Why Do German Shepherds Have Moles?

By John Martin - September 17, 2022

German Shepherd with tongue out in forest

German Shepherds are a highly intelligent breed of dogs. They are very active and make for extremely loyal pets.

While there is no question about their protective and loyal nature, certain things confuse pet owners, like the presence of a dark spot on their faces.

What is this dark spot, and why do German Shepherds have them? You will find the answers below!

Why Do German Shepherds Have Moles?

The small dark spot on a German Shepherd’s face is not a mole. This dark patch is a play of genetics. It is called vibrissae. These are sensitive whiskers that help the dog navigate their environment.

They differ vastly from moles. Dogs do have moles. However, this particular dark patch on their face is something unique.

The special hairs help relay sensory messages directly to the German Shepherd’s brain. They give the dog a better understanding of the environment around them by creating a vivid picture of it.

The thick hairs are connected to sensitive nerves underneath them. Functionally, they act similar to cat whiskers. They help detect various data of objects in the surrounding environment.

The tactile hairs are an important part of their sensory system. It is a warning system that helps them perceive everything around them.

Lack of awareness can lead to owners mistakenly plucking out these hairs.

If your German Shepherd did not have the vibrissae patch, they would have trouble navigating at night and may even experience disorientation. It leads to a reduction in their spatial awareness.

Not every German Shepherd has a dark patch around their sensory whiskers. It is common for GSD owners to mistake the patch for a mole.

Moles and Other Lumps on German Shepherds

While that particular dark spot on their face is not a mole, dogs can get moles. However, they look different from the sensory patch.

A mole is a raised skin growth that usually lacks hair. Sometimes, you can spot a hair or two growing from it. However, unlike the vibrissae, you will not find a cluster of hair in a mole.

Though humans are more prone to moles than dogs, their presence in dogs can sometimes be an indicator of a serious health issue. However, in most cases, they are benign and not a cause for concern.

Moles can appear anytime and anywhere on the body. If you note a change in their size or appearance, you should consult a vet. A physical examination will help your vet rule out the possibility of a malignant mole.

Besides vibrissae patches and moles, there can be other bumps on your dog with a similar appearance. These spots and lumps can range from ticks to skin tags. While most of them are harmless, others warrant some concern.

Also Read: 7 Common German Shepherd Tail Problems

Flea or Tick Bites

If you spot pink, itchy dots on your GSD’s skin, it is likely a flea bite. It is easily treatable.

Tick bites are a bit tricky. If present in your environment, ticks hop onto warm bodies and latch on. Your dog may encounter ticks during a walk or even in your own backyard.

It is important to keep an eye out for ticks, especially if they are quite prevalent in your region. Some tick bites can be extremely serious.

Skin Tags

Sometimes, moles can be confused with skin tags. Skin tags are fleshy protrusions that can appear anywhere on your dog’s body. They are benign, mostly painless and barely noticeable.

Sebaceous Cysts

If you notice a hard cystic lump under your dog’s skin, they could be sebaceous cysts. These cysts contain a white substance inside them.

If irritated, they can appear red and swollen. They are noticeable in older dogs. Treatment is only required if they get infected or result in discomfort.


These lumps are benign and are commonly found in older dogs. They are fat-filled lumps that grow slowly and do not tend to spread.

While any breed can develop them, they are mostly found in overweight breeds. If their growth affects your dog’s ability to move, the vet will suggest removal. If they do not interfere with mobility, they are usually left alone as they are simply a part of getting older.

Cancerous Lumps

Cancer tumors can make an appearance over the skin or under it. They usually look irregular and have a solid feel to them.

If you notice any bumps and lumps, skin color changes, or a new painful appearance that you are unsure about, get in touch with your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment method.

Certain skin changes are simple infections that can be easily treated. However, in case of serious malignant growths, it is best for your dog to get proper treatment at the earliest.

Also Read: Anatolian Shepherd vs German Shepherd: Which One Is Right For You?

Is That Mole Dangerous?

German Shepards are very lively dogs. They are prone to developing some bumps or lumps. In most cases, these skin growths are benign.

It is important to keep a close eye on any spots that appear out of the blue, whether they look suspicious or not.

If you notice your dog scratching or nipping around that area, it could indicate an infection. Get a vet involved immediately.

Check to see if there is any pus or bleeding. Any changes to patches of fur or skin warrant a second opinion and a closer look. Look out for a change in color, size, or shape.

While changing spots on younger pups are usually not cause for worry, watch out for any changes in older dogs. It is very rare for an older dog to change spots.

A second opinion is always a good move if you are not sure about something. It is better to be safe than to feel guilty about it later.

How to Treat Moles and Other Lumps on German Shepherds

In cases of benign moles and lumps, there is usually no course of treatment, except for when it leads to discomfort.

The mole on the face of your GSD is not a problem. They should be left alone as they are part of a sensory system. Do not pluck or shave the vibrissae patches. It can result in personality changes or harm to your pet.

In case of problematic skin growths, your vet will help diagnose and treat it. Do not self-diagnose.

There are several ways a vet may approach the problem once it has been diagnosed. They may cauterize or use cryosurgery to deal with benign but bothersome growths.

If a particular growth has been identified as cancerous, the vet may recommend radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or surgery as possible treatment methods.

Treatment methods are not the same for every canine. They differ according to the severity of the problem and the health of the dog. It is always better to seek early treatment for better outcomes.

Also Read: 36 Adorable German Shepherd Mix Breeds With Pictures

The Bottom Line

Perhaps you learned something new today. The dark spot on your German Shepherd’s face with hair sprouting out of it is not a mole.

In fact, it is a very complex sensory patch known as vibrissae that acts as a guide and a warning system for your furry friend. It should not be messed with.

It can be concerning to discover your dog has a dark spot that you cannot explain away. But there are certain signs you can be on the lookout for that could indicate trouble.

In most cases, the sudden lumps and spots are benign. However, if you are concerned, it is best to get your vet’s opinion for a proper diagnosis.