The Dalmatian is an ancient dog breed, however, their actual origin has yet to be proven and is widely disagreed upon.
Many people say the Dalmatian originated in Yugoslavia. However, in or around 1700, a Bengal pointer, similar to the Dalmatian existed in England which sparked the initial disagreement.
During the Middle Ages, they were used as a hound. Then during the 1800’s they were used as a guard dog for carriages. They would run alongside the carriage and often among the horses and guard the carriage and horsed while the owner was away. Of course, they have been used as mascots for fire halls, circus performer, and war sentinel. Other uses included vermin hunter, hound, shepherd and guard dog. Today, the Dalmatian is primarily a companion dog.
The Dalmatian is an active, energetic dog that enjoys lots of exercises. Originally, Dalmatians were bred to run with horse-drawn carriages. Dalmatians are people-like and people oriented. They are sensitive and loyal and do best when given the opportunity to spend lots of time with and around their families. Dalmatians are rather sensitive, too – they can sulk when scolded, and “talk” up a storm when they’re happy or want your attention. As former guard dogs, Dalmatians make good watchdogs. Sensible and alert, they are ordinarily not hysterical “yappers” but will bark only when necessary.
Dalmatians normally do well with kids, but tend to be a bit too hyper for younger or smaller children.
Most Dalmatians get along well with other animals, but might become aggressive with strange or males dogs.
The Dalmatian is trainable to a high degree of obedience. It is very important to properly train them at a young age, as they can become aggressive otherwise.
The Dalmatian is a medium-sized, short-coated dog. The Dalmatian is built for long-distance stamina. It is well muscled, without being coarse, with a deep chest.
The coat is quite short and mostly white with round spots in either black or liver (brown). The spots range in diameter from the size of a dime to the size of a half-dollar. Some Dalmatians have one or more ‘patches’. These are large unbroken areas of black or brown, which are silkier in texture. Although the spots are already present as skin spots at birth, Dalmatians are born with pure white fur, unless patched. These patches are silky large areas of black or brown.
Patches disqualify a Dalmatian from the conformation show ring but have no impact on the dog’s quality as a pet. Many pet owners find patches to be very attractive.
Other physical disqualifications in the US breed ring are oversize (over 24″) and undersize (under 19″). Other (disqualifying) spotting colors are tri colors and lemons. Tri coloration is where both black and liver colored spots exist on the same dog. Lemon spotting is a faded beige or orange-beige coloration.
The biggest problem in Dalmatians is deafness. Deafness affects 10-12% of all Dalmatians puppies. It is important that all puppies are BAER test for deafness at about 6 weeks of age. All totally deaf puppies should be spayed or neutered. Veterinarians normally recommend a low protein diet because this breed has higher uric acid levels than other breeds and this can cause urinary blockages. Skin allergies can also be inherited. Many dogs have allergies to the synthetic fibers in upholstery and carpet.
LIVING ENVIRONMENT/EXERCISE NEEDS
The high-energy needs of this breed do not make it a good apartment resident. They require at least an average size yard and invigorating walks or runs several times per day. They love to run. Dalmatians should not be kept outside in the cold weather.
HEIGHT & WEIGHT
Height: 19-24 inches
Weight: 40-70 pounds
LIFE EXPECTANCY: About 10-12 years.
GROUP: Gun Dog, AKC Non-Sporting
Overall Dalmatians do not require too much grooming. They do shed prolifically twice a year. During this time brushing is required. They enjoy staying clean and do not have a dog odor. They should only be bathed as needed.