Do Male Dogs Have Nipples?

Written by: Milica Brzakovic
Male and female dogs are different, that's a fact. But how different? Are nipples something they both have or is it only a female thing? Let's find out!

Believe it or not, this is a very common question, you’re not the only one wondering!

Yes, we all know that female dogs have nipples because of it’s clear function – feeding her puppies. But what about male dogs?

Let’s find out!

The term nipple simply means a structure from which fluid comes out. Having in mind that the main use of nipples, or teats as they are called, is feeding milk to babies it may be safe to assume that only female dogs have nipples.

But is that true? Let’s find out once and for all!

Do Male Dogs Have Nipples?

The short answer is – yes, they do! All dogs, even male dogs, have nipples. Both female and male nipples look the same. They appear side by side and run down the torso, from the chest to the groin area.

How Many Nipples Should A Dog Have?

This mostly depends on the size of the dog. A bigger dog will have about ten nipples, while a smaller one will probably have eight. This is only an average number, if your dog has more or less it doesn’t mean that something is wrong.

Furthermore, the nipples have different names representing their location on the dog’s body. If your dog has ten nipples, he’ll probably have the following pairs:

  • One pair of cranial thoracic nipples
  • One pair of caudal thoracic nipples
  • One pair of cranial abdominal nipples
  • One pair of caudal abdominal nipples
  • One pair of inguinal nipples

Do Nipples On Male Dogs Have A Purpose?

When it comes to nipples female dogs have, their function is vital – to secrete milk to their little ones. But what about male dogs? Do their nipples have a function as well?

Like men, male dogs are not able to produce the milk and feed children. Therefore, their nipples are in a so-called rudimentary state.

So, why do they have nipples if they don’t serve a purpose?

In order to answer this question we have to explain a dog’s fetal development. This can be understood by looking at our own embryonic development.

Sexual Differentiation

Namely, when human embryos start developing they don’t have any characteristics that separate male from female embryos. Around the third month, the sex hormones start flowing and lead to sexual differentiation.

The same thing happens to dogs after approximately one month!

This is the reason why male dogs have nipples as well, even though they don’t have any particular function. According to this, nipples appear on the body before the sexual differentiation.

Later in life the nipples either get a function or they don’t, depending on the sex, but early in the development they don’t have any functions – no matter the sex of the puppy. It’s not until later in life, when the female sex hormones start making a difference, that the nipples enlarge and secrete milk in some cases.

To sum it up, nipples on male dogs don’t have a particular function, they’re mostly there ”for show”. However, they can sometimes indicate that something is wrong!

Nipples Indicating Problems

Nipples on male dogs don’t do much, as we can see, but sometimes they can be a sign that something is wrong. It doesn’t hurt to take a look at your dog’s nipples from time to time, just to be on the safe side.

Enlarged Nipples

If you notice that your dog’s nipples are bigger than usual, it could unfortunately indicate testicular cancer. This disease can affect both neutered and intact dogs.

If you notice enlarged nipples, don’t assume at once it’s cancer. Look for other symptoms before panicking. These symptoms include pain in the abdominal area, anemia and symmetrical hair loss.

If you notice these signs, go see a vet as soon as possible. He or she will be able to determine the problem and prescribe a proper treatment.

If your dog is intact and he gets testicular cancer, usually the only treatment needed is castration. With a neutered dog chemotherapy is recommended.

Fortunately, testicular cancer has a low rate of metastasis. In other words, it doesn’t spread easily to other parts of the body.

Nipples Changing Color

Something you can notice as well when observing your dog’s nipples is that they’ve changed color over time. While you’re definitely not the first one to notice this, it will probably still freak you out.

However, there’s no need to worry. Nipples changing color is usually just a sign that your dog is getting older. This happens to both male and female dogs.

When it comes to female dogs, a change in color can be a sign of conditions such as mastitis, but with male dogs you don’t have anything to worry about if their nipples change color.


Yes, male dogs do have nipples, like female dogs. However, these nipples are in a rudimentary state and they don’t have any functions.

Nipples isn’t something you should worry about with your male dog, but you can however take a look from time to time, as enlarged nipples can indicate some problems at other fronts.

We hope we cleared out the mystery now. Male and female dogs were definitely more similar when they were younger, right?