Why does chow-chow have purple tongue?
The reason chow-chow has the blue tongue is in its genetics. Both their mucous membranes and their tongue have cells that other races do not usually have or have in small concentrations. When we think of breeds of dogs from the east, we come to mind Japanese and Chinese breeds, such as shiba inu, akita inu and chow-chow. Thus, it can be said that chow-chow is the most popular Chinese dog among the others. However, few know the details of this precious dog, such as his reserved character. When we speak of this quiet animal, the particular color of the tongue is almost always mentioned, but how many know what it represents? In this Animal Expert article, let’s talk about the blue tongue of chow-chow, the scientific explanation and the myths that surround it.
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Why chow chow has the blue tongue: scientific explanation
The Chow-Chow’s tongue is blue, purple or purple, due to the presence of pigment cells , ie cells containing elements called pigments, and provide such an exotic color. Genetically, these dogs have a higher concentration of these cells, therefore, they present a different coloration of the rest of the breeds. In addition to being localized in the tongue, these cells are found mainly in the mucous membranes. Therefore, this Chinese race is the only one that boasts the lips, the gums and the palate, characterized by the dark blue tone, almost entirely.
There is a curious fact about this peculiarity, since it does not appear only in certain dogs, like chow-chow. Pigmentation is also present in the mucosa of other animals such as giraffes, the Jersey breed of cattle and some families of bears, such as the polar bear. Some studies conclude that chow-chow comes from Hemicyon, a species of mammal that is between the dog and families of extinct bears and lived in the Miocene era. However, no definitive scientific evidence has yet been found to support this suspicion, so it is only a hypothesis. However, chow-chow has 44 teeth, just like bears, a possible coincidence that would confirm these suspicions, as a regular dog has an arcade of 42 teeth only.
Another curious fact that we have already mentioned is that chow-chow is not the only dog with lips and palate characterized by the dark blue color. In fact, there are many breeds of dogs and other crossbred mammals that have spots of this color, but their mucous membranes are not completely dark. It is important to note that chow-chow is not necessarily born with a completely purple tongue, but, from 2 to 3 months of age, we started to show the coloration. So if your furry friend does not yet have the blue tongue, it may be the result of a “pure” cross, and between his parents (or even another ancestor) there is a dog of another breed, or simply in his lineage gene, this gene remained as a recessive gene and not as a dominant gene. If you want to show your pet in a competition, you should note that FCI does not accept copies without the blue / purple or dark blue language.
Another dog breed that is characterized by the blue tongue is the shar pei. Therefore, it is important to clarify that another dog may have spotted or pigmented spots of blue, purple or dark blue on the tongue. This does not mean that it comes from a chow-chow or other Chinese dog, as more than 30 breeds of dogs have spots on their tongue.
Blue tongue in the dog chow chow: legend
Did you know that there are some legends that explain why the chow-chow dog has blue tongue? Being a dog originally dedicated to guard and protect the Buddhist temples, the legend tells that on a very cold day a monk became seriously ill and unable to go out to get the firewood to light the fire. Then, the dog that was in the same temple went to the forest to collect wood and only found charred pieces. He took them to the monk. When he touched the charred wood with his mouth, his tongue turned blue from contact with charcoal .
The second legend says that the language of chow chow is blue (or purple) because one day a dog of this breed followed Buddha when he painted the blue sky. As the brush paint left traces, the dog licked all the droplets. From that day on the breed is recognized as the blue tongue dog.
Personality and characteristics of dog chow chow
Of course, when thinking about chow-chow, the first characteristic we imagine is its blue or purple tongue. However, it should not be a dog recognized solely by this physical attribute, since, in general, it is a very special animal.
With the appearance of a miniature lion, chow-chow is a calm and peaceful animal that has the aptitude to be an excellent guard dog . Originally, this race used to protect Asian temples in countries like China and Tibet. Therefore, it can be said that your guardian instinct is in the DNA. In addition, he has already been designated as a hunting dog and herding, facts that explain his character and temperament.
A curious fact is that in certain western cultures it is called Fu Lions, also known as Chinese Lions or Buddha Lions, Fu Dogs or Foo Dogs , due to a confusion that relates guardian lions to these dogs of Chinese origin, by reason of their physical appearance and their origin as guard dogs.
Its voluminous robe and adorable expression made this dog one of the most popular in the world. However, it must be emphasized that to keep it in perfect condition it is essential to take proper care. Therefore, we recommend going to the canine hairdresser once a month or every month and a half.