Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who
partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.
So a friend of mine asked on social media if male dogs have nipples and
someone commented: “If you need a dog with nipples just get a female.” I took
up the commenter, and she asked me, “Why should a male dog have nipples?” Then
another commenter wondered, “Why do human males have nipples?”
This sort of question can arise when people are not sure of things around
them. In this article, we want to answer the question and discuss nipples in
male dogs. For pet lovers, this is an interesting discussion to get you to
know your best friend a little more!
Looking at most male mammals, one will notice that most of them have nipples
with a few exceptions. You may be wondering why. Dogs, as seen with most
mammals, have male and female specimens equipped with nipples. The male pooch
nipples are seen lined neatly side-by-side running all through the length of
their torso. If you observe carefully, it’s almost the same with their female
folks. Yes, just like human males with breasts. So what’s up with nipples on
male dogs, and most of all, what in the world are they used for?
Are nipples on male dogs of the same dough as females?
Alan Levine Follow Go With The Dog
A Cookie Cutter Explanation?
A commenter reasoned that perhaps our creator had some sort of mold made to
manufacture different animals. Males and female must therefore have nipples
because the same mold was used over and over in creating them before deciding
on which one should be male or female based on the functions for each one in
Wow, what an argument. I want you to comment below what you think about this
line of reasoning!
Not only do male dogs have nipples, but their nipples also happen to have
names; meaning so much work has been done biologically to pay attention to the
male dog nipples too. The nipples are in pairs like their female folks and,
yup, they are named accordingly!
Trivia Question: How Many Nipples Do Dogs Have?
Here’s a little piece of trivia for you: how many nipples do male dogs have?
The number of nipples in male dogs tend to depend on the dog’s overall size.
Dogs may have eight or ten nipples which are called as follows:
For a ten-nippled dog, its nipples names will include:
- Two cranial thoracic nipples
- Two caudal thoracic nipples
- Two cranial abdominal nipples
- Two caudal abdominal nipples
- Two pair of inguinal nipples
Mark Follow ingmar babysitting muddy
Nipples as Decoration?
Why would someone create a feature not useful in a product? Ha-ha, sometimes
it’s best not to go on social media if you don’t want to get some funny ideas
in your head with the kind of questions people ask… Why would a male have
nipples that do not produce milk to feed its young like the females? Well,
this is a very good question that I am sure goes around nipples in men too.
“Nipples in male dogs are only a decoration,” suggested a commenter. Well,
it’s not like male dogs like to put piercings on them, so the word decorative
is a bit off as it reminds me of Christmas trees, but hey, that’s what he
Turns out, there is really no explanation for their use and the only rational
explanation that seems to cause one to think is the one that said animals were
created equal from the factory setting. The cookie mold to form dogs must have
been not gender sensitive. The dogs who got lucky to have female function are
blessed with nipples producing milk, but ones with male function end up with a
dry land under their belly. Nipples in male dogs are therefore destined to
remain in what’s known as a ” rudimentary state.” To put it bluntly, they
are just buttons with no known function.
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A Big Pile of Dough?
Let’s take a bit a step back though, shall we? A trip back into the womb, when
puppies are in their embryonic state just floating about, shows us that
nipples are already there in both female and male fetuses during their
development. Just as one of the commenters said, pups being male or female are
virtually the same as if they were actually taken from a big pile of dough and
cut out into shapes by using the same exact mold.
By the way, for those skpetics out there, this is all backed up by claims by
veterinarian Dr. Justin Lee who explains in his book, It’s a Dog’s Life…but
It’s Your Carpet, how pups are basically made all the same in utero, until
later on when powerful sex hormones kick in and start morphing them using a
process known as “sexual differentiation.” It is therefore only later in life
that female sex hormones start taking off making male dogs and female dogs
In females, these hormones responsible for nipple changes reach their peak
levels when the female dog gets pregnant and is just about getting ready to
whelp or is undergoing what’s known as a false pregnancy. These surges in
hormones are what trigger nipple enlargement and the section of milk.
So there you have it, a biological explanation as to why female dogs have
nipples. However, this does not remove the fact that male nipples are still
there and are named the same as their female folks. Of course, the female
nipples have defined a function, but male’s nipples still have none as we know
it. Yet, it seems that Mother Nature must still feel they must have some
purpose, otherwise one would assume that adaptive pressure would have wiped
If you love dogs, why not join in this interesting discussion about why do
male dogs have nipples? Take the time to examine your male dog nipples and
tell us what you think? Or do your male dog’s nipples produce milk? Hopefully
not, but keep me posted about your findings!
© 2016 Adrienne Farricelli
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 27, 2016:
Hi DzyMsLizzy, this is so interesting, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I
now recall a while back hearing some story about a man nursing s child but
can’t recall if it was fact or fiction or something that appeared on an
episode of Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Any how, this could be an explanation
as to why Mother Nature has preserved nipples in men. Perhaps they are meant
to be used as a reservoir in case there would ever be a shortage of milk!
Mother Nature knows best.
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on December 27, 2016:
Well, very interesting! Funny, but I clicked onto this article because I
happen to own a book with a similar name, “Why do Men Have Nipples?”
It addresses that, and many other crazy questions, such as, ‘do fish sleep?’
In the human, while male nipples are basically considered non-functional, (and
the explanation for their presence is the same as you have explained), they
CAN actually lactate and feed a child, IF appropriately stimulated.
Even in females, it is the suckling of the baby that causes the demand for
milk production to start. In the first couple of days after birth, the only
fluid produced is colostrum, which mainly consists of antibodies present in
the mother. It kick-starts the child’s immune system.
Male babies are also sometimes born with, or show soon after birth, to produce
this liquid. This is believed to be a function of the mother’s pregnancy
hormones. However, that it sometimes happens, illustrates the fact that the
‘factory’ is there, lying unused for the majority of men all their lives.
I found it very interesting indeed.
Superstitions people of the olden days called it “witches’ milk” when a male
infant displayed this apparent anomaly.
Well written article!