Do Male Dogs Really Have Nipples? Mystery Explained

by Stuart | Last Updated:   September 22, 2020

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A question we usually ask about our dogs when we’re still a child. Our dog comes home for the first time and we get straight to playing with them in the backyard.

After the first time playing with my male dog, I was surprised to find that there were bumps on his chest. Intrigued, I decided to start researching what these could be.

So, do male dogs have nipples? Both male and female dogs have nipples. The nipples on a male dog won’t be functioning, and develop when they are in the womb. Typically, a male dog will have between eight to ten nipples, depending on the species.

It’s common for pet parents to be surprised when they find that their male dogs have nipples. Let’s take a closer look at this area to discover what the purpose of the nipple is.

Male dog with protruding nipples coming from stomach

Why Do Male Dogs Have Nipples?

Functionally, there is no reason why male dogs have a nipple. They won’t be able to use them when nursing puppies. So, why are they there?

The nipple develops in the womb. When they begin development, female and male dogs appear identical. However, as they develop further, the nipple loses its function.

When male and female dogs begin development in the womb, they are identical. They are both born with a set of nipples.

This is the same as many other mammals, including humans. However, as the dogs continue to develop, the male nipples cease to function.

Over time, the nipple hasn’t disappeared with evolution because they don’t impact on the way the dog acts. A male dog with nipples can hunt and mate just as effectively as a dog without nipples.

So, there was no benefit to the species in breeding them out. Because of this, male dogs today are still being born with nipples.

How Many Nipples Do Male Dogs Have?

The number of nipples that a male dog has can vary. Often, this will depend on their species. Generally, there will be between eight and ten nipples along their chest.

They can appear to be flesh-coloured or darker. Regular nipple inspections can be a great way to spot potential diseases, like mammary cancer.

The type of nipples that a male dog has will often depend on its species. While eight to ten is the average, some dogs will have more and some will have less.

The number of nipples on the dog will often depend on their size, with smaller dogs have less than larger breeds.  These will be arranged in two parallel lines along the dog’s chest.

At first glance, male dog nipples will appear similar to female dog nipples. They can be either flesh-colored or have darker pigmentation. In general, though, they tend to be very small. In most cases, a male dog nipple will be little more than a bump.

What Should You Look For When Inspecting Male Dog Nipples

Inspecting male dog nipples regularly might be a good way to make sure that your dog is healthy.

It’s important to make sure that they are all the same size and there is no discharge. You might also want to make sure that they aren’t leaking pus.

When you inspect your dog’s nipples, you might notice some unusual signs. For example, you might notice that some nipples are larger than others.

There might be swelling around the nipple, making it appear enlarged. In other cases, you might notice that blood or milk is being dispelled from the male nipple.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should make sure to take your dog to the vet. This can be a warning sign of some serious illnesses. In this case, they might have developed mammary cancer.

How to Find Mammary Tumors Earlier in Dogs

By inspecting your male dogs’ nipples regularly, you’ll be able to make sure that you are spotting this early, giving you the best chance of overcoming the disease. In most cases, though, skin tumors will be benign. 

You might also want to look out for mastitis. This is a bacterial infection, often found in dogs that have been living in poor conditions.

There are a few signs that this could be the case. First, you might notice that the nipple is leaking pus. This condition can also cause behavioural changes, making the dog more lethargic.

Difference Between The Nipple And a Tick

There are a few ways that you can tell a nipple apart from a tick. First, tics have legs and head. Because of this, they won’t be seamlessly attached, like a nipple. It can also help to look at the other nipples, so you can compare it.

If you find a tick on your dog, it’s important to make sure that you remove it. If you don’t pull paralysis ticks out, they might weaken your dog.

Eventually, this can lead to immobility and death.

This can be a terrible fate for many dog lovers, as they watch their dogs get weaker and weaker. Because of this, early tick detection is crucial.

There are a few ways that you might be able to make sure that your dog is protected. First, you’ll need to make sure that you are giving them tick tablets.

These can often be found in a supermarket or from your vet. You’ll also need to thoroughly inspect them regularly, especially if they’ve been walking through dense bushland, where ticks are prevalent.

When inspecting for ticks, you might notice that they have bumps on their chest. Before you start pulling at these areas, check that it’s a tick. If you pull at a male dog’s nipple, you might hurt them.

This can cause bleeding, and the potential for the wound to become infected. If you notice this, you’ll need to get in contact with your local vet. They’ll be able to help patch up the damage.

There are a few signs that a bump might be a tick, rather than a nipple. First, ticks burrow into the skin.

Because of this, you might be able to notice legs sticking out of the flesh. Nipples are seamlessly attached to the flesh. You might also want to look at the other nipples.

How To Check Your Dog For Ticks- Tick Hiding Spots

They tend to be uniform in size and shape. If you find a tick, pull it out with a pair of tweezers, making sure that you remove the head.

You might also look for behavioural changes that can indicate a tick bite. If bitten by a paralysis tick, you might notice that the dog has started to slow their breathing and is having difficulty swallowing.

If the tick gave them Lyme disease, they might become more aggressive, growling at you. If you spot these sudden behavioural changes, make sure to take them to the vet.

If you aren’t sure whether it’s a nipple or a tick, contact your vet. They’ll be able to help you spot the difference. If it is a tick, they’ll pull it out for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do male dog nipples change color?

Both male and female dog nipples will change colour. This is a sign of ageing and isn’t a sign of a medical issue.

Do dog nipples change size?

Female dog nipples might change. For example, they might shrink after being splayed. However, male dog nipples tend to be fairly consistent.

If they suddenly start to grow in size, it could be a sign of disease. If you notice this, you should take them to a vet.

Continue Reading:

  1. Male Dog’s Nipple Swollen?
  2. What Size Pet Carrier For My Dog?
  3. Are Dryer Sheets Toxic for Dogs?
  4. White English Bulldog Breed Guide
  5. French Pitbull Breed Guide

Final Thoughts

For many people, a male dog nipple can be a very unusual sight. However, it’s perfectly natural. Like many mammals, these developed in the womb. As the dog developed the nipples lost their function.

You should still check them regularly, as they might indicate disease.

Stuart loves blogging about his hobbies and passions. Sir Doggie is a place for him to share what he learns while being a pet parent. Click here to read more.