Why Do Male Dogs Have Nipples?

Have you ever wondered about male dog nipples? (Don’t worry, so have many others..)

In this article we take a look at the nipples of mans’ best man-friend.

Do Male Dogs Have Nipples?

Yes, they do. However, they do not perform a function as they are in a rudimentary state and have not fully developed like a female dogs’ nipples. This is much the same as human males.

Dog nipples extend in two rows from the chest into the groin area for both male and females.

Why Do Male Dogs Have Nipples?

It is thought that the nipples begin to develop early during the pregnancy, before gender is decided. Once the relevant reproductive organs begin to develop, the nipples are already present regardless of gender. Obviously, if the embryo is female, some additional work is done to update the nipples to work as milk distributors. However, much of that work is done during puberty when the female becomes sexually mature. In males, they are just left as they are.

Natural selection has never eliminated nipples in males as, although they provide no advantage, there is generally no disadvantage to having them either.

As a result, male nipples are pretty much just for show.

How Many Nipples Do Dogs Have?

The number of nipples varies and depends on the size of the dog. Normally this is around 8 to 10. A female and male dog of the same breed/size would normally have the same number of nipples – there is no difference between genders.

So, Male Nipples Are Useless?

Not entirely. If you see any change of color, size, or swelling, it could be an indication of a problem such as testicular cancer. If you notice any change in your dog’s nipples, you should take your pet to a qualified veterinarian as soon as possible. More often than not, it is nothing to worry about, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Nipple or Tick?

Nipple or tick

Sometimes dog owners mistake nipples for ticks. Ticks are are small animals from the arachnid family (like the spider) that burrow under the skin and feed on their host’s blood. Naturally, anxious dog owners want these removed straight away.

Generally ticks can be identified by the presence of legs. So if there are no legs, then it’s probably a nipple or a scab.


Ticks can come in a variety of sizes. Larger ones look like nipples with legs whereas smaller ones can be particularly difficult to spot. Ticks can generally be avoided by regularly de-ticking your dog, using the appropriate medicines and even using flea collars.

In Conclusion

Male dogs have nipples due to the timing of their creation during pregnancy. However, these nipples do not perform a function, but may give you an indication that something could be wrong with your dog’s health.

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