Melanism in dogs, wolves, and coyotes has been a source of great interest to molecular biologists in recent years.
For example, it has been confirmed that black coyotes and black wolves in Italy and North America gained their black coloration through cross-breeding with domestic dogs.
But domestic dogs have two variants of melanism. The most common form– and the type found in Italian and North American wolves and coyotes– is inherited via dominant allele. But there is another form, which is related to the sable coloration, that is inherited via a recessive allele. This recessive black may have been indicated in at least one Russian wolf, but all modern black wolves that have been examined thus far have turned out to be dominant blacks that inherited their black coloration from the introgression of domestic dog genes.
However, a recent discovery of a black golden jackal in northeastern Turkey might be the first example of a melanism in an interfertile Canis species that did not originate in the domestic dog.
Between February 2009 and April 2010, a camera trap near the city of Artvin captured images of this black golden jackal and its normal-colored mate.
The documentation of this jackal appears in the journal Mammalia in December 2012, and the authors suggest that this jackal likely did not receive its black coloration from its ancestors crossing with domestic dogs.
Although golden jackals and domestic dogs are interfertile, cross-breeding between them in the wild has not been documented– though it certainly is possible. The black coloration in red foxes is entirely unrelated to any of the black coloration in domestic dogs, and it is likely that this black jackal is the result of an entirely different mutation that has not yet been documented.
Unfortunately, no physical samples from this jackal exist, so we cannot know for certain what genetic mechanism made this jackal black.
As far as I know, no further black golden jackals have been documented in the area, so this individual either left no offspring or it is inherited via a recessive allele– and thus different from the dominant black in wolves and coyotes.