This is a question that is commonly asked, but actually the quick answer is – not all dog’s noses are black! Some dogs have pink noses, red noses and even silver noses… and usually when a dog is a puppy it’s nose is pink to start with and gets darker as they get older.
The same way that our skin darkens in the sun it is thought that the dark pigment in the dogs nose is a protection against sunburn.
The pigment in the skin is called “melanin” and this is secreted into the skin cells of the dogs nose. The sun is then responsible for darkening it further.
Melanin in skin cells is vital as it protects the DNA in our cells from mutations caused by damaging ultra-violet radiation that is released from the sun. Read a little more about the properties of light here in one of our other posts.
So what do you do if you have a dog with a pink nose or very little hair on exposed places such as the ears – and some breeds of dog are even hairless! Well… we have to protect them with sun cream the same way we need to protect ourselves. You can even buy special sun cream for your pets!
Humans are also responsible in a large way for the evolution of dog breeds. Many breeders have preferred a shiny black nose in a particular breed and therefore have directed the evolution of the dog.
And… if you are just a little bit interested to see pictures of a beautiful breed of dog with a silver nose… look below and search the internet for “Weimaraner”.