How Many Nipples Does A Dog Have? Find Answers

Dogs are mammals, and if you do remember anything from high-school biology, then you probably know all mammals produce milk.

So, the everyday scene of a mother having her pups nip from her is no biggie but not so much when you rub your male dog and find out he has nipples too!

Right now, you probably are burning with questions ranging from why your male Labrador has nipples to whether the number of nipples you find on a female dog is in any way indicative of its future litter size.

So, how many nipples does a dog have?

Stick with us to the end, and we promise to hash out every question that you might have about dog nipples.

Do All Dogs Have Nipples?

As it is, yes, all dogs have nipples — both male and female.

You usually find them as little raised spots that extend way up from their groins to their stomachs.

The number of nipples you find on dogs varies with the dog breed though.

It usually falls within 8 and 10 nipples, but they could also range from 6 to 12.

It might seem a bit odd that male dogs have nipples, but we think you needn’t be that surprised; after all, human men likewise have nipples.

The said nipples are actually by-products of natural selection. Like in men, they serve no biological purposes. 

Why Do Dogs Have Nipples?

Vet Cleaning Out Fur on Dog's Abdomen

In male dogs, as we mentioned earlier, teats are useless. 

Female dogs, by the way, feed their puppies with milk via their nipples for the first 3 to 4 weeks after birth.

During this period, the mother’s nipples become swollen and take on a darker shade of pigmentation.

The said milk is the puppy’s major source of nutrition until it gets weaned into eating dog food.

What does a female dog’s nipple look like?

Female Dog Lying on Back on Grass with Belly Up

Dogs’ nipples are small raised spots running along the length of your dog’s underbelly.

To the touch, they feel a bit harder than the surrounding flesh.

If your dog were heavy-coated with fur and you couldn’t easily see them for what they are, running your hand along your dog’s underbelly could make you misconstrue such for a pimple or even a bug bite.

With lactating mothers, their nipples enlarge, and they usually come off as flappy pronounced underbelly growth.

Nipples could take after your dog’s skin pigment or a whole other color entirely.

What does a male dog nipple look like?

Male dogs’ nipples look just the same as female dogs’. They also come off as small raised spots lined symmetrically on their stomach.

As with females, they take after the color of your dog’s skin or take on other pigmentation but never should they look swollen or enlarged.

If your male dog’s nipples ever look abnormal or leak discharge, reach out to your veterinarian immediately.

How many nipples does a female dog have?

On average, female dogs have a total of eight to ten nipples.

Some dogs may have six or even seven nipples, while others may have more than ten.

These variants are all completely normal.

Usually, most dogs have two rows of nipples evenly matched up and symmetrically aligned on their lower belly.

Most dogs will have four to five nipples on the left-hand side of their belly and likewise on the right-hand side.

We think it worthwhile to point out that your dog’s number of nipples is independent of its gender, age, etc.; neither do they ever change with its health status.

Medical studies, though, show that pups belonging to the same breed tend to develop the same range of a number of nipples.

It is important to note, though, that outlier is not impossible.

How many nipples does a male dog have?

Male dogs have the same number of nipples as their female others — usually an average of 8 – 10.

You find two side-by-side rows of nipples on their abdomens like the females.

Can You Differentiate a Male and Female Dog from their Nipples?

Considering that both male and female pups have nipples and there’s no gender difference in the number of nipples a dog can have, it is very difficult to determine a pup’s sex from their nipples.

Why are My Dog’s Nipples Swollen?

Puppies Sucking Milk from Mother

Swollen nipples in male or female dogs could mean a lot of things – some of them good and some bad.

We urge you to reach out to your vet immediately if you think the new growth is odd or notice an abnormal redness or tenderness.

Below are common health conditions that can cause engorgement in your furry friend’s nipples.

  • Pregnancy: Typically, a female dog’s nipples become enlarged and pinker during pregnancy.
  • Galactostasis: Excessive milk accumulation in the gland, especially during weaning.
  • Mastitis: An inflammation of the mammary gland in the dog’s breast, most times caused by infection while lactating.
  • Abrasion: The top layer of the skin can be damaged by friction, causing the nipple to be swollen.
  • Testicular Tumors: Testicular cancer can occur in intact male dogs at an older age. Some symptoms include nipple elongation, mammary enlargement.
  • Mammary Tumors/Breast Cancer: Breast cancer or mammary tumor can occur in both female and male dogs. They are common in un-spayed dogs.
  • Mammary gland hyperplasia: A breast disease caused by an overgrown cell lining the milk glands.

Why are My Dog’s Nipples Black?

In non-spayed female dogs, hormonal fluctuations could cause discolored/black nipples.

At other times, discolored nipples indicate a more serious underlying health condition.

If your dog’s nipples feel a bit bumpier than before and they turn a dark color on the side, we recommend you check with a veterinarian for possible cancer or mastitis.

Do Dog Nipples Predict Litter Size?

No, the number of teats your Golden Retriever or any other dog breed at all has does not determine the number of pups it will pop.

Small and large breeds of dogs fall in the average of 8 – 10 teats per dog.

But large breeds tend to have bigger litters compared to smaller-sized dogs.

That the number of teats a dog has should indicate its future litter size has the vibes of an old wives tale to it. We urge you to discard the thought.

However, if you’re keen on knowing the number of puppies your dogs would give birth to, you can consult a vet or go for an ultrasound or x-ray.

If you’re keen on knowing your prospective litter size, we urge you to consult a vet and go for an ultrasound or an x-ray.


Why do male dogs have nipples?

The popular opinion is that all dogs, regardless of gender, develop according to the same genetic blueprint, initially, while in the womb.

It is only at a later stage of gestation that they develop genitals, at which stage, prospective male and female dogs all have nipples.

Do all dogs have 9 nipples?

An odd number of nipples is rare but typical. Most dogs are symmetrical, and they tend to have an even number of nipples.

So, your dog with nine nipples is, to an extent, one-of-a-kind. Treat her as such!

Why does my dog have 9 nipples?

Although it is somewhat rare to find dogs with an odd number of nipples, it is entirely normal for your Shepherd, Golden Retriever, or any other breed to have nine nipples. Some dogs just happen to have such.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you found a helpful answer and more helpful information to your question on: “how many nipples does a dog have?”

Knowing what to expect when it comes to a dog’s nipples can help you spot a possible problem before it spreads.

Any strange lumps, bumps, or pigmentation should be promptly referred to and examined by a veterinarian.

You May Also Like:
Do Labs Get Cold? Does My Labrador Need a Coat in Winter?

References: AKC, BluePearl Pet Hospital, Wag!

Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

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