Sexual Question: Do Male Dogs Have Nipples?

Like with all animals, female and male dogs have significantly different reproductive organs. Most people use these traits to sex dogs at a young age. For females, one of the most noticeable things to look for is nipples.

Female dogs have nipples that help to deliver produced milk in the breasts to feeding young. They're often quite pronounced, especially when the dog is fertile or a new mother.

One common misconception that many people have about dogs is that only the female has nipples. In reality, male dogs have nipples just the same. Like male humans, male dogs have nipples that don't really serve a purpose. As a result, they can be pretty difficult to find. In fact, it's not uncommon for owners to mistake a dog's nipple as something else entirely.

Where Are They?

Your male canine companion has nipples in the same place as his female counterpart. The exact number of nipples they have will depend entirely on their size. Some larger dogs have as much as 10 nipples while smaller breeds only have 8.

Regardless of how many they have, they will be located in two rows down the torso of the body. They will typically start at the chest and go down to their groin.

male dog with nipples

Each set of nipples have names. The cranial thoracic nipples are the first set on the top of the chest. The next two nipples down are called the caudal thoracic nipples. Then comes the cranial abdominal nipples and caudal abdominal nipples. Finally, the last set of nipples closest to the groin is called the inguinal nipples.

One of the reasons that owners don't realize that their pooch has nipples is that they can be pretty difficult to see. Usually, male nipples are smaller than that of a feeding mother. They are small round bumps on the skin.

Some dogs have nipples that match their skin color while others have nipples that are pigmented. Both are normal. Male nipples are usually easier to see on short-haired dogs.

Do the Nipples Do Anything?

In short, no, the nipples don't do anything. Male dogs have nipples that are in a rudimentary state. They don't have the ability to produce milk like females.

Why Are They There?

Male dogs have nipples for the same reason that human males do. During the development stage, embryos look the same. Certain characteristics are shared with all fetuses. This includes the presence of nipples. It's not until hormones flow into the fetus that sexual differences are made apparent. The hormones will play their part to develop the unique reproductive organs and biological differences.

Since the nipples are already there, the development cycle continues. Natural selection has no reason to get rid of the nipples. There are no benefits for males having nipples or not having nipples. With that being said female nipples aren't functional at birth. In fact, male and female dogs are relatively similar at birth. As the dog gets older, hormones and maturity will cause the nipples to grow and produce milk.

Nipples VS. Ticks

For male dogs, it can be pretty tricky differentiating a nipple from a tick. They look very similar in size and color. It's not uncommon for owners to misidentify a tick, attempt to remove it, and cause significant pain or bleeding.

There are a few ways to easily tell the difference. The first is location. The nipples should align relatively straight. They run down the bottom of your dog in two rows of 4 or 5. If the bump in question is too close to a nipple or out of line, it may be a tick.

Another method is to look at the area surrounding the issue. First and foremost, look for legs. Legs are a telltale sign of the growth being a tick. You can usually spot small black legs coming out of the bump. However, if the bump is a bit larger, the legs can be masked. If that's the case, pay attention to the edges.

Nipples, skin tags, or other natural growths will have a similar color to the surrounding skin. A tick will have a pretty noticeable divide between the skin. In fact, the tick will look like it has dug a bit into the skin. If you do find a tick, it's important that you remove the bug carefully to avoid potential health concerns. Bring the dog to a vet for expert assistance.

Things to Look Out For

While they may not serve any purpose, your male dog's nipples can still tell you a lot about their overall health. Many medical issues make themselves apparent through changes in the nipples. Here are a few examples.

Enlargement

If your dog's nipples get bigger, you need to seek veterinarian assistance. This can be a sign of testicular cancer. Contrary to popular belief, even neutered dogs can be affected by this cancer. You should pay attention to the growth and look out for other symptoms. This includes uneven hair loss and abdominal pain.

Lumps

Lumps underneath or around the nipples can also be a sign of malignant growth. In this case, it may be a mammary gland tumor. This type of tumor usually only affects female dogs. However, it has been known to affect males.

Discharge

While it is very rare, breast cancer can cause male nipples to secrete a thick and gelatinous substance. Often times, the discharge dries and crusts up. It can have a pus-like appearance or even a bit of blood. Either way, take your pup to a vet for a true diagnosis.

To sum up, male dogs do have nipples. They're usually smaller and hidden compared to those of a female dog. They're just like a number of male mammals that have developed nipples in the embryo.

They serve no purpose but don't pose any issues either. While they are simply a product of biological development, they can be used to help you gauge your pet's overall health and well-being.

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