Lets’ talk about Toothless’ markings for a minute. His speckles and spots that aren’t even visible sometimes, but are there nonetheless. They’re beautiful and unique, and give depth to his coloring despite him being a completely black dragon, and they’re just one of the many parts of his design that I adore.
There are already a few speculations and headcanons about his markings out there, but I have one of my own that I’ve been thinking about lately and figured I would share, and that’s the idea that not all Night Furies are entirely black like Toothless is.
I kind of like the idea of Toothless being relatively rare, not just because of his species, but also because of his coloration.
My thought is that, like jaguars, maybe most Night Furies are spotted:
Not necessarily yellow or gold, but with this type of black spots and markings over top of the base color, whatever it may be.
Then, also like jaguars, a small percentage of Night Furies are born with melanism, which is the opposite of albinism, where the creature in question is completely black (where albinism is completely white.) You can read more about melanism here. Melanistic animals are exceedingly rare, even more so than albinos.
In jaguars, melanistic individuals are often referred to as “black panthers”, but in the right light you can see their spots beneath the coat of black:
These markings look VERY similar to those that Toothless has, don’t they? So maybe Toothless is one of the VERY RARE melanistic individuals of his species, and not all Night Furies are entirely black like he is.
That could be why no one has ever seen another one (except possibly Valka, as she knows a lot about Night Furies, apparently); not because they aren’t out there, but because when people DO see them, they don’t recognize them as the same species as Toothless. And it was established in the first HTTYD movie that no one had ever seen a Night Fury before “and lived to tell the tale.” So with Toothless being the “first”, everyone would assume that all Night Furies looked like him, I think this is a very distinct possibility.
Also, as with jaguars, it would be possible that Toothless was born to “regular” parents, too, since melanism doesn’t necessarily breed true. Often black panthers/jaguars give birth to normal, spotted cubs and vice versa:
His parents COULD have been entirely black, or they could have been regular Night Furies. Alternatively, if he were to reproduce, any hatchlings could be either black or spotted (or a mix bag of both; in jaguars sometimes litters have both spotted cubs and black ones.)
As a black Night Fury, Toothless wouldn’t be considered a subspecies because genetically he would be the same as the spotted ones. (Jaguars and black panthers are the same species despite usually being referred to as different by those who are unaware of the genes involved in melanism etc.) He would just be exceedingly rare, even for a Night Fury, because of his coloration, and depending on the social constraints between Night Furies, he might have trouble finding an accepting mate. (Due to the apparent high intelligence of Night Furies, though, I imagine they would be able to look past the color difference.)
Anyway. This is just an idea that I had that I thought I might explain a little. I used jaguars as examples because they have quite a high rate of melanism in their gene pool (approximately 6%) compared to other animals, and also sport the spots as well. On top of that, I like the idea of Toothless possibly being based on a real existing big cat, considering his personality. <3
So. In conclusion: SPOTTED NIGHT FURIES YES/NO?