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Black on Roof of Mouth:

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I'm sure this is more or less an "old wives tale" but I was wondering if we could strike up a discussion about the belief that black on the roof of a Border Collie's mouth means the dog is intelligent. I've heard of people choosing whether or not to get a dog for working based on the amount of black in its mouth. I'm sure it's a bunch of baloney, just wondered what others had heard about this or other tall tales.


Is this "true" with Border Collies only, or does it extend to other working dogs like Aussies, ACDs, etc?


Rocko's 'smarts':



...and Jade's 'not-so-smarts' :rolleyes::


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Funny how these things change.


When I heard it, it was as, "Black roof of mouth means dog's 'tough.'" In old books, it was, a good dog (ie, a useful dog) has a black mouth.

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No, its not true,and if you met my Hank, you know it wasnt. LOL

Thing about sayings like that, is some folks really do believe it. I had a very achomplished handler/trainer years ago when I was looking at buying a dog, pry open that dogs mouth, and tell me "see, the roof of the mouth is all black, that means its a good dog"

I didnt get the indication they were joshing.

I think it was started very long ago, and more of some thing to do with some types of dogs being a PB as opposed to a cross. Cant be for absolute sure, but if Im remembering correctly, there is a breed of dog that has in its standard that it should have the roof of the mouth all black.

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If you think about it. Someone long ago could of had a really nice dog, happens that the roof of his mouth was black. So now that guy thinks it's related to the mouth. Then he might have even gone on to get a dog that had a pink mouth and the dog turned out to be not so good. Now it's set in stone in the mind of that owner. And it grows from there!


I know of some that won't buy a pup with lots of pink. They call it a bubblegum mouth. I don't believe the myth.


Micks roof is all black, considering he is too, it doesn't suprise me. Dew is about half and half but all mixed up. they are both pretty tough. Dew has way more white on her so again it doesn't surpise me. Their father who is a finals winner has a bubblegum mouth. So guess that kind of blows that myth for at least me!


How bout the "smart bump"? I had a rescue that went to the wife of a pretty big trialer. He is an older gentleman. He wouldn't take the rescue even though she was going as a pet for his wife till he checked the smart bump. It took all I had not to reach over and feel the back of his head to check him for his smart bump. I'm not sure it would have been very pronounced!


Then there's the hair on the chin thingy. I'm not sure how that one goes but I know I've seen people check my dogs for certain hair on their chin! Again, I fought the need to check their chins too! :rolleyes:

Guess as long as they're not checking me, it's good for a laugh.


Darci isn't the chow supposed to have a black or blue mouth?

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Lol Kristen... good stories :rolleyes:


I've never heard of the 'smart bump' or 'chin hair' myths either... I had a friend ask me once what the 'weird lump on their dog's head was', they were all concerned like "does my dog have a brain tumor?!" so I had to explain that it's just part of the skull... lol.


I had also heard somewhere that amount of black in the mouth = aggression level. Interesting how many claims revolve around the coloring of one body part... like trying to judge how someone will be by the shape of their nose or positioning of their eyes...


I think it is the Chow that has to have a colored mouth... or is the standard related to the purple/blue tongue and not necessarily the mouth itself?

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Hmmmm...my Farleigh has a very pronounced "smart bump" and he's about as crazy as they come. The hair thing is something along the lines of "three hairs on the chin means a good 'un" (the three hairs are actually back from the chin along the bottom of the jaw) same as the black roof of the mouth. I don't buy any of it, but then again, I have a mostly white border collie too, which most folks would dismiss as likely to be disrespected by stock. But he does have a black roof to his mouth, a smart bump, and the trio of hairs on his chin, so maybe there's hope for him yet! :rolleyes:



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This is so crazy, of course it doesn't have anything to do with it :rolleyes:


In Romania, the myth is that a dog with the roof of the mouth black is a tough, mean dog; other times it means "faithful" - probably biddable :D


Maybe there's hope for Ouzo, too - as a pup, his mouth was half&half, now it's mostly dark - but I think with more brown than black.

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Yeah--I've heard them all, too, and while I don't believe any of it, OK, I'll admit--I do look at the roof of their mouths. Actually, I've seen very few whose palates were not all black, including my white dog (her head is black). As Julie noted, being white means she should not be a good 'un, or maybe that only pertains to sheep? She's as tough as they come on cattle... :rolleyes:



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OK, I'll admit--I do look at the roof of their mouths.


Ok since we're confessing here....


Once I brought Dew home someone asked me about her mouth. I quickly went and checked it. It was way more pink that black. I wasn't worried, maybe just a bit :rolleyes: but the person asking me was like "oh...that's ok, it's probably a myth"

As she grew her black parts started showing up more. Don't know if that's possible or maybe I'm just seeing what I want. Plus it was after the fact that I found out her sire is mostly pink in his mouth so that gave me some assurance even though I don't believe the stories! LOL


Anna, I'm suprised that you don't see dogs with pink mouths. I didn't think it was that uncommon. Wonder if that's cause people either secretly pick the dark mouth or not so secretly. I do think it's all related to the coloring of the dog for the roof issues.


I think the thing that scarred me the most was Dew's gay tail. She is so gay that she should have flames on her sides! But thank doG when on sheep it magicly disapears! The gay tail IMO has good merit. Haven't seen a good dog work sheep with one ever! I fretted about Dew's for a long time. My BF still makes fun of it! I've grown to love it. I think it tells of her confidence and maybe a bit of her lack of maturity. We'll see as she matures.


Julie, do you ever notice with your mostly white dogs that it takes a bit for the sheep to respect them? I think it's all in how the dog enters the pasture. If they come in meaning business I haven't seen a sheep dis a white dog but again, I figured it was in how the dog approached it's work. And I haven't seen that many white dogs working. I have certainly seen dogs that are mostly black being blown off by the sheep. rightfully so for those dogs.


My DH is living in CO right now. He went to Meeker cause I asked him to. He's totally working dog illiterate and his comment was that he thought the sheep respected black dogs more. He happened to see a white headed dog run and she couldn't lift the sheep very well. Then he noticed the pen dog who could work all the sheep had a black head so that's where he got his thoughts from. The white dog that didn't fare well is well known in the midwest as a very nice dog. I've seen her work and it's breathtaking. Guess she's not used to working range ewes. But I don't think it's a white head thing. And I'd take her in a heartbeat!


Now I'm going to go check for the 3 hairs on my own chin. Maybe that'll explain things! :D

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