How Many Nipples Do Dogs Have? Did You Guess It Right?

Who knew that there was so much interest in dog nipples? Judging by the number of people who have asked me how many nipples do dogs have, it’s clearly on a lot of people’s minds! 

But why does it matter? In this post, we’re going to take a look at one of dogs’ most unique features – their nipples!

How many do they have anyway? And what other interesting things can you learn about them? Keep reading to find out!

How Many Nipples Do Dogs Have?

While it’s common for dogs to have anywhere between 8 and 10 nipples, dogs can have anywhere from two to 10 nipples.

So, the short answer is between 8 and 10, the long answer is that it varies.

Why are there so many dog nipples, you ask? They have large litters of between two and eight puppies. If each mother only had two nipples, they wouldn’t be able to feed their entire nests.

Interesting Facts About Dogs’ Nipples

Did you know that dogs can lactate? Lactation means producing and secreting milk. Even without puppies around, female dogs’ bodies naturally produce milk!

Here are 9 more interesting facts about dog nipples:

1. They Are Located In The Same Place On Every Dog

They are right in the middle of their chest. They rest just below where a human’s nipples would be.

2. Dogs’ Nipples Are More Than Twice The Size Of Human Ones

Not only are dog nipples not where you have yours, but they are also much larger.

3. Dogs’ Nipples Don’t Look Like Ours

Ours are small and flat with no color, dogs’ are large, round, and often very dark in color.

4. Change Color

Nipples can sometimes change color with age, ranging from pink to black. Though, they are most commonly somewhere in between. The color often changes back to pink after puppies are weaned, but it may remain white or brown in older dogs.

a corgi laying on his back

5. They Are On Both Males And Females

Though some dogs have more nipples than others, all dogs have them – even male dogs.

6. Mammary Glands

During heat, a female’s nipples may swell and become pinker and swollen than at other times. This is because there are mammary glands inside the nipple.

7. Different Nipple Types

There are different types of nipples, including inverted ones that go inward instead of outward. These can be more common in older dogs or those with smaller litters.

8. Sunburn

Dog’s nipples can sunburn just like ours do. It is important to protect their nipples with sunscreen or clothing if they are going to be stuck out in the sun for long periods.

9. They Can Become Infected

Just like us, dog nipples can get bacterial infections and need to be cleaned regularly. If a dog is licking them a lot, it may indicate an infection of some sort.

What Do Normal Dog Nipples Look Like?

The appearance of nipples can often be the same for boy and girl dogs, and they feel like tiny dots on their skin. Many people liken them to a tiny bug bite. Sometimes your dog’s nipples might feel a bit squishy rather than hard as if they are bug bites.

This is normal and not something to worry about. If they are warm, have a foul smell or pus, that could be an indicator of infection and your vet should be contacted.

Normal Nipples vs Pregnant Nipples

You will only find a change in a dog’s nipples when she is pregnant. Nipples that are pink and well-formed are normal. When a female dog is expecting, her nipples may become bigger as the mammary glands swell with milk. They may also elongate as well as darken in color.

Many consider it the most obvious sign that a dog is pregnant. If a dog’s nipples are suddenly dark and swollen, the most likely reason is that she is expecting puppies.

You will notice your dog’s nipples grow larger and squishier than before. They might become softer and longer than small and round.

These will become more apparent as her pregnancy progresses. Eventually, her milk production will increase and she will begin to droop.

It is easier to see the difference between normal and pregnant dog nipples when they have a thinner coat or fur.

Dog Nipple Health Issues To Watch Out For

There are several dog nipple health issues you need to keep an eye on. Here are the most common:

1. Lick Granuloma

This is when a dog licks an area on her body excessively that gets red, swollen, and irritated. It is often due to anxiety or boredom but can result from allergies, inflammation, infection, or simply intense licking. 

She may develop the problem after she gives birth if she doesn’t have anything else to do.

2. Mastitis

This is when a dog’s mammary glands become inflamed and can cause her to have a high temperature, be lethargic and stop eating. It often follows heat or pregnancy but can result from trauma or infection of the teats (nipples).

mama dog breastfeeding puppies

3. Breast Cancer In Dogs

Dogs can get breast cancer in much the same way women do. It is sometimes connected to reproductive cancers or tumors of male dogs, so pay close attention to any changes in the breasts. 

If you notice ulcers, sores, thickening skin, lumps, or an asymmetrical appearance in your dog’s nipples, contact your vet right away.

4.Mammary Lumps In Dogs

When a dog develops lumps or other changes in her nipples, that could be an indicator of serious health problems.

If at any point you notice changes in the size, shape, or color of your dog’s nipples contact their vet immediately. It is most likely nothing serious but all, but nipple health issues should be taken seriously to keep your pet healthy.

5. Allergies

Just like humans, dogs can also develop an allergy to certain substances that affect their nipples. A dog nipple with an allergic reaction will usually be red and swollen and could ooze fluid.

6. Abscesses

An abscess is a serious but common problem in dogs, especially those who have been neutered or spayed. If a dog’s nipple gets injured or punctured, it can become infected and swollen. It is one of the most common causes of a dog’s nipples swelling.

People Also Ask

Do Dog Nipples Come In Pairs?

Yes, usually, dog nipples are paired. On both male and female dogs, they can be found in pairs on the abdomen, between their front legs. However, sometimes there can be an odd number of nipples.

Do Dogs Have An Even Number Of Nipples?

Dogs usually have an even number of nipples, but some can have odd numbers. It is quite rare though with no correlation with gender, size of the dog, or a particular breed.

Why Does My Dog Only Have 5 Nipples?

Some dogs have an odd number of nipples, which can be anywhere from 8 to 10. There is no particular reason for it, there is no correlation with gender, size, or breed. There is no medical or physical condition involved, it is just a natural birth defect.

Why Does My Dog Not Have Nipples?

Nipples are usually present in both male and female dogs. Dogs without nipples do not have any medical or physical problems, it is just a natural birth defect. If you are worried about your pet, schedule an appointment with their vet.

Do Dogs Have As Many Puppies As Nipples?

A dog’s nipples are not connected to how many puppies they have. The female dog’s mammary glands will produce milk based on the size of her litter. There is no particular number that a dog needs to give birth to for all of her nipples to be utilized.


Dogs’ nipples are very important because they provide milk for their puppies.

They generally come in pairs. However, if your dog has 4 nipples, 5 nipples, or 9, there is no reason to worry unless you notice changes in appearance or behavior.

Just like people, nipples come in different shapes and sizes. As long as your dog is behaving normally (eating, playing, using the bathroom, etc.) there is no reason to worry about their nipples.

However, if you notice changes in appearance or behavior contact your vet immediately. Nipple health issues should be taken seriously because they could lead to bigger problems.

How many nipples does your dog have? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

2 thoughts on “How Many Nipples Do Dogs Have? Did You Guess It Right?”

  1. It’s funny how every website says 6-10 but I have an AKC American Cocker Spaniel who has 14 nipples. So the internet doesn’t know everything.


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