Weird Question of the Day: Do Male Dogs Have Nipples?

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Believe it or not but “Do male dogs have nipples?” is actually a very commonly asked question. You can rest at ease that you are not weird for wondering this. A lot of people actually think that because males are not designed to breastfeed their offspring that they do not have nipples. Surprisingly, this is true and the exceptions here are mice, rats, horses and platypuses.

However, the answer to this question is that yes, male dogs do indeed have nipples just like most other warm-blooded males including cats, pigs, primates and, of course, human beings.  

Why Do Male Dogs Have Nipples?

All dogs, male and female, have nipples when they are embryonic puppies in their mommy’s tummy. Differentiation between the genders only takes place about a month after conception when the developing pup’s sex hormones are added to the mix for the future of reproduction of the species. It is at this point where the reproductive organs begin to form and the pup is no longer an “it”.

This is exactly the same thing that happens to other mammals and is also why human men have a pair of nipples. Upon birth, the nipples of both male and female dogs are exactly the same.

In time as the female dog grows and hormones increase, particularly during pregnancy or even a false pregnancy, the bitch’s nipples become enlarged with the purpose of producing milk for her own litter. The mammary glands manufacture milk which is then secreted via several ducts around the tip of the teat for feeding offspring.

What many people do not know is that mammary glands are actually modified sweat glands. The pups are then able to suckle the needed nourishment from their mother’s teat like a feeding bottle that we would give to our babies. For mammalian males, the nipples do not develop any further and remain as is in what is called a rudimentary state.

For this very reason, they can be hard to spot on male dogs and are often hidden by hair. It actually occurs that some pooch parents easily mistake a nipple for a tick on their male best friend! The best way to tell the difference between a tick or a nipple, and even a scab or mole, is to look at the bump’s position.

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Nipples in male dogs are often hidden by hair (Via stories.barkpost)

Partially buried bumps are the bloodsuckers. What still puzzles biologists to this day is to why the nipples on male mammals, other than the exceptions, have not been completely eradicated during the evolutionary process and natural selection as they actually do not serve a purpose like those of the female.

Where Are Nipples of Male Dogs Situated?

As explained, all dogs have the same genetic biological blueprint so the nipples of the male canine are in the same place as those of the fairer sex. They start on the chest and run down the torso of the dog to the groin in pairs.

How Many Nipples Do Male Dogs Have?

This actually depends on the breed of the dog. Although they can be variations in this regards, smaller breeds of dogs have 8 nipples while larger breeds of dogs have 10 on average. Some pooches may even have 12 nipples! It is also not that uncommon for some canines to have extra nipples or missing nipples.

Is There a Name For Dog’s Nipples?

As a matter of fact, there is. Nipples on dogs are named by the location on the body. A dog with 5 pairs of nipples running from the top to the bottom has:

  • 2 x Cranial thoracic nipples
  • 2 x Caudal thoracic nipples
  • 2 x Cranial abdominal nipples
  • 2 x Caudal abdominal nipples
  • 2 x Inguinal nipples

Do The Nipples of Male Dogs Actually Matter?

While many people believe that because the nipples of the male dog serve no purpose like those of the female that they don’t matter, they should never be ignored. The reason for this is that they can indicate whether your male dog has certain health conditions that need to be addressed.

What Should I Be On the Lookout for?

Color Changes in The Nipples

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Generally, the nipples of dogs are either black or pink in color (Via herepup)

The nipples of dogs are generally either black or pink in color. It is 100% normal for the nipples of male canines to change in color as they get older. They generally tend to get darker. This is no reason to be alarmed.

Color changes in those of a female dog is another matter however and definitely something that you should be concerned about. This could be caused by mastitis which is an infection of the mammary glands. The following symptoms should be noted and will warrant a visit to your vet.

Secretion from the Nipples

Discharge from the nipples is usually found to be prevalent in female dogs that have not been fixed but it can happen to spayed females and even male dogs as well. One of the reasons why your dog son’s nipples could be producing secretions is an abscess.

These are usually caused by a foreign object such as a splinter or thorn that punctured the nipple causing bacteria to grow inside once the wound has healed. Other signs of abscesses are swelling and warmth emitting from the infected area. In extremely rare cases, discharge could be cancer of the mammary glands or better known as breast cancer  but this is more prevalent in the fairer sex.

Enlarged Nipples

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If your male furry companion’s nipples become bigger, it could be a sign of testicular cancer (Via germanshepherds)

If your male furry companion’s nipples become bigger, this could be a sign that your pet has testicular cancer. This disease can affect male dogs that have been neutered as well as those that have not. Dogs that have not been neutered are, however, are at a higher risk of this type of cancer than their fixed counterparts.

Should your dog have enlarged nipples look out for other symptoms caused by cancer of the testicles. These include anemia, abdominal swelling, and symmetrical hair loss.

Treatments for testicular cancer are chemotherapy for neutered pooches while intact dogs need be neutered. These are very effective cures because this kind of cancer does not spread as other cancers do.

Conclusion

Yes, male dogs have nipples. We have explained the how’s and why’s as well as why these otherwise useless body appendages on the male canine should not be totally disregarded. Has your curiosity been satiated? If not, please feel free to post any questions below relating to this matter and we will gladly help you find the answers.

References:
http://stories.barkpost.com/discover/aba-why- male-dogs- have-nipples/  
http://www.whydodogs.com/why-do- male-dogs- have-nipples/
https://herepup.com/do-male- dogs-have- nipples/
https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Causes-of- Dog-Nipple- Discharge

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