Do Male Dogs Have Nipples? (Finally, the Truth Revealed)

Yeap, every human male has nipples, two to be specific, but can these be said of the males in the animal kingdom? Do male dogs have nipples?

Just the other day, I helped a friend take his lovely pooch to a vet. Like every gentle pet owner, he was giving him a belly rub then he ran into these little disturbing bumps spread out near his genitals. They seemed like ticks and so he wanted them plucked out.

Turns out my friend was wrong. This was normal, according to the vet, and those ‘ticks’ stuck near his genitals were actually nipples. And they run all the way from the chest down his groin area; sometimes they will be pigmented and this shouldn’t upset you.

Dogs of all sexes, like humans, have nipples and today I’ll share with you more about it just to ensure you don’t misdiagnose ticks, try to pull them off only to hurt your pooch before you make him bleed.


Differentiating Nipples & Ticks

You probably spotted a dark bump on your dog and thought ‘that must be a tick’. Yes, you could be right but in many cases, we are always wrong. In fact, vets remark that pigmented nipples, scabs, moles or polyps have in many instances been assumed to be ticks by pet owners.

So I’ll share some clues to help you figure this out. First off, always take a closer look at the bump to see how it’s joined to the skin. If the bump’s entire length is attached to the dog’s skin, then it’s probably not a tick.

But if one end of the bump seems stuck or kind of buried, then there’s a high chance that it’s a tick.

Don’t know how to remove a tick? Watch the video below: 

Legs are actually an easier way to tell if it’s a tick. Carefully examine where the bump joins the skin and if you see some little tiny legs, that’s probably a tick. If none of these observations gives you a correct prediction, proceed to a vet.

More About Dog’s Nipples

It’s now beyond doubt that a male dog, just like its female counterpart, has nipples and they are spread in two rows, running all the way from its chest down its torso and terminating around its groin region.

In his book “It's a Dog's Life...but It's Your Carpet”, Dr. Justin Lee terms them ‘modified sweat glands’ but no they don’t release sweat; like every other mammary gland, those that belong to the female dogs release some milk while those of your male dog don’t. And if yours does, it’s time to pay the vet a visit.

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Sometimes, the number of nipples will vary and this will largely depend on the dog’s size. If your dog is large, expect 10 nipples or thereabouts and if it’s a small pooch, usually it will have 8 nipples. But as stated, this is just an estimate so if you find numbers beyond or less than our estimated average, don’t fret and run to a vet, it’s normal.

These nipples have names too based on their location. So I’ll take you through them briefly.

  • Cranial thoracic nipples- first two nipples from the dog’s chest
  • Caudal thoracic nipples- the next two nipples after the cranial thoracic nipples
  • Cranial abdominal nipples- the next pair after caudal thoracic nipples based next to the abdomen
  • Caudal abdominal nipples- the set of two nipples after the cranial abdominal nipples
  • Inguinal nipples – the last pair of nipples

If your dog is large and male, he’ll have a pair of these types we’ve just mentioned. And as the dog ages, the nipple’s shape and color will undergo a couple of changes and this is very normal.

Why Male Dogs Have Nipples

To have a clear understanding of all this, let’s examine how it all starts. Just like in every other mammal, the process starts in the womb. In the initial stages, the embryo usually carries both male and female characteristics and it’s only after that the nipples start to develop before gender is finally determined.

Watch the video below to learn more: 

So yeah, nipples come first before gender in dogs. Human embryo’s behave the same way too. Distinguishing features only start to appear after gender is determined and this is what later on leads to sexual differentiation.

In dogs, after the gender process is over, sexual hormones flow in and that’s when reproductive organs start to develop.

But even during the puppy stage, it’s still hard to tell the nipples apart as they have very little distinction if any. But as the sexual hormones continue to flow in, the female nipples will gradually grow bigger in size as opposed to the males.

Are The Nipples Of Any Use To Male Dogs?

Should we sum up that a male dog has nipples for the reason that they simply survived natural selection? That, just like in humans, there isn’t much to it and it would be fair to consider them kind of non-functional?

Well, first off, forget about whether these nipples can secret milk because that’s none of their business. Technically, this is what experts refer to as the rudimentary state.

However, there’s a lot more you could use these nipples for. Keeping a close eye on them could help in detection of unusual conditions. For instance, if you begin to notice the nipple’s size growing larger than usual, that could point to testicular cancer or other diseases.

Watch the video below to understand more about this: 

Usually, intact dogs are more prone to this type of cancer than neutered dogs.

To be on the safer side, always pay the vet a visit if you begin to notice such signs or anything else that seems unusual with the nipples except of course gradual change of color and shape. A vet definitely knows better and he/she will advise on the way forward.


So, as to whether male dogs have nipples or not, the answer is clear: male dogs have nipples. And there’s a biological explanation to that which we’ve briefly covered in the text. It’s important for every pet owner to also learn to distinguish ticks and nipples as this will help in getting rid of misdiagnosis.

Meanwhile, to those who wish to learn more about their pooch, grab that book by Dr. Justin Lee. It has almost anything you will ever need to know about your four-legged buddy.

Enjoyed the read? Great, thanks for stopping by and before leaving feel easy to share your thoughts, questions or suggestions in the comments below.


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