Animals have a very distinctive and visible upper and lower lip which is separate from the cheeks. However, upon looking at your dog, you may be unable to notice or locate them right away. Dogs do have lips but the anatomy of a dog’s mouth is a bit different from humans and many other animals.

Do dogs have lips?

The answer to this question is a simple yes, although they do not seem as if they do. When you first look at the head and mouth of a dog, you will notice its floppy ears, wet nose, forehead, and muzzle. The mouth, however, is full of sharp teeth that protect them.

With all that being said, you wouldn’t still be able to find the lips. Lips are still an important part of their facial features even though a human’s mouth and a dog’s mouth do not have anything in common visually.

Humans use their lips to consume food. It also functions as a sensory organ. However, dogs on the other hand use their lips a little differently.  

The upper lip of a dog is known as the “flew” while the lower one is just considered the “lower lip.”

Why do dogs have lips?

The main purpose of a dog’s lips is to form a barrier of protection around the teeth and jaw at all times. However, they do help dogs transport scents to the nose which helps form their perception of smell. A dog’s lips are not separated from each other which is why it doesn’t look the same as human lips.

You can, however, notice a difference in the length of their jawline. Humans on the other hand have small, short jaws. But humans have cheeks that consist of a better capacity, which is what dogs lack.

The length of a dog’s jaw enables its mouth to contain more teeth which are beneficial for tearing through flesh and breaking bones.

Humans, obviously do not need this. If you ever notice a large puddle of water left on the floor every time your dog drinks some water, you can blame their long jaws with obscure lips.

Why do dogs have black lips?

In case you were wondering, a dog’s lips have to be some color, and the color black makes the most sense of any other color. Pigmentation is what helps keep animals guarded against solar radiation damage. Pigmentation plays a very important role in protecting dogs against radiation from the sun since they do not have much hair around their mouths.

The black pigment gene is more dominant than other genes for all remaining pigments. This is why black lips are mainly the result of genetics.

For example, if two purebred dogs that both have black lips breed, it is almost definite that their puppies will also have black lips. However, not all dogs have black lips. Some dog breeds have lips that are non-pigmented as well as oral cavities.

Why do dogs have serrated lips?

There is no exact cause as to why dogs have lips that are serrated. However, several experts do have a few different theories as to why this is true. These theories are: to protect the lips from the teeth, to enable a tight grip on bones, to assist with cleaning the teeth, and to enable to mouth to open wide.

The first theory suggests that dogs have serrated lips to protect the lips from the teeth. This happens to be the most common belief about dog lips. Experts suggest it is because they can move out of the way of other teeth, specifically the canine teeth.

Canine teeth overlap once a dog closes his mouth. While a dog is chewing, it is vital for the lips to stay out of the way.

The second theory suggests that a dog’s lips are serrated to hold on to things. This may make it easier for a dog to grasp an object whether it is a toy, a bone, or to carry their puppies.

Experts also believe that a dog’s serrated lips enable them to clean their own teeth. There are dog toys that are meant to remove tartar. These toys feature small numbs that get rid of tartar by rubbing against the teeth.

Others believe that the purpose of a dog’s serrated lips is to increase the taste. While this is not proven, there is a belief that lip serrations increase certain areas inside the mouth to enable dogs to have a stronger sense of taste.

Finally, lips dogs are serrated to allow the mouth to open wide. Dog’s have shorter cheeks and longer lips. This theory suggests that a dog’s serrated lips exist to extend the length of their mouths while it is open.

Do all dogs have black lips?

As mentioned, dogs have black lips because they do not have as much fur around their mouths. We do know that black pigment is the more dominant gene and helps protect them from solar radiation.

In a nutshell, not all dogs have black lips or black noses for that matter. This is because melanin is responsible for a dog’s skin, eye, and coat color. Melanin is inherited so not all dogs have black lips.

Do all dogs have lips?

All dogs do have lips since they exist to play a very important role in their anatomy and aiding protection. While they may not be visible, and partially hidden by fur, their appearance, and texture are similar to human lips. The lips in dogs run along their gum line. If you push their lips back, you will notice all of their teeth.  

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.