fairly intelligent, but have an independent and stubborn streak, yet they are protective and loyal to their family. They are high maintenance in relation to grooming, having a thick double coat of fur. Their  life span is from 11-15 years. 
The breed became popular in the western world, which is fortunate because many dog breeds in China were almost eliminated during the Cultural Revolution in China from 1966 to 1976.