Melanocytic lesions originating from the oral mucosa or cutaneous epithelium are common in the general dog population, with up to 100,000 diagnoses each year in the USA. Oral melanoma is the most frequent canine neoplasm of the oral cavity, exhibiting a highly aggressive course. Cutaneous melanocytomas occur frequently, but rarely develop into a malignant form. Despite the differential prognosis, it has been assumed that subtypes of melanocytic lesions represent the same disease. To address the relative paucity of information about their genomic status, molecular cytogenetic analysis was performed on the three recognized subtypes of canine melanocytic lesions. Using array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) analysis, highly aberrant distinct copy number status across the tumor genome for both of the malignant melanoma subtypes was revealed. The most frequent aberrations included gain of dog chromosome (CFA) 13 and 17 and loss of CFA 22. Melanocytomas possessed fewer genome wide aberrations, yet showed a recurrent gain of CFA 20q15.3-17. A distinctive copy number profile, evident only in oral melanomas, displayed a sigmoidal pattern of copy number loss followed immediately by a gain, around CFA 30q14. Moreover, when assessed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), copy number aberrations of targeted genes, such as gain of c-MYC (80 % of cases) and loss of CDKN2A (68 % of cases), were observed. This study suggests that in concordance with what is known for human melanomas, canine melanomas of the oral mucosa and cutaneous epithelium are discrete and initiated by different molecular pathways.