Skip to Content

Why Does My Dog Have 9 Nipples? The Truth Revealed

Why does my dog have 9 nipples?

Wondering why your dog has 9 nipples?

Good news:

Here you’ll discover the real answer.

Continue reading to find out:

  • A curious fact about dogs’ nipples.
  • If it’s weird that your dog has 9 nipples.
  • If having an uneven amount of nipples is an indication of a problem.
  • And more…

Why does my dog have 9 nipples?

Dogs can have between 6 and 10 nipples. Smaller dog breeds tend to have fewer nipples and larger breeds – more. Even if a bitch has more nipples or an uneven amount, it’s not an indication of a problem. The exact cause is unknown. They might not be all functional or provide an equal amount of milk. 

Usually, the number of nipples is related to how many children a mammal can have. For example, humans have two because a woman has either one or two babies at a time in most cases.

Dogs, on the other hand, can have more offspring at a time.

A quick story:

Dog Meme Story Time

My mom and I went in the summer of 2009 to our villa. And what do you think we found there?

Eleven fluffy puppies. And their Mom – a stray who has found her way in our garden.

Unfortunately, back then I didn’t care as much for how many nipples a dog could have, whether they’re an odd number or not.

But the fact of the matter is that a dog could have many puppies.

That dog didn’t have a particular breed – it was a mix. Its size was medium.

So, now that we know what’s possible, let’s move on to the question:

Is it weird that my dog has 9 nipples?

Many dog owners stumble upon the fact that their dog has an odd number of nipples. Some spot 7 instead of 6 and some might see 9 instead of 10.

When you have never thought about it before but suddenly notice it, you need some time to assimilate it. And then, even though your dog is alive and kicking, a bit of worry starts creeping in your mind.

It’s not at all uncommon to feel weirded out. You’re not the only one. In fact, if you go to any forum and start a topic about this, you’ll find out that other dog owners confess they’ve witnessed the same.

It’s a common phenomenon to have a dog with an ‘extra’ nipple. This shouldn’t worry you.

Do male dogs have nipples?

Male dogs, just like human male representatives, have nipples.

The nipples of male dogs are inactive. But then why do male dogs have them?

The answer lies in the genetic blueprint that forms both female and male organisms.

It’s not until puberty when the differences associated with each sex start to show. Until then, both males and females follow the same structure of development which includes having nipples.

Are there any related health issues with dog nipples?

When it comes to the unusual number of nipples – that’s all there is to it. Hence, you have no reason to be concerned about any health issues descending from it.

Apart from that, it’s good to know that there are certain medical conditions connected to dogs’ nipples being a body part in particular. Such ones are:

Mammary cancer

The mammary tissues can get cancer. The dogs who are most at risk are the ones that haven’t been spayed. Or, ones that have been neutered at an older age.

What happens is that during heat the dog’s hormones make the mammary glands grow. And sometimes the growth could be abnormal which can lead to cancer.

study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania reports that spaying your dog while they’re young can significantly reduce the possibility of mammary cancer.

Spaying your dog decreases estrogen levels. When the production of estrogen is high, the chances of developing mammary cancer are bigger.

What’s interesting though, is that estrogen can also play a protective role. It can protect spayed dogs that have mammary tumors. As a result, these dogs can live longer.

It’s also possible for male dogs to get mammary cancer but rarely.

How to recognize it?

Just like with women, the way to recognize if there’s a cancer issue, concerning the dog’s breasts is to feel the area around the nipples. If you notice any bumps or lumps, then you have a reason to have your dog checked out by a vet.

Another indication is if any of the nipples have changed their appearance in comparison to the others.

Caution: If you’ve noticed a nipple has changed its color or size, keep an eye on it for a week or two. If it doesn’t return to its normal size and becomes even larger, contact your vet immediately.

After a dog is diagnosed with mammary cancer, the vet can prescribe either medication or surgery.


Let’s do a bit of translation, shall we?

Mastitis is a bacterial infection that can endanger a dog’s life if not treated on time.

Again, the dogs that are most in danger are females who haven’t been spayed and had recently given birth or experienced a false (pseudo) pregnancy.

During a pseudo-pregnancy, the mammary glands of a bitch would swell just as if she’s about to have puppies. This happens at the end of the heat. Besides that, the bitch could start protecting her possessions (toys) as she would if she had puppies.

You should bear in mind that spayed dogs are also not safe from mastitis.

Dogs’ nipples can get mastitis if a nipple gets wounded by a pup during nursing. Another cause for mastitis is poor hygienic conditions in the environment the dog’s in.

How to recognize it?

Signs To Recognize It

Look out for these signs:

  • Swollen mammary glands.
  • Mammary glands emitting pus.
  • Your dog being lethargic.
  • Your dog lacks appetite.
  • Malnourished puppies because your dog refuses to feed them.

The most common treatment for mastitis is a course of antibiotics.

How to tell the difference between a nipple and a tick?

Are you in doubt whether you’re seeing an extra nipple on your dog or a tick?

Don’t panic. I’ve got you covered.

Here’s how to determine if you’re facing a tick situation or just seeing another nipple:

  • If the bump resembles the other nipples in position, size, and shape then it’s most likely a nipple.
  • When the bump is sticking out unevenly and has legs it’s a tick.
  • Also, if the bump is darker in color and doesn’t stick out as the rest, it’s probably a tick.

How to tell the difference between a tick and a skin tag?

So, you’ve come this far to realize that what you’re looking at is not a nipple. But then you wonder what it could be.

Ticks are common in dogs, especially during peak months like summer. But sometimes what could look like a tick might be nothing more than a skin tag.

Caution: Even though you think your dog might have a tick, do not attempt to pull it out by yourself. For maximum safety, let a vet take it out for you. This way you’ll prevent a part of the tick remaining in the dog’s skin and contaminating your dog’s blood.

To check for yourself whether you have a tick situation on your hands or not, observe if one end sticks unevenly. If it looks like part of the thing is coming out of the dog’s skin, then it’s likely a tick. Another indication is that it will be hard when you gently run your finger over it.

If the thing seems to be flat and not hard in touch, then it’s probably a skin tag or a nipple. Skin tags will feel like part of the skin, while ticks feel hard and smooth.

Does the number of nipples indicate how many puppies a bitch will have?

Hate to break it to you but it’s actually a myth that you can tell how many puppies a bitch can have by counting her nipples.

It sounds logical that there are more nipples to cover the number of newborn puppies. That way each pup will have a fair share.

Sometimes that’s just not the case. If we leave aside my story of the pups at the villa, there’s more evidence to back up the fact that the number of nipples doesn’t necessarily equal the number of pups.

You can check out more info about this phenomenally big litter here.

A curious fact about dogs’ nipples

A curious fact about dogs' nipples

Usually, dog nipples are ordered in two symmetrical lines divided by equal space between each other.

Although it’s like that in most cases, you could witness some peculiarities.

So you might be surprised to find out that it’s possible to spot a nipple at an unusual place on your dog’s body. This could be the inside of your dog’s leg for example.

If it’s not connected to the mammary glands and not bothering your dog, you can just let it be.

Caution: If you find something like this, take your dog to the vet. That way they can confirm that what you see there is actually a nipple. Plus, they can rule out any possible medical conditions.

Another possibility is that you can notice two of the nipples being too close together.